This might be a bit obvious.
Travis Schlenk has made some fantastic draft selections, along with some under the radar quality signings, since being named GM of the Hawks. Trading Luka Doncic was a risk, but Atlanta has their franchise player in Trae Young and another young building block in Cam Reddish to show for it. Schlenk, who is known for his keen eye for talent, found his guy and made an aggressive move to take him while picking up another lottery pick. You cannot blame him for that, even if Doncic has turned into an all-world player in his second season.
This comes a year after Schlenk selected John Collins with his first pick as Hawks GM. Collins is now a borderline All-Star caliber player with a bright future in front of him. Kevin Huerter also appears to be a nice land, and at first glance, De’Andre Hunter could end up being a superstar.
On the free agency side of things, bringing in guys like Dewayne Dedmon and Alex Len in years past, as well as Jabari Parker this season, have all added a spark at a low-cost, and Len and Parker could end up netting the Hawks something at this year’s trade deadline. Or perhaps Schlenk will decide to hand them another contract this offseason, which will be a critical one. Not only will the Hawks have a boatload of salary coming off the books with the building blocks already in place, but there will also be a lot of pressure from a disgruntled fan base that expected a lot more this season.
Schlenk will put a lot of the blame regarding this year’s failures on himself and his approach this past offseason, which included several odd moves – none more so than trading for Evan Turner to be the team’s backup point guard.
When Kent Bazemore was shipped off to Portland, Hawks nation was relieved to have his massive contract off of the cap sheet. Baze hadn’t been himself in a long time, and it was time for both sides to move on. However, I still thought they could do better than Evan Turner in return, who is on a similarly abysmal contract, and it’s painfully obvious that this is true now.
Let’s rewind a bit. Player for player trades are not uncommon in the NBA these days, and after jumping through a few mental hoops, Bazemore for Evan Turner straight up made a bit of sense at the time. The Hawks needed a ball-handler to lead the bench, and Turner was the 2nd overall pick back in 2010. Maybe there was some untapped potential in there, but at the very least, he should bring a veteran presence that can keep the second unit under control. Unfortunately, he’s provided neither, which has left the Hawks with a gaping hole on their roster.
Turner has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff, and as bad as this team is, it’s crazy he can’t even crack the rotation. He’s averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.1 APG in 13.5 minutes and has been a DNP seven out of the past ten games – and in the three games he did play, he was god awful.
Brooklyn (12/4): 21 minutes, 2 Points
Chicago (12/11): 13 minutes, 0 points
Utah (12/19): 8 Minutes, 2 points
Turner has been a miserable fit on the Hawks. And without him producing, Lloyd Pierce is left using Cam Reddish, DeAndre’ Bembry, and Kevin Huerter at the point when Trae Young heads to the bench, which has been a terrible experiment as well. Schlenk made several peculiar moves this offseason to fill out the roster, but this one didn’t make much sense at the time and has only looked worse as the season has waned. Whenever the Hawks want to get serious about winning, they will address their backup point guard situation.