- Joshua Gamel
Atlanta Hawks: 10 Must-Watch Games in 2019-2020
The commencement of the NBA season is still roughly two months away and even the most insignificant expanse of basketball updates has us fanatics on the edge of our seats, sweating with anticipation for the last week of October. Several games on the Atlanta Hawks’ 2019-2020 calendar may seem engaging and that appeal made it especially difficult to gather a list of the most potentially entertaining match-ups to lookout for.
The over/under win total for the Hawks this year is 33 which I consider to be slightly dwindling when you take into consideration the young talent on this lineup. Perhaps that win total is not accounting for De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bruno Fernando (expectantly) being successful.
Nevertheless, let’s dive right into what I consider will possibly be the most entertaining games of the upcoming Hawks campaign.
10. Vs Golden State Warriors on Saturday, December 2nd.
This matchup will not have a lot of narratives for dramatic effect, but every game against one of the NBA’s dynasties is a reliable assessment of strength for any team in the league, especially the Hawks. With their young and developing core, it should be exciting to see how they fare against a team in the Western Conference that should still be the team to beat on that side of the NBA until proven otherwise.
9. At Sacramento Kings on Thursday, March 26th.
One of the Hawks former fan-favorites, Dewayne Dedmon will get the opportunity to play against his prior team when the Hawks travel to Sacramento near the end of the year. Dedmon received a fairly healthy contract for himself after showing that he was a force in Atlanta a season ago. Per 36 minutes, the ex-Hawk averaged an impressive 15 points-per-game and nearly 11 assists-per-game. If he can produce for the Kings, it will prove to be a good signing. I look for Dedmon to want to flourish against his old team. Last year, Dedmon’s season-high in points was 24. I look for him to score more than that versus the Hawks in 2020.
8. Vs Philadelphia 76ers on Monday October 28th.
This gem will be the third game of the season for Atlanta and the second home game for them. The Sixers will be a great test early for the Hawks as Philly is predicted to be a top three seed in the Eastern Conference. The outcome of this game should speak volumes about the young squad. In addition, a cool side note for this game is that Al Horford will visit his old city for the first time in a Sixers uniform.
7. Vs Miami Heat on Thursday, October 31st.
The first of two nationally televised games for Atlanta should be entertaining. The Heat essentially replaced retiree Dwyane Wade with veteran Jimmy Butler, and it will be fun to see how the likes of Kevin Huerter, Reddish, and Hunter are able to try and defend the All-Star forward. Keep in mind that that this matchup is also a division rivalry as the Hawks take on a team that barely missed the playoffs last April.
6. Vs Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, March 2nd.
A Hawks and Grizz matchup is probably not a game that crosses the minds of many fans when analyzing the schedule for next year. However, this home game for the Hawks is going to feature a plethora of entertaining young talents that should be up-and-coming all-stars one day in the NBA. Obviously, you have names such as John Collins and Trae Young, plus aforementioned Huerter, Reddish, Fernando, and Hunter. For Memphis, Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Jaren Jackson Jr. are names that should be mentioned as some of the best in the league years from now. It is worth noting that Young and Morant could possibly be top-five guards in the league one day. It will be fun to see how these young teams stack up against each other.
5. At New York Knicks on Tuesday, December 17th.
This one is quite obvious. A new-look Knicks team that will possibly be led by third overall pick R.J. Barrett will get the opportunity to square-off against former Duke Blue Devil, Cam Reddish. Clearly, none of us have any idea how successful Reddish or Barrett will be up to this point in the season. With that being said, if they prove to be as good as advertised and are major contributors for their respective teams, this one could be a doozy for both sides.
4. At Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, February 1st
Almost a full year removed from the Rookie of the Year debate, Young and award-winner Luka Doncic will have the opportunity to play each other again. Many fans have stopped the debate, but some of the bitterness between Dallas and Atlanta fans still lingers among the sourer spectators. It seems like the two young stars will perhaps be linked for the entirety of their careers. This will be the first time the Hawks will play the version of Dallas that features Kristaps Porzingis as well.
3. Vs. Orlando Magic on Saturday, October 26th.
Home openers are already fun regardless of the team being played against. However, when the Magic come into State Farm Arena, the Hawks will have their first home game against a team with actual playoff potential. The beliefs about the Hawks success is highly skewed and inconsistent leading into this year but if they can come out on top and hex the Magic, it will say plenty about the young team early on against a Southeast rival.
2. At Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, November 17th
Like the Warriors game, this matchup is not one with any revenge themes or in-conference rivalries but who does not want to see their team play against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This game takes place relatively early in the season in mid-November and many favor the Lakers as the best team in the West. If this is true and Atlanta is able to hold their own, it will be another telling game for Trae Young and Co.
1. At New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, March 16th
For the same logic that the Grizz and Knicks will both be fun-to-watch matchups, the Pelicans are that all rolled into one game. The young talent on the Pelicans consisting of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball,Josh Hart, Zion Williamson, Jaxon Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker should be tough for any team. While the Grizzlies have a few young players that should be successful NBA players, the Pelicans have more. In addition, the matchup between Reddish and Zion is another one that can entertain fans, given that both players perform well up to this game. It’s too early to tell for sure, but these two teams could boast a generous amount of the league’s future generational talent. Only time will tell.