So, with less than six weeks to go in the season, the Hawks still have a shot at their ideal scenario.
The Hawks have a decent chance to win the lottery or a top-four pick. There's a good chance the pick from the Mavericks will convey within the top 10. And they have Trae Young finishing up a very promising rookie season as part of a young core that includes John Collins and Kevin Huerter (though the recent injury to rookie Omari Spellman was a setback to his development).
Would-be comedians like to make tired jokes about tanking teams such as the Hawks. They are ruining things by winning, haha, get it? And the Hawks did weaken their roster after the trade deadline when they bought out the contract of veteran point guard Jeremy Lin and gave his minutes to rookie Jaylen Adams.
But, in the latest example of their grit, it was Adams who helped the Hawks win at Chicago on Sunday night after Young got ejected on a pair of dubious technical fouls.
The Hawks are not a punchline. They are competitive squad with a pair of potential All-Stars in Young and Collins. They also have a chance to add to that nucleus with two top-10 picks in the June draft.
The Hawks are in a good place near the end of rebuild Season 2.