One of the worst teams in the league last season has set themselves up for future success. The Atlanta Hawks have quietly made great moves so far this offseason.
At 29-53 last season, the Hawks have plenty to improve on; Atlanta ranked 23rd in offensive rating and 28th in defensive rating.
Atlanta’s young core will be the focal point going forward, led by Rookie of the Year runner-up Trae Young. Young averaged 19 points and eight assists last season as the team’s starting point guard. John Collins also had a great impact in his second season, putting up a near 20 and 10 average.
In last week’s NBA Draft, the Hawks made a strong move, trading up for the fourth spot. Atlanta sent the New Orleans Pelicans picks no. 8, 17 and 35, in addition to receiving veteran Solomon Hill with the top-five pick.
With the fourth and 10th picks, the Hawks selected DeAndre Hunter from Virginia, and Duke’s Cam Reddish respectively.
Hunter, known for good defense and shooting, led Virginia to a National Championship win last season while averaging 15 points per game.
Reddish was a strong player on Duke’s star-studded team which included two top-three picks in Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Reddish, a small forward, averaged 13.5 points per game.
These two first round picks, along with second-round center Bruno Fernando, will add to Atlanta’s budding team.
After the draft, the Hawks weren’t done making moves. Atlanta and Portland agreed to a deal to swap Evan Turner and Kent Bazemore, a win-win trade for both teams. In Bazemore, the Blazers get another scorer who adds depth to their team as they hope to make a title run next season. He averaged 11.6 points last season on 40 percent shooting.
Acquiring Turner is a smart move by the Hawks. The former second overall pick’s contract adds to Atlanta’s collection of expensive deals coming off the books next season, giving the Hawks an opportunity to be players in 2020 free agency.
Turner, along with recently acquired Net Allen Crabbe both make roughly $18.5 million. Solomon Hill’s $12 million deal will also expire after the upcoming season. All three will be unrestricted free agents.
While the 2020 free agent class is not nearly as loaded as this summer’s, the Hawks will have the opportunity to add bigger names. Andre Drummond, Eric Gordon and DeMar DeRozan are among names that will be on the market.
Plenty of cap space, along with a strong core of young talent, potentially make Atlanta an attractive destination. Atlanta’s front office deserves a lot of credit: In a short period of time, the Hawks have made great moves, setting themselves up for future success.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.