The Hawks were quietly an elite team after Nate McMillan took over as head coach in March, and they let the world know it with a charmed run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Trae Young looked like a legitimate superstar in the playoffs, and the Hawks’ depth really shined through. Everyone is back again this year with a few improvements to the bench. The Hawks feel like a team that could eventually package some of their depth for another superstar, but for now they’re still a top team in the East built around Young.
NBA Championship. As a team that made it to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Hawks ‘best case’ would be taking the next step and making the NBA Finals. While it may not happen, anything less will be disappointment for a team that returns all key contributors from their 2020-21 postseason run.
Finishing below the sixth seed and having to participate in the play-in to get into the postseason. This likely only happens if the Hawks are ravaged by injuries to key players. Ideally the Hawks would be more healthy than they were last season on their way to another guaranteed spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Finishing as a top-3 seed in the East and going at the very least to the second round of the playoffs. There are question at the top of the East. What are the 76ers doing with Ben Simmons? Are the Nets going to have Kyrie Irving for home games? There’s no reason the Hawks can’t be a top-3 seed. How far they advance in the playoffs heavily depends on their health (and their opponents), and what matchups they draw.
Seeing the ‘full’ team. Last season, the Hawks hardly ever had their full rotation healthy at the same time. Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are all expected to be healthy at the start of the season, something Hawks fans did not get to see much at all in 2020-21.
and whoever the Hawks keep between Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot or Jahlil Okafor after training camp/preseason.