Greetings Hawks fans! With the season now suspended we are immediately shifting and adjusting to our new normal. It is our goal to still find ways to get you guys content if for no other reason than to take your mind off of the crazy things going on in the world.
Before the season was suspended I had the idea to get some opinions from some Hawks fans about the up and downs this season and get their thoughts. This is the first edition and we imagine it won’t be the last. If you’d like to be a guest on our next round table contact us via one of our social media platforms and we’ll see what we can do.
This week we are fortunate to have 3 passionate Hawks fans whose opinions vary on a variety of subjects but the one thing they all agree on is the fact that they love the Atlanta Hawks.
Phil “ATL Phil” Veasley – @_ATLPhil …
“Hawks fan since 13-69, if they don’t know what that means they aren’t a fan.”
“Tru” – @Trubanevirgo ..
“Might sound cliche but I’ve been a Hawks fan since birth, but I’ve been consistently watching them since 2005.”
Yuriy – @YuriyATL404
“Been a Hawks fan since 2007-2008 season, I was in the 7th Grade. “
1) Give me the Good, Bad and the Ugly from this 2019-2020 season from the Atlanta Hawks.
Phil : Let’s start with the good. Trae Young and John Collins are monsters. They are cornerstones, franchise building pieces. Yes, the national media and Twitter GMs try to discredit both for the team’s lack of wins and Trae’s lack of D but we’re talking numbers that haven’t really been seen before in the league. People also tend to forget that Steph Curry, KD and many other super stars’ careers didn’t exactly get off to winning starts.
The bad: Effort. This team lacks talent, but some nights they’re on it and then others, they look like they’d rather be at Magic City. As CLP says after some of the many horrible losses we’ve endured, you can’t teach effort.
The Ugly: The easy way out would be to say the Defense but let’s go with the unfortunate (probable) end to Vince Carter’s career. Minutes after news broke that the Corona Virus was halting the season, it dawned on me that we were witnessing Vince Carter’s final moments. The league has said they want to come back, but I have my doubts. Thankfully, Half Man – Half Amazing gave us one last reason to cheer with his last second three pointer.
Tru: I think I’ll save the good news for last. The ugliest part of the 2019-2020 Atlanta Hawks season for me was the unfortunate suspension of our future all-star power forward John Collins. Once that happened AND along with the constant injuries to a few of our other key players the Hawks as a whole took a nosedive.
The Bad, I’ll go ahead and say it was the veterans (that were moved near the deadline excluding Alex Len) that were surrounding The Atlanta Hawks’ young core in the beginning of the season. I think Travis Schlenk could’ve handled the previous offseason better in that regard but at least he covered that up at the trade deadline as long as Clint Capela is healthy next season. The good part of the season was watching De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish’s improvement from start to (possible)finish in their rookie year.
The great was John Collins & Trae Young putting together a historical statistical season and of course Ice Trae becoming a first time All Star in his 2nd NBA season.
Yuriy: Despite what the record displays, there’s been an okay amount of good things from the 2019-20 season. Trae Young was selected as an all-star in his second NBA season and is already playing at an MVP-caliber level. There were some slow starts to the season from rookies Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter but both have stepped up their scoring and have been effective on the other side of the floor as well.
The bad have been Head Coach Lloyd Pierce’s rotations. These at times have cost us the opportunity to win games such as the loss at Miami in December when we were up six points with a minute left as Trae Young was out of the game. This also applies to the recent home blowout loss to Memphis where starters were taken out much too early in the third quarter.
The ugly was losing John Collins for 25 games due to suspension, losing by 49 points to the Clippers, along with the 39-point home loss to the Grizzlies.
2) What grade (3 separate grades) would you give the Rooks? (Cam Reddish, DeAndre Hunter and Bruno Fernando)
Phil: Cam Reddish: B+ | It’s a good thing the season didn’t end in December, huh? Despite some declaring Cam a bust before Thanksgiving he did not waiver and seemed to get better game by game, which is exactly what you want to see from a Rookie. We may have a two-way star on our hands.
DeAndre Hunter: B- | Hunter shows flashes but also shows a lot of meh. He did however have a decent stretch to end the season. Hopefully he can show a more consistent game going forward.
Bruno Fernando: INC | It’s unfair to really give Bruno a grade this season after being put into roles that he was nowhere near ready for. He did show flashes at time and there is promise that he will develop in to a rotational piece.
Tru: De’Andre Hunter A- / Cam Reddish B/ Bruno Fernando D
Yuriy: Cam Reddish gets a solid B+ for the season. He had a slow start but was able to finish at the rim, create his own shot, and is a solid contributor on defense. DeAndre Hunter gets a B. He also provides the defense that the Hawks lack most of the time and is versatile from his mid-range game as well. Bruno Fernando gets a C. While he’s had an up and down season, he can provide the Hawks a solid eight points off the bench and contribute on the boards.
3.) What do you think is the next step in the growth of Trae Young’s game?
Phil: Up next for Trae is cutting down on the turnovers. Trae will likely always be near the top (or bottom) of the league in terms of turning the ball over. Look around the league: anyone who handles the ball that much and attempts that many passes is going to average a lot of turnovers. But, sometimes it looks like Trae tries to force passes into windows that just aren’t there or open.
Tru: The next step in Trae Young’s development offensively he needs to improve as an off ball threat and cutting down on turnovers. On defense he has to put more effort into that end and that’s something we saw in the backend of the season from him so hopefully it translates along with his teammates easing his workload on offense as well in the next NBA season.
Yuriy: Trae Young is already an elite talent and one of the best offensive players in the league. His free throw shooting has improved a lot as well but what needs to be worked on now is his defense. He has one of the lowest defensive ratings in the NBA but if he works on this in the summer, (Or during this NBA season’s hiatus due to it being suspended), he can definitely solidify himself as an MVP candidate next season.
4.) How do you feel Coach Pierce has done with this collection of talent?
Phil: Most people want Coach Pierce gone. Look, I get it. Unfair and unrealistic expectations were placed on this team coming into the season and now that they weren’t lived up to, fans want somebody held accountable. Is LP perfect? No, but he’s a hell of a lot better than many of the coaches out there. Quite frankly, I think it’s unfair to judge LP on this patchwork of a roster that had to deal with many obstacles. 11-15 after a 8-32 start isn’t too bad either.
Tru: Coach Lloyd Pierce did a good job with helping our young core develop over the course of the season and realistically that’s all I personally wanted back in October.
Yuriy: I’ve been very critical of Coach Pierce this season. Oftentimes, he’s looked like he’s shown signs of improvement while at other times, has shown that he’s losing the locker room. I feel that he needs a healthy Hawks team to work with though. This hasn’t been the case for most of the season. Right now, the team doesn’t have Clint Capela to assist on defense due to injury but if the team does well in the draft and with their cap space, he can have plenty of talent to use in building a playoff contender in the East next season
5.) What would you like to see the Hawks add in the off-season?
Phil: The Free-Agent market is luke-warm at best. Go figure that would happen when the Hawks are one of the only teams with significant cap space. In order to seriously make a playoff run next season the bench will have to be overhauled. This won’t be popular but it’s time to pull the trigger on a trade. This team does not need another 19-20 year old lottery pick that takes 2+ years to develop. The pick and maybe Kevin Huerter should be packaged for a run at an elite 2-guard. The Hawks have a lot of options but one things for sure, the clock is ticking.
Tru: We have plenty of cap space to make things shake in the off-season so hopefully we can add a few quality veterans that can consistently impact the game while playing behind our young core. Maybe The Hawks will be lucky enough to add another high profile player in the draft as well.
Yuri: In the off-season, I hope the Hawks acquire a top three pick in the NBA Draft. I’d like to see Anthony Edwards from Georgia or James Wiseman get selected. In the off-season, I’d like to see the team offer Brandon Ingram the max deal. He’s one of the most underrated players in the league and can definitely turn the Hawks’ offense into something special.
A big thanks to our guys on this first edition of round table, we really appreciate all their opinions. Make sure to tweet us your thoughts at @Hawksbeat.