In the doldrums of summer, the Peachtree Hoops staff came together for a 10-part roundtable series, answering a series of prompts with an eye toward the upcoming season for the Atlanta Hawks.
Part five looks at the veteran newcomers and what they might bring to the table in 2019-20.
Jeff Siegel: Evan Turner is probably going to have the biggest impact because he’s going to have the ball in his hands so much. Every word from the team is that they’re going to use him as the team’s primary facilitator when Trae Young is off the floor, which means he’s the most important of the veteran additions, for better or worse.
Graham Chapple: There are a couple of people you can talk about in this spot. Jabari Parker has the potential to make an offensive impact if things go well and Allen Crabbe will have his uses in shooting lineups, but the biggest impact is probably going to come from Evan Turner, if not solely because he’s being thrust into a vital role: back-up point guard. No other veteran who arrived this summer will have the responsibility that Turner will, so for that reason he edges this one. It was bold for the Hawks not to sign a free agent point guard in the summer, so it’s up to Turner to perform and fill that role.
Rashad Milligan: Vince Carter averaged 17.5 minutes last season as the primary backup power forward, so I fully expect Parker to be in the 20-minute range this year. The offense without Young on the floor last year looked very hesitant and dry. Through losing a lot of his athleticism and constantly defending his players don’t get paid to play defense comment, if there’s one thing Parker can always do -- it’s clearing out the floor and getting a bucket himself. The ball-dominant theory doesn’t align with Pierce’s ideals, but once again, the Hawks offense without Young on the floor wasn’t necessarily aggressive at all.
Zach Hood: Parker. Turner is the backup point, but Parker should have an opportunity to gel with the starters at some point, potentially being part of a lineup of all-shooters, sliding Collins to center. I am extremely skeptical of that lineup’s ability to get stops, but regardless of the exact alignment, Parker seems like the most likely of that group to make an impact with the core of starters, potentially closing some games if he gets rolling as a scorer. It’s entirely possible he’s the team’s second best option for a bucket right now.
Toby Adeyemi: I think it will be Damian Jones. He’s coming from the Warriors where he had a defined role, and he’ll have one here. On the offensive end, crash the boards, get clean up buckets, and catch lobs. He’ll be playing with another gifting passer in Young so Jones will see all types of easy looks. On the other end, be a paint and shot-blocking presence. If he can do those things, he’ll play major minutes off the bench this season.
Sam Meredith: If we’re going strictly by impact, I expect Turner to get the most minutes of the new additions. Turner is the backup point guard and will likely have the ball in his hands for somewhere around 20 minutes a night. That, along with the fact that Turner isn’t a complete defensive liability, should keep him on the floor getting minutes that matter.
Matt Harris: Can I say Turner for his presence with the media? No? Well, it’s still Turner because of his ball handling duties. He’s going to have to keep the Hawks afloat while Trae Young sits and I like ET’s body of work in the league more than the other guys.
Glen Willis: I’m going to go with Jabari on this one simply because I am confident he will get more consistent playing time. The Hawks have been open about looking to evolve John Collins into more of a playmaker role this season. As such, we should expect to see him operating in pick and roll action as the ball handler. We should also see an increase in post and isolation opportunities. I believe Parker was brought in to backup Collins and that he will function in similar actions when he is manning the power forward position.
Andrew Kelly: I’ll go in a different direction with Allen Crabbe. Turner and Parker have more concretely defined roles - Turner as the primary backup guard, Parker as the primary scoring option on the 2nd unit - but in terms of impact, Crabbe’s shooting could be the key ingredient in holding together Atlanta’s collection of misfit toys in the 2nd unit. Despite an injury-plagued campaign last season, Crabbe is a career 39% shooter from deep. In the 2017-18 season, Crabbe shot 38% on over seven three point attempts per game. When healthy, Crabbe is a bonafide NBA rotation player. Though other bench players might post better counting stats, and Crabbe is a candidate for an in-season transaction, he could have a quietly significant impact next season.
Dylan Hughes: There is a universe in which Evan Turner is an awesome backup point guard for the Hawks, surrounded by plenty of shooting options. Whether it is the one we live in, I don’t know. Crabbe has been a pretty steady shooter for his entire career, so it seems like a safe bet that he will give the Hawks a productive 20-25 minutes a game.
Greg Willis: Evan Turner should make the biggest impact as he has the most projectable role and the clearest path to getting solid minutes. Parker should get solid minutes too but his spot in the rotation and where he fits in on the floor may be a bit more fluid when compared to Turner.
Brad Rowland: Parker has the highest upside but I’m going with Turner by a nose. I do think that Parker has a clear path to playing time (in part due to the contractual investment), but if he struggles with injury or defensive attention, Turner might play more minutes. That all changes if the Hawks pivot away from Turner as the backup point guard but, for now, he projects in that role and the veteran can also give the Hawks backup minutes at the 3 and 4 if they so desire. I’m not over the moon about Turner as a player but he has play-making ability and he is a legitimately positive defender.