History repeats itself, and as seen in the past, solid roster depth and good coaching go hand and hand with success. As predictions about a team’s futures are made by analysts and fans worldwide, the most vital measure is the roster. Is the team deep enough?
Can they call the next man up with confidence? Do they have quality bench players for when injuries occur?
Due to excellent front office decision-making and tremendous draft scouting, the Hawks have become one of the deepest teams in the league.
They’ve built their core around the NBA draft as over the last five years, they’ve drafted players such as Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Heurter, Onyeka Okongwu and recently traded Cam Reddish.
This collective group has had great success together, but the chemistry and cohesiveness of the Hawks unit have been challenged several times throughout the couple of seasons they’ve played together.
With so many hungry young guys and a limited portion of minutes to go around, frustration stemming from select players has grown over the years.
Hawks star forward John Collins has voiced his concerns several times with how the offense operates.
This past January, Shams Charania of The Athletic said, “Collins, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta.”
Ironically, in January of the 2020-2021 NBA season, reported by The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and Sam Achick, Collins spoke on several issues he had with how the ball was moving in a film session.
“Collins talked about the need to get into offensive sets more quickly and to limit all those early shot-clock attempts that leave his teammates on the outside looking in,” said Kirschner and Achick. “He shared his desire to be more involved and expressed a desire for more ball involvement and flow on offense.”
Collins is still signed to a five-year, $150 million contract as he was an integral part of the Hawks’ run to the eastern conference finals last year despite the issues.
Nonetheless, Collins’ ability to rim-run and stretch the floor makes him a viable trade asset if the Hawks ever have to deal him elsewhere.
In 2019, the Hawks spent their first-round lottery pick on recently traded New York Knick Cam Reddish. Reddish’s career with The Hawks’ never panned out how he and the Hawks originally intended to.
With Heurter, Bogdan and Collins as solidified wings, Reddish knew that his role was limited. According to Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk, Reddish approached the front office during the offseason and requested a trade to a team where he would have a more impactful role.
“Cam had come to us during the offseason & expressed the desire to maybe get to a situation where he could have a little bigger role,” said Schlenk.
Reddish has shown huge spurts of potential when healthy. Just this year, he had two 30-point games and averaged career-high numbers around the board with 11.9 ppg and shooting 38 percent from three, a much higher percentage than his 26 percent from the previous season.
“You’re going to have to make sacrifices because, in order to play that many guys, minutes are going to be cut, attempts are going to be cut,” said Coach McMillan. But it can be a strength of this team, and that’s what I’m hoping we’ll get.”
The team seems to be very reminiscent of last year as they’ve started extremely slow but have started to pick up steam right as they head into the all-star break.
With key players locked in for the next couple of years, will this roster be able to put their differences aside to bring a championship to Atlanta?