The Complete Guide to the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have one of the most promising young rosters in the NBA. Their roster isn’t quite there yet, though, as they sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game ahead of Cleveland at 14-39. Atlanta has been struggling to gain traction with their young core. Their defense in particular has proven to be a struggle for the team. Their roster consists of lots of promising young players that are going to have plenty of time to gel together throughout their careers. Their roster consists of:

Note: Bold = Rookie

         ^ = Two-Way Contract

         * = All-Star

  • Starters:
    • PG: Trae Young* (21)
    • SG: Kevin Huerter (21)
    • SF: DeAndre Hunter (22)
    • PF: John Collins (22)
    • C: Clint Capela (25)
  • Bench:
    • Cam Reddish (20)
    • Jeff Teague (31)
    • Skal Labissiere (23)
    • DeAndre’ Bembry (25)
    • Vince Carter (43)
    • Dewayne Dedmon (30)
    • Bruno Fernando (21)
    • Treveon Graham (26)
    • Brandon Goodwin^ (24)
    • Charlie Brown Jr^ (23)

Atlanta’s oldest starter is 25 years-old. The Hawks have one of the youngest teams in the NBA and it has been showing. This season is going to be a wash and they will receive another young asset in the draft. Atlanta has been stacking assets ever since the Al Horford/Paul Millsap era finished. The Hawks will need another year or two to be truly relevant, but they’re very close to becoming championship contenders.

Photo: Jason Miller/NBAE/Getty Images

Second-year superstar Trae Young has been the face of the franchise since he first entered the NBA. Drafted 5th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, was traded to Atlanta on draft day in the trade that sent Luka Doncic to the Mavericks (oops). Although Young has faced lots of criticism because he is constantly compared to Luka, he has been a great player in his own way. He has been averaging 29.3 points per game, shooting 44.5% from the field and 37% from deep. He has shown off his incredible playmaking, averaging 9.0 assists a contest. His offensive capabilities secured him a starting spot in this year’s All-Star game over players like Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler. His defensive capabilities are not as spectacular, however. He does average a steal a game, but that’s the extent to near-average defense he shows. Atlanta as a whole gives up the second-most points in the NBA, only to the Washington Wizards. Young’s next big step has to be on the defensive end if he wants Atlanta to really match up with the top teams in the NBA.

Another second-year player, Kevin Huerter is another knock-down shooter for Atlanta. Drafted 19th overall, has really made a name for himself as one of the late First Round steals. He has been averaging 12.2 points on 42% shooting and 39.5% from three (better percentage than Trae!). Huerter made a name for himself being one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league. He also knows how to move the ball, averaging 3.3 assists per game. Like Trae, unfortunately, Huerter’s defense is also sub-par, giving up a lot of backcourt points to opposing teams.

Rookie DeAndre Hunter was drafted 4th overall; he was known as having one of the highest floors of any rookie. Hunter is a defensive-minded wing capable of guarding opponent’s two, three and four. He is supposed to be the defensive specialist of the team, but that can only go so far when the other perimeter defenders are sub-par at best. Along with his solid defense, comes a surprisingly solid offense. He has been averaging 12.1 points per game on 40.9% shooting and 33.6% from the arc. His game translated nicely over to the NBA, although he has struggled to shoot, he is still averaging the points he needs.

© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year player, John Collins, was one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 Draft. Like Kevin Huerter, he was drafted 19th overall. Unlike Huerter, he might become an All-Star. He definitely could have this year, but he was suspended for 25 games after a drug violation. After his suspension, he game back like he never left. He is averaging a career-high 20.1 points, on a career high 62.7% on two-pointers and a career-best 35.4% from long range. However, like Young and Huerter, he too struggles defensively. He does average 1.7 blocks per game, but blocks aren’t everything to defense. Now, to be fair to John, he has been having to guard opponent’s Centers because they haven’t had a credible Center until recently. His defense may become more of an asset when he is back to guarding opposing Power Forwards.

At 25, Clint Capela is the oldest starter on the team. Capela was acquired recently in quite the complicated four-team trade. Capela is one of the best rebounders in the game. He mirrors the game of Andre Drummond as a great rebounder and solid inside defender. He has been averaging 13.8 rebounds this season, which is more impressive than it looks since he was playing with the triple-double obsessed Russell Westbrook and James Harden. He has also been averaging 1.8 blocks and almost a steal per game. He fits this team much better than Drummond would because unlike Drummond, Capela is more of a team player. Capela knows his role and embraces it. His style of play is outdated, but he’s still effective inside on a team that shoots three after three.

Atlanta’s bench is highlighted by rookies, Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando, as well as veterans, Jeff Teague and Vince Carter. Their bench is a mix of young and old which is essential for building chemistry. Teague is a one-time All-Star who made that appearance playing in the Horford/Millsap era. Vince Carter is a flat-out legend. Everyone in the NBA respects the hell out of the 24-year veteran. Rookie Cam Reddish is just beginning his career, and has begun it on the wrong foot. He was drafted 10th overall and has been quite the disappointment so far. The other rookie, Bruno Fernando, was drafted 34th overall and has really made a name for himself as one of the more promising backup bigs in the league.

Trade Deadline Moves:

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Atlanta’s initial Trade Deadline move was acquriring fan-favorite Jeff Teague to backup Trae Young. Teague seemed to be mainly a locker-room presence and a bone thrown to Atlanta’s fans because of their horrible season. Along with Teague, Atlanta acquired another former player in Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon made a name for himself as a stretch-five who’s capable of helping any team in need of a good rotational player. They traded Jabari Parker and Alex Len, two solid young prospects.

The key addition that the Atlanta Hawks received was six-year Center, Clint Capela. Atlanta has been without a real Center over these two seasons. Capela changes that as Trae Young finally has a Center to run pick-and-rolls with. Along with pick-and-rolls, as one of the better offensive rebounders in the NBA, he will be key in scoring on put-backs, as well as rebound kick-outs. Outdated players like Capela are perfect fits for teams with four three-point shooters and two that are the best in the business. The four-team trade with Clint Capela was very complicated, so the details for the trade can be found right here

Atlanta’s Future:

Photo: Jim Mone/AP

The Hawks arguably have the best future in the NBA. They have 11 players under the age of 26 that will all gel together as long as they have solid veterans as glue for the young roster. Trae Young and John Collins both have superstar potential that can keep this team relevant for the next decade.

They also will get another nice young player in the draft. Players like Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball could both be great help for the team. They also have shown how good they are at drafting finding Collins, Huerter and Fernando outside of the lottery.

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Clint Capela is on contract for the next three seasons after this one. Capela is going to be a key asset for the Hawks in the next few years. He is going to up his own stats, as well as helping the team. He is going to be the top rebounder on the team for years to come and is going to help Trae Young get to the basket on his picks.

They have a lot of good, young role players that will be doing the little things in the future. Huerter and Reddish will be the shooters on the team. Hunter is going to be a solid defender for the team along with Capela. Fernando is going to be a key piece for their bench for years to come. He is going to be an essential energy guy for the Hawks when Collins or Capela are sitting out.

The Atlanta Voice/Itoro N. Umontuen

The Hawks have the potential to build a dynasty. Unlike the Mavericks, the Hawks have the draft picks and assets to surround Young for years to come. The Hawks, highlighted by Trae Young, are going to be, at the very least, a dangerous team that gives Giannis a very tough time in the Conference Finals, like Paul George’s Pacers against the Heat big three. Expect big things from Atlanta in the 2020s decades.

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