Hello folks, once again it's EdMemphis with another chapter in GBB's Five Questions, this one being the Atlana Hawks edition. Today we were fortunately able to get assistance with this piece from none other than @AtlHawks writer & Fox Sports SouthEast media contributor Kevin Chouinard, along with Zach Hood, the editor of Sport's Illustrated network's @FalconsSI & writer for @peachtreehoops as well as analysis for @hawksfilmroom. Here we discuss on court play of this current Hawks group & their struggles this season as well as musical comparisons such as Lil Baby & Cameron Reddish in addition to Outkast's resemblance to Joe Johnson Al Horford.
This happens to be the first of their two scheduled matchups this season which both will take place this week. Let's jump right into the swing of things & find out exactly how all of these equations come into the fold so seamlessly.
EdMemphis: First question, Trae Young is having a sophomore campaign I have never seen in my lifetime aside from fellow 2018 draft classmate Luka Doncic. How has Trae impacted the buzz of a Hawks fan base that many have been critical of?
@KLChouinard: It's a twofold effect. Trae has energized the existing fan base. It has been over 20 years since the Hawks had a player voted in as an all-star starter. However, Trae had a number of fans before he even got to Atlanta. So just adding him to the team added to a fan base that waned a bit from 2016 to 2018.
@zhood_ : Definitely in a positive way. Any time you have someone starting in the All-Star game, people are going to get more excited & pay more attention to the team.
EdMemphis: In a climate where the trend has become heavy analytics & small ball lineups to score more, how has Head Coach Lloyd Pierce adapted to the changes & has he shown the innovative potential to be the long term head coach of this Hawks group?
@KLChouinard: Lloyd Pierce has been great. The Hawks have a shot profile that is exactly what you would want. But more than that, Pierce has overseen the development of players like John Collins & Cam Reddish, who have taken long strides in the right direction. The tricky part is the defense, but that issue lies more with the personnel than with the coaching. There will certainly be more pressure for Pierce to get results on that end once he has Clint Capela in the fold.
@zhood_: I think Lloyd Pierce deserves a full season with Capela, the core guys, & whatever they get in the draft plus free agency. He's had to deal with a lot of inconsistencies from a personnel standpoint & deserves a full season with a solid group like the Hawks should have next season. John Collins has played the five over 1/3 of the time when he's played this season. Partly out of need due to injuries & lack of center depth, but also out of strategy at times. His ability to stretch the floor opens up the floor for Young & all of the wings.
EdMemphis: Who is your favorite artist from the home of the Atlanta Hawks & what Hawks player (past or present) would you compare them to?
@KLChouinard: My favorite artist from Atlanta is Outkast, but Hawks' history isn't littered with paradigm-breaking players with beautiful games. Al Horford & Joe Johnson aren't going to cut it here. Can I cheat & say Dr.J, who was a Hawk for 2 weeks before the ABA pried him back to Virginia with the threat of legal action?
EdMemphis: Great choice Kevin & yes that's fine.
@zhood_: I don't have a player/artist comparison I feel passionately about lol. Right now my favorite Atlanta artist is Lil Baby.
EdMemphis: Okay, I can see Lil Baby being compared to Cam Reddish or even DeAndre Hunter. This Young led Hawks team is now loaded with talent to usher in what could be the greatest era in the history of the Hawks. This question maybe a bit of a jump but as is, what are they missing to make themselves serious contenders?
@KLChouinard: Trae Young & John Collins are jaw-dropping offensive players. Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish (who is a glorious defender) & De'Andre Hunter give the Hawks three very promising wings around them.
The current cap hinges in large part on what kind of defenders Young & Collins can be. So far, it hasn't been great. But we also haven't seen this group at full health with a strong defensive option at Center. I think we'll know more about the cap them. For now, it's somewhere around winning a playoff series or two but any promise that they show on defense would bump that up quite a bit.
@zhood_: I don't think it's worth while to assess the Hawks "as is". They have a mid-to-high lottery pick plus $50 million in cap space. The ceiling with Trae Young & a few quality players should he perennially in the playoffs for sure, but until we see exactly which direction they go this summer, it's tough to say what the ceiling is.
EdMemphis: Ok fellas, Last question. What has been the main focus of improvement for the Hawks this season aside from their obvious defensive struggles that have them currently ranked 29th with 119 oppg? How well has the transition into analytics based play with this group?
@KLChouinard: The answer here is similar to the one for the last question. Travis Schlenk brought in Capela because the Hawks need help with respect to defense & the defensive glass. Trae Young is always going to be 6-foot-1, but he has to use his lateral quickness better as a defender so the Hawks don't have to hide him quite as much. As the Hawks get better on offense, he'll have more help on that side of things & hopefully more energy on the other, to undertake that task of staying in front of people.
He's also a gamer who loves the spotlight, so as the stakes get higher, I'd expect him to get better on defense because his competitive, prideful side won't accept anything less as the Hawks enter the wild & wonderful world of nationally televised games. (Those are coming soon, aren't they?)
@zhood_: I think the main focus of improvement for the Hawks this summer will be three-point shooting. Reddish & Hunter have been making strides from three, & most expect them to add at least one shooter in free agency. The offense functions effectively when everyone is healthy, but could use more shooting depth on the current roster, ranking last in the NBA in three-point percentage.
Thank Kevin and Zach again for taking their time to collaborate with us on this edition of GBB's Five Questions. I ask that all of those reading be sure to check out Kevin Chouinard on the Hawks' broadcasts via Fox Sports SouthEast. He also has a podcast called @ATLand29 with more of his well thought out content. Zach Hood has additional content such as game film breakdowns over at @hawksfilmroom as well as his contributions to @the_step_back.