Atlanta sports tracking poll: Whose future do you lean toward?

Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer speaks during a timeout in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Jacksonville, Fla., Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Can Hawks coach and defacto general manager Mike Budenholzer achieve success with the team’s remade roster? (AP photo)

There seems to be a general consensus that the Hawks have gotten worse, not better, this offseason although  perhaps it’s really fair to judge the roster yet because there are still moves to be made and there’s always a chance they trade for Russell Westbrook. (Kidding.) At the very least, coach Mike Budenholzer is taking a significant risk with his decisions.

In a blog a couple of months ago, I asked readers which of the three pro sports franchises they had the most confidence in moving forward. Of six options, the most popular responses were Falcons-Hawks-Braves (28.28 percent) and Hawks-Falcons-Braves (22.9 percent). Later today on MyAJC.com, I’ll have a full column on the keys for each franchise for their long-range plans to work out.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column

For now, here’s what we’re looking at:

• HAWKS: They basically swapped Al Horford and Jeff Teague for Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder. Howard is a much stronger rebounder than Horford but age and injuries have worn on him, limiting his offensive effectiveness and rendering him less of a defensive presence than when he was Defensive Player of the Year three straight seasons. The team gave $70 million to Kent Bazemore, who struggled offensively in his first season as a starter and face the likelihood of having Paul Millsap opting out of his contract after next season. There are holes on the bench, although the offseason isn’t finished yet.

FALCONS: They are at a bit of a crossroads (again) after a season that saw them start 6-1 but finish 8-8. Quarterback Matt Ryan is working to fix some of the issues that arose in the first year of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. On offense, the team effectively swapped out wide receiver Roddy White for Mohamed Sanu, added center Alex Mack and drafted tight end Austin Hooper. On defense, the highest profile changes were the drafting of safety Keanu Neal and outside linebacker Deion Jones, and the signing of free agent defensive end Derrick Shelby. The pass rush needs to improve.

• BRAVES: There isn’t much new that can be said since the season started, except for Hector Olivera’s future being in question, not good considering he was considered a key to the team’s offense. There remains uncertainty about which young starting pitchers will develop and be here for the long term, which is why any thoughts of trading Julio Teheran should be considered a long shot (note: I wrote “should”). The every day lineup is still weak offensively. Maybe they should fire the manager again because it’s clearly it’s his fault (sarcasm font). Buckle up: Bad teams often fizzle after the All-Star break, trade-deadline and in the final weeks of the season when contenders are battling for postseason berths. We’ll see how this bunch holds up.

Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
UltraElf
UltraElf

support hockey! support REAL patriots.

UltraElf
UltraElf

basketball stinks! boycott it and their anti american players.

Falcons63
Falcons63

Maybe I'm crazy but I would rather have 3yrs of Howard than committing 5yrs to Horford.  Do you really want to be on the books for that much money to Al at age 35? 

makitabrad
makitabrad

How can anyone choose the braves? The most successful franchise in Atlanta over the past decade has been the Hawks.

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@makitabrad


Yep, all those NBA championships the Hawks have brought to Atlanta....oh wait. 

makitabrad
makitabrad

@TheBrewer @makitabrad How long has it been since the braves have brought a championship?  And who is closer?  Not saying the Hawks are close, but they are definitely closer than the Braves who are now bottom feeders.

OH:IO
OH:IO

the dogs losing at least 3 or 4

E983
E983

Looking ahead? That's why they play the game.

UGA76
UGA76

1.  Hawks - don't care.

2.  Falcons will clean house after this season and maybe just maybe Mr. Blanks will wise up and hire a solid football man to be his GM.  Let that person have roster control unlike the mess that is currently going on.  The GM can then hire a solid head coach.  When the team that your GM has constructed has the 31st rated talent in th NFL, that GM should have been fired.  As for the HC, he's way over-matched for the personal aspects of the job because he was given way too much unearned power.

3.  The Braves at least have a solid plan.  A smaller market team HAS to build thru the draft of low priced talent and can't afford to go crazy with over valued and over paid free agents


GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

None are anywhere close to championship caliber so this is meaningless.  Only things these teams excel at are being perennial underperformers and seriously allergic to championships.  Here are my 'most pitiful' rankings:

1. Hawks are clearly the most pitiful with zero NBA Finals appearances in 45+ years and getting swept in their only ECF berth.   Much to choose from but lowlight has to be the era of  ASG ownership that included Billy Knight's long reign of incompetence, lying to the fans,  suing each other, myriad terrible personnel decisions (see Joe Johnson), and eventually the racial slanders that finally ushered them out.   No way this team as currently constructed ever wins a championship without adding a superstar in his prime. 

2.  Falcons are next with 50 years of choke experience.  They made it to 1 SB in that time but were hardly competitive.  It didn't help that their starting CB -who had just received the outstanding christian fellowship award- was arrested and jailed the night before the SB for soliciting a prostitute.   Add to this the notable playoff meltdowns of 1980 and 2012 for further evidence of franchise chokes when the stage is the largest.  Only way the existing team could win a SB is with a complete shutdown defense on the scale of the Seahawks a few years back or the Ravens with Lewis & Reed. 

3.  Braves are best of the worst with their 1 WS title.  Even with that it's impossible to overlook the 13 years of playoff chokes including 4 WS losses all done with the best pitching staff in baseball.   Cox was very fortunate 1995 was a down year in the AL or he'd likely gone ringless.   It didnt take a genius to see that Cox was stubborn and his management  style was as ineffective in the postseason as it was effective in the regular season.  If only little Johnny Scheurputz could have taken a few moments away from stroking his own ego to see the glaring deficiencies of his manager it's possible they could have cemented their legacy with 3 or more WS trophies instead of having to field questions about losing 4 of 5.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GeorgeJetsen

Well done, GJ.

Just a shame it's mostly bad news for the home teams. Always has been.

"None are anywhere close to championship caliber so this is meaningless.  Only things these teams excel at are being perennial underperformers and seriously allergic to championships."

Sad that this is what  ATL fans face virtually every season.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Archangel @GeorgeJetsen

Past performance is an excellent indicator of what the future holds--especially for ATL teams.

Just look at the huge number (1) of championships the city's teams have claimed since the inception of "big league" play here FIFTY long years ago.

candlin14
candlin14

Jeff Schultz 


You should have put a vote up for the three idiot reporters of the AJC 

Ledbetter

Obrien

Schultz


Who is the biggest chump at AJC.... Its a 3 way tie!!!!!!!!!!!

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

They all suck...typical Atlanta pro franchises BUT of course it's the Atlanta fans that are at fault.......... 

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

If you really think the Hawks will EVER make it to the Finals then I want some of the glue your sniffing!

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Sony shouldn't drink and drive.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Uhhhhh...........Golden State?

HotDawg
HotDawg

The only team in the state that matters is in Athens.

Go Dawgs!

Savga13
Savga13

@TOJacket @toJACKetASS  I pity the man,  like You,  that  does not have the brain  capacity to fill his "cap" the way your mouth is full of envious/malice BS