The Hawks cruised to a 20-point win on the road over the Bulls Wednesday night — a victory that featured an 83-point offensive clinic in the first half and seven players finishing in double figures for scoring. Perhaps the most impressive part about the outing was that many of Atlanta’s key pieces were not available. Clint Capela, rookie first-round selection Onyeka Okongwu, Rajon Rondo, and Kris Dunn did not play. It emphasized the incredible amount of weapons on the Hawks roster — something that hasn’t been said in quite some time. If NBA teams weren’t already aware of Atlanta after all of their offseason acquisitions, Wednesday’s performance should let everyone know this team is serious about not only reaching the playoffs but making some noise when they get there.
No rust for Trae Young after the long layoff
After not playing a meaningful game in over nine months, it’s fair to wonder how some guys will look out of the gate. As far as Trae Young is concerned, it was a non-issue. He put together possibly the best performance of his career, scoring 37 points on just 12 shots. The list of players since the shot clock era to score that many points on just 12 field goal attempts? Trae Young — that’s the list. Young also added seven dimes and exited the game after just 26 minutes. It’s only one game, but I have no problem saying he has a legit shot at putting together an MVP campaign in just his third season.
This depth is going to be fun
I briefly talked in the open about all the players the Hawks were missing, and they still looked miles deeper than they have been over the three previous seasons. The starters were outstanding — every one of them finished in double digits despite none playing more than 26 minutes — and Bogdan Bogdanović and Kevin Huerter provided a lot of scoring off the bench. When everyone gets healthy, this is going to be really fun, and that kind of competition for minutes is only going to make the Hawks that much better.
Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter are going to be a problem
The Hawks two top-ten picks from last year’s draft improved throughout last season, and after a long offseason, they came out with energy and confidence on both sides of the court. It was also telling that Lloyd Pierce chose to go with both of them in the starting lineup, leaving Bogdanović and Huerter to come off the bench. Hunter finished the game with 11 points, missing only one shot from the field. Reddish chipped in 15 points on 6-11 shooting. Jake’s coined the term “Lloyd Leap,” referring to the jump players seem to take in their second season under coach Pierce. It happened for John Collins, then Trae Young; if Reddish and Hunter experience something similar, the Hawks will go from bottom feeder to elite status in the Eastern Conference overnight.
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