Atlanta Hawks: Trust the Process Part 2?

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Can the Atlanta Hawks replicate the Sixers’ ‘Process’?

We’re nearing the end of December and the Atlanta Hawks don’t seem to have improved at all from last season. This is very disappointing to some fans who believed that the team could sneak into the playoffs due to the Eastern Conference not being that strong.

Now we’re in December and the Hawks have 6 wins and 22 losses. So what is the reasoning? Some fans are already calling for coach Lloyd Pierce to be fired, so we’ll take a look at why that would not be an ideal decision.

It takes time.

Atlanta Hawks
Lloyd Pierce Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

He was with the Philadelphia 76ers from 2013 until 2017 when he got hired here.

Back in Philly, they didn’t have a winning record until his 5th season. That’s multiple drafts, off-seasons and outright playing through tough times that the team endured before they really improved.

But the Hawks seem to have something the 76ers didn’t have early on: a legitimate piece to build around.

The Sixers drafted Michael Carter-Williams in 2013 and he never became “that guy.” They took Joel Embiid the next season, but he didn’t even play his rookie or sophmore year in the league.

In 2015, the team took Jahilil Okafor due to the Embiid setbacks, and Okafor didn’t live up to his expectations either, and in 2016 the team took Ben Simmons, who missed his rookie year as well.

2017 however…

With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid playing, as well as Robert Covington (who credits Lloyd Pierce to his growth), the Sixers went from 28 wins, to 54 wins.

Now, it took the Sixers five seasons for their draft picks to even become anything. Thus far, the Hawks have Trae Young going for them, and have inherited John Collins whose play seems to be better with the addition to Young last season.

Kevin Huerter was a nice piece as well,  while rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish were just added this past draft and I think people really had false expectations, expecting the rookies to just step -n and go crazy. And that wasn’t fair to them.

This team is in year two of a rebuild. I don’t foresee it taking five years (barring injury) like it took the Sixers because they were without Embiid for 2 seasons and Ben Simmons for a year.

Trae is already becoming an elite point guard, while Kevin Huerter is going to be a viable piece at the least.

John Collins seems to be the future at power forward, and De’Andre Hunter seems to be the small forward, as he has shown flashes offensively and he has been pretty consistent defensively. Cam Reddish is trying to find his groove, but it was unfair to assume he would be a 15 PPG guy from the get go in the first place.

The pieces are on the table, but the chemistry is not.

It doesn’t help that Kevin Huerter has missed games with injury, and John Collins has been suspended. It’s truly hard to build chemistry with guys not playing.

It is safe to be optimistic, because of how well Young has played this year, and Collins last season. As well as the flashes of the other young guys, and not to mention the abundance of cap space the team will have this coming off-season.

Further, they’ll have likely two first-round picks at their disposal as well this off season. It will take time, but when it happens – I believe – it will be well worth the wait.