With Media Day on Monday, the start of the 2017-18 NBA season has finally arrived.
The Atlanta Hawks will sport a totally different look coming in to the new season. Gone are major contributors such as Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway JR. Newcomers such as Luke Babbitt and Summer League phenom John Collins will be fighting for limited rotation spots in what will be a surprisingly deep roster.
Despite various projections placing the Hawks in the cellar of the NBA , there are some interesting training camp and rotation battles that Hawks fans will want to keep their eyes on.
Quinn Cook vs Malcolm Delaney for Backup Point Guard
This could likely become most intriguing battle heading in to camp. Most expect Delaney to enter the season as the backup to Dennis. However as we saw last year, Bud is not afraid to mix things up.
Quinn and Malcolm averaged nearly identical numbers in limited action last year. Ultimately, it may come down to whoever displays a better ability to run the “Bud Movement” offense during practices and the preseason games.
This gives the upper hand to Malcolm Delaney since he has a full year with the Hawks under his belt. Do not be surprised however to see Quinn supplant him in the rotation at some point in the season.
Bembry, Broussino, Dorsey for the fourth wing spot
After Summer League it seemed that Bembry had this spot nailed down. He showed improved range and overall play compared to his rookie season. Unfortunately, Dre will likely miss all of training camp and possibly the first few weeks of the regular sesason with a triceps injury. Bembry should be good to go around the first week of November.
Despite the injury, do not expect Broussino or Dorsey to be able to slide in to the regular rotation. Marco Bellinelli may see an increased workload and Luke Babitt may see some minutes at the three spot in Bembry’s absence.
If Dorsey or Broussino see any time this year it will be due to injury or blowout. Expect both to spend some time in the G-League with our affiliate the Erie Bayhawks.
John Collins vs Ersan Ilyasova for starting Power Forward
Many fans have John Collins penciled in as the day one starter at Power Forward. Not so fast however. Despite this being a rebuilding year, do not expect Bud to immediately dangle the Summer League highlight reel in to the fire.
Initially, expect Ersan to start and for Collins to receive around 20 minutes per game. Depending on his performance in limited minutes, we could see Ersan flipped to a playoff team at the trade deadline for a first round pick.
Projected Opening Night Depth Chart
Point Guards: Schroder, Delaney, Cook (DNP)
Wings: Bazemore, Prince, Belinelli, Babbitt, Broussino (DNP), Dorsey (IR), Bembry (IR)
Bigs: Ilyasova, Dedmon, Muscala, Collins, Plumlee (IR)