The Atlanta Hawks are Warriors of the East

Atlanta Hawks

Projected Lineup

PG Dennis Schroder 18.4 points 3.0 rebounds 6.0 assists

SG Kent Bazemore 11.7 points 3.1 rebounds 3.0 assists

SF Taurean Prince 14.7 points 5.2 rebounds 2.7 assists

PF John Collins 14.6 points 8.3 rebounds 1.9 assists

C Dewayne Dedmon 9.3 points 7.1 rebounds 1.2 assists

6 Trae Young 13.8 points 2.3 rebounds 4.8 assists

7 Kevin Huerter 8.1 points 3.1 rebounds 1.4 assists

8 Omari Spellman 5.6 points 4.3 rebounds 1.1 assists

9 Tyler Dorsey 4.1 points 1.6 rebounds 1.3 assists

10 Miles Plumlee 2.8 points 2.2 rebounds 0.3 assists

Projected Point Total: 103.1

Who are their X-Factors?

Their incoming rookies.

The Hawks have deviated from the bourgeois of the NBA to formulate an exciting squad that embodies the modern NBA. They are trying to follow in the footsteps of the 76ers in terms of tanking while emulating the Warriors’ playing style. They attempted the 7th most threes last season and seek to fire even more this season. By adding Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, they add two of the best shooters in college basketball. Everyone wants to relate these two players to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson but both bring varying games and realistically will not match either output. They do have similar aesthetic though, and that’s what ultimately makes them the baby Warriors. Trae Young is the dribbling obsessed point guard who will shoot three’s from anywhere beyond the logo and Huerter is the spot-up shooter who doesn’t need to dribble to get in a rhythm.

While Dennis Schroder is listed as the primary point guard, it should not take long for Young to succeed him. After producing 27.4 points and 8.7 assists and being traded for a premier talent in Doncic, on paper Young is ready to jump in and play right away.

Dennis Schroder Wants Out

Schroder is looking to ditch Atlanta anyway. There certainly won’t be droves of teams knocking on the Hawks’ door for the German point guard, but his return should eclipse a penny and a dime. League sources have repeatedly told media that Schroder has been embed on the trade block for all last season continuing into this Summer. He even spoke about the sticky situation with the German Basketball Federation, “Of course Atlanta is my city, I was drafted there, have a lot of memories, but like I said, I have to look individually what’s best for me.” The point guard produced 19.6 points and 7.2 assists and lists the Pacers and Bucks as his preeminent destinations.

The Hawks should try to Trade Kent Bazemore

Bazemore should be shipped away pretty soon as well. According to HoopsHype, the Hawks discussed a possible trade down in the draft with Orlando and Dallas involving Bazemore. Even though Bazemore arguably had his best season, averaging 12.9 points 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists, his contract bogs down his trade value. He is hooked for $37 million over the following two years. If Atlanta chooses to keep the shooting guard, he will add shooting, secondary ball-handling skills, and solid perimeter defense. Bazemore shot 39.4% on 274 attempts while maintaining his highest efficiency, a 14.5 PER and 54.7 TS%.

Lloyd Pierce will have to Learn on the Fly

Obviously, the Hawks got rid of the former coach of the year, Mike Budenholzer, his pace-and-space offense that was the best in the league in 2014-15. Pierce will not entirely replace him, Budenholzer’s shoes are large ones to fill. The Popovich disciple went 213-197 in 5 years and won a league record 60 games in 2013-14. Pierce does have a noteworthy track record though, he coached the Grit n’ Grind Grizzlies squad from 2011 to 2013 and the Brett Brown-led 76ers until this past season.

Under Lionel Hollins, Pierce learned that defense leads to offense. With premier defenders, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Shane Battier, Hollins’ teams were recognized for their tough and win at all costs defense. Pierce brought those rugged defensive tactics with him to Philadelphia.

In 2018, the Sixers possessed the 3rd highest defensive rating and 3rd in opponent free throw attempts. Utilizing his players’ length, Pierce ran opponents off the three-point line and bullied them around the basket. Within 6 feet, the 76ers allowed 58.0% finishing, good for 3rd in the league. Dewayne Dedmon, their presumed starting center, was the 21st best rim-protecting center. Nonetheless, his 54.5% opponent field goal percentage from 6 feet and pales in comparison to Joel Embiid’s 50.1%.

Of course, Pierce does not have the defensive personnel he had in Memphis or in Philadelphia. The narrative grapples onto the Hawks roster. The Sixers towered over opponents, their 5 starters averaged out to 6’9’’. The Hawks starting 5 is one of the shortest teams, standing just under 6’6’’.

Once Trae Young jumps in the defensive fortitude weakens even more, being that Schroder has a 6’8’’ wingspan. Atlanta will need to vastly improve its defensive IQ to turn into even an above average defensive team. It will interesting to see how Pierce’s offensive-heavy team performs in his defensive-minded attack.

Projected Record: 28-54

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