Anyone who had winning expectations coming into this season was kidding themselves, after all.
Last week, some Hawks fans, particularly on social media, got (very) carried away after the Hawks won two straight games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. The latter was an electrifying 26-point comeback win in the team’s home-opener that saw Trae Young step up in the fourth quarter while rookie “rival” Luka Doncic faded away after a strong first half.
Since the emotional victory over Dallas, the Hawks have lost three straight games, two of them not even close, and their record now sits at a less-than-impressive 2-5. One must also consider that Atlanta has thus far played only two playoff teams from last year, and one of those teams is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost their best player and relevance as an NBA franchise when LeBron headed west this past offseason.
So, I’m afraid, it’s painfully clear that the Hawks are one of the worst teams in the league. But this is what most of us-the rational among us at least-expected. There were some writers even here at this publication that predicted Atlanta to win 35+ games, but just a quick glance at the talent on this roster lets you know that even 25 wins might be a reach.
Yes, the Hawks haven’t gotten arguably their best player in John Collins back from injury, but even that won’t matter when Atlanta starts to endure a schedule that isn’t the easiest in the NBA, which will start to occur in mid-November.
However, fans that got carried away in their preseason expectations for this team shouldn’t be discouraged. If Trae Young keeps up his current numbers, he’ll no doubt be a rookie of the year candidate. Although Taurean Prince had a rough couple of games in Philly and in Cleveland, he’s still shown flashes of stardom at times this season. And, as previously mentioned, the Hawks’ best player in John Collins still hasn’t even touched the hardwood.
Make no mistake, this is a great young core to build around. And, if the Hawks do lose 60 plus games this season as it looks like they might at this rate, they’ll likely be able to add another young star in next year’s draft, and possibly even two if Dallas’s pick falls outside the top 5.
So, Atlanta fans, take a deep breath. Obviously this group isn’t ready to be a competitive NBA team right now or probably even next year, but that’s OK. Rebuilding is something that everyone goes through, and in order to go up, one must first go down.
Jackson Stone @tdjs_network