The Atlanta Hawks have much to prove this season and their win total reflects that challenge. Hawks finished the 2022-23 season winning and losing 41 games. They survived the NBA Play-In tournament and faced the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. They surprised Boston, taking two games, before ultimately succumbing in six.
Atlanta Hawks (Over/Under 42.5 Wins)
Key Adds - Patty Mills, Wesley Matthews
Key Losses - John Collins
After two seasons, Trae Young famously declared that he was tired of losing and wanted the team to surround him with the talent he needed to compete for a title. The Hawks went on to acquire the likes of Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic amongst others. Former General Manager Travis Schlenk was praised for his work during the 2020-21 offseason and the narrative was about a team on the rise.
Fast forward two years and the team appears to be stuck. Ownership has made it clear they will not go deep into the luxury tax for a team that doesn’t have championship aspirations. The trade for Dejounte Murray was far from a disaster but has yet to help propel them into serious contention. Young players such as Onyeka Okongwu and De’Andre Hunter are no longer seen as foundational pieces. Veterans such as Bogdanovic and Capela can still help a team, but their best basketball is behind them, and their bloated contracts are putting a strain on Atlanta’s books.
If you want to know where the Hawks currently stand, look no further than the John Collins situation. Collins is clearly a talented player but teams around the league questioned if he was worth both what the Hawks were asking for in a trade and the contract they would have to pay him. Ultimately, Atlanta moved off him for nothing more than some financial relief.
The city of Atlanta has also sobered on Trae Young being their best player. Few players are as exciting to watch as Young but it’s fair to question what the ceiling of the team is with Young at the helm. He certainly raises a team’s floor but other than a fluky playoff series against the Knicks, there is very little evidence to suggest he can be the best player on a championship-level team.
Long-term, Young’s future with the team is uncertain. There is a non-zero chance the Hawks quietly evaluate what his value on the market is and a player-for-player trade involving someone like Karl Anthony-Towns makes some sense. Trading a flawed star for another flawed star is likely a lateral move. If they can find a team that loves Young enough to lavish them with a ridiculous number of picks, the Hawks would be foolish to ignore the possibility. This team needs a reset and trading Young is the first step in accomplishing that. In the short term, there's very little reason for optimism. Quin Snyder is a good coach and will maximize every ounce of talent on this team. Unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans, that may not mean very much.
PREDICTION - UNDER 42.5 Wins