Jun. 16, 2020
If I were the GM Series: Atlanta Hawks
While the 22-team NBA return to action receives a bulk of the attention, there are eight NBA teams missing the action. The teams not resuming action on July 30 are in the bottom tier of the league. In other words, these teams need help. In this series, I'll be taking control of the eight NBA teams that finished at the bottom of the NBA standings. I will split my decisions into three categories: The draft, Free Agency, and whether or not to make a coaching change. (NOTE: All moves will be realistic.)
The third team I'll be rebuilding is the 20-47 Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have the fourth-highest odds at landing the number one overall pick.
Top Targets: SG/SF Isaac Okoro, SG Devin Vassell
Analysis: The Hawks ranked 30th in points allowed in the NBA this season. The scoring power is there with Trae Young, now it's time to fix that defense. Isaac Okoro is the most logical option. Okoro has the potential to be a star defender in the NBA. The problem comes when he's asked to shoot the three-ball. Because of his limitations on offense, Okoro isn't a fit for some NBA teams. The Hawks are one of the few NBA teams in the lottery that can sacrifice the scoring potential for the defensive potential.
Devin Vassell is another great option for a team that needs defense. Vassell may not be as good as a defender as Okoro but he can shoot the three. The Hawks need a productive 3 & D player that plays off the ball. With Young running the offense for the considerable future, the Hawks need to surround him with shooting and defense. Vassell and Okoro are both good fits.
Players to Bring Back: PF Skal Labissiere (restricted), C Damian Jones (restricted), SG Charlie Brown Jr. (restricted)
Analysis: The Hawks will let Jeff Teague walk and bring in a new backup point guard. There aren't many big free agents to resign for the Hawks. The best move is to bring back the young restricted free agents on cheap contract deals.
Top Targets: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (restricted), PG Kris Dunn (restricted), SF Torrey Craig (restricted)
Analysis: The Hawks should have some money to play around with this offseason. Unfortunately, the unrestricted free agent market is very weak this coming offseason. The Hawks should explore the restricted free agent market in hopes of luring some young guys away from their respective teams. Bogdan Bogdanovich would bring you a solid shooter with the versatility to play next to Young or at small forward. Bogdanovich averaged 14 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds this NBA season. It might take a big-money offer to get Bogdanovic from the Kings, but the Hawks should take advantage of their cap space situation.
You might think Kris Dunn is a bust, but he brings exactly what the Hawks need-- Defense. The Hawks don't need their backup point guard to be a big-time scorer. The fact is, Young is one of the worst defenders in the NBA. The Hawks need more backcourt defense to offset that. Dunn is an elite defender. He may never be a productive scorer but that won't be his role on this Hawks team.
Torrey Craig is a nice 3 & D option on the wing. Not only does Craig play great defense, but he has increased his three-point percentage each of his three years in the NBA. He's not a sharpshooter by any means but with an expanded role Craig may surprise some people. Plus, if his shot stalls out, Craig always has his defense to fall back on.
Current Head Coach: Lloyd Pierce
Analysis: Pierce is 49-100 through two seasons as the Hawks head coach. His third season will be crucial to his job security. The Hawks need to show improvement. It doesn't have to be a top see in the East but the Hawks need to push around 40 wins to keep his job.