Atlanta Is On The Rise

Atlanta Hawks

When it comes to being an NBA fan, there's one word in the dictionary that strikes fear and depression into our souls. It's a phase in which teams find themselves stuck in quicksand, struggling to get out and take the next step in the development of their franchise. 

Rebuild. 

Yes, I can already see some of you clapping and doing the Michael Scott emphatic "thank you" gif through your computer screen. It's tough to be an NBA fan and come to the realization that your team needs to "blow it up." It's usually a long process, one that involves tearing every part of the team down, and incurring a multiple year process in order to create a new identity for the franchise. But a weird trend has developed over the recent years...some of these rebuilds aren't taking as long as expected.

It's not a normal situation, but some front offices recently have found a way to speed up the reconstruction of their teams. Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics was one of the first known examples of rebuilding on the fly, thanks to a highway robbery of draft picks and strategic moves. Some might even argue that David Griffin of the New Orleans Pelicans is already ahead of the rebuild process with his impressive first offseason for the team. But another team is doing a fantastic job of taking steps forward.

As fans of the NBA, we need to tip our hats to the job that Travis Schlenk and the Atlanta Hawks have done so far over the last couple of seasons. This Atlanta Hawks team is developing a nice roster of talent and is going to be a fun one to watch develop over the next several years. Let's take a review of what this Front Office has done to build this team.

THE LUKA/TRAE TRADE

Trae Young

We admit it, we were on board with the crowd last year on Draft Night of "what in the world are the Hawks thinking?" Everyone was imaging that Luka Doncic would become a slam dunk selection for the Hawks but Atlanta went another direction. As the year went on, that fire of doubt seemed to slowly dim as Trae Young started to show serious signs of being a franchise cornerstone for this Atlanta Hawks team. In the process, the Hawks also acquired a first-round pick in this year's draft from Dallas, which went on to become young scoring forward Cam Reddish of Duke. Atlanta would pair Trae Young with another first-rounder last year in outside shooting threat Kevin Huerter. The young wing started to show serious flashes towards the end of the year for Atlanta and looks poised for a Sophomore year leap. 

BUILDING THROUGH THE DRAFT

I am a big fan of the mentality behind Schlenk and the Hawks Front Office. Their strategy? Add as many young assets as we can throughout the draft, and figure the rest out later. It's a fantastic blueprint for a rebuild, as long as you don't swing for the fences with every pick. We've touched on the importance before for teams in the draft to go for "singles and doubles" instead of always swinging for the fences. Yes, we just tied in baseball references in this article, bare with us. After adding two promising pieces to the backcourt last year in Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, Atlanta went to work in this year's draft in adding some promising talent on the wings. The Hawks were aggressive in trading up with New Orleans to the 4th overall selection and adding the promising defensive talent of Virginia's De'Andre Hunter, who should become a valuable asset for this Hawks roster immediately. Hunter makes his living on the defensive side of the ball and should contribute with his basketball IQ and ability to defend multiple positions. From there, the Hawks sat with another pick in the lottery and took a flier on the raw offensive firepower of Duke's Cam Reddish. While Reddish experienced his fair share of ups and downs while playing alongside Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett this year, he's oozing with potential on the offensive side of the ball to be an elite scoring threat. If he can contribute on a more consistent basis, the Hawks might have found gold. But again, a big if. 

Atlanta wasn't done there. They grabbed a beast of an athletic raw big man in Maryland's Bruno Fernando in the early part of the second round. It's great value for a rebuilding young team. Fernando was wildly inconsistent during his freshman year for the Terapins, but the light seemed to come on during his Sophomore year at Maryland. He's a bruiser of a big man that makes his living on the boards with his physicality and he will be an interesting one to watch develop. 

JOHN COLLINS IS BECOMING A STAR

John Collins

Call me biased on this one, but I believe that John Collins is one of the top young talents in this league that isn't getting enough attention. Collins is a joy to watch, and anyone that hasn't watched enough of his game...please put the Hawks on your NBA League Pass watch this year. During his last year, Collins showcased a big step forward in his progression. He continues to develop his outside range, as well as his impressively developing arsenal in the post. If Collins can continue to improve his 3P shot, he's going to become a nightmare for opposing defenses. Pencil in Collins as a potential player to make his first NBA All-Star team this year. 

 
MIN
PTS
REB
AST
FG%
3P%
18-19
30.0 19.5 9.8 2.0 56.0% 34.8%

OVERALL

Atlanta finds themselves as an intriguing young fun team to keep a close eye on this year. Yes, they are very much still on the rebuild, but they have done a good job of adding young talent to develop and it should be intriguing to see the assets progress over the year. The best thing going for this Hawks team, is they have the ability to stress to this treasure chest of young players that they are going to get let them get plenty of experience. It's a rare situation. Usually, teams want players to earn their minutes, and I'm not saying that the coaching staff won't stress that to certain individuals. But, there's going to be plenty of minutes on this roster for players to learn on the run. Atlanta has done a good job of taking on a number of "bad contracts" as well in order to open up some future potential cap space for upcoming offseasons.

PG
SG
SF
PF
C
Trae Young Kevin Huerter De'Andre Hunter John Collins Alex Len
Evan Turner Allen Crabbe Cam Reddish Jabari Parker Bruno Fernando
  DeAndre' Bembry Chandler Parsons   Damian Jones
  Charlie Brown Jr.      

Be patient Hawks fans, the rebuild looks to be moving along quicker than expected.

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