With the sports world at a standstill, there is no time better to look at the state of current NBA teams, without knowing whether the 2019-20 campaign will have a crowned champion, and what they should aim to do this offseason, prepping for the new, and hopefully, complete 2020-21 campaign. We’ll take a look at every team, starting with Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks.
Looking to build their franchise organically, the Hawks have intruiging young talent to surround Young with as it stands with John Collins, Cam Reddish, DeAndre Hunter and Kevin Huerter. Throw in the acquisition of Clint Capela at the deadline, giving them a defensive minded center to throw next to Collins, who can finish anything Young throws to him at the rim, the roster has a nice starting mold.
As a result of a roster mainly on rookie contracts, outside of Capela and Dewayne Dedmon, another deadline acquisition, Atlanta is swimming in cap space, giving them the flexibility to jump start the build or build a treasure chest of assets to consolidate as Young and Collins get closer to their peaks and competing for a chance at a deep playoff run. As it stands, the franchise has about $60m in committed money, with some speculation having the cap around $115M, giving Travis Schlenk a solid $50M to work with.
Going under the wild assumption that things don’t change for the franchise during the NBA draft lottery, as well as the season doesn’t resume and standings end up changing, the Hawks will be selecting fourth overall as their lone pick. As of right now, the Hawks depth chart looks something like:
Bigs: Collins, Capela, Dedmon, Bruno Fernando
Wings: Reddish, Huerter, Hunter
Point: Young, Brandon Goodwin (UG)
Free Agents: DeAndre Bembry (R), Damian Jones (R), Skal Labissiere (R), Jeff Teague (U), Vince Carter (U), Treveon Graham (U)
Biggest holes to fill are getting some 3&D guys to plug in between Young and Collins, as Capela and Dedmon should hold down the five slot for the time being. Huerter gives the Hawks one of the league’s better snipers, while Reddish and Hunter still have plenty of untapped potential. Looking at the draft, the Hawks ultimate hope would be for Edwards to be available to them, which is unlikely unless the ping pong balls fall their way. Assuming the top three play out to be Edwards, James Wiseman and Obi Toppin, the remaining top consenus players seem to be LaMelo Ball, Cole Anthony, Isaac Okoro, Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes and Onyeka Okongwu.
Hayes would be atop my draft board at this point, and with Anthony and the New York Knicks seeming to have mutual interest, I would look to extort what I could out of New York to drop to six, and allowing them to secure Anthony. Knicks hold the 25th overall pick of the first round as well, which they received from the Los Angeles Clippers, along with the 38th selection in the second round. I’d look to snag all three, and would throw in a future second round pick, or two, to make the deal happen.
With the sixth selection, I consider dropping down to the eight slot with the Hornets, while also snagging #32 as the Chicago Bulls, who hold the seventh pick, nor the Hornets would be likely to take Hayes, but, ultimately, I stand still and snag the French prospect with major excitement. Hayes is a lengthy point-guard, that can score at all three levels and has good defensive awareness. He would be a great secondary guard to have on the court with Young, and his length is sure to boost the Hawks defensive woes, which was among the league’s worst during the previous season.
With the 25th pick, I go with Tyler Bey out of Colorado. Bey is a lengthy and athletic, with all of the tools to be a defensive stopper at the next level. Seemingly is always in the right place to clean up the glass, and has the versatility to guard multiple positions due to his strength. He does need to work on his outside shot, and open looks from Young/Hayes will do wonders on that aspect.
In the second round, I wouldn’t wait a split second to snag up Jay Scrubb. Scrubb has the natural ability to score, and does it very well. Out of John A. Logan College, the JUCO star averaged 21 points a night, on 52.4% from the field and 39.5% from range on just under four attempts a contest during his two years. His handles do need some work, but Scrubb could be a microwave off the bench for the Hawks.
Going into free agency, I would continue the mind set of building organically, namely with such a scarce free agent market and look for quality veterans to help guide the youth with a playoff berth being the 2021 goal. Give Kris Dunn a one year deal at about $13M to help out with the defensive woes while being a worthy tutor for both Young and Hayes. Toss Moe Harkless something similar to help with defensive assignments on the wings, and Harkless would love the ability to get easy buckets from Young. Sign Lamine Diane as an undrafted free agent to provide instant offense in the post, as Diane is one of the better scorers in the NCAA, while Labissiere can be kept around for good depth.
CE: Clint Capela | DeWayne Dedmon | Bruno Fernando
PF: John Collins | Lamine Diane | Skal Labissiere
SF: Kevin Huerter | DeAndre Hunter | Tyler Bey
SG: Cam Reddish | Jay Scrubb | Mo Harkless
PG: Trae Young | Killian Hayes | Kris Dunn
While that team may not be world beaters, the pieces are definitely there for the youth to grow together, while maintaining plenty of flexibility for the free agent class of ’21. With the East expected to be relatively weak near the bottom, yet again, sneaking into the playoffs could be in the cards.