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Travis Schlenk focuses on young players, competitiveness in pre-training camp address

Atlanta’s GM spoke to the media on Friday.


Media Day is nearly here and that means the start of training camp for the Atlanta Hawks. While the media will hear from head coach Mike Budenholzer and the entire roster on Monday before the Hawks head to training camp, GM Travis Schlenk was publicly available on Friday and some interesting responses emerged.

Michael Cunningham of the AJC was on the scene and brings word from Schlenk on the topic of whether the team would be competitive immediately or whether Atlanta see extended struggles in the way that the Philadelphia 76ers have in their rebuild.

“The one thing that I would say about this group is that they are going to show up and play hard every night. We are looking for growth from the beginning to the end. We are going to be competitive. When you look at the guys we signed this year in free agency, those are guys that show up and play hard every night. We are laying the foundation for the future of the Atlanta Hawks, and that is to play the right way, to play hard and to give it everything you’ve got every single night.”

Beyond the simple assurances that the team is “going to be competitive,” Schlenk did acknowledge that the team is “going to be young and, historically, teams who are young take it on the chin a little bit.” It would be jarring for Schlenk to actually project widespread struggles given his new position at the head of the front office but, at the very least, this is an interesting insight into what he might expect.

Furthermore, Schlenk indicating that the front office is seeking “growth not only from individual players but as a collective unit from the start of the season to the end of the season.” This is certainly a general sentiment but, for a young and building roster, actual progression from beginning to end would be encouraging, especially through the prism of Dennis Schröder, Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry and John Collins.

Beyond the state of the current roster, Schlenk was prompted on how head coach Mike Budenholzer is handling the transition from an established team to one that is more centrally focused on the future.

“When I first got here, we spent a ton of time here getting to know each other, getting to know each other’s philosophies. He’s completely on board with what our plan was this summer. He’s excited about this upcoming season. He and his staff have proven that one thing they do well is develop young talent. So they are excited about this venture that we have where they are going to have an opportunity to develop, hopefully, a lot of great players that we are going to draft over the next few years.”

The full transcript is certainly worth a read, even if Schlenk did not necessarily reveal a great deal of groundbreaking information. The general manager did reveal that the front office is seeking “athleticism, length, multidimensional and then as I’ve stated several times already, the high character” in players moving forward and it will be interesting to monitor that focus.

Stay tuned.