With a little more than one month left before the regular season begins, we have entered the stage of the offseason where we, NBA fans, have the full green light to begin making predictions on certain players and teams heading into the next season (due to the fact that training camp is soon to begin, hence most teams aren’t making any other game-changing acquisitions). With this being said, I’m going to do my version of a series done over on NBA.com by Shaun Powell called “30 teams in 30 days”, in which he talks about every NBA team in one month (one team per day), where he talks about their offseason and what type of year some of their players could have, and the team as a whole. However, as I said, this is going to be my version. In this, I’ll be talking about their offseason, what type of year I expect them to have (and some of their players, too), what my projected starting lineup is for on Opening Night, and an insight into their future (trade deadline, next year; it will vary from team to team). Furthermore, Powell’s order of teams is based on the previous season’s records of the teams; my order, on the other hand, will be fully random (I put all the teams in a wheel on wheeldecide.com, and that’s how I got my order). With all of that being said, let’s begin this series with the first team on the list: the Atlanta Hawks *for the next ones I won’t be doing an introduction like this*.
2018-19 record: 29-53
Let’s be honest: the Hawks weren’t going to make a big splash in the offseason that would have ascended them to the territory of a team that could make the playoffs, even if they play in the Eastern Conference. Knowing this, they focused on the draft, getting in a position to have cap space next season and filling up on position needs. And they had a pretty good offseason, all things considered: they had one of the best drafts out of any team this season (if not the best) in drafting Hunter and Cameron Reddish, and a great rest of the offseason as well in trading for Bruno Fernando and Damian Jones (needed Centers), traded for an expiring contract in Chandler Parsons, swapped Kent Bazemore for Evan Turner (similar contracts, but Turner gives them a position they needed at point guard), got a first round pick for next year (although it cost them Taurean Prince, they got younger at the position with the players they drafted in the top 10) and signed Jabari Parker to a team-friendly deal.
PG: Trae Young
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: De’Andre Hunter
PF: Jabari Parker
C: Alex Len
- Even with all his inconsistencies, Huerter played his best stretch of basketball last season when playing alongside Trae in the starting lineup, so I expect them to play together from the start (if Huerter isn’t the starter, I could see Allen Crabbe starting day one, and maybe Cameron Reddish fighting for that job as well).
- I could see the argument as to why Hunter shouldn’t be an Opening Night starter, but here’s my counter-argument: the Hawks aren’t going to make the playoffs regardless (spoiler alert), hence why putting De’Andre in from the get go and have him see a big chunk of the action at SF (and on occasions PF).
- Alex Len was their starter for the majority of last season (when healthy), hence why I expect him to keep the job (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a job up for grabs at training camp between him and Damian Jones.
- Trae Young and John Collins are unquestionably starters
This season for the Hawks is all going to be about development; how much do John Collins and Trae Young develop? Can Kevin Huerter be consistent? How do De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish transition to the NBA at the start of the season? I expect Trae Young to build from his stellar rookie campaign that would have had him winning Rookie of the Year if Luka Doncic hadn’t played. I also expect John Collins to have a big year, and for Kevin Huerter to be more consistent with a defined role in the rotation from the get-go. Even in the best case scenario , I don’t see the Hawks competing for a 7th-8th seed in the Eastern Conference. However, that best case could determine how quickly their rebuild ends and they can legitimately start competing again. Nevertheless, I expect it to be entertaining down at the State Farm Arena at the ATL and for that team to be competing night after night under the coaching of Lloyd Pierce; so if you’re from the area and you want to see them live, get your tickets at Seatgeek. Seatgeek is an app that posts tickets from all over the web for any type of event (concerts, games of any sport, etc) at very affordable prices. It gives you a view from the seat you’re going to buy, and even has a color scale that shows you if you’re getting a good deal for your tickets (green=good, yellow=good but could be better, red=not good). Still undecided? Consider using our promo code BRKDWN for a 20% discount on your first purchase!
Expect the Hawks to be sellers at the trade deadline, looking to trade guys like Allen Crabbe (good shooter and player in general on an expiring contract), maybe Jabari Parker (good enough scorer to help a contender off the bench) and Chandler Parsons (although his contract is large, it expires this season) What could really affect Parsons’ trade value is how well he plays after being inactive for most of last season and not even being that good in the games he played. With these guys being traded, the young players (mostly wing players) could have opportunity at more playing time, more time to develop, and gain chemistry. They could also have a bigger shot at playing alongside Vince Carter The ultimate goal for the Hawks should be giving these young guys enough time on the court to develop, getting a good draft pick for the 2020 draft, and maybe next year we can talk about the Hawks has a team that could make the playoffs as a 7th-8th seed.
- another lottery year in Atlanta
- positioned themselves to further improve their young core next season, with the potential to even contend for the playoffs next season or the season after that for sure.
- expect them to put up a fight every game (no matter the opponent), even if it results in a losing effort
- expect a big year from John Collins, further improvement from Trae Young and consistency from Kevin Huerter
What do you expect from the Atlanta Hawks and their respective players this season? How will Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins perform? Tweet us your opinions to @the_BRKDWN. Be on the lookout because next time I’ll be talking about a certain team in the West that was, in my opinion, one of the biggest disappointments of last season. Take care!