There might be trouble brewing in Atlanta.
Expectations weren't especially high for the Hawks heading into the season, as not many people expected them to be a legitimate playoff team. But, while they weren't expected to be great necessarily, they also weren't expected to be quite as bad as they have been either. Nearly a third of the way through the season, the Hawks are 6-19 and sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, and as a result, frustration has been mounting within the organization, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The lone bright spot for the Hawks this season has been the play of second-year guard Trae Young, who appears poised to blossom into a perennial All-Star, but even Young has been frustrated by the team's poor play, and he recently needed to be reassured by Hawks officials that the team would be looking for help leading up to February's trade deadline.
"Frustration has been mounting within the Hawks organization at times and league sources say it resulted in an emotional locker room scene involving star point guard Trae Young following a recent loss. The Hawks have lost 11 of their past 13 games, including eight by double digits. They have won two of their past three, though. After a 130-118 home loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday, one high-ranking team official was seen telling Young that the team would be getting him some help on the roster soon, according to multiple sources. The trade deadline is about two months away.
The frustration among Hawks ownership, the front office and players should not come as much of a surprise because of the losses that have been piling up and postgame flare-ups are far from abnormal... The team could look to replenish its lack of veteran presence on the roster prior to the trade deadline."
The Hawks have been without a pair of key contributors in John Collins and Kevin Huerter for a large chunk of the season which has accounted for some of their struggles, and the team should improve when at full strength. Still though, Atlanta looks to be at least a year away from being able to make any legitimate noise in the East, even if they were to make a move.
So, it will be up to the front office to decide if it would be worth sacrificing future assets -- either draft picks or young players -- in order to try to improve in the short term, even if the ceiling for the team this season is a first-round playoff exit, at best. Ultimately, the Hawks might be better served in their climb back to contention by continuing to develop their young core pieces and then land in the lottery again next year in order to add some more top-tier talent to the roster.