Pierce: Exclusion From NBA’s Return Would Hurt Hawks

If the NBA moves forward with a plan to have its top 22 teams resume the 2019/20 season, the Hawks would be one of the eight clubs left out. Amidst reports that the proposal has growing support, Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols today that he’s still hoping his team will get a chance to be part of a return to play this summer.

“I coach the youngest team in the NBA,” Pierce said. “And the biggest thing we can benefit from is playing basketball, and the game has been taken away from all of us at this point. … If the season is going to resume and we’re still not a part of it, it hurts our growth, it hurts our product, it hurts our ability to continue the momentum that we need going into next season.”

A desire to be part of the NBA’s resumed season has apparently been unanimous throughout the Hawks’ organization — general manager Travis Schlenk has said he’s in favor of the franchise finishing the season, and team owner Tony Ressler reportedly expressed a similar sentiment on last Friday’s Board of Governors conference call.

As we noted in that story on Friday’s call, some of the NBA’s lottery-bound teams are concerned about facing a nine-month gap between games. Besides the potential impact such a lengthy layoff would have on fan interest, those clubs also don’t want to be apart from their players for so long.

That’s of particular concern for a young team focused on player development like Atlanta. Schlenk said last month that the Hawks would “play our guys” rather than sitting stars like Trae Young and John Collins, since the team wants those building blocks to get as much time on the court together as possible.

“I play young guys, I have young guys,” Pierce told Nichols. “They need game experience and so we need to play basketball, we want to play basketball.”

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7 thoughts on “Pierce: Exclusion From NBA’s Return Would Hurt Hawks

  1. Appalachian_Outlaw

    Why not keep the playoffs as they normally are; and do an NIT style tournament involving the other 14 teams, in best of 3 series? It wouldn’t water down the finals that way, everyone still gets to play, and every fanbase gets involved? You could make the prize for the bottom half tourney either some increased odds for the top pick, or an extra (untradeable) pick at the very end of the 1st rd?

    • hiflew

      That sounds intriguing. I don’t think I would want the lottery decided by this type of tourney, but I could see setting the top of the 2nd round based on the results. Those first few second round picks are usually pretty valuable.

  2. Boston2AZ

    How about lousy teams just go home? Since when did the NBA become one of those “everybody gets a participation trophy” league?

  3. El Don

    So why don’t they do the RS with about 20 teams each season, as many teams are rebuilding, will be lousy, no point in them been there…
    Man that is such a clown comment, imagine for the last 34 years the Celtics wouldn’t have played for 20-25 years, right?
    All the good franchises that wanna better themselves like ATL, CLE, PHX… wanna play, the not so good ones, or think they are too good to play like, GSW or PTB, these are the ones pushing for not playing, but looking pretty bad for it.

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Boo Hoo …. who cares. Maybe you should have won more than 20 games. During strike season. They played 50 gms. Shut up and go build a team. Hawks have the draft, cap space, young talent. Their future is bright. Time to play REAL games. 20 win teams have no place here. No Babies Allowed

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