In a look at some of the offseason questions that the Hawks will have to address later this year, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic points to head coach Lloyd Pierce‘s job status as one of those unanswered questions. As Kirschner explains, Pierce has done a good job developing Atlanta’s young players, but there are other factors that could impact his job security.
For one, star guard Trae Young hasn’t always been on the same page with Pierce, according to Kirschner, who suggests the All-Star guard has disagreed with some coaching decisions and didn’t love Pierce’s comments about Young not being named a finalist for Team USA’s roster. Sources with knowledge of the Hawks star’s thinking “have confirmed that his relationship with Pierce isn’t strong,” Kirschner writes.
Some Hawks players have also questioned Pierce’s in-game decisions and rotations. According to Kirschner, one player even offered the following assessment when discussing those decisions: “It’s almost as if we actually are tanking on purpose.”
Here are some other subjects that Kirschner touches on in his story for The Athletic:
- DeAndre’ Bembry has been a personal favorite of Pierce’s, but he may have played his last game for the Hawks, according to Kirschner, who hears from sources that the RFA-to-be was “readily available” leading up to the trade deadline.
- Kirschner is also skeptical that Jeff Teague or Damian Jones, who will be free agents this offseason, will be back with Atlanta in 2020/21. However, he believes Skal Labissiere is a candidate to be re-signed, despite not yet playing a game for the Hawks, since the recently-acquired big man has long been a favorite of GM Travis Schlenk.
- If the 2019/20 season doesn’t resume, the Hawks won’t get a chance to evaluate the on-court fit between Clint Capela and John Collins before the latter becomes extension-eligible, and Kirsher thinks it’ll be hard for the team to offer Collins a massive long-term deal without having seen whether that frontcourt pairing works.
- Given the lack of a clear-cut hierarchy at the top of this year’s draft, Kirschner speculates that the Hawks would be open to trading down or trying to trade that pick for an impact player, even if they were to land the No. 1 selection. Schlenk showed a willingness to move down in 2018, passing on the chance to select Luka Doncic.