NBA Picks: Atlanta Hawks Win Totals Predictions

Dwight Howard

Thursday, September 29, 2016 9:18 PM GMT

After losing Al Horford in free agency, and gaining Dwight Howard, the 2016-17 Atlanta Hawks have the earmarks of a compelling UNDER candidate on the NBA odds board.

It's amazing what the Atlanta Hawks have accomplished over the past dozen years. They were sold by Time Warner in 2004, finished last in the league, signed Joe Johnson to an oversized contract, and were pretty much dead in the water. Then something magical happened: Al Horford. The No. 3 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft became a four-time All-Star, and the Hawks have made the playoffs every year since his arrival.

Yeah, those were good times. Horford's gone now, signing a max deal with the Boston Celtics after the Hawks decided to spend their money on Dwight Howard instead. Uh-oh. You can already see the effect on the NBA odds board in all of the different sportsbooks, where Atlanta (48-34 SU, 42-39-1 ATS last year) has slipped to 43.5 regular-season wins on the props market. And that still looks rather optimistic.

 

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Howard's End
It's going to be very difficult to replace what Horford (+4.1 BPM) provided the Hawks at both ends of the floor. Howard (+0.6 BPM in Houston) still has some of that defensive mojo, but he hasn't had a positive season on offense since leaving the Orlando Magic in 2012. His attitude and his durability are also in question.

The Hawks are taking another chance with Dennis Schroder (–1.4 BPM) as the starting point guard in place of the departed Jeff Teague (+0.3 BPM). Schroder has a great motor, but he's a shoot-first player who turns the ball over too much. Jarrett Jack (–1.4 BPM in Brooklyn) will back Schroder up, and could play some heavy minutes in that role if healthy, but that's hardly an ideal situation.

 

Needs More Bazemore
Which leaves us wondering the same question we asked about the Indiana Pacers: Where's the growth going to come from? Paul Millsap (+5.3 BPM) is already all that he can be, and Kyle Korver (–0.2 BPM) isn't going to get any better at age 35. That leaves Schroder, and wingman Kent Bazemore (+0.3 BPM), who signed a four-year, $70-million contract to stay in Atlanta after starting 68 games last season.

Yikes. Bazemore has some upside after posting his first positive Box Plus/Minus since joining the league in 2012, but if this is what Atlanta is bringing to the table this year, we have no choice but to recommend the UNDER for your NBA picks.

 

Free NBA Pick: UNDER 43.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline, where you can get a 50% Free Play bonus

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