Monday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks formally raised the curtain on their 2019-2020 season by inviting the media to their spectacular practice facility, the Emory Sports Complex, for media day. While there were no major injury news, forward John Collins made one proclamation that perked the ears of the journalists in attendance.
“They’re missing, in my opinion, the best show in Atlanta,” Collins said of fans that haven’t yet jumped on board. “Obviously, I know we are in the south, this is home-grown football — the south is a football region. I’m from Florida, went to school in North Carolina — I get it. But I feel like we’ve made enough noise, we’ve made enough buzz. Our owner, Tony, is putting his heart and soul into making the Hawks one of the future franchises of the city. I feel like he’s shown that with the Emory Sports Complex, the arena, what he’s doing down there. I feel like it’s our job to do what we need to do on the court to bring those fans out and I feel like we have. As soon as we start winning and taking care of what we need to take care of I feel like the fans will be right where they need to be. But like I said, it’s a process, that takes time. I know we have to prove it to them first and I feel like we’ve done a good job with that.”
The Hawks bring back point guard Trae Young, the aforementioned Collins and Kevin Huerter from a team that turned heads and brought the positive vibes back to Downtown Atlanta and a renovated State Farm Arena. Also on the roster are Evan Turner, Chandler Parsons, Alan Crabbe and the return of Vince Carter for his 22nd (and final) season. Plus the additions of 2019 draft picks De’Andre Hunter, Bruno Fernando and Cam Reddish, there were whispers of becoming a playoff-caliber team this season. However, on Friday afternoon, head coach Lloyd Pierce was quick to remind everyone where the Hawks are with 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.”
Every player part of the Hawks future is under the age of 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.”
After this year, $64 million of expiring contracts will come off the books and the Atlanta Hawks will be in a greater position to add talent.
“I feel like we are a playoff team,” Collins said. “Like I said, it’s a matter of putting it all together, with any team, but I feel like we definitely have enough talent. The coaching is there, obviously the youth and experience isn’t but I feel like we can make up for that with guys like Vince (Carter), guys like Evan Turner, guys like Allen Crabbe who can pick up the slack that we don’t have in experience but have talent wise. It’s not like we’re one of the teams that lacks talent. We have the talent. It’s just about the years and the experience and putting that all together which takes time, but I feel like we’re at a great point right now where we need to be now going forward.”