Peachtree Hoops’ staff is back with another offseason roundtable, this time with a deeper look at the Atlanta Hawks’ revamped second unit ahead of the 2022-23 season.
With the Hawks perhaps being not near as deep on paper as they were last season, should there be concern about a dip in play by the second unit?
Zach Hood: This feels kind of inevitable. Losing Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari and Delon Wright is going to make the second unit a bit less potent one would think. Onyeka Okongwu and Bogdan Bogdanovic will look to anchor a second unit that might be missing some punch from last season, while guys like Jalen Johnson will look to earn a spot in the rotation with the door cracked open. Newcomers Justin and Aaron Holiday will look to help hold down the fort in the backcourt.
Malik Brown: Definitely. Moving on from Delon Wright, Kevin Huerter, and Danilo Gallinari was big. You basically lost one of your top perimeter defenders and two of your best shooters, and didn’t replace them with better talent, besides just adding Murray. If Nate McMillan decides to stagger Young and Murray, then the second unit could be in good hands, but as a complete unit they’re not as deep a unit as they were last season.
Graham Chapple: A lot rides on Bogdan Bogdanovic being healthy and there’s good reason to be skeptical about that right now. De’Andre Hunter has struggled to stay on the court too, and if he misses any time that also cuts into the Hawks’ depth. We saw Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot start more games than I think even he would’ve expected and while I thought he did a solid job, it obviously wasn’t optimal for the Hawks to have the last guy they signed to the regular season roster play so much time. Between that and trading Huerter for lesser pieces, losing Delon Wright, trading Danilo Gallinari, yes, I think there’s plenty of reason to be concerned for the second unit production
Wes Morton: On offense, definitely. The guard options off the bench, specifically the Holiday brothers, are more specialized and prefer to work off the ball and spot up more than creating and breaking down the defense. It’s possible the unit stays afloat with just enough defense, but if Dejounte Murray has to carry a heavy offensive load with that unit, they’ll need other perimeter options to step up and take some of the burden off of Murray.
Glen Willis: Absolutely. Perhaps if Bogdanovic were completely healthy there would be less reason for concern, but unless one or more of the first and second year players exceed expectations it’s going to be hard for the second unit to consistently produce offense. Could they make that up on the defensive end if Harkless and Holiday are playing their best basketball? It’s possible but they are relying on players with some injury track record that is reason for some concern.
Rashad Milligan: 100% reason to worry, but this is also on the coaching staff. You want some more depth? Depth like the old days? Do your job and develop your players. I hate to be cliché but allow me to be cliché, the Golden State Warriors just made a group of G-Leaguers look like formidable championship-level role players. The downside to acquiring a second All-Star in this league is the bench usually depletes or is filled by a bunch of has-beens. Your job is to make sure the guys that you do have get better.