The NBA is set to start up its 74th season. Are you excited? The 2019 NBA offseason, in my opinion, has been of the more wildest offseasons we have seen in quite some time. With some big-name free agents changing teams to Zion Williamson taking over the league before stepping foot on an NBA court, this should be a wild […]
The NBA is set to start up its 74th season. Are you excited?
The 2019 NBA offseason, in my opinion, has been of the more wildest offseasons we have seen in quite some time. With some big-name free agents changing teams to Zion Williamson taking over the league before stepping foot on an NBA court, this should be a wild one. October 22 will be opening night for the 2019-2020 season, with the defending NBA Champ Toronto Raptors set to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
We have some time before that so myself and fellow new blogger Joe Mitchell decided to start up NBA Previews for all 30 NBA teams before the season begins.
The previews will be as followed. A recap from the teams last season, their key offseason moves, a breakdown of the position, projected lineups, and of course, our predictions for their upcoming season. The teams will be posted in alphabetical order, so first up, the Atlanta Hawks.
There was a new era starting in Atlanta during the 2018 offseason. The team decided to part way with Mike Budenholzer and brought in former Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce. The team then drafted Trae Young and Kevin Huerter with two first-round picks. Both players became immediate contributors, particularly Young, who was a finalist for the 2019 Rookie of the Year award. The team finished 29-53, placing 12th in the Eastern Conference. It was a rebuilding year and while they lost a lot of games, the future looks to be bright, with the previous guys mentioned as well as John Collins being the building blocks for the team.
To build their young core, Atlanta traded for DeAndre Hunter on the night he was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as well as drafting Cam Reddish with their 10th overall selection. They did not make any huge splashes in free agency, rather trading for role players like Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner to boost their bench. They did, however, re-sign the legend himself in Vince Carter, who is set to play his 22nd and final NBA Season, adding a nice locker room veteran presence.
How does the lineup look? Here are the position breakdowns, along with the projected lineup.
- Armoni Brooks
- Brandon Goodwin *(Two-Way)
- Trae Young
There was a lot of hype when Young entered the league and he did not disappoint. He started all but one game in his rookie season and averaged 19.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game while shooting 41.8% from the field. His three-point percentage needs to be improved as he heads into his second season (32.4%) but his nightly scoring outbursts of 35, 36, and 46 points show that he is a star for this team. The sky is the limit for the young point guard.
There are no other sole backups here for Atlanta. Goodwin played for the Denver Nuggets last year and signed a two-way deal with the team, meaning for 45 days, he will split time between the main roster and the G League. Once the 45 days are up, the team then has to decide if they want to have him on the roster full-time or release him and send him back to the minors. Players on two-way deals do not count towards the 15-man roster, rather they are considered the 16th or 17th man on the roster (Each time can sign up to two players to the two-way contract). Brooks went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft and was recently signed to compete for a roster spot.
- DeAndre’ Bembry
- Charlie Brown *(Two-Way)
- Vince Carter
- Allen Crabbe
- Kevin Huerter
The group is headlined by fellow 2018 draft class alum in Huerter, who had a solid rookie season in his own right. He earned All-Rookie Second Team honors after averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 75. A solid starter for the Hawks, he’ll form a nice young backcourt for the foreseeable future.
Bembry has been a solid role payer for Atlanta since being drafted in 2016 while the veteran Carter will play his final NBA season after a historic career. Crabbe was acquired in a draft-night that’ll provide a nice scoring boost off the bench. Brown went undrafted in 2019 and signed a two-way deal, making him and previously mentioned Goodwin locked in for both two-way spots heading into the season. Overall, this a deep position group that has a lot of interesting pieces.
- Marcus Derrickson
- De’Andre Hunter
- Jabari Parker
- Chandler Parsons
- Cam Reddish
- Evan Turner
The small forwards are headlined by two first-round rookies in Hunter and Reddish. Hunter was a key player in Virginias 2019 National Championship team and looks to be a key future piece in the Hawks rotation. Reddish was behind the likes of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett while playing at Duke but is a solid player that’ll look to be a key piece in the rotation as well. Turner was acquired in the offseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and will be a key bench player for this young team.
Parsons and Parkers joined the team this offseason and both are veterans that will have a lot to prove this season. Derrickson was signed in the offseason to compete for a roster spot but will have a tough hill to climb as he battles for a spot in the rotation.
- John Collins
- Bruno Fernando
- Ray Spalding
Collins was an absolute steal in 2017, being taken 19th overall. He averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game to go along with 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Along with Young, Collins is the star on this team that I believe is a future All-Star sooner rather than later. Fernando is a former Maryland Terpian that slipped in the second round of the 2019 Draft and will develop into a solid role player for the team down the line. Spalding signed with the team in the offseason that’ll look to compete for a roster spot.
- Damian Jones
- Alex Len
This is the weakest position group for Atlanta. Len was drafted fifth overall back in 2013 by the Phoneix Suns but never developed into the star the Suns had hoped for. He signed with the Hawks last offseason and was solid for the team, averaging a career-high 11.5 points and has developed into a solid stretch big. At 26, he still is a reliable player but Atlanta should look to upgrade that position next summer. Jones is a former two-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors that was traded to the Hawks during the offseason. He lands in a perfect situation I believe as he was behind a lot of veterans in Golden State. If Len struggles and Jones develops nicely, he could the starting center as the season progresses.
Before landing the head coaching gig in Atlanta, Pierce worked as an assistant coach the Philadelphia 76ers. Before that, he has stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors. He is credited as one of the coaches that helped Philadelphia go through “The Process” and looks to develop these young group of players into a playoff team. He is one of the younger coaches in the league but I believe he can lead this team to an improved season.
Projected Lineup/Roster Cuts
A note here for the lineups: Some teams currently have more than 15 members on the roster so we will also have our predictions on who might make the cut once the team finalizes their 15-man opening night roster. The two-way players like previously stated do not count towards the 15-man roster
- PG: Trae Young
- SG: Kevin Huerter
- SF: De’Andre Hunter
- PF: John Collins
- C: Alex Len
- Sixth Man: Evan Turner
- Key Role Players: Cam Reddish, Allen Crabbe, Vince Carter, Cam Reddish
- Rest of the Bench: DeAndre’ Bembry, Armoni Brooks, Bruno Fernando, Damian Jones, Jabari Parker, Chandler Parsons
- Two-Way Players: Brandon Goodwin, Charlie Brown
- Roster Cuts: Marcus Derrickson, Ray Spalding
A lot of people are high on Atlanta this season after seeing guys like Young and Collins develop nicely. After seeing Young make a huge presence right away and Collins developing into a potential All-Star, I am with the hype of this team.
Outside of the two mentioned, Huerter I think will develop nicely as he heads into his second season while Hunter and Reddish are two rookies that I think will have a huge impact right away. The only question in the starting lineup is the center spot with Len but with the rest of the starting lineup being solid, he serves as a solid player in the lineup for now.
The bench looks to be improved with Turner being the first guy off the bench. He is a solid two-way player that’ll run the second unit nicely as well as Crabbe, who will come off the bench as a spot-up shooter.
While I do not think they are a playoff team now, I can see the Atlanta Hawks being a competitive team and may fight for a lower playoff seed towards the end of the season. The future is no doubt bright in Atlanta.