Player Expectations: Kevin Huerter

Kevin Huerter had a very impressive rookie year last season. He averaged 9.7 points per game but showcased his great skill set. He proved to be a knock down shooter, shooting 38.5% from deep, which led the entire rookie class last year. Huerter is also athletic enough to slash to the rim and finish through traffic. With his size and athleticism, Kevin makes for a pretty solid defender as well.

I expect Huerter to start the majority of the games for the Hawks, as long as he is providing valuable minutes. With Trae still at the head of this offense, Huerter will still have many catch and shoot opportunities. If the defense closes out on him, he is skilled enough to dribble around them and create a play himself either scoring or finding another open teammate.

Kevin will see more minutes this year, so he will definitely improve upon his numbers from last year. He will average around 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. His three point percentage will be in the upper 30s while his total field goal percentage will be in the lower to mid 40s.

Kevin Huerter will play a very important role for this team as we look to fight for the 8th seed in the East. I don’t know if he will win it, but Kevin will be in the talks for most improved player after the season ends.

Player Expectations: Trae Young

Trae Young is coming off of an incredible rookie season. He came in 2nd for Rookie of the Year after averaging 19.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Trae has worked on his game a lot this offseason. He constantly played in pick up games and played in other leagues such as the Drew League.

Obviously, Young will be our starting point guard for the 2019-20 season. Trae will continue to be a great floor general and elusive play maker on the offensive end. He has also bulked up a little over the summer, adding over 15 pounds of muscle. Hopefully this can help improve his defensive game, as he was one of the worst rated defenders last year. Although Trae is sometimes a defensive liability, his offensive game more than makes up for that. Trae Young is definitely expected to be the leader of this young (no pun intended) team.

I expect Trae to improve upon his numbers from last year. I see him averaging about 23 points, 11 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. Young will also be top 3 in the league, if not number 1, in assists. With Westbrook and Harden being on the same team, I expect their assist numbers to decline.

If Trae can play up to these expectations, he could possibly make the All-NBA’s Third team. He will also make the NBA All-Star team for his first time. Trae will be the leader of this team for years to come. Hopefully he’ll lead us into many deep playoff runs and even championship runs.

Player Expectations: Bruno Fernando

Bruno Fernando was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 34th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Fernando was Maryland’s bruiser at the power forward position. He is known for his great strength, physicality, and athleticism.

Bruno definitely has a future with the Atlanta Hawks. He fits very well into Lloyd Pierce’s system. He is very physical down low and will fight for extra possessions. He can also utilize his athleticism in pick and rolls with Trae when on the court. He has also shown potential to become a jump shooter. Pierce has been working with Fernando on his three point shot. Hopefully he can add that to his repertoire and become an even bigger threat. The Hawks lacked interior defense last year, so Bruno can certainly help improve that for us.

I could see Bruno’s season going one of two ways. He could either be our primary back up center for Alex Len, or he will play for our G League team, the College Park Skyhawks, for most of the year. If he comes out and plays valuable minutes off of the bench, Bruno could see an increase in minutes and could take over the back up center role that will be held by Damian Jones, who we acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. He would bring a ton of energy off the bench, much like Montrezl Harrell did for the Clippers last year.

If Bruno struggles a little, he could be sent down to the G League to help sharpen his game. While down there, he could really work on his outside game. With the minutes he does see in the NBA, I expect Fernando to average about 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block a game. Bruno Fernando will be a great big man for the Hawks in the years to come.

Player Expectations: De’Andre Hunter

De’Andre Hunter was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 4th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Hunter led the Virginia Cavaliers to an NCAA Championship with his immaculate defensive ability.

Hunter will immediately take over the role of Taurean Prince for Atlanta. I expect De’Andre to start the majority of his rookie year. Last year, the Hawks lacked perimeter defense. Hunter will provide a much needed help in that area. Hunter can guard four different positions effectively. He will probably guard the opposing team’s best wing player almost every night. This will be a tough task for a rookie. He is already one of the team’s top defenders.

On Atlanta, De’Andre probably won’t carry much of an offensive load. We drafted him for his size and defensive ability. That is why he will probably average around 10 points per game. With Trae, Huerter, and Collins carrying much of the offense, Hunter won’t need to attempt to create his own shots even though he can if need be. He will average around 6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. On the defensive end of the court, we could see Hunter average about 1 steal a game or even more and maybe half a block per game. That probably won’t tell the whole story though. He will cause the offense to take tough, contested shots, giving us a better chance to win ball games.

I know it is really early and kind of a long shot, but there have been some comparisons to the Klaw, Kawhi Leonard. They are both very talented and lengthy defenders that have a very laid back personality. I could see De’Andre Hunter making any of the three NBA’s All-Rookie teams.

Player Expectations: Cam Reddish

The Atlanta Hawks acquired Duke’s sharpshooter, Cam Reddish, with the tenth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Hawks fans were elated to find out Reddish dropped to the tenth pick, when he was projected to be a potential top 5 player. Reddish’s lone season at Duke didn’t show the untapped potential Cam really has. His freshman year in college won’t have much of an implication on how his season will go.

I expect Cam to get minutes off of the bench for most of the year. Our lineup is very deep coming into the 2019-20 season. He will be a great leader for our second unit. Cam has a background at the point guard position, so he has experience as a leader. If Cam is orchestrating the offense for our bench, opposing teams will have to stay on their toes for the entirety of the game. If they decide to slack off a little when we sub in our second unit, we will run away with some of our games.

We will see Reddish average anywhere from 10 to around 15 points per game with, of course, an occasional 20 or 25 point outing. Reddish is a scorer, but he will be coming off of the bench. He is also coming off of a core injury that he played through all season for Duke. Reddish will be a volume shooter from deep, shooting around 38% from down town. Reddish will also average around 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Cam will fit right in with our system. He is a fast paced, 3-and-D type of player. He will be a great asset right of the bat.

I could see Cam making the NBA’s All-Rookie 3rd or even 2nd team at the end of this year. Many of the other rookies, including his Duke teammate, Zion Williamson, have talked about how great Reddish will be. They even voted him to have the best career out of the entire draft class. Hopefully Cam Reddish can live up to those high expectations.

Trae Young Dominates In Drew League Debut

Atlanta’s very own Trae Young and John Collins were invited to play in the Drew League in Los Angeles. Trae accepted the invite and showed up to play. Trae would play for the team BB4L. They matched up against Public Enemy, led by the Clippers’ Montrez Harrell and the reigning two time MVP of the Drew League, Frank “Nitty” Sessions.

Trae treated this game like a pickup game in a gym. He was dribbling between defenders’ legs, pulling from deep, and dropping insane dimes left and right. Trae finished the game with 31 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds, and an incredible highlight reel of plays. Trae’s team did end up losing 102-95, but that is because of Frank Nitty’s 27 points and Montrez Harrell’s monstrous game with 46 points.

Playing in the Drew League could benefit Trae for this upcoming season. Even though it’s no where near NBA competition, it is still tough competition nonetheless. Playing like he did in his debut could build his confidence heading into the 2019/20 season. This would be much like the Rising Stars game last season. It allowed him to build confidence and lead to his explosion in the second half of the year. This could be a sign of good things to come for Trae.

Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft Recap

Atlanta moved up to the #4 pick in the draft in a trade with New Orleans. With that pick, the Hawks selected De’Andre Hunter, the 6’7″ guard/forward out of Virginia. Hunter is most known for his outstanding defense.

Atlanta acquired their 10th overall pick in the draft night trade last year with Dallas which also involved the exchange of Trae Young and Luka Dončić. With that pick, Atlanta selected Cam Reddish, the 6’8″ guard/forward from Duke University. Reddish is known for his ability as a knockdown three point shooter.

The Hawks got the 34th overall pick in the draft in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. That pick turned into Bruno Fernando, the 6’10” forward from Maryland. Fernando averaged a double-double in his sophomore season with Maryland.