Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

Atlanta Hawks Season Preview
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15: Trae Young (11) of the Atlanta Hawks drives on Jamal Murray (27) of the Denver Nuggets during the second half on Thursday, November 15, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Atlanta Hawks at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Atlanta Hawks are clearly in the middle of a rebuild. It’s an exciting rebuild, to say the least.

In the last three NBA drafts, the Hawks have assembled quite a squad that possesses intriguing, untapped and raw potential. It’s all about building positive momentum in Atlanta these days.

Atlanta Hawks 2019-20 Season Preview

Recapping the 2018-19 Season

As one of the youngest teams in the NBA, there were hardly any expectations heading into the 2018-19 season.

It was more about letting young players—namely Trae Young and John Collins—either get their feet wet or expand their games. As you can imagine, this was not a recipe for a successful season and the predictable result was another losing season (29-53).

Coach Lloyd Pierce knew what he was in for when he took this job last season. The second-year coach learned some valuable lessons last year. It was all about learning from past mistakes and taking the next steps.

Offseason Moves

Atlanta sure did load up on youngsters on draft night, as the Hawks landed two prized lottery picks in De’Andre Hunter (number four pick in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans—via the Los Angeles Lakers) and Cam Reddish (number 10 pick). They also acquired the rights to second-round pick Bruno Fernando from the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Hawks did not just hit it big on draft night, but they also acquired Jabari Parker, Evan Turner, and Allen Crabbe. Atlanta signed Parker to a value deal in free agency while trading for both Turner and Crabbe—with the main players in those moves being Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince, respectively.

The Hawks also took a chance on trading for Chandler Parsons from the Memphis Grizzlies, while trading away Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee.

The off-season moves made by the Hawks’ brass feature an upgrade that includes a nice blend of young, budding rookies to go along with some veterans who still have some gas left in their tank.

Season Expectations

Again, this is an extremely young Hawks’ squad. The expectations this year should remain in check.

Let’s say it upfront. The Hawks are not going to be contending for an NBA playoff bid. And that’s alright. They don’t have to.

For Piece and the wet-behind-the-ears Hawks, it’s more about incremental improvement. With Young, Collins— and we haven’t even gotten to sharpshooter Kevin Huerter—as well as Hunter and Reddish it’s about investing in the future while building chemistry.

Going through growing pains is all part of the process. Just ask the Philadelphia 76ers.

There will be glimpses of greatness. There will also be wild bouts of inconsistency as this team learns to win.

Last season was about crawling towards success. This year should be set up towards walking towards success and then next year and beyond is about possibly running toward success.

Atlanta Hawks 2019-20 Season Prediction

As the Atlanta Hawks season preview shows, this season will be fun, if nothing else.

It’s one word and yet a simple way to predict what the overall expectation is in Atlanta. Just have fun and be patient.

Bolstered by one of the most promising and exciting playmakers in Young as well as one the leagues burgeoning big men in Collins, the Hawks will give their fans there fair share of fun moments.

Add in whatever Hunter and Reddish (and there is a lot of buzz about him lately), and this will be at least a fun bunch to watch.

Now as far as wins and losses go, expect a slight improvement but nothing that will move the needle towards respectability. Expect a few more wins. Say, five or six more.

That would put them at 34-48 or 35-47. It would be the incremental improvement the franchise would need to move forward. So, expect some good times mixed in with some trying times, but this franchise can at least hang their hat on legitimate hopes for brighter days moving forward.

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Dan Stack has been writing and reporting about sports since 2003, but has been dabbling in journalism ever since his days when writing for his college newspaper, The Pioneer (LIU C.W. Post) back in 1995. He comes to Last Word on Sports after having previously worked at FanRag Sports where he was a college basketball analyst, as well as lead recruiting analyst for both college football and basketball. Stack also worked at BleacherReport.com (where he wrote about fantasy football and college basketball, while amassing over one million page views), Fanball.com (he ran a blog for the Pittsburgh Steelers-SteelersMill.com), FantasyPros911.com (wrote about fantasy football and baseball), SNYGiants.com (New York Giants coverage), NYGiantsRush.com, Mets360.com (Mets baseball coverage), CollegeHoopsNet.com, RotoWire.com (fantasy baseball beat writer) and Sportsmedia101.com (where he wrote and blogged at Knicks101.com). He is also a senior writer for WeAreDePaul.com, and has written and reported on the DePaul men's basketball program since 2003. He has covered many Big East games on the east coast and has been a regular at the Big East Tournament for more than a decade. Prior to his online sports writing career, Stack was also the Managing Editor of his county's weekly newspaper, the Rockland County Times, from 2007 to 2009. He has a BA degree from C.W. Post with a major in broadcasting and a minor in journalism. At Post, he not only wrote for the school newspaper, but also was a DJ at the school's radio station (WCWP) and was a crew member for Post TV (the University's TV Station). If want to hear rumblings on college basketball, fantasy sports, New York fandom an other random pop culture musings, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Stacdemon

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