Cavs Versus Playoff Teams Roster Evaluations: Atlanta Hawks

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Sep 30, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Al Horford (15) and power forward Paul Millsap (4) pose with head coach Mike Budenholzer (center) during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

 

Each evaluation will have the same structure even as written by the different Cavalier writers here on FoS. All of these evaluations assume health of all players involved including Andrew Bynum and Anderson Varejao. While health concerns will be noted as appropriate, this is the off-season and best case scenarios are what we have to work with. For this piece we will assume a Cavalier starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Earl Clark, Tristan Thompson and Andrew Bynum. Stats were taken from NBA.com and ESPN.com

Cleveland Cavaliers

Off-season additions: Coach Mike Brown, 1st Round Picks Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev, Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum

Off-season subtractions: Maureese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Shaun Livingston, Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton.

Atlanta Hawks 

Off-season additions: Forwards Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Elton Brand, Pero Antic, Damien Wilkins, Guard Dennis Schroeder and Center Gustavo Ayon.

Off-season subtractions: Forwards Josh Smith and Ivan Johnson. Center ZaZa Pachulia and Guards Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson.

Roster Evaluation 

Point Guard: Kyrie Irving versus Jeff Teague

Jeff Teague played in 80 games last season for the Hawks, a number Cavaliers fans can only dream of for Kyrie Irving. Like Irving, Teague has continued to get better each season in the league. Teague averaged 14.6 points with just over 7 dimes a game. Teague shot 88% from the free throw line, 45% from the field and 35.9% from beyond the arc a season ago. The former first round pick out of Wake Forrest produced nicely for a team that finished 44-38 last season which was good enough for sixth place in the East.

Kyrie was limited last season (and the season before and his 1 year at Duke), to  59 games played. In those games Irving put up 22.5 points per game with 5.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and a PER of 21.51. Irving did this scoring on 45% shooting from the field and 39% from 3 point range. Last year for the Cavs Irving was the primary ball handler and scorer when he was healthy. This year, with all of the additions to the roster he will have somewhat less pressure to provide all of the offense and can spend time improving on defense as well. Kyrie is already taking leadership of the team, leading workouts and practices in Las Vegas with players gathering there, even though he isn’t playing on the Summer League team.

Advantage: Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving has more play making ability and is a better scorer. What will be fun to watch this season is the progress Irving makes on the defensive end of the floor to better suite his all around game.

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