Hawks Set 15-Man Roster
After waiving Royal Ivey on Friday and Eric Dawson this afternoon, the Hawks have trimmed their roster down to 15. At point guard, the Hawks have Jeff Teague, Dennis Schröder, and Shelvin Mack. Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, John Jenkins and Jared Cunningham will be at the two guard with DeMarre Carroll and Cartier Martin at small forward. Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Gustavo Ayon, Elton Brand, Mike Scott, and Pero Antic round out the roster as the frontcourt.
Scott, Mack and Martin earned the three non-guaranteed roster spots the Hawks had open entering training camp. Scott dominated the preseason leading the Hawks in scoring over the eight games and solidified his place on the Hawks’ roster, and Mack beat out Ivey for the third point guard position behind Teague and Schröder. Martin was the latest addition to the training camp roster and struggled in his first outing, but showed signs of improvement in the last two games and fills the Hawks’ need for a reserve wing player.
The Hawks roster is constructed to space the floor, push the pace of the game, and play smart. Every player in the frontcourt aside from Ayon can stretch the floor and is reliable shooting from 15-20 feet or beyond. Horford and Millsap will be difficult to defend as they can offer a lot of different looks as Defensively, the Hawks frontcourt will be tested, especially against bigger frontcourts, but they showed in the preseason, particularly against the Grizzlies, that they can contain even the best big men in the league despite their size disadvantage.
The wing rotation for the Hawks will be Carroll, Korver (who will primarily play two-guard), and Martin. Carroll is a defensive player at heart who will be tasked with defending the opposition’s best wing player (either at the two or three). He has shown an improvement in his shooting this preseason, and if he can keep up his quality spot-up shooting, along with his knack for getting open on off-ball cuts, Carroll will find himself a nice role in the offense as well. Martin struggled in his preseason debut for the Hawks going 1-for-12 from the field and forcing a lot of shots, but after a talk with Coach Bud about playing within the system Martin improved over his next two outings. Martin will likely see a fair amount of action early in the season while Williams is out and Korver’s time is spent almost entirely at the two-guard.
The Hawks backcourt will be led by Teague who will have to command the offense and push the pace in transition and in the halfcourt. As previously mentioned, Korver will start at the two and will spend the majority of his time at that position. The Hawks will look to Jenkins and Cunningham to fill the bench void at shooting guard until Lou Williams can return from his ACL injury. Schröder and Mack will back-up Teague, and Bud also showed in the preseason that he will play Teague and Schröder together in the backcourt because it gives him two ball-handlers on offense and the defensive presence that Dennis brings.
The Hawks roster has a lot of potential and has been crafted to fit Coach Bud’s system (which I detailed here, here, and here). The key for the Hawks success will be communication and being on the same page. The offense requires the players to move in sync with each other, which, as they players have said all preseason, will take time to learn when to make a cut or when to spot up. On defense, the Hawks will have to be crisp in their coverages and rotations to make up for a lack of size up front. With the amount of turnover on the roster and in the coaching staff, there will be plenty of growing pains for this Hawks roster, but they have the opportunity to be very good once they find their stride.
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