Hawks 2018-19 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives around San Antonio Spurs guard London Perrantes, left, during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

For fans of the Atlanta Hawks, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to the 2018-19 season.  

The good news is that the team’s direction for its rebuild began to take shape this offseason, with the Hawks drafting players in Trae YoungKevin Huerter and Omari Spellman who can stretch the floor from their respective positions. The Hawks also traded Dennis Schroder to the Oklahoma City Thunder, freeing themselves from the $46.5 million he’s due the next three seasons while also clearing the way for Young to take the reins at point guard.

It’s obvious that general manager Travis Schlenk, who came from Golden State, wants to build the team in the mold of the Warriors.

The bad news, of course, is that the Hawks are far from even closely resembling the Warriors and will likely be one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Hawks could have the worst record in basketball this season. 

Below, we’ll take a look at the schedule information for the Hawks as they enter the second year of their rebuild. 

             

2019-19 Details

Season Opener: Wednesday, Oct. 17 at New York Knicks (7:30 p.m. ET)

Championship Odds: 350-1, per OddsShark.com

Full Schedule: NBA.com

                         

Top Matchups

Dallas Mavericks: First Matchup at Home (Oct. 24) 

Kevin Hagen/Associated Press

The Hawks chose to pass on Luka Doncic in this year’s draft, instead trading his draft rights to the Dallas Mavericks. So it will be fascinating to see how Doncic matches up against Young the first time they face, and whether the result will engender any buyer’s remorse in either team.

If Doncic lights up the Hawks, well, the headlines will write themselves. If Young plays like a savant, Schlenk will look like a genius (at least in the immediate aftermath of the game). 

Obviously, one game won’t define the career of either Doncic or Young. But watching the two men who were traded for one another in the biggest deal of this year’s NBA draft is must-watch television. 

                              

Orlando Magic: First Matchup at Home (Jan. 21)

John Raoux/Associated Press

This is a matchup against a divisional rival, but it’s also a matchup against another Eastern Conference team that is likely to be near the bottom of the standings this season. 

For Hawks’ fans, playing Orlando will give them the opportunity to compare rebuilding projects. How do players like Young and John Collins stack up against Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac? And for the young Hawks, accumulating victories in the schedule’s winnable games is a great way to build confidence. 

Yes, the Hawks will upset some better teams this season. They’ll play hard and catch a few teams off guard. But how they fare against teams like Orlando will offer a better barometer of where they stand. 

                          

Prediction

John Amis/Associated Press

The Hawks shouldn’t be focused too much on wins and losses this year. Everything in Atlanta should be about development.

Young had a choppy Summer League, and his shot selection and finishing around the rim needs to improve. But he is going to be fun to watch when he gots hot, and his playmaking is excellent. If his defense improves, he should have a solid if inconsistent rookie campaign. 

Huerter and Spellman are projects as well, and less emphasis may be placed on throwing them in the mix in the same way that Young will be given a trial by fire. The Hawks can afford some patience with both players.

Additionally, the Hawks will be looking to see if players like Collins, Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry and Justin Anderson can take another step forward. The latter three, in particular, will battle for minutes on the wing. Whoever emerges from that battle should be a very solid player for the team. 

Hawks fans need to focus on these sorts of storylines this season, rather than focusing on the standings. And if nothing else, they can root for the Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers to be bad next season (but not too bad).

The Hawks are owed first-round picks from Dallas (top-five protected) and Cleveland (top-10 protected) next summer. In other words, it’s possible Atlanta could end up with three lottery picks in the 2019 NBA draft, allowing them to stock their ranks with young talent. 

So for Hawks fans, the upcoming season will be about evaluating the young talent and maybe scouting some of college basketball’s top players. The Hawks are building something in Atlanta, no doubt, but the foundation is only starting to take shape.

Record Prediction: 22-60

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA https://ift.tt/2gMI6gF

August 10, 2018 at 01:19PM

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