Atlanta Hawks: Grading their NBA draft and offseason moves

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Trae Young turned the lights off in Madison Square Garden for the Atlanta Hawks on the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, just falling short to the championship Milwaukee Bucks. But to go from the second-worst team in the East to the second-last team remaining, in just one short season, means the front office played their part exceptionally well.

That’s why the signings of Bodgan Bogdanovich, Solomon Hill and Danilo Gallinari to an already young and fruitful unit, would be hard to top coming into this offseason. Especially with so many questions snowballing over Hawks fans’ heads. But none more essential than this: Will the Atlanta Hawks re-sign John Collins?

So let’s dive into how the Atlanta Hawks’ offseason shaped up and did they really get what they were looking for? What would you grade them?

Let’s be crystal clear about what the holes are before we analyze what the Hawks did to fix them.


Consistency In Scoring:

The Milwaukee Bucks capitalized on the Hawks’ lack of offensive output from players not named Trae Young. When Young went down midway through the series, 34-year-old Lou Williams led the team in scoring for his first-ever playoff start. While fortunate, that’s not exactly alleviating Hawks fans’ worries, when it is clear they actually have four or five younger players capable of taking over. Kevin Huerter was a good example of this, dropping 27 in the Game 7 clincher in Philadelphia. But the next series he averaged just 10.0 points on 26 percent from deep. When expectations and roles are not clearly defined, then the unpredictability will be exposed on the biggest stages.

Their center position is holding them back:

Clint Capela is like Dikembe Mutombo in the 2001 NBA Finals. He was limited in nearly every facet of basketball except for rebounding and shot-blocking and yet still, got busted down low by the best. He might be the face of their defense but he’s also the visible birthmark that you try your best to hide on offense. While it is true that there are only a handful of players capable of barely slowing a player like Giannis Antetounmpo down, his free throw percentage or just inability to score unless under the rim will continue to be highlighted the further they go.

But it’s less Capela and more what’s behind the next slot. Onyeka Okongwu, the team’s only backup center, is out until January at the least with a shoulder injury. So playing small is not just a choice, it’s mandatory for when Capela sits.

John Collins is an in-demand RFA

Controlling owner of the Atlanta Hawks Antony Ressler, adjusted fans’ expectations right as Free Agency was kicking off, “Our job is to run a good business”. He continued, “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to keep every single player that we want to keep”. With Mavericks, Spurs and Heat all reportedly wanting a piece of Collins, fans started picturing a Collins-less team. It wasn’t pretty.