With only nine games left in the regular season, it is time to start looking forward to the playoffs, and potential opponents for the Hawks! The three most probable opponents for the Hawks in the first round are; the Charlotte Hornets, the Boston Celtics, and the Miami Heat. If the season were to end today, the Hawks would face the Charlotte Hornets, now I know what a team does in the regular season goes out the window in the playoffs, but even though the Hawks went 3-1 against the Hornets, they played the Hawks very close in the four games they met. Becuase the Hornets are not a particularly good team at rebounding, (ranked 15th in total rebounds per game) combined with the fact that the Hornets shoot the third most threes in the NBA, and the Hawks great defense against the 3pt shot (5th best) a first round battle featuring Hawks-Hornets would be the most favorable of the above-mentioned teams.
If Hawks were to face the Boston Celtics in the first round, things might be more difficult for the Hawks because the Celtics’ strengths are the Hawks’ weaknesses. The Celtics grab the 6th most rebounds per game, and the Hawks give up the 6th most rebounds per game, additionally the Celtics have the BEST 3pt defense in the entire NBA, and the hawks attempt more three point shots per game than all but 4 teams. If the Hawks want to walk away from a matchup against the Celtics they MUST drive the ball to the basket, because the Celtics commit the most fouls per game in the NBA and give up the most free throws. If the Hawks want to drive to the rim they must give Dennis Schröder the majority of the time at PG, or have Dennis play SG and sit Kyle Korver.
If the Hawks were to play the Miami heat in the first round the entire series would revolve around the play of Heat center Hassan Whiteside. In previous matchups, Whiteside has destroyed the Hawks on the boards and has been a presence around the rim. Disagree with me? Think my opinion is completely wrong? Think the Hawks will play an entirely different team? feel free to voice your opinion in the comment section below!