It is no secret that the Atlanta Hawks wanted to go in a different direction at point guard and so they did exactly that. After trading away Dennis Schroder to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Atlanta fans have a little better idea of the direction the franchise is now headed towards.
Schroder had been at the starting helm for the Hawks over the last two seasons after the team traded away his predecessor Jeff Teague to Indiana for the draft pick that would eventually become Taurean Prince. Schroder was a solid point guard offensively for the Hawks ever since he was drafted by the team in 2013 as well as being one of the few remaining pieces from the Atlanta team that won sixty games just four years ago.
Now that the team has drafted Oklahoma offensive stud Trae Young with their lottery pick in the 2018 Draft, and with some rough possible felony charges surrounding Schroder, it seemed as if the Hawks were ready to move on. Let’s take a quick look at how we got here.
Schroder was the No. 17 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft for the Hawks under the GM tenure of Danny Ferry and as a rookie was nothing really special on the court. In Schroder’s sophomore season, he took off and solidly secured the backup point guard role behind Teague who was an All-Star at the time for the Hawks. At the end of Schroder’s second season also came a GM change after Danny Ferry was fired by the Hawks due to some racially insensitive comments directed towards current Laker Luol Deng.
After Schroder’s third NBA season, Wes Wilcox, the new Hawks GM at the time, seemed convinced that Dennis was ready to take over the role of starter from Teague and decided to deal the veteran point guard and hand the keys to the young German. From there, Dennis had seen his minutes climb up over 31 per game in the last two seasons which brings us to the present day as well as another new GM in Travis Schlenk.
When Schlenk took over last summer there was little question that the Hawks needed to begin a rebuild. From that moment on, it was also abundantly clear that Schroder’s style of play did not fit in with what Schlenk is looking to create in Atlanta with a pace-and-space offense similar to that of Golden State and Houston.
It didn’t help that Schroder then was arrested last season for fighting in a night club off the floor and wasn’t good defensively while on the court. All of this has led to the end of Schroder’s Atlanta tenure along with the implementation of Schlenk’s newly designed point guard tandem of Trae Young and Jeremy Lin.
Now, it seems pretty obvious that Young will jump straight into a starting role next season due to where he was selected in the draft as well as the current state of the Hawks, however, his minutes may not match those of a typical NBA starter to begin with. When the Hawks acquired Jeremy Lin recently there most likely were thoughts that Young would get the starts he needs to grow while also not needing to play 30 plus minutes a night as a rookie thanks to having another starting quality point guard in Jeremy Lin to help shoulder the minutes. This would allow Young to stay fresh while taking his time adjusting to the grueling NBA schedule length.
Take John Collins’ minutes last season as a possible template for Young. Collins averaged just over 24 minutes a game last season as a rookie and for the most part stayed healthy and fresh for the duration of the season. The Hawks likely will take the same approach with Young, with a slight uptick, to the tune of 25-28 minutes per game for his rookie season.
With Young and Lin firmly entrenched as the the team’s top two point guards for next season, the Hawks will likely still need to find a third point guard after Schroder opened up a roster spot on Thursday. Atlanta still has some money to work with and there are many young candidates still available on the open market that could be decent in a third string role while making sense for the Hawks financially.
The main point here is that the Hawks have at least shown some direction in mind with where they would like to head after the departure of Dennis Schroder. Young is the hopeful long-term solution and he now has a great mentor in Jeremy Lin to lean on and take advice from. Life after Dennis Schroder will bring some uncertainty, but seemingly is the direction Travis Schlenk thinks will best benefit the Hawks in the long run.