The Hawks are rebuilding – or at least should be.
They let their best player walk (Paul Millsap to the Nuggets) and traded their second-best player from last season (Dwight Howard to the Hornets). Arguably their third- and fourth-best players also left in free agency (Tim Hardaway Jr to the Knicks, Thabo Sefolosha to the Jazz).
Yet, that continues to be Atlanta’s apparent direction under new general manager Travis Schlenk.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
As a player on a one-year contract who’d have Early Bird rights next summer, Ilyasova will have the right to veto trades this season. Maybe he’d approve a trade to a better team, but he has a solid shot to start in Atlanta – an opportunity is unlikely to exist on a playoff team.
There’s a good chance Ilyasova’s value to the Hawks is tied completely to what he provides on the court this season.
And he’ll help. Ilyasova is a good 3-point shooter who takes enough charges to hold his own defensively. He has high basketball intelligence.
He’s just not good enough to lift Atlanta into relevancy. None of the other Hawks are, either. Maybe they’ll collectively exceed the sum of their parts, but this feels like a team – that if it gets all the breaks – tops out at just OK.
Now, the Hawks are also less likely to bottom out and draft a difference-maker or even just find a long-term contributor from this roster spot.