Atlanta Hawks: Exploring Playoff Picture for 2019-20

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

A quick look at the Atlanta Hawks schedule as it pertains to a possible playoff chase in the 2019-20 season.

The Atlanta Hawks have not been to the playoffs since the 2016-17 season, which was typified by the ill-conceived Dwight Howard experiment and Paul Millsap’s final year in Atlanta.

Though two recent projections by ESPN and BBall Index do not put much stock into the team’s status as playoff contenders in 2019-20, what does the team’s schedule look like from that perspective?

October’s slate of games features matchups against the Orlando Magic, who had the Hawks’ number last year, as well as the Philadelphia 76ers, who added quite a few new players – including notable Hawks killer Josh Richardson.

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In November, the team’s schedule picks up considerably and from November 10 to November 20, the Atlanta Hawks will play consecutively against the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, the Phoenix Suns (a brief respite against a team the Hawks beat two times out of two last year), then close it out with three games against the LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

If the Hawks can make it through a tough November with a passable record, their schedule softens up somewhat against easier competition in December and January such as the Charlotte Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

If the team is able to tread water (or better) all the way past the All-Star break, the Atlanta Hawks schedule for March is fairly cushy. From March 2 to March 20, the Hawks only play one team that made the playoffs last year, the OKC Thunder, but that team was completely demolished in the offseason, so that should be an easier proposition than it used to be.

To close out the season in April, the Hawks start with a home/road back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets and end their season against the Cleveland Cavaliers – a game that might be of great importance if there is a cluster of teams in contention for a playoff spot in the lower reaches of the Eastern Conference.

Could the Atlanta Hawks make the playoffs next season? Sure! Is it likely? Probably not, but if the rookies can come in immediately to impact winning, then the team’s turnaround might be more rapid than expected.

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Either way, the season can’t get here soon enough!