Tell the truth, that title sounds very dramatic does it not? Well the Hawks are one of the teams that will definitely NOT be a contender for the playoffs this season thanks to Travis Schlenk hitting the reset button and going the route of the youth movement. The rebuilding plan is to spend the next couple of years developing their young players while the Golden State Warriors are in the middle of their dynasty run.
Just because the Hawks are starting their journey of the rebuild, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be pressure in the ATL. With media day symbolizing the unofficial start to the NBA season, HawksHoop will take a detailed look at who is sitting on the hot seat this season.
The ownership group…
It’s interesting that someone would put the ownership at the top of the list of people that are on the hot seat, but they really are. Tony Ressler, Grant Hill and the rest of the ownership group have to sell the direction of the franchise and have the patience to be able to carry through with the plan even though there will be struggles for the next few seasons. To be clear here, there WILL be struggles for the next few seasons. Struggling teams means losses. Losses mean fan apathy. Fan apathy means less seats being filled.
The Hawks do have a lot of work to do competing with the Braves who are on their way to the playoffs and the Falcons who were two years removed from the Super Bowl. But the arena will be immaculate. That’s a start.
Check out the Facebook live of the presentation a month ago…
The reason those seats need to be filled is because the Hawks have an investment with a new building partner and a community to connect with…
Remember the official statement concerning the agreement? …
“We are honored to work with State Farm, one of the nation’s most recognizable and civic minded organizations and want to thank Michael Tipsord and Rand Harbert for their leadership and commitment to this exceptional collaboration,” said Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “Our ownership group considers the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club a community asset, and we are excited to have found a partner that shares our vision and has committed to working with us to expand on the community engagement and philanthropic initiatives we do that benefit the many communities that make up this great metropolitan area. Generations will be positively impacted by the work we do throughout Georgia, and we could not be prouder to have the State Farm name on our arena.”
Believe me folks, State Farm did not get into an agreement with the Atlanta Hawks totally for the community aspect of things. This is a business everyone. The worst thing that can happen to a NBA team is fan apathy. But it does need to be said that the Braves did go the youth route the same way the Hawks are now. They have a new stadium and are reaping the benefits of developing their young talent. But the Hawks have to be sure to keep the interest of the fans. They cannot afford to take the loyal fanbase for granted.
This happened twice to a franchise up north I-85 in Charlotte. This happened twice in Charlotte’s history.
The first time it happened when George Shinn was the coach. Shinn was looking for a new arena. Something that was not going to happened based on some off the court issues with Shinn. When he decided to move the franchise to New Orleans, fans took off the other way. I mean WAAAY the other way. It got so bad, I remember getting upper deck tickets in the old Charlotte Coliseum and literally finishing the game on the first deck. Nobody was there compared to the love affair the city had with the Hornets.
The second time the franchise lost touch with the community was when they were named the Bobcats. Then owner Robert Johnson totally fell out with the city leaders and the community. The Michael Jordan may have been a great NBA player, but what he did for the NBA by buying out Johnson could not be understated. The franchise was failing, no fans were coming and layoffs were prevalent around the franchise. The most prevalent layoffs you ask? The community affairs department. By the time Jordan took over as the owner, the fans wanted nothing to do with the franchise. Notice Charlotte is now called the Hornets. I can tell you that there was a city wide groundswell of support to get the name changed back to the Hornets. The city had so much animosity to the Bob Johnson era, it wanted to rid all evidence of him to the franchise.
It is on the ownership group to convince a fan base that the future is worth the time and patience while they spend their money. Understand that the Hawks are the last team in the Eastern conference to win 60 games back in 2015. Now this is a team that may struggle to win 30 games.
Can this be done...yes.
Everyone believes that Golden State was destined to be the dynasty team that we have today. No one seems to remember back in 2009 when the team was basically in the spot where the Hawks are today.
Monta Ellis was the leading scorer on a team that was going nowhere. The Warriors draft a skinny kid named Stephen Curry out of a small college in Charlotte named Davidson.
Does this story sound familiar? Skinny kid coming in with a lot of uncertainty surrounding him?
There were questions surrounding the young kid and Ellis had no problems voicing his concern. Soon after, Ellis was traded out of town to the Milwaukee Bucks. This was not a popular trade. I witnessed a crowd that booed owner Joe Lacob so badly during Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement ceremony that Rick Barry grabbed the microphone and chastised the crowd and told them to show Lacob some respect. He told the crowd that Lacob was going to change the franchise.
Well he was right about that I guess. Change is good right?
I guess I’m going to have to be Atlanta’s Rick Barry for now.
I see Kent Bazemore being traded this season. Why? Because he is the only tradable asset that the Hawks have at this point to flip for more assets. Jeremy Lin is a good player, but he is coming off a lost season with a knee injury. When the inevitable deal happens, there could be fans that might drop the Hawks altogether thinking that the team has given up and are not trying to win championships.
That’s not the mission statement of the owner Tony Ressler courtesy of SB Nation…
“We are enormously proud of all the things that we’ve built,” Ressler said when prompted about a laundry list of accomplishments since taking over the franchise. “But I think what I’ve learned is that, until our fan base, until this community, until all of us fully appreciate that our job is to win a championship, none of that actually means (anything). We can be proud of it, and we are... but this is our 50th anniversary and this is a team that hasn’t won a championship in those 50 years. If there’s anything that any of us have to say about it, that’s going to change.”
The mission statement is “Tomorrow Starts Today!”
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day...neither will be the Atlanta Hawks.