Ranking Each Atlanta Hawks Player by Importance for 2012-13 Season

Michael DulkaContributor IAugust 28, 2012

Ranking Each Atlanta Hawks Player by Importance for 2012-13 Season

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    The Atlanta Hawks are one of the most intriguing teams entering the 2012-13 NBA season. After losing Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks were forced to change their direction this offseason. 

    Bleacher Report's NBA assistant editors Ethan Norof and Joel C. Cordes broke down the Hawks' offseason in their season preview podcast. In it, the two discuss whether the Hawks are rebuilding or still competing with their current core. 

    The Hawks will put their influx of new talent including Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, John Jenkins and Kyle Korver alongside Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague.

    But will it be enough to stay competitive?

    Where do the new guys fit?

13. Mike Scott

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    Mike Scott is a project and could play in the D-League this season. While Scott has the potential to be a formidable power forward, he is too raw to be a factor this season.

    Scott is unlikely to have any impact on the Hawks' 2012-13 season.  

12. DeShawn Stevenson

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    With limited offensive capabilities, DeShawn Stevenson doesn't offer the Hawks much. He is a solid defender, but doesn't do anything on that end that will push his minutes ahead of any of the other guards on the Hawks' roster. 

    Stevenson shot a dismal 28.5 percent from the field last season, including 28.3 percent from behind the arc. The free throw line wasn't much kinder to Stevenson. He shot 56.3 percent from there.

    Stevenson won't have much of an impact on the Hawks this season or into the future.   

11. Johan Petro

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    As the second or third center, depending on how they use Al Horford, Johan Petro's minutes will be up in the air. It isn't likely that Petro will see a ton of action, but injuries could change that. 

    Petro was decent last season in his limited time on the court, averaging 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in  15.6 minutes per game. With Horford, Smith, Jordan Williams and Zaza Pachulia ahead of him, Petro has an uphill climb for playing time. 

10. Jordan Williams

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    Outside of Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford and Josh Smith, the Hawks are guard-heavy and don't have a strong power forward coming off the bench. Jordan Williams will do his best to fill that role, but the former Net was merely average last season. 

    Williams played in 43 games, starting five. He averaged 14.8 minutes, scored 4.6 points and collected 3.6 rebounds per game. The Hawks will need Williams to play more quality minutes than he did in New Jersey.  

9. Kyle Korver

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    After five solid years with the Philadelphia 76ers, Kyle Korver is quickly becoming a journeyman. The Hawks are his fourth NBA team after being traded by the Chicago Bulls.

    Korver's role on the Hawks depends on how the other positions work out. A true shooting guard, Korver may be asked to play small forward, but that would be disastrous on defense.

    Depending on how the Hawks use Devin Harris, Lou Williams, John Jenkins and Anthony Morrow, Korver's minutes could fluctuate. He does add a pure shooter to a team that needs to find a replacement for Johnson's three-point shooting ability.  

8. John Jenkins

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    Commonly accepted as the best shooter in the 2012 NBA Draft, John Jenkins landed in a perfect spot in Atlanta. With Johnon's three-point ability gone, Jenkins has a chance to make an impact for the Hawks. But like any rookie, it will depend on how Jenkins adjusts to the NBA game. 

    Jenkins doesn't offer much more than his outstanding spot-up shooting, but he could be a nice complement to Lou Williams or Jeff Teague. Both players have the ability to drive to the basket and score or kick out to Jenkins. 

7. Anthony Morrow

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    Another newcomer, Anthony Morrow will help the Hawks in their quest to score more points.  Averaging 12.1 points per game for his career, Morrow is a proven point-producer.

    Like many other Hawks players, Morrow has been inconsistent. He's a streaky shooter who is locked in one night and lost the next.

    When Morrow is hot, he will help the Hawks. When he is struggling, the Hawks will look to their other scoring options. 

6. Devin Harris

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    Another newcomer, Devin Harris has a chance to make an impact. Harris adds another experienced guard to the lineup who can score and handle the ball. His 6'3", 192-pound frame gives the Hawks a little more size at the guard position. 

    Last season, Harris' play was inconsistent, but he still managed to average 11.3 points, 5.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game with the Utah Jazz. Harris clearly brings some offensive firepower, whether that is starting or coming off the bench.

5. Zaza Pachulia

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    It is yet to be determined how the Hawks will use Zaza Pachulia next season. Whether he's the starting center or the first big man off the bench, Pachulia will be plenty important to the Hawks' success.

    As a capable starting center, Pachulia allows the Hawks to slide Al Horford to power forward and Josh Smith to small forward, which masks their weakness at small forward. In this lineup, the frontcourt would be huge, making up for the small backcourt of Lou Williams and Jeff Teague. 

    If the Hawks use Horford at center and Smith at power forward, Pachulia becomes important as the backup center. The injury history of Horford and Smith makes Pachulia even more important.


4. Lou Williams

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    Lou Williams, the Hawks' biggest offseason addition, brings a bit of the offense that Atlanta will be missing without Joe Johnson. Williams is a capable scorer who can play either point guard or shooting guard. 

    Williams' versatility helps the Hawks' backcourt, but puts more pressure on the frontcourt because of the team's lack of size. Standing 6'1", Williams is undersized for a shooting guard.

    With Johnson's 18.8 points per game out of the picture, the Hawks need scoring and that's what Williams does best. The better he plays, the better the Hawks will be next season.  

3. Jeff Teague

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    As the point guard, Jeff Teague has quite a few responsibilities. With Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, more of the offensive burden will fall onto Teague's shoulders. Instead of benefiting from Johnson's ability to create his own shot and make all kinds of shots, Teague will have to do more in terms of setting up teammates. 

    He will get help in the backcourt from Lou Williams, who can definitely handle the ball as well. If the Hawks are going to be playoff contenders next season, they need Teague to lead the team on and off the court. 

2. Josh Smith

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    Entering the season, Josh Smith is the second-most important player on the Hawks' roster for two reasons, the first being his play on the court and the second his potential trade value.

    There is no denying Smith is one of the more athletic and talented players in the league, but his consistency is an issue. Even then, he's the most athletic player on the Hawks and brings a ton of defense to the squad. 

    With Smith's contract up after this season, the Hawks have a big decision to make. A potential mid-season trade could bring them value for Smith, or they could let Smith walk and use the cash to bring in a free agent. 

1. Al Horford

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    When the Hawks blew things up this offseason by trading Joe Johnson, it was clear that Al Horford would be the guy. With Johnson gone and possibly Smith, too, Horford looks to be the only remaining piece of the Hawks' old core. 

    Horford missed most of last season, playing in just 11 games. Despite this, he is Hawks' most important player going into the 2012-13 season. His future in Atlanta is fairly stable. He's ahead of Josh Smith as the best player because of his consistency.

    While Horford may not be the superstar the Hawks need to reach the finals, he would complement another superstar well. With cash in hand, the Hawks look to be big spenders next offseason when several free agents will be available. Regardless what they do, Horford will be a big piece of the Hawks' puzzle.