The NBA season returns Wednesday night for the Atlanta Hawks as they open the 2013-14 campaign on the road against the Dallas Mavericks. The game will mark the debut of a new cast of players and the first regular season game with Mike Budenholzer as the team's head coach.
Atlanta struggled its way through the preseason finishing with a 1-6 record as they evaluated a number of different players while testing out different combinations. Two major areas of concern from what we saw during the exhibition season were a continued struggle to defend the perimeter and particularly from three-point range and the inability to put points on the board consistently.
Atlanta's defensive rotations should improve as they settle into a groove and become more comfortable with Budenholzer's defensive system. The same can be said offensively, as the Hawks produced a number of good looks in the preseason but were unable to knock them down at a consistent rate.
Dallas retooled its roster around All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki during the offseason and should be an interesting early season test for the Hawks. New additions José Calderón and Monta Ellis should provide a boost offensively, but can they be effective on the defensive end of the floor?
Matchup to Watch: Kyle Korver vs Dallas' Backcourt
Kyle Korver is the likely starter at the shooting guard position but could face some difficult matchups defensively against Dallas' backcourt. Korver against either Ellis or Calderón isn't ideal nor is matching him against small forward Shawn Marion. Atlanta needs Korver's shooting on the court to help spread the floor and it will be interesting to see what they do on the defensive end. One possibility could be shifting Teague to Ellis while placing Korver against Calderón. Atlanta's help defense and rotations will need to be a lot more solid than what we saw during the preseason.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 30, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"