The Hawks arrived in Dallas on Wednesday without a single member of the starting five in the lineup, and as a result, the team finished the preseason at 1-6 with a 98-88 to the Mavericks.
Dennis Schröder and Mike Scott led the way for Atlanta, and the two young players shined in a major way. Schröder scored a game-high (and career high) 21 points on 8 for 12 shooting, and was extremely effective in creating offense. There was downside to his game (as most rookies experience) with 7 turnovers over his 36 minutes on the floor, but the flashes of brilliance that we are now accustomed to seeing from the rookie point guard definitely outnumbered the negatives.
As for Scott, he scored 19 points (on 8 for 15 from the field) and functioned as the go-to-guy for multiple possessions, especially in the first half. The 2nd-year forward is under no pressure to make the team (that we know of), but he has excelled offensively in the preseason, reminding everyone of the type of efficiency monster that he was in college at Virginia.
The Hawks slipped up from the 3-point line, as the team combined to shoot 6 for 24 from long distance, including a combined 0-for-10 from Pero Antic and John Jenkins. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the long distance shooting has let down the team in the preseason, but I wouldn’t project it as a weakness going forward based on the available talent.
In the final opportunity to showcase themselves to the decision-making brass, Eric Dawson and Shelvin Mack performed admirably. They saw the court for 13 and 18 minutes, respectively, and were certainly competitive at the very least. I would still expect Dawson to be cut before the team breaks camp, but the race between Mack and Royal Ivey (who didn’t see the court in Dallas) seems to be very much up for grabs.
When the team arrives back in Dallas for the regular season opener in just 7 days, it will likely be a very different group, with Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Teague all expected to return to the court. After a long gauntlet, the Hawks are ready for games that count (!), and it’s time to buckle down and get ready for some hoops. Stay tuned.