The 2020-21 NBA season is nearly here and, after the longest break in recorded history, the Atlanta Hawks will return to action in the coming days. Before the regular season tips off on Dec. 23, the Peachtree Hoops is coming together for a ten-part roundtable series, setting the stage for what’s to come. In part one, our writers pick their favorite transaction of the 2020 off-season
Brad Rowland: I considered going with the hipster answer of Kris Dunn, and I think that is actually the best value the Hawks found on the free agent market. In the end, though, I’ll say the signing of Bogdan Bogdanovic. It may be a slight overpay by the end, but Bogdanovic is a dynamic offensive player who can space the floor, create on the ball, find others as a passer and fit into a team construct. The Hawks obviously needed a player like that, and Bogdanovic also projects as a reasonably solid defender, so that helps as well.
Wes Morton: I like both the Bodganovic and the Kris Dunn signings pretty equally but I’ll highlight Dunn as a better value. At just under $5 million per year for two years, Dunn will provide the ability to defend 1’s, 2’s and some 3’s at a high level, as well as act as an emergency point guard behind Rajon Rondo. The Hawks desperately needed a guard who can provide serious resistance at the point of attack, and Dunn has vaulted himself into being one of the best in the NBA at just that.
Glen Willis: Even though it seems like the most obvious answer, and thus maybe the most boring, I like the acquisition of Bogdan Bogdanovic the most because of how well he fits in the starting backcourt with Trae Young. Bogdanovic is not a dynamic guard (Young brings more than enough of that) but is very reliably versatile. He can do almost anything with reasonable proficiency and that opens up options as how to counter opposing defenses when they may look to defend Young in aggressive ways. He should also be a good option to take critical shots at the end of games. Young’s lack of size makes it hard to generate shots for him at times in those situations.
Daniel Comer: I’ll side with Dunn here. The Hawks were brutal on the defensive end last season, and although they’ve added some much-needed secondary scoring threats, I think Dunn gives them the most of what they didn’t already have. Trae Young’s usage will likely be off the charts again this season, but he’s yet to show much growth as a defender. Dunn should help mask that.
Rashad Milligan: The Bogdanovic signing was my favorite. The timing of it was perfect and all. Gallinari, Snell and Dunn were solid moves. Rondo still leaving Los Angeles for Atlanta to pair with Dunn was impressive, but Bogdanovic was the player who took the group on paper from borderline playoff unit to a team with a solidified postseason spot. Like Brad said, he has the ability to create scoring opportunities with the ball in his hands. It’s something the Hawks’ faithful have seen glimpses of from Kevin Huerter, but the team has often struggled in finding consistency when plays break down and Trae Young wasn’t on the floor last season. Speaking of Huerter, I expect the Bogdanovic signing to light a fire under him and prime him for a very good third season.
Graham Chapple: Bogdan Bogdanovic is a popular answer and probably the correct one. However, I LOVED the Kris Dunn signing — it fills an obvious and great need. Dunn is a quality defender at a position the Hawks needed some depth (regardless of the less than optimal Rajon Rondo signing). One of the issues for the Hawks last season was the performance of the team when Trae Young was off of the court, the Dunn signing will help the Hawks do a better job coping when Young is off the floor. And I’m not too worried about Dunn’s offense. Some of that will be taken care of simply by Dunn’s defense creating offense from steals/interceptions in addition to the Hawks’ bolstered depth and offense.
Ryan Kerley: A lot of these guys are saying the Bogdanovic signing. I completely agree. There have been so many moves that have helped the Hawks in the last few weeks, but that one trumps the others. For starters, Trae Young needs more shooters and playmakers around him. I think that this offense will be improved by Bogdanovic’s presence on the perimeter. Kevin Huerter is presumably going to come off the bench. I think that is another positive. With all of the signings, the second unit looks a lot better. If Bogdanovic works out, that’s great because the Hawks signed him on a four-year deal.
Joel Lorenzi: What’s not to like about the Bogdan Bogdanovic signing? Obviously he got paid a ton, but that’s what it takes for Atlanta to acquire a (relatively) big fish in free agency at this point in time. Beyond the deal he inked, Bogdanovic helps unlock Atlanta’s offense. The Hawks juggled between frosh guys at the wing last season, and I think being able to start Bogdanovic at the two allows for the Hawks to use Kevin Huerter to aid the second unit and firmly slide Cam Reddish to the three spot. Bogdanovic is a reliable off-guard who can both catch and shoot/play off the ball and still get involved in pick-and-rolls here and there, penetrate and create lethal offense from the perimeter and midrange. I probably don’t have to tell you that because these guys have already talked your ear off about him for a couple weeks. A Young and Bogdanovic backcourt makes for some great offense, and a Young, Bogdanovic, Reddish, Collins, Capela lineup can make the playoff jump.
Zach Hood: Am I allowed to say drafting Onyeka Okongwu? The other moves definitely help, but there is a real chance Okongwu is the one of the best two or three players in this draft class. Getting him at No. 6 was a steal, and he adds another defensive presence, which is a welcome sight.