Atlanta Hawks 2022/2023 Season Preview
The Hawks enter the 2022/2023 season following a disappointing outing in their last campaign. After making the Conference Finals the year prior, the Hawks simply failed to fire for the majority of the season. The new season brings hope however as the squad has made several personnel changes they hope can propel them up the standings.
DeJounte Murray, a first-time All-Star last season with the Spurs, was acquired via trade on June 30th and gives face of the franchise Trae Young a dynamic back-court partner. Murray offers an equally effective, though aesthetically different, and consistent game on offense, while also potentially covering some of Young’s deficiencies on the defensive end. Other notable additions include both Justin and Aaron Holiday to offer depth at the guard position, as well as Maurice Harkless who offers defensive versatility at either forward spot.
I won’t lie, however, and say I’m not worried about the Young and Murray fit in the back-court. Trae is a ball-dominant point who’s shooting range and elite play-making offer so much that it’s hard to know if his production will take a dive with Murray on the team given he is also at his best with ball in hand. I assume Coach Nate McMillan will stagger their minutes as much as possible to ensure there is a viable initiator on the floor at all times, but when they do share the court, there could be problems around one of them feeling left out of the action.
DeJounte Murray joins Trae Young in the back-court for the Hawks this upcoming season, but I have reservations around how the pair will co-exist. Credit: Fox News
I fully expect Trae to be used as a decoy when off-ball to create space and opportunities for his teammates, as well as hopefully be on the end of some easy looks courtesy of Murray’s play-making however, which should result in an increase in efficiency, even if the shot totals take a dip.
There is no doubt the Hawks have a more talented roster overall than they did last season. They’ll also be hoping that De’Andre Hunter can play in more than 53 games this season, and that John Collins will play more than 54 and have his shooting form return to his 2020/2021 levels after it cooled off slightly last season. If that happens, despite my reservations about the back-court pairing of Young and Murray, they should see a small rise up the standings.
Ceiling: 5th seed.
Floor: 9th seed.