ESPN projects Hawks to finish with NBA’s worst record (27 wins)

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk (left) and Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler hold a basketball during the news conference to officially introduce the new GM in June. (Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com)

Atlanta sports fans should be conditioned to this after watching the Braves for most of the past three seasons. But the Hawks have dived into a major/long-term rebuilding project under new general manager Travis Schlenk and are about to be bad. Really bad. Like possibly worst-in-the-NBA bad.

That’s according to the latest projections by ESPN writer Kevin Pelton. Pelton projects the Hawks to win only 27 games next season — fewer than the New York Knicks (32), Brooklyn Nets (29.5) and Chicago Bulls (28.5). His brief summary of the Hawks:

“RPM (ESPN’s real plus-minus criteria) has long been low on the Hawks’ talent, and that certainly hasn’t changed with the departure of (Paul) Millsap. Remarkably, Atlanta has just two players projected to be better than league average by RPM: likely starting big men Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Ilyasova.”

Pelton picks Golden State to finish with the most wins in the Western Conference (62) and Boston with the most in the Eastern (only 49.4). His past projections have had mixed results like most, but it’s hard to dispute the 27-win projection based on the Hawks’ roster. The Hawks let Millsap leave in free agency, after the previous regime did the same with Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll. Guards Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver left in trades. That starting five won 60 games and went to the Eastern Conference finals in 2014-15.

Right now coach Mike Budenholzer is looking at a potential starting lineup of Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore in the backcourt and Ilyasova, Dedmon and Taurean Prince up front. As great of a coach as Budenholzer is, there’s only so much the man can squeeze out of the lineup with X’s and 0’s.

But look at this way: The Hawks are loaded with draft picks over the next few years, and their own pick probably will be the best one of all. So pay attention in the next college basketball season.

According to NBADraft.net in its way-too-early 2018 mock draft, the top five players are: Missouri freshman small forward Michael Porter; Texas freshman center Mohamed Bamba; Arizona freshman center DeAndre Ayton; Slovenia shooting guard/small forward Luca Doncik; Texas A&M sophomore power forward/center Robert Williams.

In case you’re wondering, 27 wins would still far exceed the Hawks’ worst record in franchise history: 13-69 in 2004-05. The team’s next worst record since moving to Atlanta was 25-57 in 2000-01.

I put up a poll if you want to vote on the 27-win projection.

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Reader Comments 0

24 comments
Jawga Dawg 25
Jawga Dawg 25

The rebuild is necessary and hopefully shorter than "many years". We do have some decent young talent and a very good coach. May not get the draft picks some expect because of it. Bring back Woody for full tank mode. ISO-Tauren will yield about 10 wins.

Maavelous
Maavelous

Time to return to a great sports town, St. Louis. Atlanta gets the teams their lousy fans deserve.

vose
vose

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Zapp
Zapp

Remember the Hawks are only missing one real player from last year.  I was never overwhelmed with the center who couldn't dunk because people fouled him instead, knowing he barely hit 50% from the line.  So looking at the remaining players the coach will use a pressing team rotating ten to eleven players.  They won't make the playoffs, but they will win more than 27 (expect 35-38 wins).  Should one or two players (including their prized rookie) break out, they may even surprise everyone by winning 41.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Zapp

How bad is it when winning half your games would be a pleasant surprise?

DawgNole
DawgNole

"ESPN projects Hawks to finish with NBA’s worst record (27 wins)"

_________________

It's mostly a broken record for the past half-century-plus with ATL pro teams, sadly. 

Wonder if the city will ever shake its "Losersville" label?

DawgNole
DawgNole

"But look at this way: The Hawks are loaded with draft picks over the next few years . . . ."

________________

That's kinda depressing, actually, considering their woeful draft history.

atlanta spirit
atlanta spirit

My best friend's dog's 3rd puppy make 5K a minute spamming gullible people on the internet.  Try it a fool is born every minute!

BTC
BTC

Lots of football to consume before we need think any more about the Hawks...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BTC

Lots of baseball, too--for other teams.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Yawn! Are the NBA playoffs still going on.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Timely and relevant 


NOT

jcarson
jcarson

Unless you are OK with mediocrity, the only choice is to try to rebuild just like the Braves decided. It's the right choice but won't be fun for a few years.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@jcarson

Won't be fun for a few years???

The team's never even made an NBA Finals appearance in ATL--in 49 years--and you want to rebuild like the hapless Braves?!

It's called a culture of losing, and this city's sports are ate up with it.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Agreed. The city of Atlanta has no sports rival when it comes to number of losing seasons and monumental playoff collapses- see 96' Braves, 2014 Hawks, and 2016 Falcons. The only major professional sports title this town owns (Chiefs NASL title doesn't count) the 95' Braves is somewhat overshadowed by the other 4 WS they lost.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@jcarson Tell Philadelphia and Sacramento about that.  They'd be thrilled to have mediocrity.  Now we are proudly following in their footsteps.

jlrhoya
jlrhoya

I don't even know why they will even bother to play home games this year as attendance will be in the hundreds at best.  


I am just curious if the owners will realize that profit comes from income as well as expense.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Philips will be 1/3 full for most games but the announced attendance will be around 14k since they count tickets sold and given away. Going to be a lot of the latter over the next few years.