Hawks Can Finally Reach Their Potential Without Lloyd Pierce
HAWKS CAN FINALLY REACH THEIR POTENTIAL WITHOUT LLOYD PIERCE
COLORS KEY | FULL HAWKS FUTURE OUTLOOK
Atlanta has benefitted from drafting about as well as any team in the league over the last four years by adding De’Andre Hunter (4th overall), Trae Young (5th), John Collins (19th), Kevin Huerter (19th), and Cam Reddish (10th) to an extremely promising young core. Considering their quick adjustments to the league and Young’s immediate All-Star caliber impact, it was time to turn potential into production.
After starting the season 10-9, it seemed like ATL’s moves were working and this was the season the Hawks would make the playoffs for the first time in four years. However, they then fell to 14-20 and fired Lloyd Pierce due to the team’s struggles.
The Hawks would consistently hold second-half leads or be up in the fourth quarter but then consistently fail to deliver during ‘winning time’. That usually falls on the team’s star player (or lack thereof) and/or Head Coach for not putting the team in a position to succeed in those situations. Considering Ice Trae’s scoring prowess and proven ability to hit big shots, it was likely more of an indictment on the coaching staff than the star PG.
After firing Pierce, the Hawks have now won two in a row and pulled off a 19-point comeback victory over Orlando to enter the All-Star break with plenty of momentum. The rookie HC Pierce had reportedly lost the locker room, and his replacement, Nate McMillan brings a long list of Head Coaching and playing experience that is exactly what this young Hawks team needs.
The top of the Eastern Conference is tough with Philly, Brooklyn, and Milwaukee all having realistic title aspirations this season. While Atlanta is unlikely to come anywhere close to that level this season, their talent should be enough to clinch a spot in the postseason. With Pierce no longer leading the way, the Hawks can finally reach their potential, take the next step this year, and continue their path toward being championship contenders in the foreseeable future.