Atlanta Hawks show definite signs of hope, but still rebuilding

first_imgFILE – In this Monday, June 24, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Hawks first-round NBA basketball draft pick Cam Reddish, out of Duke, holds his jersey as he poses with general manager Travis Schlenk, left, and head coach Lloyd Pierce during a news conference in Atlanta. As the Atlanta Hawks head into the third year of their massive overhaul, there are definite signs of hope, as the team prepares to open training camp with an intriguing core of young players. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)ATLANTA — As the Atlanta Hawks head into the third year of a massive overhaul, there are definite signs of hope.They might even have a shot at the playoffs in the wide-open Eastern Conference.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold PLAY LIST 06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown Trae Young and John Collins have already established themselves as two of the NBA’s brightest young prospects. Kevin Huerter made big strides during his rookie season. De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando were drafted this year to further bolster the roster. Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker was signed in free agency.None are older than 24.“We need to see what this little young core can do together,” Schlenk said. “Do they fit together? We certainly think they’re going to fit together nicely. That’s the plan. But we haven’t been able to see it yet. We need to see those guys in action. That doesn’t mean a month. I’m talking about seeing them together for a whole year.”Schlenk will concede there are no certainties in the rebuilding game, that much of the process is just gut instinct hopefully coupled with a lot of luck.When he was at Golden State, no one knew that Stephen Curry would develop into one of the NBA’s biggest stars. But the front office began to sense something special was happening when a sixth-seeded team won a playoff series and took San Antonio to six games in the second round in 2013, so the decision was made to pursue a risky trade for Andre Iguodala.ADVERTISEMENT Two seasons later, the Warriors won the first of what would be three titles in a run of five straight trips to the NBA Finals.Remembering how the Iguodala trade fell into place, Schlenk said, “We could continue to go with these young guys, but we have a veteran who wants to come play with these young guys. We knew that would speed up the timeline, but we felt like we had a chance with that acquisition to become a really good team.”The Hawks aren’t in that position.Not yet anyway.The big push could come next year, when expiring contracts will free up some $64 million for free agency or trades.“We’re not going to really know until we see this young group play together,” Schlenk said. “I can’t sit here and say today, unless you’re one of a handful of teams, that we have a chance to be special.”When training camp begins on Tuesday, the Hawks will be keeping a watchful eye on several of their young players.Collins is dealing with a right hip strain, so his workload will be limited during the preseason. The same goes for Huerter, who returned to Atlanta late last month complaining of a sore knee. An MRI showed no structural damage, but the Hawks won’t take any chances.Then there’s Reddish, the No. 10 overall pick out of Duke. While he has been fully cleared to resume on-court activities after undergoing core muscle surgery, the team will carefully monitor his workload leading up to the regular season.Pierce said it’s vital that the Hawks keep everyone healthy if they’re going to take the next step in their development. Francis Kong, Jason Magbanua headline ‘The School for the Passionate, New Bold U 2020’ Taal Volcano eruption: House to develop rehab plan for Batangas, Cavite, Laguna Huge sinkhole swallows bus, kills six in China Harden set to pair with Westbrook and chase title in Houston LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Negros Occidental gov’t, church call for prayers for safety of Taal evacuees LOOK: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 takes you straight to hell with a Music Video and First Look-Images ‘People evacuated on their own’ But, as the team prepares to open training camp with an intriguing core of young players, those in charge aren’t in any hurry to rush the process.“We haven’t done anything,” coach Lloyd Pierce said Friday. “I don’t want any our guys thinking we’ve accomplished anything just yet.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4Indeed, the Hawks won just 29 games a season ago, so this is still very much a long-term project.But general manager Travis Schlenk has taken major strides in constructing a totally new roster, one that follows the blueprint laid out by his former employer, the three-time champion Golden State Warriors. LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption MOST READ No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist “It’s hard when you’re putting a team together, especially a young team, if you can’t see them all out there together,” he said. “It’s really hard to see what to expect moving forward and having that breakthrough moment. That’s part of the reason why we’re being cautious and will remain cautious with every guy. We’re in no rush to advance anyone. We don’t want to skip steps. Health is at the forefront of everything we do, then take it from there.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View commentslast_img read more