2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: Atlanta Hawks
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22nd and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Atlanta Hawks.
2018-2019 Record: 29-53, 5th in the Southeast Division.
Season Recap: Last year the Hawks faced injuries all season long. Coupled with a young core, and Atlanta was slow out of the gate. When John Collins came back from injury in November this helped Trae Young immensely, and the team started playing much better.
By the end of the year Young, Collins and Kevin Huerter had shown the makings of a foundation for an intriguing team moving forward. The Hawks were a fun and competitive club, and they planted the seeds to become a future playoff contender.
Key Losses: Dewayne Dedmon, C; Kent Bazemore, G/F; Taurean Prince, F
Key Additions: De’Andre Hunter, F; Cam Reddish, F/G; Jabari Parker, F; Evan Turner, F/G
Preview: The Hawks are running back their core, plus adding in a few solid vets and a few rookies. Alex Len will step into the starting center spot and De’Andre Hunter will likely fill the hole at the three.
Defense will be a big problem for the starting unit, not a single one of their starters outside of De’Andre Hunter is considered an average defender for his position. Atlanta has a huge hole at backup point guard and backup center that will hurt them.
Factoring in how much they will get killed on defense with their crucial roster holes I do not see this team winning that many more games than last year. Their young guys will probably look better but that won’t necessarily result in more wins.
Player to Watch: Trae Young
Team X-Factor: Offensive efficiency
Worst Case Scenario: There is a world where Trae Young and Kevin Huerter are closer to who they were in the first half of last season, and these two lottery picks aren’t as far along as expected. There is also a world where the Hawks’ lack of point guard and center depth is a real problem. Atlanta could hover around the 25-win mark.
Best Case Scenario: The best case for the Hawks consists of Trae Young and John Collins both making leaps and they form one of the best pick and roll combos in the East. This best case also requires De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish to be able to give quality 3-and-D minutes right away from the forward positions and Evan Turner being able to fill the backup point guard role successfully. They would also need one of John Collins, Bruno Fernando, or Damian Jones to be able to fill the backup center position. All of this would likely result in one of the bottom playoff seeds.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: I predict that the Hawks will finish with a 31-51 record. I think the young guys will take small steps forward, but their lack of a true backup point guard and center will kill them. I also think this will be a top League Pass team due to their offensive firepower. They will have to rely on outscoring teams because of their defense though. When teams put Trae Young and Alex Len in pick and rolls, they are going to get destroyed. The team’s low ceiling is a product of its mediocre defense.