ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Team leadership with the Atlanta Hawks thanked their players Friday after the NBA approved a restart plan that wouldn't include the Hawks due to their record.
"We saw promising growth during the season and significant improvement individually and collectively from the start of the campaign through March 11," the team said in a statement. "We remain engaged in finding ways for our team to compete and continue the important growth and development that was a core focus for our team this season."
The 2019-2020 campaign was the third straight season for the Hawks to miss the playoffs and the team's worst record since the 2004-2005 season. Atlanta finished the season with a record of 20-47, a winning percentage of .299. In head coach Lloyd Pierce's two seasons with the Hawks, he's put together a record of 49-100.
The Hawks and their fans had hopes the 2019-2020 season would be building to a possible playoff run next season. But the season was derailed early when forward John Collins missed 25 games due to a positive drug test for performance enhancing drugs. With Collins out of the mix, Atlanta's offense turned to guard Trae Young an he responded in a big way.
Young averaged 29.6 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, and 9.3 assists on the season while playing an average of 35 minutes per game. He shot 44 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from behind the three-point line. When Collins did return, he put up an average of 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game to give Young some offensive help.
But looking at advanced stats for the Hawks, it was atrocious defense that may be the biggest problem. The Hawks gave up an average of 114.8 points per game, 28th worst in the NBA. Using the Simple Rating System, which factors in average point differential and strength of schedule, the Hawks ranked 29th out of 30 teams. The team also ranked 28th in defensive rebound percentage and 29th in opponent free throws per field goal attempt.
Putting the tumultuous 2019-2020 campaign behind them, the Hawks will look to once again rebuild with a revamped roster. Young will have Collins and center Clint Capela to help in down low. The Hawks are looking for big growth from both DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish at the small forward position. The team also brings back Kevin Huerter from the bench.
With the Hawks having one of the worst records in the NBA, it puts them once again in line for a possible high lottery pick, possibly even the number one overall pick. Depending on where the Hawks land in the lottery, they could be in line to grab the top player on many boards, Anthony Edwards out of Georgia. Also near the top of every draft list are forward Obi Toppin from Dayton, James Wiseman from Memphis, and LaMelo Ball from Australia.