Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season: about Atlanta Hawks. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
- Market movements: Kris Dunn, Tony Snell and Bruno Fernando departures; arrivals of Gorgui Dieng and Delon Wright.
- Backcourt: Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, Delon Wright, Sharife Cooper and Skylar Mays.
- Frontcourt: John Collins, Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Danilo Gallinari, Onyeka Okongwu, Gorgui Dieng, Jahlil Okafor, Solomon Hill, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot y Jalen Johnson.
This is how they face the season
The Atlanta Hawks were one of the revelation teams of the 2020-21 season. While it was already clear that the future of the franchise was in good hands, with Trae Young’s rapid rise to stardom, also surrounded by a promising core of young people, it was difficult to anticipate that they would end the campaign as finalists in the Eastern Conference.
Since the beginning of the previous season, the Hawks had their secret weapon in Nate McMillan. And after the departure of Lloyd Pierce from the bench, McMillan turned the situation around in Atlanta; improving the team both in its offensive and defensive aspects, also demonstrating a great union with the players.
Always after such a sudden promotion, the questions arise as to whether a team will be able to maintain the level shown in the previous campaign, or if, on the contrary, it was a specific situation that will not be repeated.
At first, the casualties suffered by Atlanta are not very important, nor are the arrivals. The Hawks already have their base well defined and are clear that they will have to continue the process from there, adding only secondary pieces that can be molded to the most important contracts.
The squad of these Hawks is at an enviable point for any NBA franchise. Its main pillars are all young stars who still have a long career ahead of them, but at the same time they have already proven to be competitive despite their little seniority.
When it comes to the outside rotation, names like Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lou Williams and Kevin Huerter, are shown as two more than reliable couples for the minutes McMillan has available. Plus rookie Sharife Cooper and newcomer Delon Wright will add some good competition so the top four can’t relax.
In the inside game they also have names to cover more than enough minutes available. Two established starters like John Collins and Clint Capela will make 4 and 5 respectively, possibly sharing the starting five with De’Andre Hunter. But at the same time the competition for the rotation will not give respite: substitutes like Cam Reddish, Danilo Gallinari, Jahlil Okafor and Solomon Hill will provide a lot of reliability. All this without mentioning the possible progress that Onyeka Okongwu can show this season, a player for whom the Hawks have high hopes for the future.
This season will be vital for the Hawks. They already hit the table in 2020-21 when nobody expected it. With all that wisdom in tow, and another year of work under a solid coach like McMillan, they surely hope to jump to the next level. Likewise, they must be careful with their expectations and not throw all the work achieved overboard if the results are not repeated.
The player to watch
The face of this franchise is Trae Young and it will be for several years (if there are no catastrophes in between). New York’s Public Enemy Number One is a sight to see every time you step on a floor. If anyone had doubts about how far he could maintain his level and his showy game, he already made it well demonstrated in the last playoffs.
It is impressive to see how at his young age he has no problem putting on the leader’s badge and guiding his teammates. If he continues to progress, we are talking about a player with potential to be in the conversations of the next MVP. The main problem facing the young point guard (not to mention his defensive problems), is that he has the typical charisma of a player that the fans love or hate, without middle terms.
In addition, he will always be (unfairly) in the shadow of Luka Doncic, who has already been in talks for the MVP of a season. But that thorn does not seem to weigh on Young, and he made it clear last season that he can easily guide his team to late postseason appearances.
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the 2021-22 season.
The contract extensions received by the Hawks’ top players indicate that the franchise is convinced that they are on the right track. That’s how I see it too. But we can not cheat the loner: last year was something as unpredictable as it is difficult to repeat it again. Too young to blindly trust their first-round playoff field advantage. East sixths.
Previous team analyzed: Dallas Mavericks. Next team tested: Los Angeles Clippers.
(Cover photo by Mark Brown / Getty Images)