With the 2022-23 NBA season kicking off soon, many eyes will be on the Atlanta Hawks. Before tipoff of the 82-game grind, we’ll be making our Hawks 2022-23 predictions.

The Hawks are coming off a season where they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat. It was a disappointing season following a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-21. Atlanta improved its roster in the offseason by trading for 2022 All-Star Dejounte Murray, an improving, versatile guard who excels most on the defensive end of the floor. While the Eastern Conference has many competitive teams, the Hawks should be back in contention.

With that said, let’s move on to our Hawks’ bold predictions for the 2022-23 NBA season.

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3. John Collins has a bounce-back season

In the 2019-20 season, John Collins had a breakout year. However, his numbers have regressed over the last two seasons. If the Hawks are going to compete for a title, they will need Collins to get back to the way he played in two years ago.

He averaged 21.6 points in 2019-20, along with 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He shot 58.3 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from behind the arc. These are all career-high numbers for Collins. The addition of Murray adds another playmaker while also taking more attention away from Collins, as defenses have to respect Murray.

Collins should excel this season and help the Hawks get back to having playoff success.

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2. Hawks finish as a top-four seed

Although the Eastern Conference is stacked, the Hawks nucleus is primed to fit well together. They have a dynamic Big Three with Young, Murray and Collins, plus an array of high-quality role players around them.

It won’t be easy, as there is an abundance of talented teams that could make it out of the East. The Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers all have talented enough rosters to make a deep playoff run. It will come down to which team establishes chemistry and continuity to string together enough wins to be a top seed in the conference.

Atlanta has depth, and if Young and Murray establish chemistry early, the Hawks will make some real noise in the East.

1. Trae Young finishes top-5 in MVP voting

Young is one of the rising young stars in the NBA, bound to have his best season yet. He will have the most talent around him in his entire career in 2022-23, following a season where he averaged 28.4 points and 9.7 assists per game. The 24-year-old guard shot 46 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three, which were both career-highs.

Young is a top-tier scorer and playmaker, which makes him a nightmare for defenses to guard. He can shoot the three-ball from anywhere as well as get into the paint for a floater or lob to a teammate. He is also effective at getting to the free-throw line, where he an elite 90.4% a year ago. Playing with a great roster will only further elevate his game, helping Young cement himself as one of the top players in the NBA.

The Hawks have an exciting season ahead as they look to make another playoff run. With an aggressive offseason, Atlanta is in a great position to make a run at the NBA Finals.