While the Atlanta Hawks have yet to see Clint Capela suit up and take the floor, fans can trust that he and Trae Young will prove a deadly duo.
As the NBA enters this hiatus, a pause in the affairs and happenings in the 2019-2020 season, all we can do as fans is look ahead. For fans of the Atlanta Hawks, that means what’s awaiting the team once big man Clint Capela returns to the floor.
Atlanta pulled the trigger on a deal for Capela just before the deadline–a four-team trade that touched every corner of the NBA. In return, the Hawks sent Evan Turner and a future first-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, as well as a second-round pick to the Houston Rockets.
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Capela has played just 39 games this season, which at the time of the deadline, meant he had missed only 11 games before arriving in Atlanta. But as they should, the Hawks are doing their due diligence with his recovery, and have yet to put him on the floor over the 15-game span.
Still, adding Capela to a core that already features guard Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins is an exciting addition. But there’s no doubt that point guard Trae Young is the most thrilled with the transaction.
Atlanta has struggled this year, one where they were predicted by many to be sitting in playoff seeding by this time. Instead, they have the NBA’s fourth-worst record up until the hiatus commenced. Not an ideal start to the second year of Young’s campaign with the club.
In fact, 21-year-old made his frustrations with the team’s status months ago very clear after a brutal loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks’ loss in a 12-game span at the time. Something we’ve begun to see more of in this era of player empowerment.
So naturally, Atlanta responded, and made quite the statement to their young franchise face.
Capela is just 25 years old, and in the middle of his third straight campaign averaging a double-double. He fits the Hawks timeline perfectly, and the needs of their offense seamlessly.
Not only that, but Capela will bring some much-needed defensive prowess to an Atlanta team ranked 28th in the league in defensive rating at 114.4. The former Rockets big man posted a defensive rating of 105 in his 39 games this season, along with 1.8 blocks per game.
One of the most notable aspects to Young’s journey thus far in Atlanta–Dewayne Dedmon is the best big man he’s had the chance to play with. A 30-year-old journeyman who, to put it nicely, isn’t the rim running, shot-blocking menace they’ve now got in Capela.
Young is one of the best passers we’ve seen in some time, especially for his age. He’s averaging 9.3 assists this year, which is yes, just his second season.
All of his lobs have been for John Collins, who has played some five but is entirely more suitable as a stretch-four (40 percent from long range). The opportunities on offense for a starting five featuring Collins and Capela in the frontcourt are nearly endless with Young at the helm.
The other side to this coin, their newest big man’s shot-blocking tendencies.
What he’s going to be able to create for the Hawks offense in terms of fast-break opportunities, Young could only dream of.
Per NBA.com, Atlanta ranks 16th in points off turnovers and 19th in fast-break points this year. This is a team that needs help creating those opportunities because they’ve proven they can play fast and score the ball at a high level.
Clint Capela’s fit with the Atlanta Hawks is clear now, even before he does as much as choose a jersey number. What he’s going to offer their offense, defense, and star point guard can only be described as life-altering for Atlanta. The only question now is when he’ll make his arrival.