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When you see the above title, you think this article will be harsh or unpleasant. Not really. The Atlanta Hawks have been quite surprising, even in their loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. Two wins were great but the number one purpose of this season is basically to get better skill-wise and learn how to play under new head coach Lloyd Pierce and with each other.
Following the two losses against the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies, the Hawks bounce back with two big wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. Both were different victories.
In Cleveland, we saw rookie sensation, Trae Young take over a game and as a team, they never relinquished the lead and played good defense throughout. Against the Mavericks, they came back from 26 points and figured out how to fight and scrap their way back by trusting each other and feeding off each other’s energy.
Then on Saturday versus the Bulls, there was no energy and instead of playing through each other like the game before, it seem like players took it upon themselves to try to uplift the team. “Coming off of two wins and where we played well, it’s a lesson of how you handle success,” stated Pierce.
Every player including Young took responsibility for the lack of energy. “It was just energy from start to finish. It starts with me and I didn’t bring enough energy myself,” said Young.
They finally got to face a playoff team in the 76ers on Monday night and through the first half, the Hawks battled with them and competed hard. Although they lost 119-92 on the road, the young squad once again showed promise.
The most important phase of this rebuilding process is learning, whether through a win or getting blown out. Winning is the goal but striving to build together and getting more consistent is the key to having a successful season.
Thankfully, the core that Atlanta has is perfect for this process. A mixture of veterans and young players, and in particularly, experience dealing with winning and losing will become essential to the team.
For instance, the players that were here last year, such as Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bembry and Dewayne Demond, went through bumps, bruises and the lows of rebuilding last year. They will be able to help the rookies cope but also understand the situation and that every game is a learning process.
The most vital player for this team is Vince Carter. Because of his success and him arguably being a future Hall of Fame inductee, they are more prone to listen to what he has to say. Carter’s experience in starting with a bad team and then growing into a contender serves well as an example of how to ride this wave.
Pierce have continuously praised Carter for being available any way they’ve need him. “His [Carter] response to me has been whatever you need,” stated Peirce. The example he is setting gives the rookies and every player that notion of how to be a professional in the midst of adversity.
As long as everyone hold themselves accountable and value every experience with each other, the season won’t be as painful.
The team will be up and down (more of down) and very trying this year so the learning from every aspect and aspiring to get better will make this season become successful for the team as a whole.