The Atlanta Hawks made a statement last season by making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
With much success in 2020-21, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has put an emphasis on the team’s effort level, reminding them to show up each game:
“…Last year, our goal was to get into the playoffs and we were able to do that, and then obviously have the success in the playoffs,” he said, per CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter.
“And so now, it’s for a group of young guys to understand that, as you said, when we go play on a Tuesday night in the middle of February, you’re going to get the other team’s best effort, so you’ve got to show up every night, because you’re on the radar now. Teams aren’t going to overlook you anymore.”
Following the conversation of effort, it was only fitting that star guard Trae Young’s name was mentioned.
Young, who averaged 25.3 points, 9.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds last season, was the engine leading the Hawks to the Conference Finals.
“First and foremost, one of the big positives about Trae is he always continues to work.” Schlenk added.
“He puts in a lot of work during the summertime. He wants that mantle to be: consistent All-Star, in the upper echelons of the league.
So he’s going to continue to work even once he gets there, and he might be there now, like you alluded to, but he’s going to continue to stay there and to keep getting better and that’s … that’s ultimately when we start drafting players—those are the kinds of personalities you’re looking for. Guys with that hunger. You know he’s always had that chip on his shoulder since Day 1 and I don’t think he’s going to lose that.”
When asked about Ice Trae’s “ceiling,” Schlenk’s response was: “I think if you’d ask him, the first thing he’s going to say is probably a championship before the individual awards, but I think that’s certainly what he’s going to shoot for.”
After defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 113-87, in the season opener on Thursday night, the Hawks will continue to look to up the momentum from last season.