The Atlanta Hawks are not participating in the NBA restart at Disney World, although they actually wanted to take the next step this season. The season 19/20 clearly showed what was missing. Can you fill all the gaps now?
Before the season started, Atlanta had the right to orientate itself further after a good second half of the 2018/19 season and was now at least one of the 22 teams that are still playing for the title in Disney World. Nothing came of it, however, Atlanta even won just one more win than the ambitious Cavs (20-47).
The reasons for that are complex. Although Trae Young took the next step and became an all-star for the first time with outstanding individual figures, his designated co-star John Collins directly missed 25 games due to substance abuse. The Hawks could not compensate for this at any time, also because they let several veterans go without replacement in the summer.
The Hawks played for a long time with no established center, no backup for Young and no experience on the grand piano (rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish played most minutes alongside Young and Kevin Huerter) – so it didn’t fit in the back and in the front. Atlanta finished 26th in the offensive and 28th in the defensive rating.
During the season, attempts were made to correct some of these problems. The Hawks, Clint Capela (still without an assignment) and Dewayne Dedmon, got two real centers in February, and Jeff Teague, an old friend who was supposed to represent Young, returned.
The cavalry came too late for head coach Lloyd Pierce to reverse the trend and at least catch up with Washington (24 wins). Due to the early end due to the corona virus, legend Vince Carter did not really get the proper farewell and had to officially end his career via podcast.
The financial situation: What scope do the Hawks have?
Hardly any team will have as much money as Atlanta in the coming years, at least as of now. For the next two years, just over $ 57 million in salaries are planned, which, according to the original salary cap projections, would mean that Atlanta would have room for at least one, possibly even two, maximum contracts.
However, it is not yet clear how exactly the salary cap will change for the coming season (but it should definitely be less than the projected $ 115 million). In addition, the Hawks will have to make a decision about Collins’ future relatively soon.
The Big Man could sign an early contract extension from the upcoming offseason. Collins proactively produces like an all-star (21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds), but defends very moderately and at the same time has already indicated that he thinks he is worth a maximum contract. It is unclear whether the franchise sees it that way.
After all, the trades for Capela and Dedmon showed that they definitely don’t consider Collins able to anchor defense as the only real big. For this, he harmonizes excellently with Young. But do you want to build your team around two young stars who are among the worse (in Young’s case: worst) defenders in their positions?
Hawks 20/21: These players are under contract
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Bring young||Kevin Huerter||De’Andre Hunter||John Collins||Clint Chapel|
|Brandon Goodwin||Cam Reddish||Dewayne Dedmon|
Draft: What picks do the Hawks have?
Depending on the position, the Hawks have to hand over their second round pick to either Philadelphia or Boston, but they get one back from either the Warriors, Rockets or Heat. The Hawks have their first round pick anyway, due to the lousy balance this will be a high lottery pick again. Atlanta has a 12.5 percent chance of getting the first pick and won’t have to choose deeper than eighth.
Team Needs: What types of players does Atlanta need?
Teague’s contract expires in the summer – if the Hawks let him go, they would need another solution in the backup position behind Franchise Player Young. Some guards are highly valued in the draft, including Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and Killian Hayes. The length of the latter could also work alongside Young.
Apart from that, the main thing is to become deeper, more experienced and, above all, more defensive on the wing after the center position has already been addressed. It is quite likely that the Hawks will try to fill this gap via Free Agency rather than Draft.
However, the market is not really lavishly occupied in this regard, the players who could potentially fit best (e.g. Chicago’s Otto Porter) sometimes have too lucrative options. Jae Crowder or Courtney Lee would be quite cheap unrestricted free agents.
Of course, the Hawks could also try to get someone like Brandon Ingram at the Restricted Free Agency to put pressure on his team in New Orleans.
Outlook: What can the Hawks do next season?
However, it is unlikely that the Hawks will be able to land the big hit in the coming summer, as the market does not allow this and Atlanta is simply too thin due to its current quality. The core of Young, Huerter, Hunter, Reddish, Collins and Capela is talented, but apart from Capela it is also extremely green behind the ears.
Some progress can be expected in the coming year from Capela alone, who should bring a little more credibility to Georgia as a pick’n’roll partner and also as a defensive anchor. In the (broadly) poor east, the Hawks could ideally play for the playoffs.
However, in order to become a factor there, you still need a lot of patience – and probably one or two top-class commitments.