Zion Williamson to Atlanta? Why Hawks need him more than anyone else


What I’m Hearing: HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy spoke with NBA league executives regarding Zion Williamson and they all felt that despite his large build, he will still be a force in the NBA.

The Atlanta Hawks deserve Zion Williamson – namely because they have gone about their rebuild with credibility.

They have a commitment to their young players on and off the court, giving them great player development instruction and veterans (we see you Vince Carter) to guide them through the early stretch of their NBA careers.

Williamson would be a perfect fit for the Hawks amid a rebuild that is headed in the right direction with a star-in-the-making in rookie point guard Trae Young and second-year forward John Collins, who averages 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks are getting better by the game.

Add Williamson’s unique and elite skillset to the mix and the Hawks would accelerate their rise in the Eastern Conference with the potential to become conference contenders.

Let’s start in the front office with general manager Travis Schlenk and his staff. Schlenk, who was instrumental as an assistant GM in Golden State’s emergence, has proven himself adept at drafting and finding players who can contribute. Count on him doing both moving forward, though he needs no one’s advice to draft Williamson if the Hawks get the No. 1 pick.

Plus, the Hawks get Dallas’ pick as long as it’s not a top-five pick, giving Schlenk another chance to get a quality player or trade for one.

And don’t forget, the Hawks have cap space this summer, so if they get the No. 1 pick and another lottery pick, they have a chance to lure players who would want to play with Young, Collins and Williamson.

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Also, Schlenk deserves credit for hiring head coach Lloyd Pierce, who made his name as a player development coach. And give Pierce props for hiring assistants and player development coaches who are dedicated to making players better: Melvin Hunt, Chris Gent, Greg Foster, Marlon Garnett and Matt Hill.

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Williamson would be the recipient of that player development instruction and he would make incredible strides in his game quickly. Just look at Young now compared to Young at the start of the season. The work is obvious.

If you watch the Hawks, you can see the results. Forget the record. Look at individual development. This is a team headed in the right direction.

Atlanta has a renovated arena, a new state-of-the-art practice facility and top-notch training, medical and sports science staffs.

Without question, Williamson would be in the right place to develop and excel with the Hawks. And they would be one of the most fun and exciting teams to watch.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt


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