Do the Hawks have the brightest Future in the NBA?

Staff Writer: Corey Darko

Before we talk about the bright future of the Hawks, lets rewind to draft night where the Hawks were the laughing stocks of the league. They had the No. 3 pick and both the Suns and Kings passed on Luka Doncic for skilled big men in Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley.

Most people believed if the Hawks drafted Doncic that would be a steal as he was widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft. However, the Hawks went a different direction and traded the No. 3 pick (which was used on Doncic) for the No. 5 pick, which was held by the Dallas Mavericks because they wanted to draft Trae Young instead.

Many executives and fans around the league were laughing and calling the Hawks morons for choosing Young over Doncic. Granted, Young was a talented player coming out of college as he averaged 27 points and 7 assists in college as a freshman. However, he turned the ball over a lot in college and was undersized and inefficient at the next level and seen as a prospect with loads of potential but also has bust potential. ]

In fact, Woodstock High School senior Djon Chevannes stated, “Trading away a sure thing like Luka for a risk in Trae Young was a bad move for the Hawks.”

However, Young has silenced his doubters as he’s averaging 19 points and 8 assists. Additionally, rookie Kevin Huerter has averaged 9 points and has flashed a sweet shooting touch,  second-year player John Collins has also made a major leap this year averaging nearly 20 points and 10 points and has improved his perimeter jump shot.

Looking at all the promising players the Hawks have right now, I think they arguably have the brightest future in the NBA for a couple reasons.

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Trae Young has been averaging 19.1 points since December

Credit: ajc.com

Future Assets: Trae Young’s emergence isn’t the only thing that made the Hawks and Mavericks trade a win-win, the future first round pick Dallas also traded back is also another win for the Hawks. The Hawks and Mavericks picks are currently projected to be No. 5 and 6 picks in the draft and both of those picks are projected to go to Atlanta. Meaning they will be able to add two talented young players into their core of Huerter, Young and Collins.

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Cam Reddish is a talented wing prospect that would fit perfectly next to this young core

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Fansided.com

Good front office: Despite needed talent to win, you also need a good front office in order to win titles. We have seen many talented young teams like the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards be held back by incompetent front offices who make bad draft decisions. The Hawks front office has proven over these past couple of seasons they are good at drafting talent. Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has nailed his first couple of draft classes with the hawks. He drafted studs John Collins and Kevin Huerter with the 19th picks in 2017 and 2018 draft classes, which are more than good value as both look like potential future stars to pair with Trae Young. Woodstock High School senior Monique Boyce said, “The fact their Front office is good will set the Hawks up nicely for the future.”

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Travis Schlenk has proven he’s great at evaluating talent

Credit: Photo Courtesy of ajc.com

Promising Young Coach: Just like having a good front office is important to winning in the future also having the right man for the job is also important and the Hawks seemed to have made the right choice in Lloyd Pierce. In his first year, Lloyd Pierce has already laid out a promising offensive foundation composed of a lot of ball screens, which fits Trae Young’s skillset, and ball movement. His offensive system has led to having a top 5 scoring offense in the NBA ever since all-star break. Lloyd Pierce is also great at developing young talent as Young, Herter, Collins and Taureen Prince have all made gotten better and better as the season has progressed. Now the side of the ball where Pierce can use work is the defensive end where Atlanta is bottom 10 in the league. However, with more wings added to the roster that number should get better as he proved in Philadelphia as the assistant coach, he can lead teams to a good defense when he has the players to succeed. Woodstock High School senior Logan McMunn even stated, “In terms of his offense, he is very similar to a young Mike D’antoni.”

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Lloyd Pierce has proven he is great at developing young talent

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Peachtreehoops.com

Special Talent Building Block: No matter how talented a young core is, every young core needs a young stud to build around and the Hawks have that in Young. Yes, naysayers will say he’s a defensive liability as Woodstock High School senior Brent Melton stated, “Young’s short stature and lack of length will always make him a liability on defense.” However, he makes up for his lack of ability on defense with his elite offensive skillset. He has a tight handle, a lightning quick first step, elite vision, deep range and a quick release to allow him to get his shot off over anybody. Young is already ahead of where Steph Curry was his rookie year, the player he’s most often compared to. Curry did have a more efficient rookie year; however, he wasn’t the top perimeter offensive threat his rookie year as Monte Ellis demanded more of the defensive attention than rookie Steph Curry. Young averaged more points and assists then rookie Steph Curry despite being two years younger as a rookie since Curry spent three years, while Young was one and done in College. Another promising sign with Young is even as a rookie he is already having an impact on winning. Many talented young stars like Devin Booker and Towns put up great numbers but don’t have a huge impact on winning. That isn’t the case to Young as since all-star break, he has led the NBA in clutch baskets as he has already proven the Hawks will be in and win a lot of games if he’s there as Woodstock Daniel Osaga stated, “The fact he already has the clutch gene at 20 years old is a promising sign.”

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John Collins’s emergence this season has served as a nice complement to Trae Young

Credit: Photo Courtesty of Peachtreehoops.com

Conclusion: with a great front office, Young head coach, cap space, assets, and an already promising young core in place, The Atlanta Hawks are set up to be a potential force to be reckoned with.

Sports Notebook:  Baseball team In a slump

Lead Story: Despite still having a solid 11-7 record, the team has struggled in their last 4 games as they have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Their offense has been a main reason for their struggles as they have scored under 6 points in 3 of their last 4 games. However, despite their offensive struggles their defense has still been great for most of the season as they have only give up double digit points once all season in their 14-4 loss to Etowah on March 26. That stat proves that this slump has more to do with their offense going through a bit of a slump then their overall team just declining. If the offense can get back in a groove this team will be very dangerous.

In Case You Missed It: The Lacrosse team is starting to build a bit of momentum as they are coming off a 11-5 win over Sequoyah to increase their win streak to two games. That win pushed their record to above .500 for just the second time this season. The lacrosse together is starting to come together at the right time.

 

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