40-31 • 4th in EASTERN CONFERENCE
|G||28||N/A||6' 6"||220 lbs||N/A|
|G||25||N/A||6' 0"||180 lbs||FLORIDA GULF COAST|
|F-C||22||N/A||6' 9"||240 lbs||MARYLAND|
|F-G||21||N/A||6' 8"||218 lbs||DUKE|
|C||26||N/A||6' 10"||240 lbs||N/A|
|F||32||N/A||6' 10"||233 lbs||N/A|
|F-G||23||N/A||6' 8"||225 lbs||VIRGINIA|
|F-C||23||N/A||6' 9"||235 lbs||WAKE FOREST|
|G-F||22||N/A||6' 7"||190 lbs||MARYLAND|
|G||27||N/A||6' 3"||205 lbs||PROVIDENCE|
|G||34||N/A||6' 1"||175 lbs||N/A|
|F-C||23||N/A||6' 10"||253 lbs||WILLIAM & MARY|
|F-C||20||N/A||6' 8"||235 lbs||USC|
|G||23||N/A||6' 4"||205 lbs||LSU|
|F||30||N/A||6' 6"||226 lbs||ARIZONA|
|G||29||N/A||6' 6"||213 lbs||NEW MEXICO|
|G||22||N/A||6' 1"||180 lbs||OKLAHOMA|
The Atlanta Hawks enter the 2020-21 season with its young and very promising core still intact. With another year under their belt, the core of Trae Young, John Collins, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter, and Kevin Huerter is ready to possibly challenge for a playoff spot in a wide-open Eastern Conference.
We will finally get to see Clint Capela take the floor for the Hawks following a mid-season trade last term. The 6-foot-10 big man is a more traditional center, and his presence should allow Collins to take on his preferred power forward role.
The Hawks did lose a number of key players during the offseason, including Jeff Teague and DeAndre Bembry, who both left as free agents. Dewayne Dedmon was traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tony Snell, while the legendary Vince Carter called it a career in the offseason.
Atlanta made a few major additions via free agency in Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, and Kris Dunn. The Bogdanovic signing was a big one, considering how the 6-foot-6 shooting guard was reported to have already signed with the Milwaukee Bucks before the plug was pulled on the deal at the 13th hour. Both Gallinari and Rondo were sought-after names in free agency, so their decision to join the Hawks speaks volumes of how this team has emerged as a viable destination for free agents.
The Hawks will field a starting five of Young, Reddish, Hunter, Collins, and Capela. Bogdanovic should serve as the squad's primary offensive weapon off the bench, while Huerter, Gallinari, and Rondo will all play key roles for the second unit. Rookie Onyeka Okongwu, who Atlanta selected sith overall, should also figure significantly in coach Lloyd Pierce's rotation.
The Hawks finished the 2019-20 season with just 20 wins. Only four other teams had a worse record than Atlanta last term, and it had a lot to do with their struggles on the offensive end. The Hawks recorded a total offensive rating of 107.0, which ranked all the way down at 25th in the NBA.
Scoring-wise, the Hawks averaged 111.8 points per game. That actually wasn't so bad, but it was their efficiency that left a lot to be desired. Their 90.6 attempts per game ranked seventh in the NBA, but they averaged just 44.9 percent from the field (23rd).
Atlanta attempted the eighth-most three-pointers per game last season at 36.1, making just 33.3 percent of them. Unfortunately for the Hawks, that poor shooting clip from distance ranked dead last in the league.
In terms of two-point field goal attempts, the Hawks averaged 54.5 per game, which was 18th in the league. They were relatively efficient from that range, making 52.5 percent of their attempts (14th). This is something worth considering for 2020-21, as they may want to attempt more close-range shots as opposed to settling for three-pointers.
They actually shot relatively well from the charity stripe in 2019-20, making 79.0 percent (10th) of their 23.4 attempts per game (14th).
The Hawks were a middle-of-the-road squad in terms of moving the ball around last season, averaging just 24.0 assists per game (17th), with Trae Young accounting for 9.3 of those. He also committed a team-high 4.8 turnovers per game, which was a huge chunk of the team's 16.2 total turnovers per contest (28th).
The Hawks did not fare too well on the offensive end last season (their offensive rating of 107.0 ranked just 25th in the league). In terms of their defense, unfortunately, they were even worse. They ranked just 28th in the NBA with a defensive rating of 114.4.
The Hawks allowed opposing teams to score 119.7 points per game last season. That was 30th in the league. Opponents attempted 90.7 shots per contest (24th) while making 47.8 percent of them (26th). Opposing teams took 32.7 triples per game (24th), making them on a 36.3-percent clip (22nd). Interior defense is something this team will also want to work on in 2020-21, as they afforded opponents 58.0 attempts from two-point range (26th) on a 54.2-percent clip (25th).
Rebounding was another weak spot of Atlanta's defensive game. They averaged just 43.3 boards per game, which was 22nd in the league. 33.4 of them came on the defensive end (24th). Clint Capela is Atlanta's best rebounding big man, and his absence last season due to injury was an undeniably significant reason behind the Hawks' rebounding problems.
As a team, Atlanta averaged 23.1 fouls per game last season, dead last in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in 27.4 free-throw attempts for opposing teams, which was 30th in the league. The Hawks need to play more honest defense this season.
The Hawks stole the ball 7.8 times last season (13th) and they blocked 5.1 shots per game (12th). This resulted in 15.0 turnovers per contest from opposing teams (11th). While they weren't in the Top 10 of the league in these categories, this is something they can build on for 2020-21.
Lloyd Pierce served as Atlanta's head coach for the past two and a half seasons. This was until the front office decided that it was time to move on from him after a 16-20 start to the 2020-21 season. During his time with the team, Pierce amassed a 65-120 record, and while he seemed to be doing a proper job managing the squad, he was never able to translate his work to a winning record.
In his place, the Hawks decided to promote assistant coach Nate McMillan on an interim basis. McMillan has a ton of experience as a head coach in the NBA, as he's served as the top shot-caller for the Seattle SuperSonics (five seasons, 2000 to 2005), the Portland Trail Blazers (seven seasons, 2005 to 2011), and most recently the Indiana Pacers (2016 to 2020).
Right now, there have been no reported changes to the team's assistant coaching staff amid Pierce's departure. Melvin Hunt, Chris Jent, Marlon Garnett, and Matt Hill are all currently listed as assistant coaches for the Hawks.
On November 28, 2020, the Hawks signed point guard Kris Dunn from the Chicago Bulls to a two-year deal for $10 million. Dunn's contract stipulates a Player Option for him for the 2021-22 season.
Dunn, who averaged 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.0 steals with the Bulls last season, comes in as an additional piece for Atlanta's backcourt.
Dunn underwent surgery on his right ankle during the offseason, which forced him to miss the first half of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Hawks were one of the more active teams in free agency during the 2020 offseason, signing five new players. Atlanta established itself as an attractive destination for free agents, which has a lot to do with this team's young and promising core.
Atlanta's prized signing came in the form of Danilo Gallinari, who had an outstanding season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019-20. The Hawks agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Thunder which amounted to a $61.4-million contract for Gallinari over the next three years. In exchange, Atlanta sent a 2028 second-round pick to OKC.
The Hawks also signed Bogdan Bogdanovic to a massive four-year contract worth $72 million. Interestingly, the Milwaukee Bucks appeared to have already signed Bogdanovic only for the deal to fall through at the last minute. Atlanta pounced on the mishap and got their man.
The Hawks also priced two-time NBA champ Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers for $15 million. The former All-Star penned a two-season deal with the Hawks, with the team expecting Rondo to serve as a mentor for Trae Young.
The Hawks added further depth to its backcourt by signing Kris Dunn from the Chicago Bulls on a two-year deal worth $10 million.
Finally, the Hawks also signed 6-foot-6 forward Solomon Hill to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $2.2 million.
Technically speaking, Atlanta's most recent trade deal came in the form of veteran forward Danilo Gallinari, but that was a sign-and-trade deal. As a free agent, Gallo signed a new deal with OKC first ($61.4 million for three years) before being traded to the Hawks. In exchange, Atalanta sent a conditional 2028 second-round pick in the way of the Thunder.
Over the offseason, the Hawks also struck a deal with the Detroit Pistons. Atlanta parted ways with big man Dewayne Dedmon in exchange for Tony Snell and Khyri Thomas. While Snell eventually emerged as a key part of the team's rotation for the 2020-21 season, Thomas ended up being waived a few days after the trade.
Since being established as a franchise in 1949 (as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks), this team has only won the NBA title once. This came during the 1957-58 season when the team, then the St. Louis Hawks, defeated the mighty Boston Celtics in the Finals in six games.
Having bagged the franchise's one and only championship, it's hard to argue against the notion that this particular Hawks side represents the franchise's greatest roster of all time.
The great Bob Pettit led the charge for the Hawks that season, averaging a team-best 24.6 points per game. Playing alongside him were the likes of Cliff Hagan, Slater Martin, Ed Macauley, and Jack MacMahon. The other players on that title-winning team were Chuck Share, Jack Coleman, Win Wilfong, Med Park, Walt Davis, Frank Selvy, Red Morrison, and Worthy Patterson.
While the Hawks are still operating over the cap this season, they are one of a few teams in the NBA that actually came close to meeting the league-mandated cap. With a total cap of $114.7 million, Atlanta went over the cap by just $5.6 million. This is actually a respectable effort from the Hawks front office considering how other teams didn't even come close to meeting the cap.
Atlanta's two offseason signings are their biggest earners for 2020-21. Danillo Galinari is set to pocket $19.5 million, while Bogdan Bogdanovic is earning $18 million. Clint Capela rounds out the top 3 with a salary of $16 million.
Interestingly, Tony Snell ($12.2 million), Rajon Rondo ($7.5 million), and De'Andre Hunter ($7.4 million) will earn more than cornerstone superstar Trae Young. Young is currently set to pocket just $6.6 million -- a figure that is expected to skyrocket once he signs an extension with the franchise.
John Collins' salary is listed at just $4.1 million this season, making him the 11th highest-paid player on the team.
At the start of the season, Kevin Huerter was the Hawks’ 6th man. The 22-year-old was a great option for the Hawks coming off the bench, providing much-needed firepower for the second unit. Huerter also stands out as a passer and he is more than capable of taking on some playmaking duties with the second-stringers.
However, Huerter took over the starting gig in wake of De'Andre Hunter's knee injury. Huerter has looked good with the starting group, and it will be interesting to see if interim head coach Nate McMillan shifts Huerter back to the bench once Hunter returns. In that scenario, the two could switch roles, with Hunter serving as the team's Sixth Man off the bench.
Danilo Gallinari has primarily come off the bench for the Hawks, averaging 22.2 minutes and 12 points per game prior to the All-Star break.
The Hawks have a great collection of young and promising talent on their roster. The centerpiece is Trae Young, who occupies the starting point guard spot. He is joined by Cam Reddish to form Atlanta's starting backcourt. De'Andre Hunter, John Collins, and Clint Capela make up the frontcourt. With Hunter injured, Kevin Huerter has primarily started in his place.
At 26, Capela is the old man of the group. The average age of the Hawks' starting five is 23, making them one of the youngest starting units in the entire league. These kids are no pushovers, though.