The Atlanta Hawks begin their 82-game excursion on Wednesday evening and, while win-loss expectations are modest, there is a real level of excitement surrounding the team. Lloyd Pierce captains the ship for the first time and, of course, there is plenty of young talent to monitor, headlined by three first round picks (Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Omari Spellman) and a pair of intriguing pieces in Taurean Prince and John Collins.
Atlanta’s season tips off in New York, as the Hawks face off against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. On paper, this is one of the more favorable match-ups of the season for the Hawks when it comes to road atmosphere, as the Knicks are without star big man Kristaps Porzingis and project as a team that could occupy a slot in the league’s bottom tier this season.
However, the Hawks are entering this contest short-handed, with Collins on the shelf as a result of an ankle injury and other pieces (Dedmon, Justin Anderson and Daniel Hamilton) also unavailable due to various ailments. That leaves Pierce in a position where he will deploy a starting lineup of Young, Kent Bazemore, Prince, Vince Carter and Alex Len, leveling the playing field considerably.
Still, the good folks in Las Vegas give the Hawks a solid chance at a (mild) upset victory in this spot, as the Knicks enter as only 3.5-point favorites at the time of this post. It will be interesting to see how the rookies fare, with both Young and New York’s Kevin Knox projected for major roles in the early going, and old friend Tim Hardaway Jr. could act as something of an offensive focal point for New York.
If you missed it, check out the most recent Locked on Hawks podcast for a preview of sorts, as Jared Dubin joined the show to provide insight into the Knicks. If nothing else, fun should be had by all and, unlike Summer League and the preseason, this one actually counts in the standings.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7:30 pm ET
Location: Madison Square Garden
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)