What is missing from Atlanta

NBA Franchise Outlook, Atlanta Hawks: Talent alone is not enough

The Atlanta Hawks are not in the NBA restart at Disney World, although they actually wanted to take the next step this season. The 19/20 season, however, showed very clearly what they are still missing. Can you now fill in all the gaps?

Before the season started, Atlanta had the right to orientate itself further upwards after a good second half of the 2018/19 season and thus to be at least one of the 22 teams still playing for the title in Disney World. But nothing came of it, Atlanta even won just one more than the ambitious Cavs (20-47).

The reasons for that are complex. Trae Young took the next step and became an All-Star for the first time with outstanding individual numbers, but his designated co-star John Collins immediately 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 wing (rookies De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish played most of the minutes alongside Young and Kevin Huerter) - so it didn't fit back and forth. Atlanta landed 26th in the offensive and 28th in the defensive rating.

Attempts were made to correct some of these problems as the season progressed. So the Hawks got two real centers in February with Clint Capela (still without a mission) and Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeff Teague, an old friend who was supposed to represent Young, returned.

However, 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 didn't really get the due farewell and now had to officially end his career via podcast.

The financial situation: what leeway do the hawks have?

Hardly any other team will have as much money at their disposal as Atlanta in the coming years, at least that's what it is now. Only just over $ 57 million in salaries are budgeted for the next two years, 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 still not foreseeable how exactly the salary cap will change for the coming season (but it should definitely be less than the projected 115 million dollars). 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 coming offseason. Collins produces offensively like an all-star (21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds), but defends very moderately and at the same time has already indicated that he himself thinks he is worth a maximum contract. It's unclear whether the franchise sees it the same way.

After all, the trades for Capela and Dedmon showed that they definitely do not consider Collins capable of anchoring the defense as the only real big. On the offensive, 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 guardShooting GuardSmall forwardPower forwardcenter
Trae YoungKevin HuerterDe'Andre HunterJohn CollinsClint Capela
Brandon GoodwinCam ReddishDewayne Dedmon
Bruno Fernando

Draft: What are the Hawks' picks?

Depending on their position, the Hawks have to hand over their second round pick to either Philadelphia or Boston, in return they get one back from either the Warriors, Rockets or Heat. The Hawks have their first round pick anyway, due to the poor 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 pick any lower than position eight.

Team Needs: What types of players does Atlanta need?

Teague's contract expires in the summer - should the Hawks let him go, they would need another solution in the backup position behind Franchise Player Young. In the draft, some guards are highly valued, including Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and Killian Hayes. With its length, the latter could also work alongside Young.

Apart from that, the main thing is to get deeper, more experienced and above all defensively stronger 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 via draft.

However, the market is not really well stocked in this regard, the players who could potentially fit best (e.g. Chicago's Otto Porter) sometimes have options that are too lucrative. Jae Crowder or Courtney Lee would be cheap unrestricted free agents.

Of course, the Hawks could also try to get someone like Brandon Ingram in the Restricted Free Agency and put his New Orleans team under pressure.

NBA: The Best Free Agents 2020 by Position

Outlook: what can the Hawks tear 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 in terms of its current quality. The core of Young, Huerter, Hunter, Reddish, Collins and Capela are talented, but apart from Capela they are also extremely green behind the ears.

A certain amount of 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 (in terms of width) lousy east, the Hawks could ideally play for the playoffs.

In order to become a factor there, however, you still need a lot of patience - and probably one or the other high-profile commitment.