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.

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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.

Top 10 Rookie Seasons In Atlanta Hawks History

With all of the build up leading to this year’s NBA draft, I decided to put together my list of the best rookie seasons the Hawks franchise has ever seen. The Hawks have drafted many legends and hopefully, future legends.

#10 Josh Smith

Josh Smith was selected by Atlanta in the 1st round of the 2004 NBA Draft with the 17th overall pick. Smith was drafted straight out of Oak Hill Academy, a high school known for producing NBA talent. He was a 6’9″ forward who could jump out of the building. Fans loved him because of his highflying dunks and monster blocks. He was even entered into the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest during All Star Weekend in his rookie year. He scored three perfect 50s in a row to win the Slam Dunk Contest. His stat line for his rookie year consisted of 9.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. That was enough to add him to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team.

#9 John Collins

The Atlanta Hawks selected John Collins, a 6’10” forward from Wake Forest, with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Just like Smith, Collins is known for his leaping ability and emphatic rim stuffers. In his rookie season, he didn’t have much of an outside game. He mainly stayed in the post or did pick and rolls with our point guard at the time, Dennis Schröder. John was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. Now, Collins has proven to be a steal in that draft, being picked five spots outside of the lottery. He will be a focal point for this team moving into the future.

#8 Stacey Augmon

Stacey Augmon was selected with the 9th overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft by Atlanta. Augmon was a 6’8″ shooting guard/small forward. He started all 82 games for Atlanta in his rookie year. Stacey, nicknamed “The Plastic Man,” averaged 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. Augmon earned his nickname due to his athletic ability. He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.

#7 Al Horford

The Atlanta Hawks selected Al Horford with the 3rd overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Horford is a 6’10” Center out of the University of Florida. Horford started the majority of his games played during his rookie year. He nearly averaged a double-double. He had 10.1 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. For an undersized center, Horford held his own down low. He averaged 0.9 blocks per game and 0.7 steals per game. He was selected to the All-Rookie First Team for the NBA. Al Horford helped Atlanta continue their long stretch of playoff appearances.

#6 Lou Hudson

“Sweet” Lou Hudson was selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the 4th overall pick in the 1966 NBA Draft. All though not in Atlanta, the St. Louis Hawks are apart of the same franchise. Hudson was a 6’5″ shooting guard who averaged 18.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Lou made the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team for the 1966-67 season. Lou represented the Hawks six times in a row in the NBA All-Star Game from 1968-1974. After his rookie year, Hudson was called to serve in the U.S. military. When he came back the following season, the franchise had moved to Atlanta. He also became teammates with another Hawks legend, Pete Maravich for years.

#5 Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins, “The Human Highlight Film,” was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 3rd overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft. Wilkins had no interest in playing for Utah. They decided to trade Wilkins before the start of the season to Atlanta in return for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and $1 million. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Atlanta won that trade as Dominique went on to be Hall of Famer and probably the best Hawk of all time. In Wilkins’ rookie year, he averaged 17.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals. That was enough to land him on the All-Rookie First Team.

#4 John Drew

John Drew was another steal by the Atlanta Hawks on draft night. Drew selected with the 7th pick in the 2nd round of the 1974 NBA Draft. In his first professional season, he averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Drew played power forward and small forward even though he was undersized for those positions at 6’6″. This was Drew’s only season of his career averaging over 10 rebounds a game. Drew also made the All-Rookie First Team.

#3 Pete Maravich

“Pistol” Pete Maravich was selected by Atlanta with the 3rd overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. Maravich is another icon in Atlanta sports. He was known for his very flashy handles and passes. He was one of the first players to use the behind the back pass. His rookie season saw averages of 23.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Maravich, as expected, made the All-Rookie First Team. Maravich was given his famous nickname of “Pistol” because of his unique shooting form. His shot started at his hip, much like a gunman pulling his pistol from its holster. He even wore “Pistol” on the back of his uniform instead of last name.

#2 Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit was selected my the Milwaukee Hawks with the 2nd pick of the 1st round in the 1954 NBA Draft. Pettit’s rookie year was spent in Milwaukee until the team moved to St. Louis where he spent the rest of his 11-year NBA career. Pettit was an all star every single year of his career. Pettit came into the league dominating. In his rookie year, he averaged 20.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. He was named Rookie of the Year and even made the All-NBA First Team! It was tough putting him at #2 on this list, but he played in the 50s and 60s when there was very little tough competition. That’s not taking anything away from him; Pettit brought this franchise their only Championship.

#1 Trae Young

One of the most recent additions to the team is nun other than rookie sensation, Trae Young. The Atlanta Hawks had the 3rd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. They selected Luka Dončić but eventually traded him to the Dallas Mavericks who selected Trae Young with the 5th overall pick. There were many critics saying Trae would fail miserably in the NBA. They said he was too small and made poor decisions. Trae definitely proved all of the critics wrong. He finished the season averaging 19.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Trae is also in the running for Rookie of the Year against Luka Dončić and Deandre Ayton. Trae had kind of a rough start to the season. He was averaging about 16 points and 6 assists, but his shooting percentages were very poor. After the all star break, a switch seemed to be flipped. He was shooting the ball more efficiently while averaging around 25 points and 9 assists per game! Those are MVP caliber numbers. Trae proved to be a great scorer and a great playmaker. He had many high scoring games and high assist games, but no game compared to his 49 point, 16 assist outing against Chicago. Trae Young is the future of this franchise and will lead us going into the future. He has all of the potential in the world and is the best rookie the Hawks have ever seen.

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Picture credits:

Staff, STACK. “Josh Smith on Motivation and the Importance of Academics.” STACK, 30 Sept. 2010, http://www.stack.com/a/josh-smith-on-motivation-and-his-love-of-the-game.

“Hawk Of The Week: Stacey Augmon.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/soaringdownsouth.com/2016/06/07/hawk-of-the-week-stacey-augmon/amp/.

“Checklist for Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford to Be Even Better This Season.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/1837380-checklist-for-atlanta-hawks-al-horford-to-be-even-better-this-season.amp.html.

“Passing Of NBA Legend Lou Hudson.” The Runner Sports, 24 Jan. 2018, therunnersports.com/2014-03-28-lou-hudson/.

“ICYMI: Dominique Wilkins Talks Statue, Legacy, And What’s Next For The Hawks.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/09/19/icymi-dominique-wilkins-talks-statue-legacy-and-whats-next-for-the-hawks/amp/.

“Forgotten Star John Drew Ranks among Best Basketball Players from Alabama – Al.com.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/articles.al.com/press-register-sports/2010/07/forgotten_star_john_drew_ranks.amp.

“Hawks Honor the Legendary ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich with Amazing Tribute.” Google, Google, http://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxsports.com/nba/story/hawks-honor-the-legendary-pistol-pete-maravich-with-amazing-tribute-030417?amp=true.

“Jen.” St. Louis Walk of Fame, 14 Jan. 2019, stlouiswalkoffame.org/inductee/bob-pettit/.

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Report: Hawks Interested In Re-signing Dewayne Dedmon

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In the Summer of 2017, the Atlanta Hawks signed, center, Dewayne Dedmon to a two year, $14 million deal. That deal has now come to an end, but Atlanta has shown interest in resigning the 7’0″ big man according to Shams Charania with The Athletic. If he was retained, it would likely be on another short-term deal.

Dedmon is coming off of his best season of his 6 year NBA career. He averaged 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Dewayne even stretched his game out to the three point line. He attempted 3.4 threes a game and shot 38.2% from distance. He, along with Atlanta’s other center, Alex Len, was in the top 10 for threes made by centers last season.

He definitely played a role in the success Atlanta did have this year. If the Hawks decide to draft a big man in the upcoming draft, Dedmon could be an important veteran to help teach that player. Even though Dedmon probably isn’t a focal point for our future, he would be a nice asset for next season, as Atlanta could make a push for the playoffs.

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Potential Trade For Blake Griffin

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Blake Griffin has just announced a trade request from the Detroit Pistons. The rumors have him landing on either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Atlanta Hawks. The most common scenario for the Hawks have us sending Kent Bazemore, our number 8 pick, and our number 10 pick for this years draft to Detroit in return for Blake Griffin. Atlanta has shown interest in forming the big three of Blake Griffin, John Collins, and Trae Young. That would be a difficult trio to stop, but would Atlanta be giving up too much? If Travis Schlenk decides to trade for Griffin, he should try to trade away only one of our top ten picks. Blake is probably about to start the decline of his career. Is he really worth both of our picks? Another scenario includes John Collins. That might be a deal breaker if Detroit demands Collins in the trade. Collins has too much potential to trade away for an older guy like Griffin.

Photo: Gregory Shamus (Getty)

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What Should The Hawks Do On Draft Night?

The draft lottery didn’t go exactly how most Hawks fans wanted. They, along with all of the other teams in the lottery, were hoping to get the number 1 pick so they can draft Zion Williamson. The majority of the teams were disappointed as only one team could win the lottery and get the number 1 pick; That team was the New Orleans Pelicans. The Hawks drew the 8th pick and the 10th pick, the 10th coming from the Dallas trade last year. According to the latest ESPN mock draft, the Hawks are likely to draft Cam Reddish at number 8 and Jaxson Hayes at number 10. If that pans out, this draft would be really helpful for Atlanta’s future. The Hawks are in need of two positions. We need a guard/forward, and a center. Reddish and Hayes would fit those roles perfectly. The draft will be held on Thursday, June 20.

Cam Reddish is a 6’8″ shooting guard/small forward from Duke University. Reddish is a spot up sharp shooter. It may seem like he struggled this past year, but that is because he was the third option on a Duke team led by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Cam averaged 13.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. His numbers would’ve been a lot better had he been the number one option on a different team. Reddish is also a pretty good defender, and Atlanta needs a lot of help on defense. He averaged 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. Cam could be used kind of like Klay Thompson is for the Warriors. He could run around with the help of screens looking for an opportunity to catch and shoot. He could be lethal with Trae Young passing him the ball for three.

Jaxson Hayes is a 6’11” center from Texas. Hayes is probably the best center in the entire draft. He is a very good rim protector, averaging 2.2 blocks per game. He’s not a great scorer only averaging 10 points a game, but he shot at a very high percentage, 72.8%. If he gets the ball around the rim, he is very difficult to stop. He’s a great finisher around the basket. Hayes has good footwork in the post and has a nice touch on his jump hook. Hayes is very athletic and can run the floor very well. His is also a great jumper. He and Trae can run the pick and roll very effectively. Hayes and Collins would make for a very athletic and exciting front court.

An alternative option for our 10th pick could be the Hawks drafting Bol Bol, the 7’2″ center from Oregon. Atlanta would be taking a huge risk with this due to Bol just recently having foot surgery. The upside to Bol is too good to pass up though. He played nine games this past season and averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The most shocking part of his game is his three point shooting ability. He shot 52% from three in those nine games. That is insane, especially for someone who is over 7 feet tall. With such a long frame and a 7’8″ wingspan, Bol is a great shot blocker. He averaged 2.7 blocks per game. The only issue with Bol is his size. Like his father, Bol is really skinny. If he can get to the NBA and gain just a little muscle, he could be unstoppable. His style of play would be perfect for the Hawks. He could space out the floor so much more and let Trae create plays. He can run the pick and roll and the pick and pop effectively. He would give Collins more room down low to work. If Bol gets cleared by doctors, the Hawks could take a shot at him. Travis Schlenk will make the right decision.

Clark, Dave, and Cincinnati Enquirer. “Jaxson Hayes: NBA Mock Drafts Project Former Moeller Star as Lottery Pick with Order Set.” Amp.cincinnati.com, The Enquirer, 15 May 2019, amp.cincinnati.com/amp/3676004002?usqp=mq331AQCKAE=.

Smith, Brendan. “2019 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Cam Reddish.” DMV Sports Network, DMV Sports Network, 5 May 2019, http://www.dmvsportsnetwork.com/2019-nba-draft-scouting-report-cam-reddish/amp/?usqp=mq331AQCKAE=.

Boone, Kyle. “How Season-Ending Injury to Projected Lottery Pick Bol Bol Affects Oregon, Pac-12.” CBSSports.com, 4 Jan. 2019, http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/how-season-ending-injury-to-projected-lottery-pick-bol-bol-affects-oregon-pac-12/.