3 reasons the Atlanta Hawks won’t win the 2022 NBA Championship
Former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce struggled in handling this squad during his whole tenure. With the midseason coaching change, Nate McMillan led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the eventual champions Milwaukee Bucks in six games. Others would say they were just lucky because of major injuries to stars, like Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Joel Embiid. Harden and Embiid were still able to play and suit up for their teams, but it was obvious that they were not 100%.
With major lineup changes for the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls along with the expected success of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, it will be tough for the Hawks to replicate the success this upcoming season. As a result, here are three major reasons why the Hawks will not win the 2022 NBA championship.
The Hawks have a bunch of youngsters that have exceeded expectations which is an excellent sight to see, but it also has its disadvantages. By signing five key cogs to their lineup, it is difficult for them to extend the rookie contracts of Cameron Reddish, Kevin Huerter, and DeAndre Hunter. They might need to decide who they will keep from this trio and how much they are willing to pay just to keep these talented individuals.
Along with these three wings, the Hawks still have Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and John Collins which means it will be difficult for McMillan to juggle the minutes of these men and give them the opportunity to earn their spot on the rotation. The mix of veterans and youth could be an enormous advantage, but it could also cause drama and bitterness between the two groups, which happened to a squad like the Sacramento Kings before when they signed Vince Carter and George Hill to help their young core.
The Hawks could easily go 11 or 12 deep, but the longevity and continuity of this team will be tough for a squad that has immense potential. An alternative they could consider is packing two or three of their wings to try and add a proven star to the core of Trae Young, Clint Capela, and Collins.
Hunting Trae Young on defense
It has been well-documented that Trae Young is one of the worst defenders in the association because of his small stature and just his mentality to focus on the offensive side of the floor. McMillan constructs his defensive schemes for the Hawks in such a way that they could hide Young against the worst offensive player of the opponent. This strategy worked in the Playoffs last year, but it does not mean it will remain to be effective for the long term.
The Hawks were fortunate because their playoff competitors did not have the offensive tools to capitalize on Young’s weaknesses. However if Atlanta will face a healthy Nets squad or a retooled Heat franchise, Young will be forced to run through a slew of screens and defend phenomenal shooters in either Joe Harris or Duncan Robinson.
Other teams can decide to run the patented play of LeBron James on Stephen Curry wherein he made a guard set the screen for him and force an individual like Young to defend him on the post or on the paint. With several capable superstars in the Eastern Conference, Young must enhance his defensive prowess if he intends to lead the Hawks to the Promised Land in the future.
Lack of star power
On a stage like the NBA Playoffs, this is where the stars are born. Young has definitely proven his position as one of the top point guards in the league despite his inefficiency in some of the crucial games of his team. Even at such a young age, he has the ability to galvanize his troops and influence them to succeed at the highest level.
With a talented stud like Young, there must be another consistent All-Star caliber player on the Hawks that will complement his style of play and be the Robin in a franchise that has championship aspirations for the next years. However, with the small market such as the Hawks, it is insurmountable for them to sign big-name free agents. Thus, they are relying on their high draft picks and acquiring players like Capela from the Houston Rockets.
McMillan still lacks that a second star to help Young, similar to how Brooklyn traded for Harden or how Milwaukee developed an underrated individual in Khris Middleton. Huerter had a massive Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, while Bogdanovic has days wherein he does not miss outside shots. They are perfect role players for the Hawks, but they lack scoring firepower like how Donovan Mitchell needs another proven scorer in his squad as well to propel his team to consistent championship contenders.