With the rosters around the NBA looking almost complete through the off season, some over/under odds have been released. BetOnline.ag has the Hawks over/under at 32.5, after winning 29 last season. This will put them 10th in the Eastern Conference and missing the playoffs by 2 spots. The team made a number of moves that should help them improve, but we won’t know if it worked out until the season starts. As of now, expectations should be higher than last year, and here are some things to look for in the Hawks this upcoming year.
Defense should improve
The Hawks defense last year was not good, but it should be better this season. The additions of DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish will help the Hawks on the wings defensively, and switching should not be a problem either. DeAndre’ Bembry was the one of the Hawks best defenders, and he’ll probably continue guarding the other team’s best player. Dewayne Dedmon leaving will hurt them as well, which means Alex Len will have to improve. With Trae Young being one of the worst defenders in the league last year, the help the Hawks surrounded him with should help him. Hiding him on defensive sets will most likely be something Coach Pierce decides to do and should improve the Hawks in his second season. Pierce’s defensive mindset will not allow this team to continue to be a liability defensively, which is why they should take a major leap.
Bench should be area of strength
The second unit for the Hawks last season was solid, but had some holes. Jaylen Adams was not the best option for the Hawks as the backup point guard, and you could tell by his play in several games. This year they added Evan Turner, a veteran in this league that has the capability of running an offense. Not only will Turner provide playmaking for the second unit, but he can relive pressure off of Trae when he’s in the game.
Cam Reddish will most likely come off the bench to start the season, his scoring will boost the second unit. Cam showed at Duke that he’s able to get hot at any moment and this could be what Atlanta needs from the reserves. The Hawks just acquired Jabari Parker, a former number 2 pick whose career has been derailed by injuries. When Parker is healthy, he has the ability to make an offense more dynamic, and his playmaking is underrated too. Chandler Parsons and Allen Crabbe were also major additions to the Hawks bench, and their perimeter shooting will help a team that was already get work phone at the top of the league for shooting the most threes.
First season under the belt
You learn from mistakes after your first trial run. You know what and what not to do, what to improve on, and how to handle certain situations. Coach Pierce has a year under his belt, so he will be prepared for things to come in season 2. The core of this young group is still together, and they’ll improve as a unit as well. Trae, Kevin, and John will be the driving forces for the team, and how they perform will affect the seasons to come. The way this team is currently constructed and with how they exceeded expectation last season, they should be able to win around 35 games this year. Sneaking into the playoffs should not be a reach either, especially with the Eastern Conference being up for grabs.
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