The OTH Starting Five: Atlanta Hawks
During the next month with overtimeheroics.net, each NBA team will be broken down into who should start at all five positions. Each day two teams will be dropped as OTH builds up to the greatest starting fives of this season. These projected lineups are not only the “best fit” lineups. Each writer also will take in to consideration the rumors surrounding each team. First up we have the Atlanta Hawks.
The Atlanta Hawks are coming into the 2019-2020 season with new faces and some good young prospects. Like was said in the Overtime Heroics’ Atlanta Hawks Off-season piece, https://www.overtimeheroics.net/index.php/2019/07/22/atlanta-hawks-off-season-review/ the organization has added youth and veterans to the roster. With that being the case Atlanta’s starting five will be very youthful. The average age of the lineup will be a whopping 21 years old! Although this is a great sign for the future of the Hawks, the young core will definitely go through growing pains. For now, here is a look at the projected starting five.
Point Guard – Trae Young
Heading into his sophomore season, the expectations for Young are surprisingly high. Young started the first half of last season extremely slow. However, he came back after the All-Star break and absolutely erupted. He averaged 25.8 PPG, 9.0 APG and 4.4 RPG https://www.si.com/nba/2019/04/01/trae-young-luka-doncic-nba-rookie-year-race-awards. Young finished his rookie season averaging 19.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 8.1 APG https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/y/youngtr01.html.
Now as we look forward to the 2019-2020 season, Trae Young is looking to step up his game to another level. His lethal shooting ability is his biggest strength, but he also is a great floor general. It has even been reported that Young has gained 16 pounds of muscle this summer. https://www.cbssports.com/nba/video/kanell-bell-trae-young-gains-12-16-pounds-in-offseason/ which will give Young another tool to get to the basket with his newfound strength.
Shooting Guard – Kevin Huerter
The 6’7 two guard had a very surprising Rookie campaign. He started 59 games last year and averaged 9.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.9 APG https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/huertke01.html. His breakout season led him to be named to the All-Rookie second team. Although Huerter was not projected to be a starter for most of the season he proved to many NBA doubters that he could be an impactful role player. The Hawks also loved that he shot the three-ball at a 38% rate. Come next season Kevin Huerter will be better simply because of the continuity between him and Trae Young. The dynamic duo will only get better as time goes on.
Small Forward – De’Andre Hunter (Rookie)
With the fourth pick in the NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected De’Andre Hunter out of Virginia. With the addition of Hunter, the Hawks are inheriting a positionless player. This aspect of position-less basketball is the trend in today’s game. By having Hunter and Collins, well these two are interchangeable which will add another dimension to both sides of the court. This young promising Rookie has a lot of potential that could ultimately alter the future for the Atlanta Hawks in a good way.
Power Forward – John Collins
In just his second year, John Collins averaged 19.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/collijo01.html. Collins a do everything stretch four, who runs the floor, shoots the three and can create his own shot on the block. He flourished last season in the pick and roll with him and Trae Young running it as if they have been playing together for years. But that was the action that opened up the whole floor for not only John Collins and Young, but for the whole team. That is the impact that Collins has, he has the all-around game to have such an impact on the game and for his teammates. And for next season Collins will use his versatility as an advantage to try and propel the Hawks to the NBA playoffs.
Center – Alex Len
The big man is coming off his most successful season yet after putting up 11.1 PPG, and 5.5 RPG https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/lenal01.html. He is a great fit when it comes to the starting five for the Hawks because there is no pressure on Len to get his own shot. Where he does most of his damage is on the boards and on put backs. Which is a good thing for Trae Young and his backcourt mate Kevin Huerter. But for Len to be more impactful next season he will need to boost that 5.5 RPG number up to at least 9.5 to add extra possessions for the offense.
The Final Word
With the Atlanta Hawks being so young brings a bright future. However, the team is three years away from reaching its full potential. In due time and the growth of the young core will pay dividends down the line when it is time for the Playoffs. So, make no mistake this starting five will be intriguing to watch next season.