The Hawks finished the preseason 1-4, and much like any other sport, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. They had some guys exceed expectations, and others fall short, so let’s break down who shined and who needs to get right before the regular season.
Winner: DeAndre Bembry
Possibly the biggest winner of the preseason, Bembry was fighting for playing time coming into the 2019-2020 campaign. He showed up, posting 9.2 points per contest in 24 minutes. Bembry shot 33% from three with about six boards, three assists, and two steals per game. These aren’t eye-popping numbers, but he ranked 3rd on the team in rebounds, 3rd in assists, 3rd in blocks, 2nd in steals, and 3rd in minutes. In his best game against Miami, Bembry posted a 13/5/3 line after a 16/3/3 performance against New Orleans. If he can consistently record numbers like this off of the bench, he could become a valuable piece to the Hawks beyond this season.
Loser: Father Time
Vince Carter and Tom Brady, the only guys to absolutely whip the clock. Averaging 8.4 points in 16.4 minutes to go along with an eye-popping 44% three-point percentage, Vince is flipping the script on being known as a guy who just had hops. His long-range shot has been improving each season, and it looks as if he’s still going to be giving this team quality minutes, as well as mentoring Atlanta’s youthful core. Shooting 49% will play, especially on this paper-thin Hawks bench.
Winner: Jabari Parker
Former 2nd overall pick Jabari Parker has been bounced around after a couple of ACL injuries in Milwaukee, and he’s settled in nicely for the Hawks so far. He put up 11.4 points in 22.5 minutes, but what’s more impressive is him being 2nd on the team in rebounds with 7.4 (0.1 behind John Collins for 1st). Big man depth is sorely needed with Bruno Fernando developing and Dewayne Dedmon off to Sacramento. If he can snatch seven boards a game off of the bench and score 11, I’ll take that every day of the week.
Loser: DeAndre Hunter Doubters
DeAndre Hunter looked like a rookie, but a pretty good one at that. He played in four games, and this was the stat line.
11.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 56% FG, 47% 3P in 22.7 MPG.
These numbers didn’t set the world on fire, but they’re a tremendous start for a rookie who was playing good defense every time he was on the floor. The shooting percentages really pop; he was efficient when he took shots and showed an ability to defer to the vets with two assists per game. He looks ready for the starting role, and I think he’s going to continue to better himself all season.
Winner: Trae Young
Trae Young will always be a winner in our eyes. He did what he had to do this preseason, posting 16.8 points, five rebounds, and 6.6 assists. He looks ready for the regular season and will be in the All-Star conversation. I think he blows by these preseason numbers, posting something closer to 21/5/9.
Loser: Backup Guards
As good as Trae looked, Evan Turner & Brandon Goodwin had uninspiring preseasons, to say the least.
Evan Turner: 3.0 PPG, 25% FG, 0% 3P, 2.0 RPB, 1.7 APG in 10.1 MPG. (3 Games)
Brandon Goodwin: 3.8 PPG, 24% FG, 25% 3P, 0.8 RPG, 2.0 APG in 13.8 MPG (4 Games)
The backup point guard role was already a sore spot going into this offseason. I fully expected the Hawks to use a 2nd round pick on a senior college point guard (think a Jalen Brunson or Seth Curry type player, I also wanted Carsen Edwards, but hey.. what can you do). They decided to roll the dice with Turner after getting him in exchange for Kent Bazemore. Turner’s $18.6 million will be off the books after this season, and I expect the Hawks to target a secondary ball-handler next draft, neither of these guys is the answer so far.