Atlanta has went from laughing stock to playoff team in the matter of five seasons. They have built their team through the draft and hiring head coach Mike Woodson has improved this team greatly. Can the Hawks surpass Boston or Cleveland this season? Is Jeff Teague a potential Rookie Of The Year candidate? Is Horford/Smith/Williams the best young front-court in the league? Here is our 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Atlanta Hawks.
Additions/Subtractions – Atlanta seems to have finally turned the corner and became a perennial playoff team. They didn’t make too many moves this off-season, in hopes of their young talent developing. They did trade Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to Golden State for guard Jamal Crawford. They also improved their back-court by signing Juan Dixon and drafting Jeff Teague. They are building around their young talent and their team is shaping up pretty well.
2009-10 Expectations – The Hawks had one of their best seasons since Dominique Wilkins was winning slam-dunk contests. They hope to build on a 47-35 season last year and make a leap into the 2nd-round of the playoffs and beyond. A potential starting line-up of Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford gives them one of the best line-ups in the East. When you add in Jeff Teague into the mix, they have one of the youngest and best rotations. I really like them this year and could surprise some people. They are in the 2nd-tier of good teams in the East and they could possibly move into the same conversation as Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston. If everyone can stay healthy, this team can do some major things this year.
2009-10 Predictions – Jeff Teague was a steal where Atlanta drafted him. He will be the future point guard of the Hawks and a season under the wing of Bibby can only make him better. He will be a first-team All-Rookie and will finish in the top-5 in the Rookie Of The Year voting. Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Joe Johnson will have career years and possibly two of the three will be named to the All-Star team. They will improve on their 47 win total last year and if everyone can stay healthy, their ceiling of wins could be around 55 this year. Don’t sleep on Atlanta, they will have a great year, if only they can get some fans in the Atlanta area to go to games.
2009-10 Win Total – 53-29