Every year, John Schuhmann of NBA.com presents a survey of the NBA’s 30 general managers, as the group is polled on 49 questions on topics from around the league. The 2018-19 edition is now available and, while there are plenty of interesting takeaways from a national perspective, the Atlanta Hawks are referenced along the way.
It should be noted that the Hawks are among the teams least involved in the pool of answers and, well, that isn’t overly surprising given the current outlook for the team in 2018-19. Still, the team’s rookies are an intriguing talking point and both Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman received votes for the “biggest steal” in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Huerter’s inclusion isn’t surprising, as he was a fast-rising prospect during the draft process and is a modern player in that his ability to stretch the floor as a shooter is enticing. The former Maryland standout received rave reviews and, as a result, the Hawks were generally lauded for that selection.
As for Spellman, the reviews were more mixed (including in this space), as many believed he was something of a reach at No. 30 overall. His inclusion as a potential “steal” could indicate that Spellman’s status around the league is a bit loftier when compared to draft-driven scouting analysis, and that could be construed as a positive for the Hawks.
Elsewhere, Trae Young was shut out of the results and that... is going to be something that causes reaction. Famously, Young was acquired in a draft-day deal that involved Luka Doncic and, on the eve of the season, Doncic was the front-runner for Rookie of the Year according to the GMs, with support in the “biggest steal” category and for the player most likely to be the best rookie in the class five years in the future.
None of the sentiment surrounding Doncic is stunning by any stretch, as many believed he was the No. 1 player in the draft class. However, Young did not receive any votes for ROY (seven players did) or “best player in five years” (six players did), leaving Hawks fans to be annoyed and others to predictably poke fun at Atlanta’s front office.
Obviously, the GM survey doesn’t actually mean anything, at least with regard to how the players will perform. In fact, the panel has been pretty bad at anointing rookies of the year in the past and that could provide a bit of comfort for Hawks fans. Still, it is a reminder that not everyone loved what Travis Schlenk and company did, with an eye toward large expectations for Doncic in Dallas.
Finally, the other player receiving love in the survey was Vince Carter, who received at least one vote as the player that “will make the best head coach someday.” This is a little bit odd given that Carter has pushed back against coaching as a future endeavor, leaning instead on the side of television in an analyst role, but it is also easy to see why he would be considered a future coaching prospect if he would like to do so.
As noted above, nothing should be taken too seriously with regard to the GM survey but, in early October, it provides fodder for discussion and that’s always fun.