After a two year absence are the Hawks playoff bound?
After a flurry of late season thrillers and a stellar draft, Hawks fans have a sense of excitement not felt since the 60 win season. Some are even speaking about the P word…Playoffs!
Atlanta is coming off a season that started a putrid 6-23 due in part to an injured John Collins and a Trae Young that was just getting his feet wet in the NBA.
When healthy, the Hawks finished the season a competitive 23-30. Extrapolate that winning percentage (.434) over a full 82 game period and you roughly get a 35.5 win total. That would’ve placed Atlanta six games below the playoff line in the East.
I get the notion of most thinking the Hawks will automatically greatly improve next year. But let’s slow down just a bit.
Evan Turner | Acquired via Trade from Portland | Backup Point Guard
Allen Crabbe | Acquired via Trade from Brooklyn | Reserve Wing
De’Andre Hunter | Drafted 4th Overall | Starting Wing
Cam Reddish | Drafted 10th Overall | Backup Wing
Bruno Fernando | Drafted 34th Overall | Backup Center
Jabari Parker | Free Agent Signing | Backup Forward
Chandler Parsons | Acquired via Trade from Memphis | Backup Wing
Kent Bazemore | Traded to Portland | Starting Wing
Taurean Prince | Traded to Brooklyn | Starting Wing
Dewayne Dedmon | Signed a Free Agent deal with Sacramento | Starting Center
Vince Carter | Unsigned Free Agent (could still return) | Reserve Wing
On paper, it appears that the Hawks are a better team. But losing three of your five starters and possibly Vince is huge not only in locker room but on the court.
Bazemore, Dedmon and Vince were the unquestioned leaders and “tough guys” of the team. That is not easily replicated. While Atlanta definitely replaced that production on the wing, the team is very thin up front.
The Hawks will have to rely on Alex Len and Rookie Bruno Fernando at the 5 spot. They may have to slide Collins to the Center spot at times to make ends meet.
It is expected that the Hawks go with this lineup on opening night:
That is very very young. There will be growing pains.
Let’s also not forget how “lucky” we have been drafting lately. John Collins, Trae Young, and Kevin Huerter have had outstanding Rookie seasons. We can not place unfair pressure based on our recent history on Cam, Hunter and Bruno.
Vegas has set the over/under for next year at 32.5 wins. Personally I expect the Hawks to fall around 10th in the Eastern Conference with around 33-38 wins. That would end in disappointment for some but that should be considered a success. It would also give us another shot in the new lottery which has proved to be a crapshhot that anyone can win.
Hawks fans, let’s not put unrealistic expectations on this team. We know they are going to be very exciting so let’s just enjoy the ride.
What do you think fans? Should we temper expectations or are we playoff bound? Hit us up @ATLHawks_Talk and @_ATLPhil and let us know.
I know one thing is for sure, I speak for all of us when I say bring on October!
Here’s to more moments like this.
As always, send us your Atlanta Sports questions and you’ll hear them answered live on Youtube on the next episode of HQ Live.
Stay with ATLSportsHQ for full Hawks’ coverage and all things Atlanta sports.