The Atlanta Hawks have set off upon the unenviable task of rebuilding from the ground up. Within the past four years, the Hawks have brought in a new CEO, new ownership, a new general manager, a new coach, and a completely new roster.
Kent Bazemore is the only member of the Hawks that has seen playoff action in Philips Arena, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he were dealt at some point in the next calendar year. A full rebuild is tricky, as it requires a complete amount of trust from top to bottom in the vision of those executing the roster’s construction.
The man in charge of Atlanta’s rebuild is Travis Schlenk, formerly the assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors during their ascension into becoming the NBA’s elite franchise. Unsurprisingly, his vision is to try and replicate the process that he helped oversee in the Bay that led the Warriors on their upward trajectory. SB Nation’s Tom Ziller recently offered a look at just how Schlenk was going about trying to follow Golden State’s blueprint in Atlanta, starting with the controversial decision to trade down and draft Trae Young with the fifth pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
It’s a good read that points out how Schlenk is starting by attempting to load up the roster with shooters, emulating the depth of shot-makers that has been the trademark of the Warriors run. However, history tells us that trying to follow the blueprint of a dynasty rarely pans out as creating a “2.0” version of that franchise and instead produces something of a cheap alternative. The Hawks, if they do truly try to build a roster in the image of Golden State, are more likely to become the Costco Warriors than they are another version of Warriors 2.0, complete with the success that has made them a dynasty.
Every major sports league, at the collegiate and professional level, is a copycat league. Whatever works for one team, propelling them into the strata of the elite, is bound to be emulated by others, but the best franchises and programs know to balance following the trend with finding unique ways to combat them.