Atlanta Hawks

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The Atlanta Hawks struggled to find the win column in the 2019-20 season, finishing 20-47 in the regular season (13th in the Eastern Conference and last in the Southeast Division). The team ranked last in the league in three-point field goal percentage, 24th in effective field goal percentage and were in the bottom third of the league in rebounding.

Under Head Coach Lloyd Pierce, Atlanta ran one of the fastest-paced offenses in the league, averaging 103 possessions per 48 minutes. Pierce has a W-L record of 49-100 in two seasons.

The Hawks have the sixth and 50th picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, scheduled for Oct. 16. The team has been cited as a likely candidate to make a draft day trade.

Atlanta has not been to the playoffs since 2017. They had appeared in the playoffs for 10 straight seasons prior.

Current Team

Atlanta was the youngest team in the league this season. It boasts a core lineup centered around rising star Trae Young, who will enter his third season in the league next season. Young averaged 29.6 points per game (ppg) to lead the team this this season. He shot 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from three while dishing 9.3 assists per game (apg).

Young’s percentage from three might not jump off the stat sheet but his ability to space the floor as a threat from deep opens things up for teammates. He led the league in long attempts from three (shot 27-feet or deeper) this season, and in a league where the three-point line is more of a suggestion, Young is considered one of the best at stretching a defense.

John Collins was second on the team in scoring in 2019-20. He averaged a double-double with 21.6 ppg on 58 percent shooting (led team) and 10.1 rebounds per game (which led the team). On Feb. 22, Collins matched his career high scoring mark with 35 points against the Dallas Mavericks; he also grabbed 17 boards in the 111-107 Atlanta win.

The addition of Clint Capela will be key to the Hawks changing fortune next season. Atlanta gave up the most points in the paint last season and were near the bottom of the league in defensive rebounding. Its 114.8 points allowed per 100 possessions was fourth worst in the NBA.

Capela has yet to make his debut with the Hawks after a four-team trade sent him from Houston to Atlanta before the trade deadline in February. He spent the latter half of the season recovering from a heel injury. Capela averaged 13.8 rpg and 1.8 blocks with Houston this season.

The Hawks could have an emerging wing defender in Cam Reddish, whose 62 steals were second among rookies. After a solid outing in his debut, scoring 11 points on 57.1 percent shooting in just 15 minutes against New Orleans, Reddish struggled to find his footing. After a lull, Reddish broke out in a 135-127 loss to Milwaukee. He posted 17 points and went 3-3 from downtown. His rookie campaign was riddled with peaks and valleys but Reddish showed he has ability as a two-way player, if he can find consistency in his offensive game.

Vince Carter is among the key departures from the roster for the upcoming season. Carter announced his retirement on June 25, ending his 22 year career. He averaged 5 points in 14.6 minutes per game this season.

Team History

The Atlanta Hawks franchise joined the NBA in 1949 as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. The team was briefly coached by Roger Potter but Potter was replaced by Red Auerbach after six games. Auerbach left the Blackhawks to join the Boston Celtics the following season (and the rest is history).

The Hawks moved from their home in Atlanta to Milwaukee in 1951. They remained there until 1955 before relocating to St. Louis in 1955. The following year, St. Louis drafted Bill Russell with the second pick in the draft. The Hawks traded Russell to Boston for center Ed Macauley. Russell would be named Most Valuable Player five times and lead Boston to 11 championships.

The franchise made its first finals appearance in 1957 but lost to Boston. The Hawks defeated the Celtics in the finals the next season. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in game six to close out the series with a 110-109 win. The team appeared in the finals two more times, losing in both 1959-60 and 1960-61.

In 1968, the Hawks were sold to new ownership which included former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders. The team returned home to Atlanta that year and has remained ever since. The Hawks are currently owned by Tony Ressler, who purchased the team for $730 million in 2015.

Notable Players

Dominique Wilkins leads the franchise in several categories including scoring (23,292), game played (882), and minutes played (32,545). A two-time dunk contest champion and 1986 scoring champion, the “Human Highlight Film” averaged more than 20 ppg for 11 straight seasons. He played for the Hawks from 1982-94 after being drafted out of Georgia, and led Atlanta to four straight 50-win seasons.

Bob Pettit is second all-time in scoring for the Hawks. He scored 20,880 points and leads in rebounds with 12,849. Pettit was the 1954 Rookie of the Year and at one time held the record for most points scored in league history. Pettit’s scoring record was broken by Wilt Chamberlain on Feb. 14, 1966.

Tree Rollins has the most blocks with 2,282 blocks, followed by 1,440 by Josh Smith and 1,094 by Dikembe Mutombo.

Mutombo won two Defensive Player of the Year awards with the Hawks (1996-97, 1997-98). He averaged more than three blocks and 11 rebounds per game both seasons. “Mt. Mutombo’s” 4.49 bpg in the 1995-96 season ranks sixth all time.

Doc Rivers leads the franchise with 3,866 assists. Mookie Blaylock has the most steals with 1,321.