It wasn't always bows in Madison Square Garden or alley-oops over the head of Joel Embiid. Hawks fans will be the first to tell you that the overnight success the team found in 2021 came after a painful multi-year rebuild. The final steps of the rebuild came during the 2019-2020 season.
General Manager Travis Schlenk filled the team full of youngsters and veterans on expiring contracts with big plans for the Summer of 2020. As this past season showed, his strategy worked. Let's remember and get caught up on the lovable assortment of characters the Hawks assembled in the final stage of their rebuild.
Coach Lloyd Pierce
Pierce was named head coach of the Hawks in 2018. It's always tough to coach a young team with no identity. It becomes even more challenging when you have less than three seasons to find success. Pierce was relieved of his duties on March 1, 2021, with a record of 63-120. "LP" is now an assistant coach on Rick Carlisle's Indiana Pacers staff.
The 21st pick of the 2016 NBA Draft taught everyone to "fear the 'fro". The oversized combo guard always brought energy to the court. Bembry played all 82 games during the 2018-2019 season before a shortened 2019-2020 disrupted his momentum. Last season, Bembry played in Tampa for the Toronto Raptors and averaged 5.7 points and 2.9 rebounds over the course of 51 games.
"Air Canada" put together an extensive career that will undoubtedly land him in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. On an eerie night, March 11, 2020, Carter hit the final shot of his career (and the Hawks season) after the NBA suspended the season due to the pandemic. You can now catch Vinsanity in the booth with Bob Rathbun and Dominque Wilkins.
One of the friendliest athletes you will ever meet, Crabbe was lethal from behind the arc. After receiving a 4-year, $75 million contract from the Portland Trail Blazers in 2016, "Cool Breeze" was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2017 and eventually to the Hawks in 2019.
After 28 games in Atlanta, the Hawks dealt Crabbe to the Minnesota Timberwolves in January of 2020. Crabbe didn't get picked up by any teams the following summer and is currently without a team after seven seasons in the league.
The Hawks brought back Dedmon for additional leadership and much-needed post-play in February of 2020. Dedmon looked good in his ten games before the season abruptly ended. The journeyman big man is playing for the Miami Heat now, his 7th team.
Despite being one of the younger guys on the team, Jones brought a championship pedigree. Thanks to his time in Oakland, Jones won two rings. "Dameology" played 39 games last season for three different teams before signing a multi-year deal with the Sacramento Kings.
Much like Jones, Len has bounced around since his time in Atlanta. After being sent to the Sacramento Kings as part of the Dedmon deal, he suited up for three teams. Len played a respectable 64 games last season and averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Back in mid-August, the 7-footer signed with the Kings.
The second overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft showed moments of brilliance early in his career. But injuries, specifically two ACL tears, deflated our hopes of seeing the Chicago-native reach new heights. Parker looked good in his short time with the Hawks before being traded to the Sacramento Kings alongside Len. Parker played 13 games last season for the Kings and Celtics. Fans can expect to see Parker on the parquet floor again next season.
Similar to Parker, knee injuries hurt Parson's career trajectory. After showing out in Houston, Mark Cuban made Parsons a rich man in 2014 with a 3-year, $46 million contract to play for the Dallas Mavericks. Then the Memphis Grizzlies added to that with a 4-year, $94 million contract in 2016.
Unfortunately, injuries robbed Parsons of his prime years. He eventually was traded to Atlanta, where he played in five games. Things got worse when a car wreck left Parsons seriously injured in January 2020. Although he's no longer in the league, Parsons is living his best life.
The 19th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft played his first seven seasons in Atlanta before stops in Indiana and Minnesota. As part of the Crabbe trade, Teague returned to the Hawks and dutifully served as a backup to Trae Young. Teague started last season with the Boston Celtics before playing 21 games for the Milwaukee Bucks and winning his first NBA Championship.
"The Villain" out of Ohio State made a huge splash in the NBA. The Portland Trail Blazers rewarded Turner for his play with a 4-year, $70 million contract in 2016. However, after playing 65+ games in 9 seasons, Turner was glued to the bench in Atlanta, only playing in 19 games. "E.T." was eventually part of the massive trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February of 2020 and announced his retirement the following fall.
Turner served as an assistant coach under Brad Stevens in Boston last season but won't be returning in 2021. Right now, Turner is keeping all of his options open and spending time with his family. All while remaining one of the funniest follows on social media.