Coming into the season, the Hawks had high expectations after acquiring Dejounte Murray in the offseason. It was the first blockbuster trade the club has made in years, and it paired Trae Young with an All-Star for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, the 2022-23 campaign couldn’t have gone worse to this point.
While the team barely kept its head above water, turmoil struck the Hawks because of a dysfunctional owner. Travis Schlenk eventually stepped down in the middle of the season, and his reasoning was disturbing, giving the pubic a glimpse of how dysfunctional the organization had become under new leadership.
Tony Ressler, who once boasted that crossing the luxury tax threshold didn’t scare him, forced cost-cutting measures that actively made the Hawks a worse team while his son’s voice grew larger in the front office. It was reported that Nick Ressler played a pivotal role in the events leading up to Schlenk’s “exile” and eventual resignation. The snowball didn’t stop there.
Now, the Hawks have fired Nate McMillan, which had become expected at some point. His out-of-date style of coaching wasn’t meshing with the new generation of hoopers. It was inevitable, but I figured the club would wait until after the season because there was no chance moving off McMillan would save the season as it did with Lloyd Pierce.
There are deeper rooted issues that must be addressed; coaching can only take you so far. Interestingly, while Hawks fans celebrated McMillan losing his job (which is just obnoxious and corny), Sham Charania reported that he had requested multiple times to step down as head coach in the weeks leading up to his termination.
The truth: this basketball club is a mess. Getting rid of Nate McMillan isn’t going to be the Hawks’ saving grace. It starts with ownership and permeates throughout the organization. Until Tony Ressler starts writing more checks and delegates the basketball operations to competent individuals, the Hawks will underachieve.
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