Bettors Should Take The Hawks Seriously
With a deep, young nucleus and a radical style of play, the Hawks are an appealing sleeper
- Due to the presumed development of Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and the presence of a young nucleus, the Hawks are a strong betting option.
- The Hawks also subscribe to a radical style of play, ranking 1st in pace.
- After the offseason movement of superstars out of the East, the conference will be wide-open.
Reflecting On Last Year
A team led by a rookie head coach and a rookie point guard is sure to take its lumps during the course of the NBA season.
The Atlanta Hawks and coach Llyod Pierce did just that last year with rookie point guard Trae Young at the helm.
But, while the Hawks only won 29 games in 2019, their record does not tell the full story. Consider that the Hawks got off to a putrid 6-23 start, yet went 23-30 from December 18th through the end of the season. That final stretch equated to a .434 win percentage and was more respectable for a young squad.
Promising big man John Collins is set to begin his third season after averaging 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in only 30.0 minutes per contest. In fact, Collins was only one of nine players across the NBA to average at least 19 points and nine rebounds and was the only qualifier to do so being under the age of 23. Collins matches well with Young, especially in pick-and-roll situations. That pairing gives the Hawks a natural foundation to work with.
A Young And Promising Nucleus
The franchise has been focused on surrounding Trae Young with young talent and the Hawks took major steps forward in doing so over the past year.
While Collins and Young are the pillars of the franchise, the Hawks now have a bevy of young talented wings in first round picks Kevin Huerter, DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish.
General Manager Travis Schlenk has been a proponent of simply trying to acquire the best talent possible and usher in a new era of Hawks basketball with interchangeable pieces. Rookies Hunter and Reddish are versatile wings who can play both ends of the floor. There is a chance they are brought along slowly, as the Hawks also acquired wings Jabari Parker, Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner in the offseason.
Huerter may be the x-factor. Chosen 19th overall in the 2018 draft, Heurter surprised many by starting 59 games and making NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team. His shooting accuracy in particular is of value to the GM who came from the Golden State Warriors and watched the backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson grow. Huerter shot 38.5 percent from three on 4.7 attempts a game.
With young versatile players that can pass and shoot at a high level, Pierce kept his foot on the gas as the Hawks ranked first in the NBA in pace last season. It appeared to have a positive impact, as the Hawks found more success during the slog of the NBA season.
Despite questions about Young’s ability to hold up over the rigors of an NBA season, he played 81 of 82 games. Young didn’t just stay afloat, he flourished as the year went on, posting 24.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 9.2 assists after the All-Star break. With a year under his belt, Young should be even better from a physical standpoint as he has a better understanding of what to expect and a full offseason to improve his body.
The Hawks have the potential to not only eclipse their 33.5 win total, but could even contend for a playoff spot in the wide-open Eastern Conference.