NBA 2020-21 season preview: Will the Atlanta Hawks’ busy offseason lead to a playoff berth? | NBA.com Canada
The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to begin on December 22. To prepare you for the coming year, we will dedicate a day before the start of the season to each team in the league.
Today the Atlanta hawks take the limelight.
2019-20 season record
20-47, 14th of the Eastern Conference
Onyeka Okongwu, 6th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft
Skylar Mays, 50th overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Nathan Knight, undrafted free agent (round trip)
Tony Snell, Commerce
Kris Dunn, Free Agency
Danilo Gallinari, Free agency
Rajon Rondo, Free agency
Bogdan Bogdanovic, free agency
Vince Carter, Retirement
Dewayne Dedmon, Commerce
DeAndré ‘Bembry, Free agency
Jeff Teague, Free Agency
|PG||Young Traé||Rajon Rondo||Kris dunn|
|SG||Bogdan Bogdanovic||Kevin huerter||Tony Snell|
|SF||Danilo Gallinari||De’André Hunter||Cam Reddish|
|PF||John collins||Bruno Fernando|
|VS||Clint Capela||Onyeka Okongwu||Nathan Chevalier|
3 key scenarios
A superstar jump for Trae?
In just two short seasons, Trae Young showed why the Hawks offered to acquire him on draft night in 2018.
After winning the All-Rookie caps in his first season, Young made the jump to the All-Star in the second year, ending the season averaging 29.6 points and 9.3 assists in 60 games. , good for fourth and second in the league, respectively.
Now, before the third year, the 22-year-old is on the verge of becoming a superstar.
To be clear, superstar status is not easy to achieve. Last year we saw figures like Luka Doncic and Jayson tatum emerge in this stratosphere, doing so with their coherence on large stages, highlighting performances that place them in the top 10 of the NBA.com player rankings.
Is this a realistic next step for Young?
Considering he was already considered one of the league’s top 24 talent by being selected for the All-Star Stadium, Young’s next step is to clearly establish himself as one of the league’s top five point guard. Assuming that Doncic and James lebron are leaders, in addition to Stephen curry, Kyrie Irving, Damien lillard, Kyle Lowry and Russell westbrook, Young still has his work cut out for him.
During the Hawks’ extended offseason, Young told USA Today’s Mark Medina that his main goal this year is to “do whatever I need to do to get us to the top and get into the playoffs.” While Young has thrived as a shooter and passer, the continuing blow to his game is his ability to help defensively, which he told Medina he is working on his conditioning in order to improve.
Young doesn’t have to become an All-Defensive squad candidate to enter superstar territory, but a marked improvement would lead Atlanta to more wins. More wins increase the likelihood of Young playing on the bigger stage, which as we learn year after year is where superstars are born.
The prospect of another tangible leap from Young should get Hawks fans excited.
What to expect from the new additions
While they have a number of basic pieces, this Hawks team will be very different from the one they had to close out the 2019-20 season.
In addition to Clint Capela, who did not play a game with the squad after being acquired near the trade deadline, the squad added a great rookie man to Onyeka Okongwu as well as free agents Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn and Bogdan. Bogdanovic.
Arguably Atlanta made the most of the cap room they entered the offseason with, and more.
Capela, 26, has averaged 14.9 points and 12.2 rebounds on 64.5% of shots over the past three seasons (180 games). In Atlanta, he has the opportunity to form a spooky lob duo with Young, who already has a terrifying lob target in the top-flight John Collins.
Young’s ability to find Capela as a roll man is something NBA.com’s Scott Rafferty pointed out around the time Atlanta initially acquired the big man.
Clint Capela next to Trae Young is going to be a lot of fun. Efficiency is down slightly this season, but Capela has been one of the best rollers and cutters in the league for the past few seasons.
It’s going to be a lot of that in Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/N5kYwLC9r2
– Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles) February 5, 2020
Gallinari is coming off a season in which he averaged 18.7 points while shooting 40.5% from depth and Rondo, the other big veteran, was instrumental in the Lakers title executed. Dunn is an elite defender on the ball and Okongwu has the potential to be an elite rim protector while still raw offensive.
Bogdanovic provides pizzazz and clutch as a wise veteran beyond his years, filling a major need.
What will be interesting to see is how these new additions fit into a roster that already has plenty of wing talent in Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish. On the inside is Collins, who is eligible for overtime and averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds last season.
On paper, this is the Hawks’ most talented team in years, one that took action during the offseason with the clear goal of ending a playoff drought.
A year of escape for Reddish?
In Young (29.6 points & 9.3 assists per game) and Collins (21.6 points & 10.1 rebounds per game), Atlanta has one of the most exciting young 1-2 punches in the world. league.
With the 1-2 punch in place, the question is: who will be No. 3? One of Bogdanovic or Gallinari would seem to be the logical answer – and one of the two likely will be this coming season – but you shouldn’t lose sight of the talented wings the Hawks have gained in recent drafts.
While Huerter and Hunter have both shown consistency throughout last season, it’s Reddish who could surprise many as he leaps up and becomes Atlanta’s third star of the future.
Some may have given up on the 21-year-old after averaging 10.5 points per game while shooting 38.4% from the field and 33.2% deep in his rookie campaign, but these numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story.
Reddish entered the 2019-20 season following an offseason abdominal muscle surgery and, judging by his difficult start to the season, it took a while to recover from that surgery. The numbers illustrate the story very clearly:
|34 first games||25.7||.322||.256||.765||3.9||1.6||8.0|
|Last 23 matches||28.3||.458||.419||.845||3.5||1.4||14.3|
Reddish’s solid end to the season has generated some buzz, and rightly so. The 6-foot-8 forward has shown he has the tools to be a hard-hitting player in this league. With the offseason additions Atlanta made, there’s less pressure on Reddish to figure it all out this coming season.
While Young and Rondo’s play will help make the game easier for him, the other wing options on the Hawks’ roster mean the defenses can’t really grab him, as they’re all scoring threats.
Don’t be surprised if Reddish becomes a sixth starter wreaking havoc on second unit defenses, which could be a sign of things to come in his career.
5 games to watch
Memphis Grizzly, December 26, 2020
Young and Collins vs. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Two of the league’s most exciting young duos are sure to provide plenty of highlights in their clashes.
Charlotte hornets, January 6, 2021
These two divisional adversaries have undergone transformative inter-seasons. We’ll get a first look at what should be a very entertaining playmaker match between Young and LaMelo Ball.
The Dallas Mavericks, February 3, 2021
Rightly or wrongly, Young and Luka Doncic will be forever linked to each other. Since it features two of the league’s brightest young stars, you still need to tune into at least one of the two meetings between the Hawks and Mavs.
Magic of Orlando, March 3, 2021
The Magic were one of the East’s last playoff teams last season and are likely to be in contention with the Hawks for a playoff berth again this season. There will certainly be a little something extra in every clash between these teams this coming season.
Golden State Warriors, Date: to be determined (Second half of the season)
From his days at the University of Oklahoma and even before, Young has been compared to Stephen Curry. How quickly an idol can become a rival. Now that Young is looking to establish himself among the top echelon of league playmakers, his clashes with Curry will be a great measuring stick.
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its clubs.