NBA fans can rejoice as regular-season basketball is just around the corner. Preseason for the Atlanta Hawks kicked off Monday Night as they faced a new-look New Orleans Pelicans. The Hawks would eventually fall 133-109 but the preseason matchup gave us a glimpse of what’s to come for the home side, and with that being said, the future looks bright.
There’s no doubt that the biggest draw of the night would be the No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie would record his first-ever NBA dunk after just two minutes of play and would follow it up with another one in transition a few minutes later. He ended the night with 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
The first half was basically a showcase for the young guys. Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, De’Andre Hunter, and Trae Young put on a show at State Farm Arena. Dunks came by Zion, Hunter would silence opposition with a deep three-pointer, Young dribbled through the legs of J.J. Reddick at halfcourt before driving in for a layup, and Ball assisted on a Pelicans transition that led to a monster jam from Big Z himself.
In the third quarter, the greatest dunker of all-time, Vince Carter, showed he still had it with a no-look pass to Cam Reddish who drained a three-pointer to keep the Hawks in the game.
Impact play came in the second and third quarters where the Hawks found themselves outscored 81-53. Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 21 points and three assists while Brandon Ingram quietly posted 19 points and six rebounds to support the team leader.
The Hawks, even though they lost, looked more balanced at times than the Pelicans. Just having a quick look at the numbers, Atlanta had seven players in double figures, with DeAndre’ Bembry leading the charge with 16 points. They also had four players with at least five rebounds. The balance and depth are definitely there, they’ll just have to turn up the pressure on the defensive side.
All in all, the boys looked like they were having fun out there while knowing they still had some kinks to work out. “It’s just about having fun,” said Hawks guard Trae Young when asked about dribbling threw J.J. Reddick’s legs. “He came up a few possessions after saying he was trying to intentional foul me. But I saw that whenever I got the rebound he’d spread his arms out like he was going to foul me. So the next time, I saw his legs tip so I threw it (the ball) between them.”
The Hawks will return to State Farm Arena Wednesday Night to host the Orlando Magic.
Photo: Hakim Wright