This year’s Atlanta Hawks should still be fun to watch

WASHINGTON, DC -  APRIL 19: Dennis Schroder
WASHINGTON, DC -  APRIL 19: Dennis Schroder /

When teams go into rebuild mode, like the Atlanta Hawks have, it’s typically not the most exciting time for their fans. It often times leads to a less-than-desirable brand of basketball on the court.

Despite the likelihood of fewer wins, the Atlanta Hawks’ young core, Coach Bud’s system and potential upcoming front office moves are just a few reasons Hawks fans should be excited about the upcoming season.

Young Core

The Atlanta Hawks are clearly focusing on their young core of players. The roster currently stands at 14. Only two players on the roster are age 30 or older (Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli). Six players are under 25 and the average age for the team is 25.6 years. That should bring hope and excitement for the future.

Having a young core of guys like Dennis Schroder, Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry and John Collins provides a solid foundation to build upon. Schroder has established himself as, at the very least, a starting point guard in the NBA and still has upside to further develop his game. Taurean Prince showed flashes last season of being that true 3-and-D starter on the wing for a long time. His development this year should be fun to watch.

Both DeAndre’ Bembry and John Collins played well in Summer League and should factor heavily in the rotation this season. Bembry showcased his play-making ability and Collins exhibited NBA-level athleticism to go along with his scoring efficiency around the basket. Development of Bembry’s jump shot along with Collins’ adjustment from college to NBA competition will be key in how much impact they make this season. This being a rebuild season, they should have ample opportunity to contribute.

Atlanta Hawks
PORTLAND, OR – FEBRUARY 13: Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks talks with Dennis Schroder /

Coach Bud’s System

Last season saw a bit of departure from the traditional pace and space offense the Atlanta Hawks used in previous years. Much of that was due to the presence of Dwight Howard and his fit within the offense.

This year’s Hawks team looks to be a much better fit for Coach Bud’s system. You’ll see more 4-out and even 5-out offense with the dearth of capable shooters the Hawks can put on the floor at any given time. A 5-out lineup of Schroder, Kent Bazemore/Belinelli, Prince, Ilyasova/Luke Babbitt and Mike Muscala would create incredible spacing and give defenses fits trying to close out on shooters.

Without a true isolation post player, Schroder should have a field day getting to the basket to either finish at the rim, get to the FT line (which he needs to do more often anyway) or find guys on the perimeter. Fans should be excited to see how his game develops this season.

Prince, Bazemore and Bembry are tailor-made for the type of off-ball cuts DeMarre Carroll made famous a few season back. There should be plenty of ball and player movement on offense this season, making for an entertaining team.

Atlanta Hawks
ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 26: General Manager Travis Schlenk of the Atlanta Hawks introduces new draft picks John Collins, Tyler Dorsey, and Alpha Kaba during a Press Conference on June 26, 2017 at Fox Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Front Office Moves

Travis Schlenk has mentioned numerous times his desire to maintain flexibility with the roster. With an abundance of cap space and upcoming draft picks, fans should look forward to watching the front office leverage that flexibility. Whether that means packaging those picks in a trade, using their cap space next year in free agency or the dozens of other options available, it’ll be interesting to watch everything unfold.

After 10 straight playoff appearances, you could argue the Atlanta Hawks haven’t gone through a tried-and-true rebuild in a quite a while. I might suggest Danny Ferry was attempting a rebuild when he started as GM. It just so happened the Hawks made the playoffs with 38 wins in the 2013-14 season and then won 60 games the following year.

It seems likely the Hawks are headed for a season where their win total might not reach 30. However, that doesn’t mean this team won’t be fun to watch. Plus, it’s always fun to root for a team with players that have a good reputation off the court as well.