How bright is the future for Coach Pierce’s Atlanta Hawks?

The future is bright for the Atlanta Hawks who are heading in a new direction. But is it the right direction?


Travis Schlenk at his introductory press conference with Atlanta (HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM).

With new head coach Lloyd Pierce being a defensive minded coach I suspect that during his first year, assistant coach Melvin Hunt will run the offense. Hunt described his offense as a pace and space style. Sort of like the Atlanta Falcons did before, Lloyd Pierce will be the defensive coordinator a la Marquand Manuel. Coupled with Melvin Hunt who will be the offensive coordinator a la Steve Sarkisian.

Lloyd Pierce’s first task will be to figure out how to best feature each player currently under contract. The Atlanta Hawks have players with great defensive potential. DeAndre’ Bembry, Taurean Prince, John Collins, and Dennis Schröder all can improve tenfold under Pierce’s tutelage.

If Schröder can tap into his ’13-’14 form he will become a better asset for the Hawks. With a better supporting cast and a relaxed role, Schröder can play press defense again. It wasn’t that long ago when Schröder would continually harass opposing point guards as soon as the inbound pass was made.

Taurean Prince’s offensive outburst can be the key to the team’s overall development. When the Hawks put out an entire starting 5 who can all hold their own on offense we will see a better Dennis Schröder. Pierce likely won’t have Schröder playing hero ball anyways.

In this video where Taurean Prince scored a career-high 38 points, it will become apparent to you that Prince has an incredibly high ceiling than once predicted.


Prince really has the makings of a dirty south Kawhi Leonard. The sky is the limit for him. If he can replicate last seasons production and develop his skills this team will improve significantly.

Adding three 1st round caliber players to this team will also increase the team’s overall talent in comparison to this seasons roster. This season, most of the Hawks depth was G league caliber players. There is nothing wrong with having G league players but having them make up the bulk of your roster is a recipe for disaster.

Say the Hawks draft the following players in the 2018 NBA Draft:

3. PF Marvin Bagley III

19. G Anfernee Simons

30. SG Gary Trent Jr.

34. G/F Melvin Frazier 

That already sounds better if you think about the players the Hawks had this season. Although the Atlanta Hawks finished the season with a 24-58 record, this team is full of players with untapped potential. Adding players with high upside to a team that is going to be coached by a developmental coach like Pierce sounds like the way to go in the impending future.

It remains to be seen what Pierce and Co can do with this young Hawks squad but my expectations are high. Lloyd Pierce has shown that he can develop players based on the performance displayed by the Philadelphia 76ers. All the Atlanta Hawks need to do is give him players that he can mold into his image.

Da’Vonte Hughes| @CookieByNature

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