Hawks: Predicting the first ten games of the 2022-2023 season

Atlanta Hawks Trae Young

The Hawks are tipping off the season on Wednesday, and expectations are sky high — especially after Atlanta sent a boatload of picks to acquire Trae Young‘s new backcourt mate Dejounte Murray. Murray should bring some much needed defense and provide Atlanta with a secondary ball handler, two very sore spots for the Hawks last season. Chemistry can be off a little whenever a new player comes into the fold, but will the Hawks gel immediately? Their schedule is pretty favorable to get off to a strong start:

Atlanta looked pretty good in the preseason — especially the starters. However, the preseason is the preseason. What will their record be through 10 games?

 

Game 1: vs. Houston Rockets

Atlanta gets the rebuilding Houston Rockets on opening night. Jalen Green has a ton of potential, and he’s surrounded by some nice young pieces. Green averaged 17.3 points per game as a rookie, which is impressive considering how bad he was to start the season. Murray will likely be handling Green, so the Hawks should be able to take care of a promising, but still below average team.

Prediction: Win

 

Game 2: vs. Orlando Magic

The Magic are similar to the Rockets, but they appear to be further along in their rebuild. Orlando has a deep roster full of young talent, and divisional games are always a little quirky. The Magic feature a strong frontcourt of Mo Bamba and rookie Paolo Banchero. They should also be getting one of the better defenders in the league in Jonathan Isaac back after a long battle with injury. I actually think the Magic will be solid this year, but I still think the Hawks are a class above and get a close win at home.

Prediction: Win

 

Game 3: vs. Hornets

The Hornets were a promising team last year, but they have been absolutely ravaged by controversy in the offseason. James Bouknight, Montrezl Harrell, and Miles Bridges — all key players from last year — have had legal issues this offseason. Harrell is now in Philadelphia, and Bridges is a free agent. Charlotte took a big step back this offseason, but they did add promising rookie Mark Williams, and LaMelo Ball is an MVP candidate. With too much going on, I think the Hawks get off to a 3-0 start.

Prediction: Win

 

Games 4 & 5: @ Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are going to be an interesting team in 2022-2023. They could contend for a playoff spot, or just be the same old Pistons. They are led by Cade Cunningham, one of the best rookies in the entire NBA last season. Marvin Bagley III, who was fantastic after being traded from the Kings, will miss up to a month with a knee injury. The Pistons have my favorite rookie from the 2022 Draft in Jaden Ivey, and he could be the X-Factor that gets them to the playoffs. This isn’t a great roster, but they are sneaky. I think the Hawks get a split on the road.

Prediction: Win & Loss

 

Game 6: @ Bucks

The Hawks get their toughest test of the season with the best player in basketball Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Hawks gave the Bucks a fight in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, but Giannis ultimately proved to be too much. Onyeka Okongwu had some big stops against Giannis, but you can only hope to contain him for so long. The Bucks still have a great roster, and on the road, I think the Hawks drop a close one — even after getting the best of Milwaukee in the preseason

Prediction: Loss

 

Game 7: @ Raptors

The Toronto Raptors gave the Hawks fits last season, and they’re still one of the more underrated teams in basketball. 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes is a rising star, and the Raptors keep finding pieces to keep them relevant almost out of nowhere. The Hawks went 1-3 against Toronto last year, and at least early in the season, that trend continues.

Prediction: Loss

 

Game 8: @ Knicks

Trae Young’s rivalry with the Knicks is well documented. I’m a little higher on the Knicks than most with Jalen Brunson signing a big deal, especially with RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley taking big steps last season. Even though Young embarrassed the Knicks in the 2021 playoffs, New York held a seven game win streak against Atlanta until March 22nd, their last meeting. The Knicks thrashed an injured Hawks squad on Christmas Day, and I think the Hawks get their revenge here.

Prediction: Win

 

Game 9: vs. Pelicans

New Orleans is one of the biggest question marks coming into the season. They could contend for a Western Conference title with Zion Williamson, or they could disappoint in a big way. The Hawks had won six in a row against New Orleans before their most recent meeting, but these are completely different teams with these squads only seeing each other twice a season. New Orleans has two fantastic defenders in Jose Alvarado and Herb Jones, along with the scoring firepower to dominate a game. I think the Hawks win a VERY close one at home here.

Prediction: Win

 

Game 10: vs. Bucks

The Bucks and Hawks get two of their four meetings out of the way in the first ten games, which could be beneficial for Atlanta. This time, Coach Bud comes back to State Farm Arena. This one is going to be a huge litmus test for the Hawks, and I think they handle the Bucks at home and get some real national attention to send the season series to 1-1.

Prediction: Win

Overall Record: 7-3

Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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