The Hawks played their first preseason game against the Miami Heat tonight. They did lose, but there were many things to be excited about for the team.
The first thing that looked different with this year’s team was the pace that they were playing at. The Hawks got out in transition many times during the game, which is expected from a young team. When you have players with speed like Schroder and Bazemore, getting transition points becomes second nature. Last year the Hawks played a lot of half court offense since they had proven scorers, but this year will be different. In the Summer League Collins, Bembry, and Prince showed us the positives of running the floor after a missed shot or rebound.
The Hawks preached defense over everything in training camp, and we saw a scrappy team this evening. It might not show up on the stat sheet but the Hawks were all over the ball for the most part of the first half. They were rotating hard and getting in between passing lanes consistently. With a team that doesn’t have much offensive power, turning defense into offense is a must. There were multiple breakdowns on defense, but it’s just the first preseason game. The more games this team plays together they’ll be abe to improve on both sides of the ball.
John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon were the two players that stood out the most in this game. Dedmon had an impressive first quarter for the Hawks. He played solid defense and was everywhere on offense, even on the 3 point line. I don’t think that’s his game but he did take 2 shots from beyond the arc. Besides that, Dedmon is going to be a nice player in Bud’s offense. He ran the pick-and-roll fine with Dennis, which allowed him to get some easy points for the Hawks.
Collins was on the boards all night. He had 15 rebounds in 19 minutes. He was still trying to end lives with his dunks, and we should expect that from him all season. He’ll be a great option coming off the bench for now, and if he can expand his offense he may find his way into the starting lineup sometime in the season.
The Hawks will travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Wednesday.