2018-19 Season Preview: Atlanta Hawks

Rookie guard Trae Young put up some remarkable numbers against a noted Clippers backcourt.

Coach: Lloyd Pierce (first season).

Last Season: 24-58, did not reach the playoffs.

Key Returnees: John Collins, Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore.

Key Additions: Trae Young (rookie, Oklahoma), Kevin Huerter (rookie, Maryland), Omari Spellman (rookie, Villanova), Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn), Justin Anderson (Philadelphia), Alex Len (Phoenix), Vince Carter (Sacramento).

Key Losses: Dennis Schroder (Oklahoma City), Mike Muscala (Philadelphia).

Outlook: Remember when the Hawks won 60 games, earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, only to be swept out of the postseason by the Cleveland Cavaliers? Seems like forever ago, but it’s only been three seasons. Last year’s run-up-the-white-flag tank job, when Atlanta won but 24 games certainly showed it’s a new era in the ATL, as former basketball boss and coach Mike Budenholzer couldn’t wait to exit, with the team’s blessing, and immediately found himself a new team to run in Milwaukee. GM Travis Schlenk brought in longtime assistant coach Lloyd Pierce to replace Budenholzer, then swung a controversial deal, selecting European star Luka Doncic with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, and trading him to Dallas for No. 4 overall pick, sharpshooting guard Trae Young out of Oklahoma, with a 2019 first-round draft pick sealing the deal. Huerter is a good shooter and will help Young on the perimeter. Schlenk dealt point guard Dennis Schroder to OKC as part of the deal that brought back Carmelo Anthony, who was promptly bought out and eventually signed with Houston, Justin Anderson and a first-round draft pick. As far as who is back, John Collins had a solid rookie season, Taurean Prince improved as the season progressed and Kent Bazemore proved he is not a guy to assume a major role. Shlenk traded for point guard Jeremy Lin, who played in only one game before suffering a season-ending knee injury, center Alex Len from Phoenix and sage veteran Vince Carter, 41, to stabilize the locker room. With Lin and Carter, Atlanta now has “Linsanity” and “Vinsanity,” expecting a major change of its fortunes could be construed as insanity. The Hawks were last in the NBA in attendance last season, but poured $192 million into the former Philips Arena, renaming it State Farm Arena. As far as the team’s fortunes for this season go, better call Jake.