The Atlanta Hawks are a bad basketball team

Atlanta Hawks Trae Young

The Atlanta Hawks are a bad basketball team, as evident in the Magic’s 50 first quarter points the club allowed on Wednesday evening. Following an Eastern Conference Finals, which was an overachievement (let’s be honest), Travis Schlenk and the front office decided to run it back along with Nate McMillan on a new contract. And last season was a supreme disappointment.

The Hawks flailed for much of the campaign, squeaking into the postseason through the play-in, then were manhandled by the Miami Heat and served a first-round exit. There had to be personnel changes, and boy, did they come. Schlenk swung major trades that landed Dejounte Murray and dealt Kevin Huerter, both netting radically different results.

The Hawks as a team sorely miss Huerter, who is having a career year in Sacramento. Atlanta is among the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, and they landed Justin Holiday and a draft pick in the salary dump. It shines a terrible light on the ownership group, but the other big move has paid dividends.

Murray, the first All-Star teammate of Trae Young‘s career, has come as advertised. The former Spur is a joy to watch; he gets after it in every facet of the game — pull-ups, playmaking, transition, defense, etc. However, an injury has sidelined him temporarily. Injuries and drama have crippled the Hawks, who have been struggling mightily in recent weeks.

Nobody on the team is free of blame. The coaching is horrendous. The front office is at fault for not fully committing and paying a minor luxury tax fine to keep Huerter. Nearly everyone on the roster has been mentioned in trade rumors, and the personnel is playing below their capabilities, including Trae Young, who is amid the worst start of his career.

Despite averaging nearly 29 points and 10 assists, Young is doing so on .408/.285/.893 shooting splits — the worst of his career. Yes, Young is shooting less than 29% from deep. Regardless of how potent he is as a playmaker, he’s critical to the team’s overall three-point percentage since the front office decided to trade the roster’s two best shooters in the offseason.

Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s return has been a godsend, but the injuries are insurmountable with the Hawks lack of depth. John Collins, Dejounte Murray, and De’Andre Hunter have all missed significant time. It seems this season continues to deliver gut punches to the Hawks. None is more evident than Atlanta’s 135-124 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Trae Young did his thing, notching 16 assists to go along with 19 points. However, Atlanta’s star point guard went just 1-of-5 from deep in the contest, and the team combined for 12-of-35 from the distance. The Hawks sacrificed shooting for playmaking and defense this offseason and still gave up 50 FIRST QUARTER POINTS TO THE MAGIC.

Trae Young’s shooting woes certainly play in the disappointing start to the highly anticipated season, but this team has far more warts than just that. Young’s improved efficiency isn’t enough to turn this ship around. Wholesale changes, including to the coaching staff, might be necessary. When the team gets healthier, we can make sweeping judgments.

Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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