The NBA is back this week, and the Atlanta Hawks have a ton of expectations heading into the 2022-23 season after acquiring Dejounte Murray this offseason, giving Trae Young the first All-Star teammate of his career. As we head into the highly anticipated Hawks season, we are going to predict the best and worst scenarios for the team.
The best-case scenario for the Hawks is probably the No. 3 or 4 seed. With the addition of Murray, the Hawks should have enough firepower to compete with the Celtics and Bucks of the NBA. However, it’ll take immediate cohesion from Murray and Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter to be more consistent, and injury luck with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and John Collins.
In my opinion, chemistry will be the most significant factor in the Hawks reaching their goals this season. Nate McMillan has been known to bring in wholesale lineup changes instead of staggering his stars’ minutes. Keeping one of Murray or Young on the floor at all times will be paramount in the Hawks’ success this season.
Worst-case scenarios generally entail abysmal injury luck. And the Atlanta Hawks would be severely hampered if any of Young, Murray, Collins, or Capela went down for an extended period of time. Depending on who went down and how long, the Hawks may struggle to make it as a No. 6 seed or worse. Atlanta could be in a similar position as they were last year in the play-in if things go really bad.
A close second in this scenario is chemistry once again. If, for some reason, the Hawks cannot figure out proper rotations with Young and Murray, it could create tension. However, I have hard time believing they won’t be able to co-exist.
The most likely outcome will be somewhere in the middle — Nos. 5-7 seed in the Eastern Conference. The East is going to be extremely competitive this season, so that kind of placement in the postseason isn’t nearly as disappointing as it might’ve been in other years. I’d expect the Atlanta Hawks to win around 50 games this season, but with the East as deep as it’s been in years, that might not be anything more than the No. 5 seed.
Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire