The NBA Free Agency Period began at 12:01 AM this morning, it’s time to get busy!
Now, because there is a shortened Free Agency period this season, teams will be forced to make quick decisions about whether they should sign or pass on a player, which could lead to bad decisions and bad contracts.
The Atlanta Hawks, who are already notoriously known for giving bad contracts left and right, have to be extra careful during this period. If I were them, I would make a checklist for attributes that players should have, to evaluate if they are worthy of a contract. Here’s what I came up with:
- Desire to score inside/around the rim. One of the Hawks’ biggest problems was that everyone was a (mid-range) shooter. No one showed the desire to score inside or around the rim. Everyone seemed to be allergic of the paint, and that made the offense rather predictable and inconsistent many times during the season. A player that would rather rely on his inside game than his jumpshot could help make the offense less predictable.
- Ability to get to the foul line and make free throws. The Hawks finished second to last in the league in free throw attempts last season (not surprising since the offense relied on jumpshots more than anything). A player that can draw fouls, whether it be through penetrating, banging down low, or creating contact whenever it’s possible, is much needed. (Hopefully the Hawks could kill two birds with one stone by getting a player that gets to the free throw line because he prefers his inside game from his outside shot.)
- Ability to shoot the three point shot at a high rate. The Hawks’ offense is meant for shooters. While that offensive strategy struggles with consistency to begin with, it’s even more harder if you don’t have the quality shooters on the roster. Asides from Kirk Hinrich and Joe Johnson, the Hawks don’t have anyone else that will frighten the opposing team from beyond the arc. There won’t be anyone from the opposing team losing sleep because they’re imagining Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Jeff Teague, etc. shooting threes. The Hawks want to run a jumpshot-based offense, then get some (better) jumpshooters.
- Backup frontcourt players that actually have a good skillset. The Hawks need more depth in the frontcourt, simple really. Zaza Pachulia is a good and serviceable backup, but I would prefer if a better frontcourt player came off the bench before him. If the Hawks can’t get a better backup than Zaza, then at least add better second string frontcourt players than Josh Powell, Jason Colllins, and Etan Thomas.
- Ability to facilitate and run an offense. With Hinrich having to miss a handful of games early in the season because of a shoulder injury, the Hawks need a player that can run the offense. A pass-first, playmaking point guard would be ideal, but that’s rare to find anywhere nowadays, so any point guard (or point forward) that has had experience and success running an offense should be welcomed. I believe Teague is the future point guard of the team, but to ask him to be a Rajon Rondo type of facilitator from the get-go is probably asking too much. The Hawks need someone that can help Teague carry the burden of having to set up teammates and running an offense….and no…not you Mike Bibby.
- BONUS POINTS: Good Marketability or at least a recognizable name. While I know this isn’t necessarily needed (some of the more talented Free Agents aren’t nationally popular), it would be a nice to see a player that has this attribute because the city of Atlanta is in dire need for a marketable player. It would be nice to see a player that fans actually want to see. A player that can somewhat improve attendance, and a player that can actually sell some jerseys around the city.
Ideal situation is to sign a player that has all these attributes, but that’s impossible because frankly there is no one like that (and if there were, Hawks wouldn’t have enough money to sign him anyway). I don’t expect the Hawks to sign a Nene or Marc Gasol type because it’s impossible due to capspace, but there are Free Agents out there that are available on the cheap (willing to accept vet mininum). The Hawks need to target those players and hopefully avoid anyone that doesn’t offer any of the attributes mentioned above.