Hawks Don’t Have To Explain: They’ll Be Tanking by December

Hawks New Faces: Jaylen Adams (R), Justin Anderson, Vince Carter, Jeremy Lin, Trae Young, Omari Spellman (R), Thomas Robinson, Alex Poythress, Alex Len, Kevin Huerter (R), Daniel Hamilton,

2017-18 Hawks Weaknesses:  28th: 3-Point (Defense). 27th: Turnovers. 26th: Offensive Rating. 25th: Field Goal Percentage, Total Rebounding, Points Scored. 24th: Field Goal Percentage (Defense). 23rd:Free Throw Attempts, Defensive Rebounding, Blocks, Opponent Points. 22nd: Offensive Rebounding. 21st: Defensive Rating.

2017-18 Hawks Strengths: 7th: 3-Point Attempts, Free-Throw Percentage. 8th: Assists.

2017-18 Leading Scorer: Dennis Schroder, 19.4 points

2017-18 Best Defensive Rating: Dewayne Dedmond, 107.

The Atlanta Hawks lottery season was predictable. They couldn’t score. They couldn’t defend. They had zero shot makers. And so here they are. With a 42 year old Vince Carter and a 20 year old Trae Young. Translation: Thirsty and hopeful and the same ol’ thing.

Everything that was a hole in the Hawks arsenal last year doesn’t seem to be much different this year. Different year. Same results. The Hawks added Jeremy Lin but can he stay healthy? If he can, then Lin can run an offense, get to the rim, make a shot or two. For the most part he’s a backup playing starter but he can get the job done for a lottery team if he can manage to stay healthy which has always been a struggle.

Trae Young is a mixed bag. Either he is Jimmer Fredette or he is Isaiah Thomas. What you can pretty much bet on is his defense is going to be forgettable. Or, worse. Young is a lightening rod for internet trolls who think he gravy trained his way into the lottery with a selfish game and take great pleasure at his failure. Others, believe Young may not be an All-Star but he can make shots, has exciting handles. The truth is somewhere in the middle. He’ll struggle because he is a 20 year old point in the NBA with a lot to learn. He doesn’t have elite quickness. But if he is coached right, Young can reach his potential.

What the Hawks are trying to do is their own iteration of The Process. But they haven’t snagged a Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons so it is rough sailing. They are young and average skilled trying to compete in a league with elite explosiveness and scorers. They’ll say they are developing, just be patient. But the Sacramento Kings have said that for the last decade they have not made the playoffs and the Kings had an All-Star lottery pick to heal their wounds.

The Hawks will play Trae Young until his legs fall off and then sit Trae Young as they are in the hunt for Zion Williamson of Duke. They need elite talent everywhere. So it’s all about pretending not to tank when they are tanking. It’s the system. The problem they have to contend with is what kind of gold will be at the end of the tanking rainbow? Jayson Tatum gold or Anthony Bennett rusted metal?

Was the 2017-18 season a disappointment for Atlanta? Of course it was. Even if they were trying to tank and develop simultaneously, losing the way they lost was tough on everyone. Young players losing all the time ruins their psyche.

The organization is going through changes. The players have to adjust. The Basketball Gods have to have mercy on Atlanta. They need a top-3 lottery pick to save the franchise from itself. Until that happens it’s going to be another dismal year with Atlanta leading the pack for the worst record and preaching patience, patience, patience.