Atlanta Hawks Over 42.5 wins
The Atlanta Hawks come into the 2023-2024 NBA season projected at 42.5 wins. This Hawks team was in the Eastern Conference Finals 3 seasons ago but have lost in the first round the last two years. The loss of John Collins to the Utah Jazz will allow several young backcourt players to slide into the rotation in his place. The emergence of Jalen Johnson and A.J. Griffin, the continued support from Okungwu, and hopefully more development shown from Bey and Hunter.
The Hawks backcourt is in great hands led by Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, a pair that compliment each other nicely in theory. Trae Young will need to move more off the ball this year, which we’ve seen in the pre-season as a focus, and potentially contribute something more than nothing on the defensive end. I love the idea of Young and the other playmakers running pick and roll with the bountiful options for lobs and shooters surrounding them. The narrative around Young has gotten to a place of near disrespect. He is the only player over the last 3 seasons to accumulate 5,000 points and 2,000 assists. Young certainly has flaws but is a tremendous offensive player that can shoot and create with the best of them. Murray and Patty Mills will allow Young to play off the ball more, while Bogey and Wesley Matthews will provide additional shooting off the bench. First round draft choice, Kobe Bufkin, will look to work his way into an already guard-heavy rotation.
Quin Snyder leads this group and is a phenomenal coach, particularly in regards to winning in the regular season, and will have a sense of continuity with this group in his first full year with them. This is a deep group with several young players still looking to prove something and carve a larger piece of the rotation out. They are young, athletic, able to shoot, deep, and will move forward with a team very similar to years previous. I love the over at 42.5 wins, and I can easily see a top 5 seed or better if things go really well.