30 Teams in 30 Days

2021-22 Atlanta Hawks season preview: Roster changes, depth chart, key storylines and games to watch

The 2021-22 NBA season is set to tip off on Oct. 19 (ET). In preparation for the upcoming season, we're dedicating one day between now and the start of the season to each team in the league.

Next up? The Atlanta Hawks.

2020-21 season record

41-31, 5th in the Eastern Conference

Notable additions

Gorgui Deng, free agency

Delon Wright, trade

Jalen Johnson, No. 20 pick, 2021 NBA Draft

Notable departures

Kris Dunn, trade

Tony Snell, free agency

Depth chart

Atlanta Hawks depth chart (2021-22)
Starters Second Third Fourth
PG Trae Young Delon Wright Lou Williams
SG Bogdan Bogdanovic Kevin Huerter Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
SF De'Andre Hunter Cam Reddish Solomon Hill
PF John Collins Danilo Gallinari Onyeka Okongwu Jalen Johnson
C Clint Capela Gorgui Dieng Jahlil Okafor

3 key storylines

Can the the Hawks stay healthy?

Atlanta has been lauded for the depth they have been able to build on their roster in quick time. That depth was put to the test late last season with several injuries to key players.

De'Andre Hunter only managed 23 games last season and is expected to be a minimal participant in training camp as the recovery continues from a knee injury. Bogdan Bogdanovic was limited throughout the season with various injuries and Cam Reddish missed the bulk of the playoffs with an Achilles issue.

All three of those players loom as key ingredients to the Hawks taking the next step and they'll need them to be healthy come playoff time.

What else does Trae have in his bag?

It was a playoff debut for the ages.

Tormenting New York Knicks' fans was just the beginning for Young as he became the ultimate road villain wherever he went. Averaging 28.8 points and 9.5 assists across 16 postseason games, it feels like the perfect launchpad to go to the next level.

Many are questioning whether the league introducing different interpretations for calling shooting fouls will impact Young more than any player in the league. At just 6-foot-1, he has to be crafty, and he has done just that, averaging 8.7 free-throw attempts per game last season.

The 3-point shot dipped from 36.1 to 34.3 percent from 2020 to 2021, and he actually took 3.2 fewer per game. If the free-throw attempts dry up a little, will he go back to letting it fly from the logo?

Having just turned 23, there is clearly development to come, it will be interesting to see where he can find the next gear this season.

How many games can the Hawks win?

The Hawks went on a major run when Nate McMillan took over the head coaching duties midway through the 2021 season.

Guiding the squad to a 27-11 record entering the playoffs, the Hawks were quietly one of the hottest teams in the league.

Now McMillan is in the chair from opening night on a squad that raced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks appear to be on a tier of their own in the East but after that it feels wide open.

With that in mind, a top-four seed and home court advantage in the first round should be the goal. Atlanta has only topped 50 wins twice since the turn of the century. Could they make it three in 2022?

5 games to watch

Oct. 21 vs. Dallas Mavericks

The narrative that follows Trae Young and Luka Doncic is not likely to go away.

Both players have become stars in the league, though, Doncic has unquestionably received more recognition to this point in their careers. Does the Hawks' playoff run change that at all? Doncic and the Mavericks are yet to advance beyond the first round in Luka's career, falling to the LA Clippers twice.

Both teams would like to make an early statement and you imagine both players would as well.

Dec. 23 at Philadelphia 76ers

Did the Hawks put the final nail in the coffin of "The Process"?

Shocking the basketball world to defeat the Sixers on the road in Game 7 of the East Semifinals, the Hawks will head back to Philly in the first of consecutive rivalry road games for the Atlanta.

This one will be good, but it's just the appetizer for what's to come on Christmas Day.

Dec. 25 at New York Knicks

Young is the ultimate villain in New York, even showing up at Madison Square Garden during a recent WWE event in the ultimate heel move.

Adding this rivalry to the Christmas Day slate is perfection. Take a bow, NBA.

Jan. 3 at Portland Trail Blazers

Purely matchup based intrigue here.

Don't expect much defence between Young and Damian Lillard but buckle up and you might just get a 50-point explosion from one or in a dream... both.

Jan. 17 vs. Milwaukee Bucks

MLK Day is a special day on the NBA calendar.

The Hawks and Bucks will get together in Atlanta in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals that stretched to Game 6.

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