Tony Ressler and Nick Ressler have been heavily scrutinized for their roles in Travis Schlenk’s stepping down, and all signs point to a potential implosion. However, amid franchise turmoil, the Atlanta Hawks still remain above water. The club remains just 2.0 games behind the sixth-seed Miami Heat and has yet to really experience long stretches of health. NBA analyst Zach Lowe is bullish on the team moving forward:
The Hawks are 6-2 in their last eight, and their offense — moribund much of the season — is humming. Some of that is unsustainable shooting; the Hawks in that stretch have hit 42% on 3s, 52% from floater range, and 59% on long 2s. It feels like Dejounte Murray hasn’t missed a runner in weeks.
Nothing else about Atlanta’s fundamentals has changed. They are still Team Mid-Range. They are last in passes per game overall, and in the bottom five even in this stretch.
But the Hawks and Trae Young have shown glimpses of the snappier style that drove their conference finals run two seasons ago.
This is a pivotal two weeks for Atlanta. Turmoil shook every level of the organization. The Collins trade rumors are hotter than ever. And yet, there is a good team here; their starting five is one of the league’s best lineups, and their bench is mostly healthy.
Lowe is right; this is a very talented roster. The Atlanta Hawks just have hit nearly every bump in the road. After acquiring a ball dominant guard in Dejounte Murray, there were always going to be growing pains as the new-look team built chemistry. However, they’ve rarely had the opportunity to do so.
Granted, every team deals with injuries at some point, but the Hawks have legitimately been healthy for only a handful of games. Moreover, Trae Young has seemingly been vilified for his prickly personality. Sure, he might not be the most mature leader in the league. But Young is ultra-competitive and is experiencing shortcomings in a new role; sometimes, tempers flare. On top of that, the front office dysfunction hasn’t helped.
I still believe in the Atlanta Hawks. There are plenty of pieces for the Hawks to make a surge after the All-Star break toward the playoffs.
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire