Spellman Trade Shows Atlanta Hawks Value Dedicated Players

Atlanta Hawks, Omari Spellman #6 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Omari Spellman #6 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Omari Spellman (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

While there is definitely truth to the fact that the Atlanta Hawks used this move to balance out the roster, this trade was about a mindset and a mentality. The Hawks want players that are truly dedicated to winning.

Omari Spellman has had issues with his weight and conditioning for quite some time. He sat out his freshman season at Villanova on a red shirt and lost 50 pounds, before helping the Wildcats win the NCAA Tournament the following season.

The subject of concerns about Omari Spellman and his dedication to fitness, apparently caused the Los Angeles Lakers to pivot away from taking him with pick number 25 in the 2018 draft. According to the ESPN article by Baxter Holmes, Spellman was the highest player left on the Lakers board, when GM Rob Pelinka decided to pass on him.

The general manager reportedly spoke with Spellman’s former teammate Josh Hart, who expressed concerns about the big man. There was an exchange on Twitter, in which the two men eventually cleared the air:

It is believed that the Atlanta Hawks had asked Omari Spellman to lose more weight, in order to be an effective NBA power forward. Fans on social media were excited to see Spellman play in summer league. They wanted to see if he had visibly improved his physique.

Instead the results for Omari Spellman were disappointing, both physically and in regards to his on court play. Fans on Twitter were debating on if he had gained weight, judging off of how his body looked.

On the court Omari Spellman was extremely disappointing in his summer league debut. He scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. He made just 3/13 shots and committed four fouls. The team was minus 11 when Omari was on the court.

The Atlanta Hawks were blown out by the Minnesota Timberwolves, in game two of their summer league schedule. Despite the loss Omar Spellman played much better.

He scored 16 points in the game and again a grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. He was much more efficient, shooting 7/12 and making two of his three attempts from downtown. He also committed just two fouls. Despite the better effort, the damage had already been done.

Though the roster is more balanced, Omari Spellman was definitely capable of playing center in today’s small ball era. So make no mistake about it, this trade was more about Omari Spellman not showing the dedication to improving his body, that the team expected.

Spellman admitted himself, that he is far from where he wants to be physically, in this article by Mark Medina of the Mercury News. Hopefully for Omari this will be the jolt he needs, in order for him to maintain the dietary discipline and work ethic that it will take to get his body into optimal condition.

Omari Spellman will be around a championship level team, so this is a great opportunity for him to learn from the best. There is a chance he does and makes the Atlanta Hawks regret this decision. However if this is what it takes for him to get it together, then it may not have happened in Atlanta anyway.

Omari Spellman will now go down as the first draft miss for Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, in round one. However Schlenk should be given credited for quickly realizing his mistake and moving on. Many general managers suffer from roster arrogance and often stubbornly stick with players that they draft.

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The most important thing is, Travis Schlenk has sent a message to Atlanta Hawks players both present and future. Only players that are most determined to being the best and that are highly dedicated to winning, have a place with this new rendition of the Atlanta Hawks.