NBA 2023-2024 Preview: Atlanta Hawks’ Quest for Redemption

Atlanta Hawks OKC NBA Preview 2023 2024

Who will succeed the Nuggets as NBA champions? For a month, we delve into all 30 teams in the league. Now, we head to Georgia to assess the Atlanta Hawks.

 

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2022/2023 Recap: A Season in the Middle of the Pack

In the offseason, Atlanta acquired DeJounte Murray to revamp their roster after a turbulent season. The aim was to create an All-Star backcourt alongside Trae Young and assemble a high-quality starting five on paper. However, Coach Nate McMillan struggled to optimize this lineup, leading to conflicts with Young and eventually his departure, adding to Young’s “coach killer” reputation.

Quin Snyder has little time to turn things around. As a result, direct qualification to the playoffs was missed, and they had to go through the play-in tournament. The Hawks regained their groove and surprised the Heat to secure a spot in the playoffs. Their series against the Celtics was a mixed bag, with Atlanta even holding a lead in six games and exposing some of Boston’s weaknesses, which the Heat capitalized on. Ultimately, it was a frustrating season as there was potential for more success on paper.

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Offseason Moves

Departures

  • John Collins (Jazz)
  • Aaron Holiday (Rockets)
  • Donovan Williams (Free Agent)
  • Tyrese Martin (Free Agent)
  • Vit Krejci (Free Agent)
  • Trent Forrest (Free Agent)

Extensions

  • None

Arrivals

  • Patty Mills (Nets, Rockets, Thunder)
  • Wesley Matthews (Bucks)
  • Kobe Bufkin (15th pick in the 2023 Draft)
  • Seth Lundy (46th pick in the 2023 Draft)
  • Mouhamed Gueye (39th pick in the 2023 Draft)

Atlanta Hawks Starting Five

Trae Young, DeJounte Murray ,DeAndre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela

Bench Rotation

Point Guards

  • Patty Mills

Shooting Guards

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • Garrison Mathews
  • Kobe Bufkin

Small Forwards

  • Saddiq Bey
  • AJ Griffin
  • Wesley Matthews
  • Seth Lundy (two-way)

Power Forwards

  • Mouhamed Gueye
  • Miles Norris (two-way)

Centers

  • Onyeka Okongwu
  • Bruno Fernando

Strengths and Weaknesses

Weaknesses: Has the Team Reached Its Ceiling?

This is a legitimate question. Since their remarkable playoff run in 2021, it’s been two seasons with little progress to show for. This group appears to be hovering around the 5th to 8th positions in the league but may not be equipped to break into the upper echelons. The loss of John Collins for seemingly nothing in return raises questions, although the management seems to have high hopes for Jalen Johnson. It remains to be seen how this impacts the team, particularly on the defensive end. Above all, the hope is for a season without internal disruptions.

Strengths: The Young-Murray Backcourt Remains Exceptional

The Young-Murray backcourt is still one of the most talented in the league, producing over 45 points and 16 assists per game, a formidable combination. It’s the Hawks’ primary weapon, capable of rescuing them on nights when the offense struggles. The same can be said for the second unit, with Mills and Bogdanovic, a nearly luxurious pairing. In absolute terms, with players like Bey and Okongwu, Atlanta’s bench unit is of high quality.

Player to Watch: Trae Young

As mentioned earlier, Ice Trae has been making headlines off the court lately, with reports of him being involved in two coach departures, which seems to have had an influence on his team’s performance. However, from an individual standpoint, his numbers are still impressive. Few players can maintain a season with averages of 26 points and 10 assists, and he deserves to be part of more prestigious discussions.

Yet, there’s a leadership gap. Trae Young is undoubtedly a great player but not necessarily a great leader. However, he showed during the 2021 playoffs that he’s capable of leading. Now that we’ve seen it, we want more. This season could be decisive for him, especially after all the offseason rumors of dismantling the roster. If there’s no progress this season, will the management take bold steps?

Season Prediction: 8th in the East

The competition has strengthened, but the Hawks haven’t improved significantly. It’s challenging to see this team avoiding the play-in tournament, but they’ve proven over the last two years that they can handle such situations. It could be a valuable bonus if Atlanta doesn’t crack the Top 6, which remains the franchise’s objective. The departure of John Collins will help determine whether he was a missing piece in this otherwise promising starting lineup. We also anticipate statistical growth from Murray and the return of the formidable Capela.

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