Harry The Hawk entertains prior to the start of the home opener of the 2018 season at State Farm Arena.
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Hawks’ preseason opener against Pelicans offers glimpse of exciting young cores

It’s a preseason game, so you never know exactly how minutes will shake out, or how much Hawks star players will actually play. 

But having so much young talent present, including four of the top 10 draft picks in one game, will surely add some intrigue when the New Orleans Pelicans visit State Farm Arena at 7:30 p.m. Monday, even as players’ minutes are sure to be limited. 

(The Pelicans got Zion Williamson at No. 1 and Jaxson Hayes at No. 8, with the Hawks nabbing De’Andre Hunter at No. 4 and Cam Reddish at No. 10). 

Monday’s matchup will provide a glimpse of two teams building around exciting young cores, with the Pelicans building around their group of rookies and players they got from the Lakers in exchange for Anthony Davis (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart). The Hawks, of course, are building around Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. 

“I don’t think everybody’s going to play as much as fans would hope, since it’s preseason, but they’re still going to get, I guess, a little sneak peak or preview as you can say about two young teams in the east and west,” Young said. 

This also will be the first time fans get to watch Reddish, who did not participate in summer league after undergoing core surgery. In an injury report, the Hawks listed Reddish as “probable.”

“This is where we build our chemistry and come together,” Reddish said. “Learn each other, learn what we do, what we do poorly, and just improve upon those things throughout the entire season ... it’s a beautiful thing. It’s helpful for each and every one of us.” 

Regardless of opponent, for the Hawks, the preseason is about getting on the same page in the wake of so much roster turnover. 

“For me, preseason is about getting together, creating our energy, getting our identity down, and getting in shape and getting ready for Oct. 24,” coach Lloyd Pierce said, pointing to the Hawks’ first regular-season in Detroit. 

But it’s also a chance to clean things up. 

In Saturday’s practice, the Hawks registered 23 turnovers in a 24-minute scrimmage. Pierce has said he wants the Hawks’ rookies to be able to play through mistakes, so this five-game preseason stretch is good practice. 

“Some of the mistakes we saw in film today, it’s the same action on four different plays, and that one was one where we could pinpoint it to ‘Let’s get on the same page,’ ” Pierce said. “If you’re denied, just back cut, or just finish your cut, so the ballhandler knows ‘Are you coming out, or?’ And the we get a turnover. So some of those things are just timing and execution, and we need the repetition so that we’re always on the same page.” 

Allen Crabbe (right knee arthroscopy) and Chandler Parsons (knees), Ray Spalding (dental work/left calf strain) and Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) have been ruled out for Monday. 

Brandon Goodwin is questionable with a right hip contusion.

Per Pierce, if Kevin Huerter (left knee pain) plays, it will be minute-restricted.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X