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The Atlanta Hawks, fresh off their greatest season in franchise history, head into the 2015-2016 season with a very large chip on their shoulders. After winning 60 games – the second best record in the NBA – and making the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time, the expectations are high to repeat a similar success and few are expecting Atlanta to reach it. However, the talent on the roster is certainly there and capable of being just as good this season. This leads us right into the Atlanta Hawks’ projected 2015-2016 starting lineup.and
Point Guard- Jeff Teague: After being an All-Star for the first time in his six year career, Jeff Teague is evolving himself into the NBA’s next elite point guard in a league that’s full of them. He takes after the role of one of the league’s quietist superstars, the same that was labeled on former Hawk-great Joe Johnson. Teague is the unquestioned leader of this Atlanta team, serving as the floor general and the one who truly runs the offense. Teague’s blend of killer athleticism and ankle-breaking ball handling serve him as one of the league’s smoothest natural point guards.
Shooting Guard- Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway will be the sole newcomer to the Hawks’ starting group; with DeMarre Carroll heading north to the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta had to make a replacement at the two. The Hawks acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. in a draft day trade with the New York Knicks for the pick that would be Jerian Grant. Hardaway can fit right into the Hawks’ system that has shown a true knack for unleashing untapped potential. The perimeter shooting and athleticism will show to be an upgrade from Carroll, but the defense will take a stumble. Not for now, at least; there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Small Forward – Kyle Korver: Mr. Reliable Atlanta will obviously stay in the starting lineup as the main wing scorer. Korver’s 6’7″ frame should allow him to switch to the three without too much complication. Arguably the second best three point shooter in the league, only behind the MVP, Korver looks to continue his automated perimeter shooting, which he’s lead the league the past two seasons at 49 percent. Maybe another All-Star game is in reach for the man who’s family name is the occupational label for a basketmaker (I’m not kidding either.)
Power Forward – Paul Millsap: Millsap is the backbone of this Hawks team; without him, Atlanta would surely fall apart. That’s the reasoning behind the Hawks making it absolutely sure that they would re-sign him. In two years with Atlanta’s system, Millsap has gone from a slightly above average starter to being a back-to-back All-Star. He is not only Atlanta’s trump card, he is the most versatile of the Hawks starters. Though an undersized four, the Louisiana Tech product has a keen skill set; he has solid athleticism to drive to the rim and finish along with decent three point shooting. Millsap can also bring the ball up court and make the right passes as well. If one of the Hawks’ players were too evolve into a true go-to superstar, it may very well be Paul Millsap.
Center- Al Horford: Horford has been with the Hawks for what’s seemed like ages. Atlanta has made the playoffs for eight straight seasons, all of them since Horford was drafted third overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. He’s been Atlanta’s starting big ever since. He is the only major player still left from Mike Woodson era that included Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby. Horford has served as Atlanta’s true leader for many years, and shall continue his glorified Hawks career with what should be another All-Star season this year.