Could Trae Young lead them to win the East?

* Trae Young is already a star in this league… One of the most fascinating storylines of the 2020-21 postseason was Young’s dominance. The guard was not only able to score at least 30 points in eight of the 16 playoff games that he appeared in but also reached as many as 48 points against the soon-to-be champion Milwaukee Bucks. Young notched 39, 35 and 34 points when he faced the Philadelphia 76ers – who had the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference. He was quite the showman in the process, too, and his on-court antics against the New York Knicks proved he isn’t lacking any confidence.

This team is wildly deep… If you’re only as strong as your weakest link, Atlanta is going to be one of the strongest teams in the NBA. They don’t have any holes in their starting five. Clint Capela and John Collins are a great frontcourt duo while Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter offer a ton of upside on the wing. Even their bench has some fairly great options with Danillo GallinariKevin HuerterDelon Wright and three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Lou Williams.

* Their young players are only getting better… If you look at the core group set to appear in the starting five for the Hawks next season, none of them are yet 30 years old. Young (23), Bogdanovic (29), Hunter (23), Collins (24) and Capela (27) are all still finding ways to improve their game. Capela is coming off his best defensive campaign to date. Collins is one of the early betting favorites to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Hunter should be a sleeper for the award as well so long as he stays healthy.

* Good luck stopping them in the pick-and-roll… Atlanta averaged 1.25 points per possession from their roll men in pick and roll sets, per Synergy, which was the most efficient mark in the NBA. They also averaged 9.6 points from their screeners, which ranked second-best in the NBA. Both Capela and Collins were among the league’s most reliable options on screen and dives in 2020-21. Expect that to continue into next season as well.

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