The Atlanta Hawks came into the 2019 draft with multiple cards in their deck. Schlenk and his team had three first-round picks. By the end of the night, two transactions and three picks later, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish (and Bruno Fernando), were the newest faces of the Atlanta Hawks. 40+ games into the 2019-2020 season, each rookie has shown glimpses of potential and flashes of untapped talent. However, the young team’s dependence on Hunter and Reddish, two inexperienced rookies, to play 25-35 minutes and produce like NBA-level starters has also produced mixed results, at best.
2019-20 Stats: 12.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 40.7% 2-PT FG, 33.7% 3-PT FG
De’Andre Hunter came into the NBA Draft with some buzz. He led the Virginia Cavaliers to a National Championship and showed promise to become an effective 3-and-D player in the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks, recognizing a need to improve their perimeter defense and cover Trae Young’s defensive flaws, traded picks 8, 17, and 35 to the Pelicans for the 4th overall pick, which became Hunter. It’s been clear this season that he’s focused on adjusting to the NBA’s pace and size while developing consistent production on a nightly basis. He has scored at least 10 points in 25 games and scored at least 20 points on five occasions. However, he’s completely disappeared in a few games this season and scored less than 5 points in 10 games.
Hunter’s aggressiveness has also dropped in January, as he’s taken 4.5 fewer shots than he did in December. Part of it stems from Collins’ re-integration into the starting lineup, but the Hawks’ reliance on Hunter as a primary wing necessitates more production for the team to be successful. After a quality performance against Phoenix, scoring 19 points on 53% shooting, I’m hopeful Hunter will trend in the right direction offensively and increase his intensity defensively the rest of the season.
2019-20 Stats: 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 33.5% 2-PT FG, 29.7% 3-PT FG
When the Atlanta Hawks traded the #3 pick, Luka Doncic, to the Mavericks for Trae Young, two things happened:
- Luka Doncic would have the misfortune of rooting for “America’s Team.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Didn’t Texas want to secede from the US?
- The Hawks also received the Mavs’ top-five protected pick in the 2019 NBA Draft
The Hawks won the 10th pick, which they used to snag Cam Reddish. His combination of length, shooting, and speed, which he showcased in high school in a ridiculous 50+ point outburst, along with his defensive instincts, intrigued Atlanta. “Killer” Cam’s draft counterparts even believed he might have the best career out of the group. However, Reddish has been trudging through a rough patch of inconsistency to begin his rookie campaign. In October, he averaged only 5.2 points and 5.6% from three and 20% overall. What’s crazy is I’m not even joking about those stats! But… he’s slowly turning things around.
Fast forward to the first nine games of 2020: 10.4 points, 37.9% from two, 41.3% from three, and 1.4 steals. Those are way better numbers. And in his best game of the season against the Spurs, he scored 22 points on 8-13 FG, 5-7 from 3-point land, with four steals and four assists. Reddish’s four steals still didn’t reach his career-high of five against Brooklyn earlier in January. Multiple Hawks players and Coach Lloyd Pierce laud Reddish’s defensive versatility and ability to use his 6’8 frame, and 7’1 wingspan to slap away balls and contest opponents’ shots. He might already be Atlanta’s best wing defender, although De’Andre Hunter had a better defensive reputation than Reddish coming into the NBA draft. He’s a player I encourage anyone who enjoys Hawks basketball to follow the rest of the season.