The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the better young teams in the league in the last couple of years. It’s been two years since they made their miraculous eastern conference finals run. They now want to go all in after trading their future assets for Dejounte Murray. Here’s what the Hawks should expect in the 2022-23 season.
Atlanta Hawks 2022-23 Season Preview
Last year the Hawks finished 8th in the east. This led to a playoff birth and a round 1 matchup against the Heat. In that series, they were only able to steal one game as they lost in five games. They spent a good majority of the year under .500 until they finally capped the year off at 43-39.
The year prior the Hawks were the 4th seed with a 41-31 record. They had relatively the same roster that year, but really shined when the moment mattered most. This playoff run was highlighted by an upset against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks this year benefitted from a weaker eastern conference and showed the run with that current roster wasn’t replicable.
The Hawks recently decided to go all in when they traded for Murray. In this trade, they gave up three future first-round picks and Danilo Gallinari. They now have their all-star backcourt of the future in Murray and Trae Young. Young has proven he can lead a team with his offensive firepower. He averaged 28.4 points and 9.7 assists last year while shooting 38.2% from three.
His biggest flaw is his lack of defense. This is where Murray comes into play. Murray has already made an All-Defensive team in his young career. He also has the ability to play make in order to make Young effective off the ball. Last year Murray averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists. Having Murray who’s an all-around guard play alongside a scorer like Young should unlock both players’ full potential.
The rest of the Hawks roster is balanced out by a mix of young role players and quality vets. The young core is highlighted by Onyeka Okongwu, Jalen Johnson, and De’Andre Hunter. They also have some decent vets such as Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic who should play quality minutes.
The Hawks have shown they have a successful core, yet still have unanswered questions they should look to answer this season. The first of these main questions should be if John Collins can take that next step. Collins has been a quality role player for the last couple of years, but as he ages it seems less and less likely he will reach an All-Star level. Last year he averaged 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds with good efficiency. The big step he’s taken recently is his increase in defensive production. If Collins can lock in on both the offensive and defensive end the Hawks could become one of the better teams in the east.
Another question the Hawks need to answer is who should they play at center. Capela has been a quality center as he averaged 11 points and 12 rebounds last year. He also provides amazing rim protection. On the other hand, Okongwu had a smaller role but put up decent stats in the minutes he got. He also has the potential to end up being a quality starting center for this team. The Hawks need to find the perfect rotation to build around both Young and Murray to help them reach their full potential.
The upcoming season shouldn’t be easy for this current Hawks roster. The eastern conference continues to improve year in and year out and this offseason was no exception. Teams such as the 76ers and the Cavaliers got better during the offseason while teams such as the Bucks, Celtics, Nets, and Heat still remained solid.
The Hawks were also able to improve, yet the competition won’t be easy at all. The Hawks should shape out to be somewhere around a 6th or 7th seed and should hope to avoid the play-in. Their ceiling is somewhere around a 4-seed where they could have home-court advantage, while their floor is a low play-in team. The Hawks are still young and have decent potential for the future, but overall it seems unlikely this year is their year.