If it was still unclear, the Atlanta Hawks are perfectly content with the roster as it is.
Speaking with reporters on media day on October 2, Hawks general manager Landry Fields made that abundantly clear.
“From a philosophical standpoint it’s something that we’re always going to look at,” Fields said. “It’s my group’s job to be scouring the land and figuring out how can we continue to improve this roster. But sort of the theme – and the common theme right now especially, right – what we’re doing is just seeing how this whole system takes shape and the guys that we do have.
“And then [if] we need to make adjustments, we’ll make adjustments. But it’s something that’s always in the back of our mind, something that we’re always looking at if there’s opportunity and we’ll try our best to do it.”
This is head coach Quin Snyder’s first training camp with the team.
Snyder took over last season in late February with former head coach Nate McMillan dismissed during the All-Star break.
He led the Hawks to a 10-11 record in the regular season, and they suffered their second consecutive first-round exit from the playoffs. But even opponents like Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra noted the difference in the Hawks after Snyder took the helm.
The former Utah Jazz head coach was able to use last season as a time to form a connection with this group which, virtually to a man, has offered some form of endorsement for the environment Snyder is fostering.
Fields was asked about the Hawks’ rumored interest in Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam.
He pointed back to his initial answer about building out the roster. But he went on to explain how he handles that with the Hawks players.
“Whenever there’s guys that have their names in the mix, sometimes it just is what it is, and you know you don’t really have to address anything because that’s the nature of the NBA,” Fields said. “But then there’s other times where, if there’s things that come up, we do a good job of communicating with the players and their agents.
“‘Hey, this has come up right now. Could be something, could be nothing. But more than anything we don’t want you to be blindsided if something were to happen. Because, In this day and age, how fast you guys heard of certain things, it’s quicker than what we do at times.”
Hawks GM Landry Fields hypes third-year forward Jalen Johnson
Fields was very clear that he is leaving game-day roster decisions to Snyder, a significant note with the Hawks admittedly needing to replace John Collins whom they traded to the Utah Jazz this offseason, apparently much to the player’s delight.
But Fields did make some poignant comments about several players, including third-year forward Jalen Johnson.
He still did not commit to Johnson as a starter but he did praise the youngster’s skill set.
“The progression of Jalen, especially defensively in the last season, really gave us a lot of hope this year where it’s like, ‘Okay, can you put him into the more four lineups whether he’s starting or not and add in some of those elements defensively as well as his playmaking ability. I think for him, we’re excited for his growth this year.”
Johnson spent a significant portion of his offseason training with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James who can certainly offer some tips to the Hawks youngster who profiles similarly from a skill set standpoint.
He will have to beat out one or both of Saddiq Bey and De’Andre Hunter. And whoever starts could lose minutes when the Hawks go small and need Bogdan Bogdanovic on the floor.
But this is a strong endorsement from Fields nonetheless.
We’ll get our first look at how Snyder plans to use Johnson when the Hawks host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the preseason opener on October 10.