Atlanta Hawks Season Preview
The Atlanta Hawks are entering their second season under head coach Lloyd Pierce as they look to improve on a poor 2018-19 season where they finished 12th in the conference with a 29-53 record. The hawks have now missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons after making the postseason for ten straight seasons from 2007 until 2017. The rebuild is hoping to get a new spark as they have added two exciting rookies in De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish while also acquiring Jabari Parker and few other experienced players in free agency. I’m excited to see what this young team can bring to the table during the 2019-20 season.
Point Guard: Trae Young, Evan Turner, Brandon Goodwin
Overview: Obviously this team is focused with Trae Young at the point entering his second season in the league after a strong rookie campaign. He averaged 19.1 PPG, 8.1 APG and 3.7 RPG while shooting 32.4% from three but only 41.8% from the field. Evan Turner is naturally a shooting guard but the hawks may have to either move him or Allen Crabbe as the back-up point guard. Turner played last season with the Trail Blazers where he came off the bench averaging 6.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.9 APG while averaging 46% from the field but only 21.2% from three. The third option for the point guard position is Brandon Goodwin as the 23 year old was acquired this offseason from Denver where he averaged 1.4 PPG, 0.2 RPG and 0.9 APG.
Point Guard Grade: B-
The rating could be higher but Evan Turner really isn’t a natural point guard and Trae Young is still developing his game but he is a future star.
Shooting Guard: Kevin Huerter, Allen Crabbe, DeAndre Bembry, Charlie Brown Jr.
Overview: Kevin Huerter was drafted 19th overall in the 2018 draft and the Hawks are looking to develop his game further making him the number one option at shooting guard. He averaged 9.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.9 APG while shooting 38.5% from three and 41.9% from the field in his rookie season and he has already shown his threat from distance. Allen Crabbe was traded during the draft from Brooklyn and the 27 year old is a good bench option for the Hawks averaging 9.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 1.1 APG while shooting 37.8% from three last season. DeAndre Bembry will be fighting with Crabbe for that second spot as Bembry is entering his third season with the Hawks. The 25 year old averaged 8.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 2.5 APG with 1.3 SPG while shooting 44.6% from the field and 28.9% from three. I think defensively it makes more sense to have Bembry in the game but obviously Allen Crabbe is more experienced and a bigger threat from three.
Shooting Guard Grade: C
Nothing really spectacular unless Kevin Huerter really develops this season but the depth at this position will be nice to rotate three capable options.
Small Forward: De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter
Overview: I love this balance at the small forward position as the Hawks have two exciting rookies in De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish being mentored by veterans Chandler Parsons and Vince Carter. De’Andre Hunter was drafted 4th overall and is coming off a strong sophomore season with Virginia where he averaged 15.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 2 APG while shooting 43.8% from three and 52% from the field. Hunter is a terrific defensive player with great shooting and athletic ability at the offensive end. Cam Reddish was drafted 10th overall and he was the third freshman star at Duke where he averaged 13.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.6 SPG while shooting 33.3% from three. Fans never got to see Reddish used to his true potential as teammates Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett took the spotlight from the Pennsylvania native. Chandler Parsons is an interesting option for the Hawks as the 30 year old had a rough three year stint in Memphis where he wasn’t utilized to his full potential and he only played 25 games last season averaging 7.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.7 APG. The 6’10” forward can easily play power forward for the Hawks off the bench and it’ll be interesting to see how they use him. Vince Carter is another veteran option as the 42 year old signed a one year deal this offseason to return to the Hawks where he averaged 7.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 1.1 APG while shooting 38.9% from three in 76 games off the bench. Carter is a great mentor to this young roster and he has really embraced the role of coming off the bench over the past few seasons.
Small Forward Grade: A-
This is the strength of the Hawks as they have four very capable wings that provide a good scoring touch. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are great young defenders as well and I think Atlanta should be excited to see the rookies at work this season.
Power Forward: John Collins, Jabari Parker
Overview: John Collins is one of the most underrated power forward in the league as the 21 year old averaged 19.5 PPG and 9.8 RPG in his sophomore season. Collins has developed good efficiency scoring from the field as he shoots at 56% and 34.8% from three but he needs to limit his turnovers and improve his defensive efforts. Jabari Parker is the former 2nd overall pick in 2014 but injuries over the past few seasons have really limited his impact. He averaged 15 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 2.7 APG while shooting 50% from the field and 31% from three as he split last season with the Bulls and the Wizards. He is still only 24 years old and he is a great scoring threat off the bench behind John Collins.
Power Forward Grade: A
I’m very excited to see what John Collins and Jabari Parker can do for the Hawks this season as the two young forwards are very underappreciated in the league.
Center: Alex Len, Bruno Fernando, Damian Jones
Overview: The Hawks will be without Dewayne Dedmon this season as the 30 year old signed a three-year contract with Sacramento following two great productive seasons in Atlanta. His departure leaves 26 year old Alex Len as the starting center and Len came off the bench for Atlanta last season averaging 11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 1.1 APG while shooting 49.4% from the field and 36.3% from three. The bench unit will begin with rookie center Bruno Fernando from Maryland as the 21 year old was drafted 34th overall following a great sophomore season where he averaged 13.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 1.9 BPG. The Hawks also added former Golden State Warrior Damian Jones as the 24 year old played 24 games last season averaging 5.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 17 minutes of action while shooting 71.6% from the field.
Center Grade: C
In 2013 there was a lot of excitement about Alex Len but there shouldn’t be many surprises now entering his seventh season. Damian Jones isn’t a major pick up and Bruno Fernando is still a very raw talent that naturally plays at power forward.
The Hawks should be more competitive than last season and I suspect that they will contest for the final playoff spot in the eastern conference. The starting line-up of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Alex Len is very young and they should be able to push the tempo on teams. The bench is much deeper than last season as well and I suspect they will run at least 10 players every night with guys like Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe, Cam Reddish, Jabari Parker and Chandler Parsons all coming off the bench. My win total prediction for this team is 37.