The Atlanta Hawks rebuild shows that the Philadelphia 76ers Process was a mistake

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have shown that a franchise can be rebuilt in three seasons and have a level of success. It started with the drafting of John Collins, meaning that he is the longest-tenured player. It appeared that Travis Schlenk had a vision of what he wanted from his team and drafted the right players to achieve this.

Many people questioned his decision to trade back in the next draft, sending Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks and got back Trae Young. He also drafted Kevin Huerter in the same draft. The next draft he took De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, a pair of really good wings.

This left some question marks at the center position and Schlenk took advantage of the Houston Rockets’ desire to play small ball, trading for Clint Capela. He then took advantage of the mistake made by the Sacramento Kings and signed Bogdan Bogdanovic. This is a pretty impressive core, especially when you add Danilo Gallinari who cost the Hawks two future second-round picks.

The Atlanta Hawks rebuild was completed this season

With the addition of veterans Gorgui Dieng and Delon Wright, the Hawks are deep, They also added two young studs in the draft with Sharife Cooper and Jalen Johnson. This is a true blueprint for a rebuild that teams could follow. The fans did not sit through years of losing on purpose to get the best draft picks.

As a result of this strategy for the 76ers, which became known as The Process, there is a massive level of expectation in Philadelphia that their top picks start to perform immediately. It feels like if they do not win a championship then the process will have failed. Unfortunately, there is only one championship every season and 30 teams going for it.

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The 76ers had a really successful season in 2020-21 and apart from an unfortunate injury to Joel Embiid in the playoffs, they might have been champions. Instead, they threw Ben Simmons under the bus and basically blamed his lack of free-throw shooting for the loss to the Hawks.

There are massive differences between the two rebuilds but the main one is that Schlenk took players in the draft who suited what the team needed and then surrounded them with veterans. This means that any success the Hawks have early is just a bonus that allows them to grow as a team. The 76ers just took the best player available at their pick.

The 76ers process has already spat out Markelle Fultz who is a much better player for the Orlando Magic than he was in Philly when healthy. There is less pressure, less expectation, and this can be huge for a young player.

It now looks like it is going to cost them a generational talent in Simmons. Yes, he does not have an outside game, nor is he a good free throw shooter. What he does bring to the court is elite rebounding, scoring, passing, and defense. Maybe if they worked with what they have rather than shoehorning him into becoming a player he is not they would have more success.

Did the Hawks solve their biggest issues from last season?. dark. Next

Pressure and expectation have a history of forcing teams into making the wrong decision. This is why the Hawks rebuild is a better way. Players are allowed not to be perfect, they can learn and grow. It is also very rare that fans will turn on one of their own in the sort of environment the Hawks have created.