Most major NBA power rankings project the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA’s basement before the 2018-19 season begins and, even if that seems too pessimistic, it would be tough to argue against overall skepticism for the team’s performance for next season only. However, it is also easy to get excited about the future and a recent piece from David Aldridge of NBA.com helps to outline that.
Instead of a traditional power ranking, Aldridge sought to rank only the offseason performances of each NBA team and, through that prism, he ranked Atlanta at No. 14 overall while saying the following.
The Hawks’ roster teardown is nearing completion, but the renovated Philips Arena will come online faster than the team, which now needs Young to live up to all the hype after his one season at Oklahoma. He has incredible range and great potential, but he’ll be challenged every night to stay in front of the legion of great points in this league. Pierce, the former Sixers’ assistant, is going to have a very tough time melding all the newcomers with the small core of players who survived, including John Collins, Kent Bazemore, DeAndre’ Bembry and Taurean Prince.
In addition, Aldridge highlighted the work of Travis Schlenk as the pivot point for the organization, indicating that “the Hawks will live or die by whether Young or Luka Doncic becomes the bigger NBA producer.” That might be slightly hyperbolic but, in terms of overall importance, it is quite fair to point out that the draft night maneuver will be the most important during the summer of 2018.
Beyond that, though, NBA experts have largely lauded the Dennis Schröder swap (with one prominent exception) and, even if the Jeremy Lin trade didn’t garner universal approval, Atlanta’s other peripheral moves appear to be strong. Nothing during the offseason is ever viewed through full-blown agreement across the board but this particular evaluation gives the Hawks something of a “passing grade” and that is noteworthy from a trusted national source.