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Tim Hardaway trade challenges Hawks fans to believe

Litmus test.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There are a number of ways folks are taking the Atlanta Hawks move to trade out of the first round, gather more second round picks and Tim Hardaway, Jr.

Here's a few:

  • Holy baloney, they've done flipped and lost their minds with this one.
  • The Hawks drafts have been less than stellar.
  • Hardaway was better than anybody the Hawks could have drafted in this draft.
  • The Hawks didn't address their most glaring need: defensive rebounding
  • Seriously, Tim Hardaway, Jr?
  • The Hawks punting the draft cost them in the finals when injuries caught up to them.

It goes into lore as one of the more surprising moves the Hawks have made on draft night, which is no small feat. And you can't discount any of the above takes from people as they wrestle with this surprise.

This organization is not operating the same as any the Hawks have employed previously. So far, that's proven to be a good thing.

They've done more to extend the roster and maximize cap resources, using means previously unexplored by the franchise. They've drafted a first rounder and sent him overseas. They've dealt a first rounder mid-season for a future first. They've used the overseas markets to develop second round picks in earnest, rather than simply drafting Alain Digbeu and then bidding him adieu.

And they've done this while recasting themselves as an efficient team and a contender. They won the East with 60 wins. They've created a culture of winning beyond the banality of simply counting playoff appearances.

So when Mike Budenholzer says that Hardaway is a guy that can thrive with the Hawks, I am challenged to take what he says at face value because of the wild success he's had here. I see all the Michigan and Knicks fans celebrating in a way I haven't seen since J.R. Rider was practically carried from Portland to Atlanta by the fine Blazers fans. That's can't be good.

And yet, I'm willing to see. In fact, I am a little excited to monitor their experiment. I wonder if the Hawks can unlock Hardaway and have him thrive, what else is possible?

It's a fine litmus test as to the scouting and coaching abilities of the new Hawks. The deal is done. Let's see what happens.