The 2020-21 NBA season is nearly here and, after the longest break in recorded history, the Atlanta Hawks will return to action in the coming days. Before the regular season tips off on Dec. 23, the Peachtree Hoops is coming together for a ten-part roundtable series, setting the stage for what’s to come. In the final installment, our staff predicts Atlanta’s final record for the upcoming campaign.
Brad Rowland: As a reminder to everyone, the 2020-21 season is scheduled for only 72 games, so the traditional 82-game format (with 41-41 as the .500 mark, etc.) is out the window. Beyond that, there could be cancellations and flexibility is key. Now, with that out of the way, I’ll go with 38-34. That is higher than the national baseline (and the over/unders are between 34.5 and 36.5 as a consensus), but this is a team with five top-100 players, quality young talent and real depth. That should be helpful over the course of a frenzied season, and this is a playoff team on paper in my view.
Wes Morton: I’ll make the possibly spicy prediction that Atlanta and many other teams don’t manage to play every game on their schedules, which are soon to be released in two parts. Other leagues like MLB and major college football conferences have struggled mightily to play their entire schedules outside of a bubble, even with added calendar flexibility to reschedule games. I’m a good bit bearish on Atlanta’s overall coaching and team defense so I’ll say the Hawks play 66 and split them for 33 wins and a .500 record and are forced into a playoff play-in spot in the East.
Glen Willis: Considering their depth and the unique struggle teams will face navigating this season, I think the Hawks are well positioned to be ahead of the curve as it pertains to being able to go 10-deep (or more) from game to game. I also think they are primed to use lineups that, separately, work well to start and finish games. I’m feeling a bit bullish on them at the moment and will suggest 39 wins and 33 losses.
Daniel Comer: Let’s go 40-32. The defense should improve, the second unit will be head and shoulders above where it was, and we should see some growth from the Hawks’ former core of Reddish, Huerter, Young, Collins and Hunter.
Josh Lane: I think the Hawks might be slow coming out of the gate due to the fact that this is practically an entirely new roster getting very little time to work out the issues such as tendencies and lineups. With that said, to Hawks fans, I think they might underperform with a record around 38-34 due to struggles in the first month or so.
Rashad Milligan: In an 82-game season, I have the Hawks winning 44 games, so take away five of those wins in a 72-game season and I have the team winning 39 games. So, I’m rolling with Glen here on 39-33.
Graham Chapple: With 36 games being the ‘.500’ mark this season, I think a fair estimation for the Hawks is 39-41 victories, leaving a record of — for the sake of going down the middle — 40-32, if everyone is healthy of course. The Eastern Conference is a tad better this season than it was prior, and with the Hawks’ defensive concerns as well as the integration of several key pieces, 40-ish wins sounds about a fair assessment of their potential capabilities this season.
Ryan Kerley: I’m going to go with 41-31. I’m a little bit higher on this team than others. I think a lot of what the front office has put together is going to work I really can’t wait to watch. Remember, all of these statements for us are predictions.
Joel Lorenzi: The 72-game doesn’t season doesn’t make this decision any easier, but I think the Hawks will finish just a few games over .500. They’ll likely try different lineups early, and need some games to find their footing if so. But down the stretch they can definitely finish 38-34 at least.
Zach Hood: 40-32. I’m high on this team. Give Trae Young a supporting cast like this, and they are going to be a tough matchup night in and night out assuming they can stay relatively healthy.