Atlanta Hawks: Biggest problem solved but regression still looms

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have gotten a ton of positive coverage going back to the latter stages of the regular season. Being scheduled to play on Christmas for the first time in over 30 years and landing 19 nationally televised games overall is a nice bow on a really good season. But eventually, the honeymoon ends.

We’re in the quiet part of the offseason. A lot of coverage changes over to next season while others are still sorting through this offseason; not every team is as settled as the Hawks are.

As such, you get the duality of the Hawks both solving their biggest problem area yet still being one of the hardest teams to forecast.

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First the good news: the Hawks did indeed solve their biggest need, per Bleacher Report. According to them, backup point guard was the issue for the Hawks.

It’s hard to disagree when you look at Trae Young’s on-off numbers over the years, particularly, his last two seasons.

For all of the attention paid to his poor defense, Young has more than made up for it offensively.

"“When a talent like Young takes a seat, the offense will inevitably lose some zip. But Atlanta’s attack has historically flatlined without him.Last season, when the Hawks had their deepest roster during Young’s three-year tenure, the offense fared 13.8 points worse per 100 possessions without him. The year prior, it was a 15.5-point swing in the wrong direction.Adding Lou Williams at last season’s trade deadline helped (as did the subtraction of Rajon Rondo in the same swap), but this offseason could prove to be the real problem solver. The Hawks fortified their backup floor general spot for now and later by trading for veteran Delon Wright and drafting 20-year-old shot-creator Sharife Cooper.”"

All of that is great. And, when added to what they did in the draft and also snagging Gorgui Dieng to back up Clint Capela while Onyeka Okongwu is on the mend, is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

So, naturally, reality has to set in. The Hawks were one of several teams to have a good offseason, many of which reside in the Eastern Conference and even their own division.

We’ve talked about how divisions don’t matter in the NBA until tiebreakers are needed.

Well, despite not seeming like a one-hit-wonder, the Hawks will have an uphill climb to return to the ECF. And we aren’t the only ones who think so.

"“I believe what Atlanta did is sustainable and even just the start of where this team is going. I could see them as a top-three seed. But they were a .500 team deep into the season and they relied more on individual shot-making under Nate McMillan, which is a breeding ground for regression if Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are not up for that again. If the Hawks fell toward a No. 7 or 8 seed, perhaps merely on account of other teams rising, it wouldn’t be terribly shocking.”"

To be fair, whatever is lost in the way of Gallinari and Williams (who will be in a reduced role this season anyway) should be offset by a healthy De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Next. Atlanta Hawks: Is a Cam Reddish breakout coming in Year 3?. dark

The point of the other teams improving still stands. But we wouldn’t count on the Hawks resting on their laurels either. Their young core in the NBA is a good bet for internal improvement.