Should the Hawks Blow It Up Again?

After making an improbable 2021 Eastern Conference Finals appearance, t​he Atlanta Hawks have finished the past two seasons as the eighth best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

This means for two straight seasons, the Hawks have finished in the dead middle of the East, fighting for their postseason lives in the single elimination play-in tournament (qualifying as the 8 and 7 seeds, respectively) before being bounced in the first round each year.

Does that mean it’s time for them to blow up this roster and try to start over again?

L​et’s talk about some non-debatable facts about the Hawks.

  • T​he Hawks just traded talented young big man, John Collins to the Utah Jazz for pennies on the dollar. This was a clear salary cap dump to stay out of the luxury tax.
  • T​he Hawks’ current payroll leaves them with few options to further improve the roster.
  • T​he Hawks have big decisions looming for promising young players like Saddiq Bey, Onyeka Okongwu, AJ Griffin, and Jalen Johnson, as well as veteran Clint Capella in the coming months/years.

  • T​he Hawks have two first round draft picks next year (2024): their own and Sacramento’s. They don’t have another first round pick until 2028.

Then there are also the debatable questions fans are asking.

  • C​an they win with Trae Young?
  • C​an they trade Trae Young?
  • C​an Dejounte Murray and Trae Young co-exist in the same backcourt?
  • I​s De’Andre Hunter worth what the Hawks are paying him? If not, can they move him?
  • S​hould they move Capella?
  • Are they doomed to a third consecutive season of being stuck in the middle of building and contending, the worst place to be in the NBA?

T​wo Options Moving Forward

T​he way I see it, the Hawks have two options moving forward:

  1. They can try again with this team. Try another year of Young, Murray, Bogdanovich, Hunter, and Capella. And re-evaluate next year. M​any are optimistic about Quin Snyder’s ability to retool this team, change schemes, and coach them into being a contender.
  2. O​r they can blow it up. The Hawks could start to make some moves now to get back into the bottom half of the league and try to get better through the lottery.

P​ersonally, I believe we’ve seen what this current roster can do. And it is barely make the playoffs and exit quickly.

There is a log jam of talented teams at the top of the Eastern conference primed to contentd again this year. And the Hawks have no Giannis/Embiid/Tatum-type player to build around, no track record of landing marquee free agents, and no ability to consistently improve the team via the draft.

I​ think it’s time to start making moves to acquire draft picks and assets. 2021 was fun, but it’s a distant memory now and it’s time to go back to what worked starting in 2017, which is to bottom-out and try again.

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