3 Ways the No. 1 pick can help Landry Fields turn the Hawks into contenders

The Atlanta Hawks have a tremendous opportunity with the No. 1 overall pick, one that could help turn them back into contenders.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

All eyes are on the Atlanta Hawks.

Landing the No. 1 pick is generally viewed as a franchise-altering reality. While this particular draft class’ lack of depth at the top has left many feeling as though it’s a class to avoid such a burden.

That doesn’t have to be the case for myriad reasons, not the least of which being the excitement and prosperity top prospects have brought recently.

Recent trade for No. 1 picks bodes well for Hawks’ hopes for contention

By now you’ve likely heard that the Hawks won the NBA Draft lottery for the first time in franchise history. They also had the first overall pick for just the fourth time in franchise history and the first since they moved to Atlanta in 1968.

It’s also generally accepted that it’s difficult to win at the highest levels with young players – the average age of championship teams is roughly 28 years old.

However, three of the last five No. 1 overall picks’ teams made the playoffs this season.

The San Antonio Spurs finished with the second-worst record in the Western Conference standings and the fourth-worth record in the entire league. But they looked closer to competitors than cellar-dwellers with 2023 No. 1 pick Victory Wembanyama on the floor.

Considering that none of those recent picks were joining teams that made a Conference Finals run with much of the same core, the Hawks offer a better situation than most.

It’s still hard to project the Hawks will make it back to the ECF as soon as next season.

Their 36 wins in 2023-24 were their fewest since 2019-20, which was also the last time they missed the postseason. They also lost their final seven games of the campaign, including their Play-In Tournament matchup against the Chicago Bulls.

But with stars in Trae Young and Dejounte Murray (for now at least) and a head coach in Quin Snyder, an incoming rookie could be set up for success.

Those are exciting prospects for everyone involved.