2012-13 ATLANTA HAWKS SEASON PREVIEW
The Atlanta Hawks were one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference throughout the 2011-12 season, finishing with a 40-26 record and making the postseason for the fifth year in a row. Even when the Hawks pushed the Boston Celtics to a sixth game in their first round series, the front office saw that changes had to be made and the current roster needed an infusion of youth and talent on both sides of the court. Under the watch of new general manager Danny Ferry, the Hawks went through an extensive reformation period during the offseason that saw them purge large contracts and lay a solid foundation for the future.
The Hawks' biggest move of the offseason was undoubtedly the trade of Joe Johnson, a cornerstone player for the franchise with a huge contract that was sent to Brooklyn and landed forward Anthony Morrow. The team also traded Marvin Williams for point guard Devin Harris, a move that should solidify the point guard position. The Hawks also picked up forward Kyle Korver
and shooting guard Lou Williams, both moves which should improve the team's bench strength. In the draft, the Hawks landed shooting guard John Jenkins from Vanderbilt, which should solidify the team's scoring attack and can replace some of the production lost by the trade of Joe Johnson. Finally, the team picked up forward Mike Scott from Virginia, who should solidify the depth at the position.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the Hawks will need to stay healthy underneath the basket where they have a fearsome duo of centers in Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. Korver and Morrow are expected to see plenty of time at the small forward spot, while the power forward position is very strong with Joe Smith and Anthony Tolliver. Perhaps the biggest change comes at guard with Devin Harris expected to team with point guard Jeff Teague to become a very formidable tandem.
With all of the moves the Hawks made in the offseason, it's hard for fans to say that they've improved considerably, but can take solace in the fact that the team may have taken a step backward to take a huge step forward. By ridding itself of bad contracts and getting younger and faster on offense and defense, the Hawks have all the makings of an up-and-coming team that could eventually become a major contender.
ATLANTA HAWKS FRANCHISE FACTS:
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Stadium: Philips Arena
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: Southeast Division
Notable Players: Bob Pettit, Dominique Wilkins
Atlanta Hawks Championship Titles: 1
Atlanta Hawks Conference Titles: 4
Atlanta Hawks Playoff tickets
Atlanta Hawks Season Preview History
ATLANTA HAWKS EXPERIENCE:
Although Atlanta, Georgia, isn't always counted among the most noted basketball metropolitan areas in the country, the Hawks is one of the handful of teams with an extensive NBA legacy.
In fact, the franchise actually originated in Buffalo, New York, in 1946 when it was known as the Bisons and participated in the National Basketball League, as the NBA had not been formed yet. The organization was one of the first to join the NBA in 1949, the basketball association notes on its website, after it relocated to Illinois and was renamed to the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. Although the team was rising in popularity during the 50s and 60s, owners realized that the frequent moves (including relocating to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and St. Louis, Missouri) within short periods of time were holding the Hawks back (except for a 1958 Championship win over Bill Russell's Celtics). For this reason, the franchise was sold to a Georgia-based real estate developer named Tom Cousins and the former Georgia governor, Carl Sanders, in 1968. Eventually, the team came under the ownership of Time Warner and Ted Turner.
Part of the NBA's Southeast division of the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks is one team that has had a healthy amount of top-notch players over the past few decades - from Dominique Wilkins, who holds the record as the team's leading scorer based on his performance in the 80s, to Dikembe Mutombo, who distinguished himself as a valued player in the entire league throughout the 90s. Even back to the mid-50s, around 10 years after the team's founding, players like Bob Pettit, who made the NBA MVP of the Year in 1956 and 1959, have dominated the scoreboards.
Although the team had one of the worst records in the league as of 2005, it obtained a second pick draft of Marvin Williams from the University of North Carolina. The following year, the team drafted former Duke star Shelden Williams. This collection of valuable players over the years paved the way for improvement in the 2007 season. The Hawks long history has witnessed rocky patches, but the potential to achieve championship form will always remain.
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