Atlanta sports tracking poll: Whose future do you lean toward?

There seems to be a general consensus that the Hawks have gotten worse, not better, this offseason although  perhaps it's really fair to judge the roster yet because there are still moves to be made and there's always a chance they trade for Russell Westbrook. (Kidding.) At the very least, coach Mike Budenholzer is taking a significant risk with his decisions.

In a blog a couple of months ago , I asked readers which of the three pro sports franchises they had the most confidence in moving forward. Of six options, the most popular responses were Falcons-Hawks-Braves (28.28 percent) and Hawks-Falcons-Braves (22.9 percent). Later today on MyAJC.com , I'll have a full column on the keys for each franchise for their long-range plans to work out.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the full column

For now, here's what we're looking at:

• HAWKS: They basically swapped Al Horford and Jeff Teague for Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder. Howard is a much stronger rebounder than Horford but age and injuries have worn on him, limiting his offensive effectiveness and rendering him less of a defensive presence than when he was Defensive Player of the Year three straight seasons. The team gave $70 million to Kent Bazemore, who struggled offensively in his first season as a starter and face the likelihood of having Paul Millsap opting out of his contract after next season. There are holes on the bench, although the offseason isn't finished yet.

FALCONS: They are at a bit of a crossroads (again) after a season that saw them start 6-1 but finish 8-8. Quarterback Matt Ryan is working to fix some of the issues that arose in the first year of Kyle Shanahan's offense. On offense, the team effectively swapped out wide receiver Roddy White for Mohamed Sanu, added center Alex Mack and drafted tight end Austin Hooper. On defense, the highest profile changes were the drafting of safety Keanu Neal and outside linebacker Deion Jones, and the signing of free agent defensive end Derrick Shelby. The pass rush needs to improve.

• BRAVES: There isn't much new that can be said since the season started, except for Hector Olivera's future being in question , not good considering he was considered a key to the team's offense. There remains uncertainty about which young starting pitchers will develop and be here for the long term, which is why any thoughts of trading Julio Teheran should be considered a long shot (note: I wrote "should"). The every day lineup is still weak offensively. Maybe they should fire the manager again because it's clearly it's his fault (sarcasm font). Buckle up: Bad teams often fizzle after the All-Star break, trade-deadline and in the final weeks of the season when contenders are battling for postseason berths. We'll see how this bunch holds up.

Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.
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