Two years ago, the Atlanta Hawks set a franchise record by winning 60 regular season games, but after being swept out of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals by Cleveland, the team has essentially hit the reset button.
The Hawks haven’t won an NBA title in 59 years and haven’t made an appearance in the Finals since losing to the Celtics in 1961.
After making it halfway to a championship just two years ago, winning eight postseason games, the team has once again entered a rebuilding mode.
All five of the starters from the 60-win season have either been traded away or allowed to walk in free agency, prompting Atlanta to bring in a new general manager to oversee the complete breakdown of the roster.
The 2017-18 rendition of the Hawks is dramatically different from the playoff team from just a season ago.
Dwight Howard spent just one season playing for his home town team, before being unceremoniously dumped in a trade to Charlotte. After four consecutive All-Star selections, Paul Millsap was allowed to leave town without an offer from the Hawks in free agency.
An offer from the Knicks for restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. went unmatched by Atlanta, removing three of the four leading scorers from last season’s roster and tempering expectations heading into 2017-18.
The Hawks have qualified for the postseason in 10 consecutive years, the second-longest active streak in the NBA, behind only San Antonio.
Only seven returning players are on the roster, with the backcourt pairing of Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore being the only players to spend 1,500 minutes on the floor for the Hawks.
The dramatically different roster poses plenty of questions, so let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Atlanta Hawks heading into the 2017-18 season.