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Atlanta Hawks roundtable: Way-too-early projected 2018-19 record

With almost two months to go...

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

In the dog days of August, fresh NBA content can be sparse but Peachtree Hoops cuts through the silence for an off-season roundtable series centering on the Atlanta Hawks. The final chapter includes way-too-early projected win-loss records from our staff, knowing full well that things might change between now and the start of the actual season.

  • Brad Rowland - 25-57. I don’t love making pronouncements this early and this could be subject to change if something weird happens from an injury or trade perspective. Still, this represents something of a hedge in that I expect the Hawks to trade at least one of the veterans (Bazemore, Lin, Dedmon) and lean heavily into a future-facing mode by the time March and April arrive. On talent, this team is a bit better than a 25-win projection would indicate but there is incentive to sink to the bottom based on draft position and there absolutely will be growing pains associated with handing the ball to a 19-year-old rookie point guard.
  • Glen Willis - 20-62. They just don’t have enough defenders to put many good many (any?) good defensive lineups on the court. I was highest among the PTH writers last year because I felt that Schlenk just gave his head coach too many veterans with which to work. Had they not encountered so many injury, especially at the center position, I think they would won perhaps five more games. This season, Lloyd Pierce doesn’t have the leverage to demand more veterans. And clearly expectations were set during the interview process. So there is more buy in at the beginning of this season to play young players all season. And that means bad defensive lineups all season.
  • Graham Chapple- Ah...This is always fun… We all know what the Hawks are trying to do and the roster is even younger this year with a first-year’s going to be a rough season. Trae Young and John Collins will excite and I’ll be very surprised if the surpass 27 wins. 24-58 for me.
  • Greg Willis - 29-53. I actually expect them to improve their win total from last season and finish just shy of 30 wins. I really believe last year was a bit of a lame duck season for both Budenholzer and Schroder. This team is very, very young and will struggle. But, I expect Coach Pierce will have this team playing hard night in and night out and will not tolerate anything less. Some Hawks fans will scream as ping pong balls slip away, but establishing his culture from the very beginning is critical to Pierce’s long term success.
  • Jeff Siegel - 23-59. With all the young players on the roster and the clear prerogative Schlenk has toward developing those guys, this team is nowhere near a competitive level in a league that saw almost all of its worst teams get significantly better.
  • Rashad Milligan - 19-63. The Hawks won 24 games last season. Are they better than last season’s team? Well, we’ve currently seen none of Kevin Huerter, we don’t know if we can trust to see Bembry for more than two months at a time, we still don’t know if Taurean Prince can put together a month of consistent quality play together, there is a first-year head coach at the helm and with half of the core on the west coast playing against G-League talent, the team still struggled to win ball games. So in a long-winded explanation, no. As of now, pre-Bazemore trade, this team is not better than last season’s team.
  • Sam Meredith - 25-57. Atlanta is the worst team in the league right now on paper with a rookie head coach at the helm. Winning shouldn’t be the main focus this season anyways, but instead this team just needs to focus on figuring out their identity along with the system they want to utilize. Showcase your veterans on one-year deals and try to get value at the trade deadline.
  • Josh Lane - 20-62. Lloyd Pierce has honestly not proven anything so I cannot assume that his coaching will steal any wins for this team. Outside of that, we will depending on a rookie as our playmaker and supporting cast of other young guys.
  • Xavier Cooper - 22-60. With a new head coach and team with only two guys over the age of 31 things are not looking good. This season will be a tryout year. Players will want to win but they’ll also want to showcase their talents. This might be more of a priority for them which is completely understandable. The Atlanta Hawks have a team full of young guys just trying to find their way in the NBA. They know a NBA finals appearance is close to impossible.
  • Zach Hood - 26-56. There’s a lot of talent on this roster, but the fact is that the majority of it is simply not ready to compete at a high level in the NBA. If the club was centered on purely winning, I might say 32 or 34 wins, but I expect some of the veteran pieces to be dealt off by early 2019. Once the Hawks are so far out of the race, they will be more focused on keeping the important guys healthy than winning, so somewhere in the 23-27 win range makes the most sense to me.