With every new season comes renewed hope and optimism about the 82-plus games that lie ahead, and the Atlanta Hawks have every reason to have those same feelings.
Their relatively tame offseason has left them with questions, sure. But none so daunting that it feels like it should be an insurmountable obstacle, even if it means making additional moves to address it.
Coming off of a 41-41 season, expectations are modest in many league circles. But the Hawks have high expectations for themselves with Dejounte Murray saying the Play-In Tournament is not an option and Trae Young saying he believes the dynamic backcourt can be “special” together.
There are a select few things that will derail the good vibes, though, and fast.
1)Hawks must avoid a slow start
Nothing ruins a team’s high hopes faster than getting out of the blocks slowly. The Hawks avoided that last season, winning seven of their first 10 games last season. Things got a bit hectic from there as they won just four times in their next 11 tries.
Changes to the front office and coaching staff ensued as they failed to pull themselves out of their tailspin the rest of the way.
They also finished the season on a similar note, though it felt different by all accounts.
With road games in six of their first 10 games this coming season – and two of their three home games in that span coming against playoff teams – it’s not going to be easy by any means. The Hawks were 17-24 away from State Farm Arena and 21-25 against teams with .500 records or better last season.
Those two trends will need to change, not only because that’s what winning teams do. But also if the Hawks want to avoid falling into the trap of our next scenario.