The Atlanta Hawks splashed out over the offseason. After a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, they wanted to infuse their team with leadership as well as strengthen their defense. The Hawks managed to achieve these goals, so the question needs to be asked, why are NBA pundits still being cautious when it comes to the team?
Part of it seems to be a lack of belief in Trae Young. He has been an offensive dynamo since coming into the league and led the NBA in both points and assists last season. This led to him being named to his first All-NBA team, last season after being named to two All-Star teams in three seasons.
Still, if Young’s performance in the playoffs two seasons ago was not enough to convince people as to his talent, then surely the bounce-back effort this season will. That and the Hawks have loaded up on defense and veteran leadership which will mean that they are going to be a force.
Why are the Atlanta Hawks considered a sleeper this season?
There is still a level of unknown about the Hawks for this season. They have not had their starting five play meaningful basketball together so it is not easy to assess how they are going to mesh. However, the fact that they have been grouped with the Portland Trail Blazers as a sleeper is a little surprising. The Blazers have had a huge roster turnover and have their superstar coming back from injury.
The other teams on the list complied by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report are the Toronto Raptors, the Dallas Mavericks, and the New Orleans Pelicans. All of these teams were in the playoffs last season and most have projected to get better over the offseason with the moves that they have made.
It is this scribe’s belief that the Hawks are not a sleeper. Having watched them develop over the last few seasons there is no question that they will be a big player in the Eastern Conference this season.