Grading the trade for the Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are easily one of the most disappointing teams this season. The offense is great, but the defense is painstakingly bad. Part of the reason the Hawks acquired Dejounte Murray was to fortify a shoddy defensive unit.
Despite the addition of Murray, Atlanta's defense has fallen off a cliff. After making a name for himself on the defensive end in San Antonio, Murray has declined on the less glamorous side of the floor. The Hawks' defense is only a tad better with Murray on the court. However, opponents shoot better when Murray is on the floor.
Against Murray, opponents shoot 1.2 percent higher than their usual field goal percentage. While there may be a direct correlation of playing next to one of the worst defenders in the NBA, it's worth noting Murray's individual defensive contributions have taken a dip.
The partnership of Young and Murray just isn't working out as expected. Perhaps adding a bigger shooting guard or an elite center to play alongside Young might yield better results.
In this trade, the Hawks would neither add a star center nor a shooting guard. It's more about increasing future cap space and punting on what seems to be a lost season. Atlanta would clear $25 million off the books and add multiple draft assets.
The additions of Mike Conley and Kyle Anderson are essentially salary matches. It's quite possible the Hawks could turn around and re-trade both players or let them walk in free agency. Neither player moves the needle for Atlanta this season.
This move is about the upcoming offseason. The Hawks would clear the requisite cap space to sign a player such as Pascal Siakam, who they've coveted for some time now. Additional draft assets also allow the Hawks to explore the trade market a step further.
Potential starting lineup: Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De'Andre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela
Atlanta receives a C for this trade. Conley and Anderson are solid pieces but provide no benefit to the current Hawks roster. The draft picks and cap flexibility are a nice touch, but Atlanta can likely receive a better package from another team.