Hawks: How many wins should Atlanta fans expect in the first 20 games?

Hawks have fourth-best lottery odds right now

In a season shortened to 72 games due to COVID implications, every matchup means a little bit more. Expectations for the Hawks are sky high after Atlanta’s free-agency spending spree. I broke down what each addition brings to the table here, and a team that was one of the thinnest in the NBA is now incredibly deep. Lloyd Pierce’s job may very well be on the line if the Hawks miss the playoffs, and after a lackluster preseason defensively — let’s hope they were just shaking off the rust after a nine-month layoff. One last plug — I broke down some of the impact players from the preseason here. Atlanta’s schedule actually isn’t too bad to begin the season, and I think the Hawks can get off to a hot start.


12/23 @ Chicago

12/26 @ Memphis

12/28 v Detroit

12/30 @ Brooklyn

1/1 @ Brooklyn

1/2 v Cleveland

1/4 v New York

1/6 v Charlotte

1/9 @ Charlotte

1/11 v Philadelphia

1/13 @ Phoenix

1/15 @ Utah

1/16 @ Portland

1/18 v Minnesota

1/20 v Detroit

1/22 @ Minnesota

1/24 @ Milwaukee

1/26 v LA Clippers

1/27 v Brooklyn

1/29 @ Washington


There’s a brutal stretch in there when Atlanta will play at Phoenix, Utah, and Portland after what’s sure to be a tough home game against the 76ers (who may have James Harden by then). Drawing the Nets three times is no fun, especially with KD & Kyrie both healthy. However, there are a handful of winnable games on the early part of the schedule.

The Hawks have zero business losing to the Knicks, Bulls, Wizards, Timberwolves, Pistons, Cavs, or Hornets anymore — these are must win games for playoff teams. I’m sure Atlanta will slip up here and there, but it’s key that they get some big victories in games they aren’t “supposed” to win. Taking two out of three from the Nets or upsetting the Bucks or Clippers will be a monumental step forward, and I think this team is perfectly capable. 

If the Hawks are truly chugging along and taking care of business by playing their best basketball, they can go 12-8 or better. That would put them on pace for about 40 wins, which is where I think they will finish. As we saw with the Braves, a hot start in a short season is essential. The Hawks have to take care of the gutter teams and find a way to split with the teams that are vying for playoff spots. That’s just how good teams operate in the NBA. Anything under .500 through 20 games would be a massive disappointment and could cost Atlanta a playoff spot going forward. However, who knows how long it might take for all these new pieces to develop chemistry and start winning consistently. 

My predictions are:


Bulls, Pistons, Nets, Cavs, Knicks, Hornets, 76ers, Suns, Timberwolves, Pistons, Clippers, Wizards


Grizzlies, Nets, Hornets, Jazz, Blazers, Timberwolves, Bucks, Nets

Record through 20 games: 12-8

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