The Atlanta Hawks weren’t good last season. Also, they won’t be good this season.
Granted, the franchise’s marketing team has boasted and boasted over the idea of having the next Golden State Warriors trio of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry. That come after this year’s draft picks of Omari Spellman, Kevin Huerter, and Trae Young. What must be understood is that those Warrior-like results won’t happen immediately.
Let’s gain some perspective for a second.
Curry was drafted in 2009 and he averaged three turnovers per game. It was a season where the Warriors finished 26-56 in Don Nelson’s fast-paced system. The rookie out of Davidson was the team’s second-leading scorer behind fellow guard Monta Ellis, who is essentially Dennis Schroder in this scenario.
Nelson resigned from his position and the team decided to promote assistant coach Keith Smart to replace the Hall of Fame coach. Smart was considered a one-year rental while the Warriors were changing ownership up top. In his one season, Smart increased Golden State’s win total by 10 games but only perhaps a playoff appearance would have spared Smart’s job.
That’s where Mark Jackson comes in.
The right coach
The former NBA veteran point guard and popular ESPN color commentator signed a three-year deal with the option for a fourth season with the team. The excitement around Jackson, who was rumored to become an NBA coach for years prior to the hiring, was followed up by Curry’s worst season yet. The third-year guard only played in 26 games and the Warriors ended the year with 23 wins.
However, the summer prior with the 11th pick, the organization selected Thompson. Jackson was high on the guard from Washington State. Thompson was four inches taller than the 6-foot-3-inch Ellis, from the beginning. Jackson even said that Thompson and Curry are the best shooting back court in NBA history. Thompson averaged 12.5 points that rookie season.
The next summer, the team drafted Green near the top of the second round.
After three seasons of remaining in the lottery, the Warriors finally broke through and finished the regular season with a 47-35 record.
Good things take time
After a couple of playoff appearances, you know the rest of the story. The organization moved on from Jackson to hire Steve Kerr, who led Golden State to a championship in his first season at the helm.
It took four coaches and five years for the Warriors to ascend into the Warriors that are today.
So before anyone wants to look at Trae Young’s first eight quarters in the summer league and write off any hope the Hawks have at being one of the future contenders in the NBA, first off, watch the actual games.
Comes with the territory
Young has struggled with his shot and decision making. He has struggled with timing for him to take a shot, which was also a problem in high school and at Oklahoma. He’s a highlight machine. Like any other flashy player, they come with a fair share of head-scratching failures on the court. Does a missed 35-footer from Curry with 17 seconds remaining on the shot clock not make him an elite player? How about Kyrie Irving getting stripped while trying to create a scene from the And-One reruns that aired on ESPN2? Do those plays no longer qualify him to be in the discussion as a top 5 point guard in the NBA?
There’s a highlight from one of Young’s last games as a high school senior online. In the heated rivalry road game, Young is being tripled team near half court. He backs the ball out before dribbling between one of the defender’s legs while simultaneously splitting the triple team. Young meets another defender with a crossover and pulls up from NBA range on the left wing. He drained the shot, then a few minutes later, he attempted a similar sequence and missed the prayer. That’s exactly who Young is. He’s flashy and frustrating at times. When it’s working, it’s such a beautiful thing to watch.
Spellman has shown has an impressive wide-ranged arsenal of offensive skills in the first couple of games. The former Villanova big man looked worn out at the end of the Hawks’ back-to-back on night two. His stamina, like Young’s shot, should come along with more experience on the professional level.
John Collins and Tyler Dorsey are breezing through the early competition, which should be expected if spectators watched the two finish last season. All due respect to Taurean Prince, Kevin Huerter, and DeAndre’ Bembry but their presence shouldn’t be enough for the core that’s currently struggling to beat lower-level teams to win next regular season. However, that doesn’t mean that all hope is already lost. Fans must continue to Trust The Schlenk.