Is It “Playoffs or Bust” for Atlanta Hawks in 2019-20?

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A quick look at whether next season will be deemed a failure if the Atlanta Hawks do not make the NBA Playoffs following the 2019-20 regular season.

After a promising start to the team’s “new era,” the Atlanta Hawks head into the 2019-20 season with all the promise of a young team with nothing to prove, though the narrative around the team has changed somewhat since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Since NBA fans have seen young players help carry a team to playoff success in years past (Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a lesser extent), Atlanta Hawks fans are clamoring for this young, fun, lovable team to take the next step and make the playoffs in 2019-20?

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Is that a possibility?

Certainly, anything is possible in the bonkers environment of the NBA in the year 2019, but with a young team that will likely play three untested rookies big minutes next year (De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Bruno Fernando), is aiming for the playoffs too lofty a goal for this young team that’s still on the rise?

The Atlanta Hawks 2019-20 season will still be a success even if the team doesn’t make the playoffs as long as the young players continue to improve and the rookies are integrated well into head coach Lloyd Pierce’s offensive and defensive systems.

Last year, Pierce’s system led to improvement for John Collins and perfect implementation with Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. As long as the team continues its logical progressions and the rookies seem to slide in well alongside the already-integrated young players, the 2019-20 season will be a triumph.

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Of course, making the playoffs in 2019-20 would be an absolute joy to behold and show that General Manager Travis Schlenk’s process is truly coming to fruition. Even if it is slightly ahead of schedule, perhaps that would help light a fire under the young guns to continue to improve so that they can reach the pinnacle of the NBA sooner rather than later.