The Hawks were atrocious to watch on offense a season ago. They made moves to be even worse for the 2018-2019 season. The main transaction being the trade of Dennis Schroder to Oklahoma City.
Schroder led the team in scoring, assists and frankly was the only player on the team that could be relied on to create offense on a consistent basis. Atlanta will struggle mightily at putting up points, but somebody has to shoulder the load now that Dennis as headed for greener pastures.
In year two, Prince really started making strides towards becoming a solid NBA starter. He started in all 82 games and became a reliable scorer from the wing, averaging 14.1 points on 42.6% shooting. The most exciting part is his development from behind the arc, which was a question mark after his rookie season. He shot 38.5% from three a year ago, showing glimpses of why the Hawks traded up to draft him.
He adds that three-point shot to a long, athletic build that can finish around the rim. His quick development on the offensive side so far leaves hope that he can develop into a player that can score twenty points on any given night. Prince is going to have every opportunity to step up and prove to the organization he is a piece worth keeping through this rebuild.
2018-2019 stat predictions: 13.8 points on 40.4% shooting, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists
Explanation: The third-year small-forward is going to be relied on to score the ball more this season. That does not always transfer to efficiency. His scoring numbers are going to remain similar, but counting on his three-point percentage to be as high is wishful thinking. The coaching change could also play a factor for Prince, who was hand-picked by Budenholzer when he was the President of Basketball Operations.
The biggest questions for Lin surround his health. Returning from the knee injury that ended his last season is one thing; proving that he can still play at a high-level is something totally different. Linsanity may have only lasted 25 games in New York, but Lin has produced offensively everywhere he has gone. On a Hawks team with limited scoring options, a healthy Lin could prove to be the most explosive scorer.
Even though he has only played in 37 games over the last two seasons for the Nets, Lin averaged 14.6 points per game on 43.7% shooting. He has always been reliable from the three-point line, making them at a 35% clip for his career. The Hawks are going to want to give Trae Young a lot of minutes as a rookie, but Lin’s ability to play the two-guard will allow him to stay on the floor. He should be a major contributor with the ball in his hands for Atlanta.
2018-2019 stat predictions: 14.2 points on 43.6% shooting, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists
Explanation: Lin has been a double-digit scorer ever since he broke out with New York, so it’s no fluke he is still getting paid in the NBA. It is also no coincidence he seems to do his best work when nobody’s watching. There aren’t going to be a lot of people paying attention to the Hawks this year. As long as Lin can come back and stay healthy, he should put together a really nice year.
Predicting how Trae Young is going to perform his rookie season is virtually impossible. That does not mean I’m not going to try. I happen to be on the Young bandwagon for a number of reasons. The first of which is what we have seen from him on the court. This guy was a living highlight reel in high-school and did not miss a beat when he went to college, leading the nation in scoring and assists.
Another thing to love about Trae Young is his mindset. The lights have been shining in his eyes for years now, and he’s responded by doing the one thing he does best, ball. I’m aware of all the critiques about his size and his defense. But if there is one thing this guy can do, it is create offense, and he is going do that from the start in the NBA.
2018-2019 stat predictions: 15.7 points on 38.9% shooting, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.7 assists
Explanation: As good as Young is on offense, his rookie season will still come with some growing pains. They can be seen in the poor shooting numbers, which were common for him even in the summer league. He is a high-volume scorer, and with the Hawks having very little to lose the season, they should be open to letting Young pull the trigger as much as he wants. His assists numbers could be even higher than predicted, but I expect them to come with a fair amount of turnovers.
Entering his second season, John Collins is the Hawks’ best player. Admittedly, that is a bit of a sad fact, but it also shows how much promise this young man possesses. His most noticeable attribute remains his athleticism. He is a walking posterizer, but his overall offensive development is what should have Hawks fans giddy.
At 6’10”, he has already proven to have a terrific mid-range game and will stretch out to more of a three-point shooter from this year on. On 47 attempts as a rookie, Collins shot 34% from behind the arc, which is a nice start for a player who was not a three-point shooter in college. The Wake Forest product was dominant in summer league, working primarily on his jump shot. He is poised for a magnificent season as the Hawks go-to scorer.
2018-2019 stat predictions: 16.9 points on 54.3% shooting, 9.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists
Explanation: Most of the jump is statistics will come from Collins being on the floor more. Last year, he only started in twenty-six games and averaged 24.1 minutes per contest. Even still, he was not too far off from averaging a double-double. As he becomes a starter in his second season, the Hawks will be looking for him to score early and often. And while increased minutes will obviously lead to better numbers, Collins’s improvement as a scorer will also be evident in his sophomore campaign. It will not just be dunks and layups.