I don't remember the last time I heard a general manager come out and just let it spray about his own team like Travis Schlenk did yesterday. If you have stepped on the floor for the Atlanta Hawks this season, you were in his line of fire.
The Hawks are currently sitting at 16-20, actually the same record they had last season through 36 games when they ended up in the Eastern Conference Finals — though they went 25-11 from that point on and had already fired their head coach to spur that turnaround. Schlenk pretty much kept the whole gang together, giving a combined $397 million in contracts to Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. It obviously hasn't worked out like anyone had hoped.
The Hawks looked like they had really figured it out in the latter part of last season into the playoffs. They were finally playing like the miniature version of the Warriors Schlenk envisioned when he came over from Golden State and drafted Young and Huerter in the same first round. With Collins and Clint Capela at the top of their games and even Cam Reddish looking like he was a budding star, everything was clicking. And then for whatever reason, things just haven't been the same this year.
Now, Atlanta has had guys going in and out of COVID protocols and lost De'Andre Hunter for an extended period of time, but every team is dealing with that stuff. There's no excuse for this group to be 16-20.
I'm honestly very refreshed to hear a GM talk like Schlenk did. He knows the buck stops with him and things aren't going well, so he said what he thought about it. Sure, he kinda said the players are playing like trash, but it's not like he's wrong. Something has to change.
I still believe the Hawks will figure it out at some point this season, even if not at the level they did last year. And the NBA lets everybody into the playoffs now anyway. They'll be fine.