Though the NBA off-season isn’t over just yet, most teams in the league appear to be something close to “set” when it comes to the roster for the 2018-19 campaign. That could also be said for the Atlanta Hawks, who executed a prominent trade this week that sent Dennis Schröder to Oklahoma City (and Mike Muscala to Philadelphia) while clearing the decks for the future.
With that as the backdrop, Jack Maloney of CBS Sports took a glance at the 2018-19 season through the prism of SportsLine, a statistical model used for handicapping purposes. In short, the piece touches on (very) early win-loss projections for each and every team in the league and, at least for now, the model loves the Hawks.
Atlanta jumped from a 27.3-win projection in June to a 35.4-win mark as of July 20 and not even the writer could believe it.
How about that Hawks’ number? Thirty-five wins seems absurdly high for a team that will probably be starting Trae Young, Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince, John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon.
For even the most optimistic Hawks fan, 35 wins seems pretty lofty at this juncture, particularly given the team’s reliance on youth and an outlook that isn’t solely focused on accumulating wins in the short term. Still, there is something to be said for statistical buy-in on players like John Collins and Taurean Prince, with a hat-tip toward what is likely a rosy outlook for a top-five pick in Trae Young and a potential bounce-back campaign from Jeremy Lin.
The model projects the Hawks as the No. 9 team in the Eastern Conference, just two wins shy of the Washington Wizards for the final playoff spot. Obviously, there is a long way to go before training camp even arrives but, if one was looking for a reason to get excited for a potentially overachieving bunch, this glance just might provide it.