Last season there were a number of questions surrounding the Atlanta Hawks‘ starting lineup, particularly on the defensive end. As a result, the Hawks made a number of intelligent moves which not only helped their starting unit but also helped their reserve unit defense.
Of last season’s starting unit the Hawks are bringing back four players. These are Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, and Clint Capela. Kevin Huerter was the fifth member of that starting unit when the season ended, but he was one of the trades. The Hawks sent him to the Sacramento Kings to improve their depth and defense at the wing position.
To replace him, the Hawks traded Danilo Gallinari to the San Antonio Spurs, receiving Dejounte Murray in return. While they only replaced the one starter, Murray will have a massive impact on this team with his defense and playmaking on offense. He will also impact the Hawks in many other, possibly surprising areas.
So where do the Atlanta Hawks rank with their new starting lineup?
According to Bleacher Report scribe Greg Swartz, the Hawks starting lineup is good enough for sixth in the Eastern Conference. This is a step up given that the Hawks had the 26th-ranked defense last season. The main reason for this is the addition of Murray.
Swartz suggests that the Hawks starting lineup is better than the eighth-placed Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors who are ranked seventh. This feels right as the Hawks have very few weaknesses in their lineup, notably Young’s defense and Capela’s inability to create his own offense.
The five teams ranked above the Hawks all have some special talent. The Brooklyn Nets have three All-Stars and a former 3-point champion in their starting lineup. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who rank fourth now, boast two All-Stars but the question is, how will their chemistry be with Mitchell only just joining the team?
The next two teams both have tremendous credentials the Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA champions from two seasons ago the Milwaukee Bucks. The top starting lineup in the East is last year’s Finalists, the Boston Celtics. With the exception of the 76ers who have a good team on paper, but have yet to get out of the second round, these teams are proven quality units.
There is scope for the Hawks to move up this list if they click. Sixth is the springboard for what the Hawks hope will be a very successful season.