With the schedule for the 2013-2014 NBA season coming out on Tuesday, everyone is already excited about the marquee games that will take place on Christmas Day and St. Patrick’s Day. However, the Atlanta Hawks and their fans don’t have much to get excited about in that regard as they are off on Christmas and play the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on St. Patty’s Day.
One thing that does strike you when you look at the Hawks’ schedule, though, is that their slate is heavy with road games to start the season. In fact, of their first 19 games, 11 of them are on the road, including six of their first eight games being played away from home.
Last season, the Hawks went a mediocre 19-22 on the road, despite the fact that their home-road splits weren’t that much different. Other than minor drop-offs in most categories, the only noticeable thing about the Hawks on the road last season was that their point per game average dropped by close to three points per game, but they were also 1.5 points per game better defensively on the road.
This is obviously a different Hawks team, though, heading into the 2013-2014 season. Not only is Atlanta now without Josh Smith, but they also have made additions like Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, a slew of veteran big men, and a group of solid draft picks, though it seems that one or two of those players are headed overseas. It will be interesting to see how this newly constructed Hawks team performs on the road.
The good news for the Hawks and their new-look roster is that their road schedule isn’t going to be incredibly difficult. Of their 11 road games from Oct. 30 to Dec. 2, only four of them are against teams that you would consider locks for the postseason and only two of the seven games are against teams with conceivable chances to make the playoffs.
On the surface it may seem that the Hawks were dealt a bum hand to start the season with all of these road games, but it might not actually be that bad. The Hawks have a solid team that they’ve built for the upcoming season, one that should be in the mix in the playoffs, and it’s not an incredibly taxing road schedule. Rest easy, Atlanta; it’s not as bad as it seems.