Give it up to the Toronto Raptors, your 2019 NBA Champions.
There were many great moments and sad moments in this Finals. The rise of a dynasty, and maybe the end of one as well. The thing is that all of this could somehow affect the Hawks and the other teams in the league. But how?
Most of the top free agents played in this year’s Finals. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard could be a free agent this offseason if he decides to opt out of his contract. Kevin Durant is also a potential free agent if he opts out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors. Klay Thompson will have the decision to re-sign with the Warriors or test the market. The important thing to note with Thompson and Durant is that they suffered injuries in the Finals that could keep them out for the entire next season. How does this affect the Atlanta Hawks?
There was a rumor earlier in the season that Travis Schlenk would go after Thompson in free agency. He fits everything the Hawks are about and he could lift this team into the playoffs instantly. His ability to shoot the ball and defend on the other side of the ball makes him an intriguing free agent. There’s just one thing: it may be Warriors or bust for him. They’ve already said they plan on giving him the full max, so don’t expect him to entertain any other teams.
The landscape of the league
With the Raptors winning, this puts them at the top of the Eastern Conference going into next season. If Leonard decides to return, they should be heavy title favorites again. Not saying that there was a chance, but this kicks the Hawks out of any chance for seriously competing for a championship. As you saw this season, the Eastern Conference was open for the taking, so you can’t rule out the possibility of the Hawks making noise.
With the Hawks building the top of foundation like the Warriors, could this make things harder for their play style? The Raptors gave the blueprint on stopping the Warriors, but mostly Stephen Curry. Toronto played a box-and-one defense on Curry and threw multiple defenders at him all series, which affected his game most of the time. With the Trae Young and Steph comparisons, would teams start to do the same thing to the Hawks guard?
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