2018-2019 Off the Glass Team Preview Series: Atlanta Hawks
The 2018-2019 NBA season starts October 16th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Atlanta Hawks.
24-58, 5th in the Southeast Division.
The Hawks came into the season not expecting to win many games after keeping their powder dry in the offseason by trading Dwight Howard, watching Paul Millsap walk and not matching the offer sheet for Tim Hardaway Jr. Atlanta has consistently had trouble with attendance, even during up years, but last season was a new low as they finished last in the league in that category. Rookie John Collins excited the few fans who did show up with the development of his outside jumper after being primarily a post-up player at Wake Forest. Coach Budenholzer left and joined the Milwaukee Bucks at season’s end after losing power in the front office the year before and not being completely on board with coaching a rebuild.
Dennis Schroder, G; Mike Budenholzer, head coach.
Trae Young, G; Kevin Huerter, G; Vince Carter, G; Jeremy Lin, G.
Player to Watch:
General manager Travis Schlenk put his stamp on this team in his second year after coming over from the Warriors as their VP of Basketball Operations. Taking Young, Huerter, and Omari Spellman in the draft has drawn comparisons of to the Warriors’ selections of Curry, Klay, and Draymond. But pump the breaks. How many next Jordans, Kobes, and LeBrons have we seen never pan out, never mind replicating the Warriors dynasty in one draft? There is great potential here, Young has the offensive upside to make Schlenk seem like he is painting a masterpiece and the bust potential to cost him his job.
As with any rebuilding team it is more important to look at the parts rather than the sum. Expect this team to look different by season’s end with DeWayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore being available for contenders looking to add to their rosters. Alex Len has NBA size and fits well next to Collins. Justin Anderson is on his third team in as many years but still has upside on the wing with his physical gifts.
Collins had such a terrific summer league that the Hawks gave him the last game off. If he develops consistency and anticipation on the defensive end the Hawks will have a star in the making to attract free agents. Taurean Prince lacks the upside of Collins but has shown enough to confidently peg him as a solid 3 and D rotation player for years to come. It is now the job of first year head coach Lloyd Pierce to build a workable defense and with the many young and one-dimensional players on this team; he’ll have his work cut out for him.
Worst Case Scenario:
It is obvious rather quickly that Young is a bust, Collins and Prince look like bigger question marks than franchise cornerstones. It stays ugly from start to finish when Bazemore suffers a season ending injury prior to being dealt.
Best Case Scenario:
Young looks like a young Steve Nash that gladly shoots 20 times per game, the offense is strong behind his ability to pick and roll with Collins. They shoot enough teams out of the gym to threaten the 8th seed and bring the fans back into Phillips Arena.
19-63, 5th in Southeast Division.