Hawks Being Left Out of NBA Restart Not A Total Loss

Will Palaszczuk
June 04, 2020 - 3:08 pm
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The NBA will come back at the end of July, but without the Atlanta Hawks.

League Governors approved plans Thursday to restart the league's season on July 31st with an eight-game, 22 team run-up to the postseason in Orlando.

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The Hawks season ends with this announcement with a 20-47 record, falling short of that threshold.

While it's easy to argue the team could only benefit from extra opportunities to allow the young team to grow its chemistry, the effects of being left out of the Orlando restart aren't all negative.

First, the Hawks have the added benefit of not exposing themselves to what's sure to be a Petri dish of health risks when it comes to the restart of the league in a confined area without a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Second, while the eight games played certainly allow for some time for teams to get their sea legs, the Hawks will basically play a sacrificial lamb for the teams left on their slate actually chasing the playoffs. It would be easy for players to have motivation questions on a team just playing out the string.

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If the plan were to have all 30 teams return to play out a full schedule, whether in home markets or in a bubble, I would concede the Hawks need to be included. This plan, however, makes me feel like the Hawks are best left in Atlanta. I wouldn't want Trae Young tearing his ACL under this format, or worse, a player contracting the coronavirus in a period of time that's only set up to glorify the teams with a longer stay in Orlando than the Hawks would have.

A major negative for the Hawks remains the long period of time between games, as the league proposes a December start to the 2020-21 campaign. That would mean a period of almost nine full months without competitive basketball for Atlanta's young core.

The long layoff is not ideal, and its creates another barrier for a franchise that desires progress. However, the Hawks not going to Orlando could ultimately prove as a motivator and galvanizer for the team once next season begins.

And they're hoping it also keeps them healthy and safe.