Atlanta Hawks: The main story of the first game is about De’Andre Hunter

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks will open their season against the Dallas Mavericks in the next installment of the story between Trae Young and Luka Doncic. While this is going to be fascinating to watch, as it always is, the true story for the Hawks is going to be De’Andre Hunter.

Hunter started the 2020-21 season in a very strong manner. He was the second-best player on the Hawks squad, playing well enough to be considered the third cornerstone of the franchise. He was recently seen to be the most underrated player on the Hawks roster.

He is the team’s best on-ball defender, being the Hawks’ best option to take on some of the best wings in the game. The job he did against Julius Randle in the first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks was a defensive masterclass. The question will always remain in the minds of Hawks fans, would they have won the title last season with Hunter in the lineup?

De’Andre Hunter is crucial for the Atlanta Hawks stopping Luka Doncic

While Doncic plays the point guard position, he is 6’7″ and can shoot from anywhere in the front third of the court. This is not a combination that a lot of players have the ability to defend which means that this will not be a head-to-head battle between Doncic and Young.

If Hunter is back to his defensive best, then this will go a long way towards a Hawks win. If you decrease Doncic’s influence on the game then you, then the Mavericks usually lose. He also seems to take it a little personally when a player is getting the better of him and tries to take the defender on. This has the impact of sidelining his teammates to an extent.

Next. Revisiting the Luka Doncic/Trae Young trade. dark

The other main storyline for Hunter is to see how he gets through the game. Hunter is a vital piece of the Hawks championship puzzle and as such needs to be on the court at the business end of the season. It will be interesting to see how his surgically repaired knee holds up as he starts the NBA grind, particularly as he has been nursed through training camp.