The Atlanta Hawks will make their on-court debut Monday night in preseason action against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Hawks last action came last season in the playoffs when they lost a five-game series to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semis.
Atlanta's core group of Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Josh Smith return for the 2011-2012 season minus Jamal Crawford who signed a free agent deal with the Portland Trailblazers. During the abbreviated preseason, Atlanta added veterans Tracy McGrady and Vladimir Radmanovic to the team and invited veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse to training camp. A shoulder injury will sideline guard Kirk Hinrich for the start of the season and Jeff Teague will step into the point guard role looking to build off of the success he enjoyed in the playoffs against Chicago.
Without Hinrich, the preseason games are important for second-year guard Pape Sy and camp invitees Brad Wanamaker and Donald Sloan. While Sy appears to have the inside track to a spot on the Hawks roster both Wanamaker or Sloan have a chance to stick.
Paul Silas returns for his first full season as coach of the Bobcats. D.J. Augustine and Boris Diaw hope to combine with newcomers Corey Maggette and Kemba Walker to give Bobcats fans something to look forward to in the near future.
Tip off for Monday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally by NBA TV.