The Atlanta Hawks finished last season with a 20-46 record, good enough for the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
It wasn’t what the team imagined under head coach Lloyd Pierce’s second year. In fact, Atlanta hasn’t improved from its first season in that role.
Young defender Trae Young is still one of the best young players in the game. Managing director Travis Schlenk also added an internal threat to Clint Capela during the February trade deadline.
Still, the Hawks need to find more star power and a running partner to form a team with Young. That’s where the focus must be on the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Here we look at the Hawks’ best options with this selection and throughout the draft.
The Atlanta Hawks were supposed to trade John Collins for a lottery selection.
When Atlanta traded for his big colleague Clint Capela before the trade deadline, it became clear that the team was not interested in tying the 22-year-old Collins to himself in the long run. Problems at the defensive end of the court, coupled with his high price tag for an extension, contributed to this conviction.
Collins is still a valuable option in the trading bloc. Here’s a big one, averaging 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds last season. The Hawks should easily be able to beat a lottery drawer and in return a young player.
If you look at the options, a team like the Washington Wizards, who are ranked No.9 overall, might make sense. You need a big Bradley Beal. Could Atlanta bring the ninth pick and a young wing like Troy Brown Jr. to the net for Collins? The Sacramento Kings haven’t shied away from winning big players. The 12th choice and a bench player like Richaun Holmes could also make sense.
Targeting John Collins’ replacement with the sixth blow
If Atlanta were to move forward from power in a trade, it would like to find someone from the middle and the perimeter who is more capable. In this way, Schlenk helped build the Moloch in the Golden State – a stretch forward.
The problem is that the designs are usually not filled with large ones that can shoot from the outside. If they exist, these players go much higher than the sixth pick. Atlanta could either pack other picks into a promotion for Dayton’s Obi Toppin or target former Maryland coach Jalen Smith. Both have that ability.
The other option here would be to move either the sixth pick or the selection acquired in the hypothetical trade with Collins to add a proven stretch four with the generous cap room Atlanta offers.
The latter option is interesting in that you could potentially have Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and even Lauri Markkanen in this trade.
Go all-in, advance to the top in the first round
If Atlanta really wants to find the true running partner for Trae Young, it might make the most sense to go first or second on the day of the call.
The team has the capital to attract either Minnesota or Golden State, opting for Nos. 1 and No. These include the aforementioned Collins and a selection from the first round 2022 (from the Thunder).
A trade of this kind would consist of simply giving Atlanta the opportunity to add LaMelo Ball to the mix. He would be a great fit for Young because Ball can take over the tasks of ball handling and is an excellent passer. Imagine young looking more open from a distance. This is deadly. That’s what the general manager of Atlanta in Northern California had.
The lack of improvement from Atlanta last regular season was worrying. Much more was expected from this team, which boasted young talents such as Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter.
There’s a possibility that Pierce just isn’t ready for the job as head coach. However, it is more likely that the Hawks simply haven’t found that mix.
It’s time to continue to provide this team with Young’s talents. Whether it’s adding a criminal partner on the field or improving his game with a stretch four, that must be the main focus of the 2020 NBA Draft for Atlanta.