The Atlanta Hawks have kicked off a new season, and our staff has a few takeaways from how the Hawks look out of the gates. Today we make some season predictions for some individuals and the success of the team.
How many All-Stars will the Hawks have this season?
Zach: I’ll go with two. If the Hawks win enough, like I think they will, guys like John Collins, Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter could have a shot to be the Hawks second All-Star along with Trae Young.
Malik: I’m going to say two. I have Young making it, but that second spot could be up for grabs, and it depends who’s going to be that legitimate No. 2 option for the Hawks. I could easily say Capela, Collins, or Hunter , but the luxury of options that this team has, everybody isn’t going to get all the shots they may want.
Andrew: Trae is a lock. Whether the Hawks can nab a second place in the All-Star Game is tough because they’re likely to cannibalize production given their considerable depth. However, if I had to choose one, I would select De’Andre Hunter whose defensive accolades should capture attention as the season progresses, and he’s the type of candidate who will appeal to coaches with his quality two-way play.
Bowser: One? It’s possible that Collins, Capela, Hunter, Bogi, and Solomon Hill split the credit and thus All-Star votes if Atlanta meets preseason expectations.
Wes: I’m going to be bold and say three. The Hawks have the looks of a team that can be among the elite through the first half of the season and voters will reward that and the postseason run a year ago with nods to Young, Collins, and Capela — the first career selections for the latter two.
Glen: I think they have a realistic shot at two this year. Young being the obvious first one. I think the absence of Okongwu will work well in terms of Collins being able to get some serious time at center where has a little more punch offensively. I know fans are excited about Hunter but it’s historically been almost impossible to make an All-Star team for the first time after a season like he had last year.
Josh: With the drama going on with the east at the moment, its not impossible for 3 Hawks to make the allstar team. Trae is a lock and John will have a very good chance if he keeps up this level of play and the Hawks are a top 4 seed. Now the question is if somehow the Hawks can get the first sees. If so we could see Dre get the nod. For now I am thinking 2 but there is definetly a path for 3.
Graham: I think two selections could be a realistic shout for the Hawks. Trae Young will obviously be a lock and if the team success is there, I think there’ll be a second selection. Whether this will be John Collins or De’Andre Hunter remains to be seen. I think it’s possible that Hunter might get that nod if his name is circulated a little more if he’s able to produce performances like that against Luka Doncic, who was extremely limited when guarded by Hunter. Could end up being one of those scenarios where the player who has performed to a higher level (perhaps Collins or even Capela) might be overlooked for Hunter? Just speculation, of course, but I’ll say two All-Star nods.
Rashad: Thank you, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. The Hawks should get Trae Young in as a starter, and John Collins as a reserve. The only reason why I don’t have a third Hawk initially making the list is because of talented guards around the conference like Malcolm Brogdon, LaMelo Ball and Collin Sexton. Collins also has some competition in the frontcourt with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. The east is deep this season.
Will Trae Young make all-NBA?
Zach: Yes. I’ll say he cracks the second-team.
Malik: Yes, this is the year it finally happens. Young has improved every season, and this time he has a very good team around him. I’m not sure what the qualifications are to make all-NBA, but I think Young will check off all the boxes this season.
Wes: He should have made it a season ago, but was seemingly penalized for sacrificing counting stats for the good of the team’s success. With the usual caveat of an injury, Young lands on the third-team All-NBA group at the end of this season.
Andrew: I’d be surprised if he didn’t. He did more than perhaps any other player to improve his reputation in the league during the playoff run and as long as the Hawks don’t take a clear step back, he’s going to make his first All-NBA team.
Glen: Yes. He’s one of the best offensive players in the game on a team that is going to win a lot of games. I see that as being pretty automatic this year.
Josh: Yes. If the Hawks get home court advantage, the voters should feel obligated to put him in after the misfire last season.
Graham: Yes, I think he will but the Hawks I think will need home-court advantage at the very least to help. The degree of team success I think will determine whether he ends up second or third team All-NBA.
Rashad: Yes. Just needed his own signature shoe and commercial for said shoe. He should have made it last year.
Who will improve the most on the Hawks from now until the end of the season (besides rookies)?
Malik: Cam Reddish. We still truly haven’t seen what Reddish is capable of in a full season, and with the glimpses he’s shown us, it may be finally time for him to take that leap. We know what we’re going to get from the rest of the Hawks players, but Reddish is still that one question mark. If he can build off the preseason and the first game against the Mavs, Reddish could be in store for a good season.
Andrew: While I think someone like Reddish is an easy answer, I think John Collins is an underrated pick here. In the first game, he was visibly impacting the game defensively. Last season, he took a step forward defensively and I think this season he could take another step to being something closer to a real difference maker.
Bowser: This is tough because Atlanta’s depth makes it difficult for anybody besides Trae to get a significantly higher usage than last year. I think Collins will seem to improve the most, but largely because of Gorgui Dieng providing the spacing for Collins to get more roll opportunities.
Wes: For me, the obvious answer is Onyeka Okongwu. Due to shoulder surgery, he won’t see the floor until the calendar turns to 2022 at the earliest reportedly, but we saw him put in great defensive performances against Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokuonmpo in the playoffs last year after playing sparingly in the regular season as a rookie. Once he gets his feet under him in his return to NBA action, he should grow in leaps and bounds.
Graham: I really fancy Onyeka Okongwu to begin to move himself into the conversation as one of the best back-up bigs in the league. He came on leaps-and-bounds in the postseason and while his start to the season may be slow, I think he’ll be firing on cylinders come the end of the season.
Rashad: For the sole purpose of being different, I will say Kevin Huerter. I think with another year of experience, as we’ve seen the past three seasons, Huerter continues to learn more about the NBA level and uses it to his advantage. In the opener against Dallas, he looked like he easily got to his spots offensively and knew the spots where he was automatic. He also seems to be doing a better job anticipating on defense.
What is your projected win-loss record for the Hawks this season and what seed in the East?
Zach: 54-28, third in the East behind Milwaukee and Miami.
Malik: 51-31 and third in the East.
Wes: 53-29 and third in the East.
Andrew: 52-30 and I’ll continue the theme of third in the East.
Glen: 52-30, third seed. They just have a lot more depth than both Miami and Philadelphia. But keep an eye on the Knicks again in the regular season. But I think they finish only behind Milwaukee and Brooklyn.
Graham: Hmmm.... I think 50 wins is the baseline for sure. Part of me wants to say 50, another part wants to say 54, 52-30 is a solid middle ground.
Josh: Third seed with 52-30. However, with some lucky breaks there is a path that this team could get the top seed.
Rashad: Philadelphia won an equivalent of 54 games last season in a hypothetical 82-game schedule to get the first season. I believe the Hawks go 52-30 this season to get the second seed in the eastern conference. Once again, thank you Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving.
Way too early full playoff prediction for Hawks (ie: Hawks in 7 over Lakers in Finals or Hawks lose to Bucks in 6 in second round, etc
Zach: Hawks lose to Nets in 7 in the ECF.
Malik: Hawks lose to Bucks in 7 in the second round. Sorry Hawks fans.
Andrew: I think a goal for this regular season is to try and finish on the opposite side of Brooklyn in the playoff bracket, since I see the Nets as having the best team (although Irving’s situation compicates this). If they can avoid Brooklyn in the second round, I think they have a good shot to beat any other team and get back to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals.
Wes: Hawks take the 2-seed Nets to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals but fall just short to the (bonus prediction) eventual champion Brooklyn.
Glen: Likeliest outcome is the Hawks lose to Bucks in 7 games in the conference finals.
Graham: I believe in this team’s ability to make another deep preseason run but how deep that run depends on seeding and who their opponent is in the second round. Their ideal situation is the one that occurred last season where the Nets and Bucks square off in Round 2. I think the one of the Bucks/Nets will be top-seeded (unlike last year) so with that in mind I think the Hawks will aim as high as they can regardless but, if for some reason, neither of those teams are top-seeded I think the Hawks - if possible - might see if they can drop to a four seed.
These are ‘way too early’ predictions so I’ll lean on the confident side: I think the Hawks will get back to the Conference Finals.
Rashad: Have we not learned anything from the Atlanta Braves? The Hawks lose to the Utah Jazz in five games in the NBA Finals. Brooklyn is one hobbled 33-year-old Kevin Durant or 32-year-old James Harden from becoming mortal, and Atlanta was literally on track to beat Milwaukee last season without DeAndre Hunter before a referee’s foot found its way into Trae Young’s way. With a healthy rotation, especially Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter, I don’t think there is a team in the eastern conference that can beat the Hawks in a seven-game series.