Trail Blazers Defeat Lakers; Spoil Lebron James's Debut in LA
The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Lebron's debut with Los Angeles. What happened?
With the NBA season just a few months away and the majority of player movement being done, I’m going to start previewing the teams. Based on my projected order of the standings, we’ll start at the bottom and work towards the top rotating between East and West. Past previews will be linked as well.
Vince Carter SG (free agency), Kevin Huerter SG (draft), Alex Len (free agency), Jeremy Lin PG (trade), Omari Spellman PF (draft), Trae Young PG (draft)
Malcolm Delaney G, Mike Muscala PF, Dennis Schroeder PG
Offensive Rating 102.4 (26th)
Defensive Rating 108.2 (21st)
Net Rating -5.8 (26th)
True Shooting Percentage 54.7% (20th)
Assist Percentage 62.2% (5th)
Rebound Percentage 48.7% (26th)
Turnover Percentage 15.4% (29th)
Pace 100.6 (8th)
The Hawks head into the 2018-2019 season with a dramatically different roster, new coaching staff, and new front office. Lloyd Pierce gets his first head coaching shot after previously spending the past five seasons as a 76ers assistant. The Hawks do have some interesting young holdover pieces such as Taurean Prince and John Collins, and will add three first round draft picks to the mix. Despite their young talent, expect this to be a rough season for Atlanta as they'll continue to ship off veterans and build for the future.
The Hawks will feature a point guard combination of Jeremy Lin and Trae Young. Jeremy Lin played in only one game last season and just 36 games two seasons ago, and is also in the last year of his contract. He's nothing more than a placeholder/ fallback option/ trade candidate. All eyes will be on Trae Young. From everything I've read and see Atlanta made a huge mistake trading Luca Doncic who seems like a future star. Trae Young must show superstar potential and will be given every opportunity to do so.
Atlanta has a plethora of options at shooting guard (none very exciting). Veterans Kent Bazemore and Vince Carter are options but between Justin Anderson, Kevin Hueter, DeAndre Bembry, and Tyler Dorsey there are plenty of minutes up for grabs. Taurean Prince and John Collins both showed flashes last year and developing the youngsters should be the Hawks number one priority.
Patience and Flexibility
The Hawks have done an excellent job acquiring draft picks and taking on bad contracts. Atlanta has potentially three more first round draft picks coming next year. Kent Bazemore has a player option for 19 million next season which he most likely will pickup, and Miles Plumlee is owed 12.5 million. Besides those two they have no other contracts over six million. The Hawks need to be patience and have the cap space to continue taking bad contracts for draft picks.
Player to Watch: Taurean Prince
Post All Star break Prince posted a pretty impressive stat line of 19.0 PPG / 3.5 APG / 4.9 RBG, shooting 44.3% from the field and 41.2% from three. If John Collins continues to improve as well, the Hawks might have a decent young core of Prince, Collins, and Trae Young. All eyes will be on Young, but the development of Prince is something to keep an eye on.
PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Kent Bazemore
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: John Collins
C: Dewayne Dedmon
Top Projected Reserves:
PG: Trae Young
SG: Vince Carter
SF: DeAndre Bembry
PF: Omari Spellman
C: Alex Len
Westgate Projected Win Total: 23.5
Projected Record: 22-59 (15th in Eastern Conference)