After making the playoffs for 10 straight seasons, the Hawks have now missed the postseason two years in a row. With the rebuild in effect, it’s not expected for them to make the playoffs anytime soon. They showed a lot of positive signs this year with their young core, and it’s possible they can be back sooner than later. With the Eastern Conference being on the weaker side of the table, the Hawks can see themselves in the playoffs. There are not many moves the Hawks would have to make either, so being in a lower seed is not out of question. Here are some things that should happen if the Hawks want to sneak back into the postseason and make some noise.
Find a quality backup point guard
The Hawks had a solid backup point guard in Jeremy Lin to begin the season. When the Hawks traded for him last offseason, it was to help Trae Young through his rookie season. It took Lin some time to get in a groove, and later into the season is when he started to improve. This was good for the Hawks, as he boosted the second unit’s efficiency and kept them in the game. When he was traded, you can say the backup point guard play declined by a margin.
Jaylen Adams had his ups and downs, but you wouldn’t say he’s completely ready to lead a second unit by himself. If the Hawks can find a backup guard that score and make plays for the team, they’ll be in good shape.
There was not a thing wrong with the Hawks offense this season. Coming into year Coach Pierce didn’t know how the team would score. With multiple perimeter shooters and playmakers on your team, you can always find a way to score. One thing the Hawks did have a problem with was their defense.
With a lot of young players on the team, it sometimes takes a moment to get them to fully understand the concept. Also, players aren’t physically built to defend and stay in front of their man. Trae Young’s size hurt him this season on the defensive side. He’ll have to get stronger this offseason if doesn’t want to be a target like he was this season. Signing some quality defenders wouldn’t be bad either. Pierce is known for his defense, which means there should be higher expectations for them to be better next year.
Have a solid draft
Since Travis Schlenk has taken over the reins, he’s made some solid, risky moves. The first risky move that comes to everybody’s head should be the swap for Trae Young and Luka Doncic. Now it doesn’t seem like that move was too risky after all. Schlenk has shown people that he’s not afraid to make a move for somebody he wants to get, and with two possible top 10 draft picks coming up anything is possible. There aren’t many big names in this draft, so Schlenk may want to trade up. He could pick two quality players that would fit the Hawks system well. Either way it goes, the trust people should have in Schlenk is high and he won’t disappoint.
Sign a quality free agent
Not only do the Hawks have a chance a lot of draft picks, but they have tons of cap space to work with. The free agency pool is nice this offseason, and the Hawks have a chance to give some money at players. They could go down the route of signing a big free agent, which could instantly put them into the tier of playoff teams. They could decide to sign a mid-tier free agent; somebody that’s not too expensive but fits the system. Also, signing multiple quality free agents would not be a bad idea either, especially if the Hawks like the group that they had this season. Those three options could all help them make the postseason and give some teams a run for their money.
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