Preview: Hawks (0-0) @ Mavs (0-0)

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Kent Bazemore (Jeremy Johnson)

Basketball season returns.

After a summer that saw the team switch General Managers and lose three of their top four scorers, the Atlanta Hawks will start this season in a much different position than where they left off last season. Widely expected to be a lottery team, these new-look Hawks will begin the 2017-2018 season in Dallas with a matchup against the also-rebuilding Mavericks.

The Hawks’ young core, led by Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince, showed flashes of what could be a fast-paced, athletic team this preseason. However, what was also evident throughout the Hawks’ 2-3 preseason was that they suffer from a lack of talent and inconsistent shooting, issues that will have to be addressed if they want to start looking formidable sooner rather than later.

The Mavericks are coming off a preseason that showed the world why lottery pick Dennis Smith, Jr. has the potential to be a dark-horse rookie of the year candidate. The electrifying rookie showed great athleticism and scoring ability throughout the preseason.

Key Matchup

Dennis Schroder vs Dennis Smith, Jr.

Both of these point guards are lightning quick, score-first playmakers that look to be the futures of their respective franchises. Though Schroder has experience playing at this level, his abilities will surely be put to the test by the athletic Dennis Smith, Jr. Look for Smith, Jr. and Schroder to lead their respective teams in scoring in this game.

Injury Report:

Hawks:

Miles Plumlee- Out

Mavericks:

Josh McRoberts – Questionable

Seth Curry – Out

3 Keys to the Game

1. Defense Effectiveness

Since Mike Budenholzer became head coach, the Hawks have consistently been among the best in the league in terms of defense. However, with the loss of Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, and Thabo Sefolosha, Atlanta may struggle at times on defense this season. Wednesday’s game should give Hawks fans a good idea of what is to come on the defensive side of the ball this season.

2. Shooting

Sharpshooter Kyle Korver was traded to the Cavaliers midway through last season, and arguably the second best shooter on the team, Tim Hardaway, Jr., left for New York in free agency. If the Hawks want to create any space for Dennis Schroder to operate, free agent signings like Luke Babbitt must consistently knock down outside jumpers. The Hawks will have a good opportunity against what looks like a below average defensive team in Dallas to try and knock down some open shots.

3. Crashing the Boards

Atlanta signed former Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon in free agency and also drafted power forward John Collins in the first round. These two players must crash the boards against Dallas’s Nerlens Noel to create second chances for what looks like a talent-starved Hawk offense.

Projected Starters

Hawks:

Dennis Schroder – Guard

Kent Bazemore – Guard

Taurean Prince – Forward

Ersan Ilyasova – Forward

Dewayne Dedmon – Center

Mavericks:

Dennis Smith, Jr. – Guard

Wesley Matthews – Guard

Harrison Barnes – Foward

Josh McRoberts – Forward

Dirk Nowitzki – Center

TV/ Radio Info

Local TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Coming Up

Friday 10/20 @ Hornets

Sunday 10/22 @ Nets

Monday 10/23 @ Heat

Jackson Stone

@tdjs_network

 

 

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Jackson Stone
ATL REPRESENT

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