The Atlanta Hawks made a huge trade on Thursday to send away former starting point guard Dennis Schroder to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.
With the move (which we loved), the Atlanta Hawks got significantly younger and have far more upside than they’ve had in years.
Ever since the euphoric highs of the 2014-15 60-win Atlanta Hawks, the franchise has been seemingly stuck in neutral – unable to escape the morass of mediocrity that so many teams find themselves in.
Now, with a unified front of an owner (Tony Ressler), General Manager (Travis Schlenk — or should we say Drax the Destroyer?) and new head coach (Lloyd Pierce) who are all comfortable with losing a lot of games and growing organically through the draft the team finally has an identity built around its young core – with very few holdovers from the Mike Budenholzer era.
With that in mind, let’s explore the 12 Atlanta Hawks players to watch for in the 2018-19 season, starting with…
13. Carmelo Anthony
Just kidding. Thanks for the memories, Melo!
12. Luka Doncic
Also just kidding, but this time with more crying.
Now we get serious. Cleveland is lowest on this list due to playing very few minutes in the 2017-18 season, and being a generally less exciting prospect than many of the other players on this list.
Still though, Cleveland is an athletic and talented young player who looked pretty good through both Summer Leagues for the Hawks.
10. Jaylen Adams
Jaylen Adams was immediately signed to a two-way deal with the Hawks after going undrafted out of St. Bonaventure.
Adams should provide some solid shooting off the dribble from distance for Atlanta, and could step in and play spot minutes should either (or, heaven forbid, both) Trae Young or Jeremy Lin be injured during the 2018-19 campaign.
One of the less flashy elements of the Schröder/Melo trade was the acquisition of Justin Anderson from the 76ers.
Going into his 4th season in 2018-19, Anderson has shown flashes but little else so far in his NBA career. But one can never have too much wing depth in today’s NBA, so the Hawks made a play for a low-cost flyer on Anderson.
It will be interesting to see just how much he plays in 2018-19.
Coming off a completely lost season in 2017-18, Bembry will have a lot to prove – especially since he predates the Ressler/Schlenk/Pierce regime.
If Bembry is unable to live up to his athletic gifts and first-round pedigree, he might not be long for the team. Let’s hope he stays healthy, as he is an extremely likable player who plays a valuable and scarce position at the three.