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NBA Team Previews: Atlanta Hawks 2012-13

Mike Barner

Mike Barner

Mike Barner writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Hawks had another steady regular season, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 40-26 record. They failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, though, as they were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in five games. The Hawks have made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons but have never been able to reach even the Conference Finals during that stretch. They decided to make some major changes during the summer, parting ways with All-Star Joe Johnson and bringing in Devin Harris, Kyle Korver and Louis Williams. While they still will have a competitive team with Josh Smith and Al Horford both returning for another campaign, it's possible they could make even more moves before the trade deadline during the season.

PLAYING TIME DISTRIBUTION

With all of the changes to their roster, the Hawks are a bit unsettled in terms of their rotations and head into training camp with some starting spots up for grabs. Jeff Teague will be the starting point guard and play 30-35 minutes per game. Devin Harris should be the primary backup at the point, but he could also break camp as the team's starting shooting guard. He should play 25-30 minutes per game combined at both the point and shooting guard slots. Louis Williams will also be used to play the one and two and should play 20-25 minutes per game combined as a backup at both spots. Kyle Korver is another player who could find his way into the starting lineup as a starting shooting guard, starting small forward or a backup at both positions. He could play anywhere from 20-25 minutes per game if he wins a starting job, or as little as 10-15 minutes per game in a reserve role. Anthony Morrow is in a similar situation as Korver as he could win a starting job at shooting guard or small forward, but he's also just as likely to serve as a backup at both positions. He could play anywhere from 20-25 minutes per game if he wins a starting job or as little as 10-15 minutes per game in a reserve role. John Jenkins will serve as a backup at shooting guard and will likely take on a limited role off the bench. DeShawn Stevenson will also serve as a backup at both shooting guard and small forward and may only play limited minutes. Damion James will also hope to make the roster out of training camp and fill a limited bench role. Josh Smith will be the team's starting power forward and should play 35-40 minutes per game. Ivan Johnson will serve as the primary backup at power forward and should play 10-15 minutes per game. Mike Scott will also provide the Hawks with depth at power forward and should only have a limited role if he does make the team. Al Horford will be the starting center and should play 30-35 minutes per game. Zaza Pachulia will serve as the primary backup at center and should play 10-15 minutes per game. Johan Petro will also provide depth at center and should play 5-10 minutes per game.

PLAYER OUTLOOKS

Center

Al Horford: Horford missed most of last season due to a torn pectoral injury and left a major hole in Atlanta's starting lineup when he went down. He played in only 11 games and averaged just 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Horford is a good passer and finished the 2010-11 season averaging a career-high 3.5 assists, something that shouldn't be overlooked at the center position. He's healthy heading into this season and should be one of the more valuable fantasy options at center.

Zaza Pachulia: Pachulia has been a very reliable backup center for the Hawks, but was pushed into a starting role for much of last season with Horford injured. He didn't provide much offense by averaging only 7.8 points, but he did post 7.9 rebounds per game and shot 49.9 percent from the field. He'll return to his reserve role this season and will have limited fantasy value as a result.

Johan Petro: Petro will provide the Hawks with another large body off the bench, but he should only see limited playing time and holds little to no fantasy value.

Forward

Josh Smith: Smith was excellent last season and set career highs in points (18.8) and rebounds (9.6) per game. With Joe Johnson now in Brooklyn, Smith is the team's best offensive option and is no stranger to taking shots in bulk. He averaged a career-high 16.7 attempts from the field last season and could see that number increase even more this season. Combine that with his excellent defensive abilities and he is one of the more valuable fantasy options at the power forward position.

Kyle Korver: Korver is unquestionably one of the elite three-point shooters in the league, averaging at least 1.1 three-pointers per game in each of the last six seasons despite starting a total of only 10 games over that stretch. He is also an excellent free-throw shooter and a better defender than many people think. He will have a chance to earn a starting job and could provide tremendous value from behind the arc if he gets increased playing time this season.

Ivan Johnson: Johnson was a regular contributor in his rookie season, and the Hawks will look for him to improve even more this season. Smith will play a ton of minutes, so Johnson likely won't get significant run and will have limited fantasy value as a result.

Damion James: James played in only seven games for the Nets last season and will only see limited minutes for the Hawks this season if he does make the team.

Mike Scott: The Hawks have said they view Scott as a power forward, so he's likely to see only limited playing time if he does make the roster.

Guard

Jeff Teague: Teague took over as the team's starting point guard last season and finished with averages of 12.6 points, 4.9 assists, 2.3 three-pointers and 1.6 steals per game. While the Hawks have added Harris and Williams, Teague will remain the starter at the point. With excellent shooters like Williams and Korver potentially both on the floor with Teague at the same time, he should have plenty of opportunities to compile assists and provide dependable fantasy value.

Devin Harris: Harris had a disappointing season for the Utah Jazz last year as he finished with averages of 11.3 points, 5.0 assists and 1.2 three-pointers per game. He is expected to play alongside Teague in the backcourt at times and could even find himself as the starting shooting guard once the season begins. If he does earn a starting role, he has the potential to provide fantasy owners with decent value. However, he may not generate significant fantasy value if he finds himself coming off of the bench and playing limited minutes.

Louis Williams: Williams was excellent for Philadelphia last season and finished averaging 14.9 points, 3.5 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 three-pointers per game off their bench. While he could earn the starting shooting guard job, he is more likely to fill his familiar bench role with his new team. Even as a bench player, he still is a reliable fantasy option.

Anthony Morrow: Morrow is yet another player on this Hawks' roster who enters training camp with the opportunity to win a starting job. He's probably going to fill a bench role, something that he's certainly accustomed to. He has averaged at least 12.0 points and 1.7 three-pointers in each of his last three seasons, but he has limited fantasy value as he doesn't provide much in the way of rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

DeShawn Stevenson: Stevenson has bounced around during his career and is pretty much a bench player at this point. With the Hawks having so many younger options at both shooting guard and small forward, Stevenson won't play significant minutes and doesn't have much fantasy value.

John Jenkins: Jenkins has the potential to be a nice offensive player, but isn't likely to see much playing time in his rookie season.

SLEEPER

Kyle Korver: Korver may not even need to win a starting job to see significant minutes this season for the Hawks. The Bulls were extremely deep the last two seasons and had better defensive options than Korver, so he often went stretches where he was stuck to the bench. However, when they did play him late in close games, he did come up with several clutch shots. The last time he averaged at least 30 minutes a game was in the 2006-07 season, when he averaged 14.4 points and 1.8 three-pointers. If he can get 25-30 minutes per game this season, he could provide significant fantasy value considering he will likely still be available in the later rounds of many drafts.

BUST

Devin Harris: Harris was once a promising point guard who had a couple of excellent seasons, but he didn't play well with the Jazz and now finds himself with yet another new team. He averaged only 27.6 minutes per game last season, which marked his least playing time since the 2006-07 season, when he also averaged just 10.2 points and 3.7 assists. He's likely to see similar minutes this season but could struggle again to put up significant numbers. There is also the possibility the Hawks could even trade him again as they look to continue their roster overhaul. His name alone could result in him getting drafted too high in some leagues based on the numbers he could post the season.

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