The Atlanta Hawks started the 2020-21 season with a 14-20 record, leading Tony Ressler and Travis Schlenk to part ways with incumbent head coach Lloyd Pierce. From there, interim head coach Nate McMillan captured lightning in a bottle, leading the Hawks to a 180-degree turn that ended in a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Atlanta fell just short against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, but Trae Young continued his superstar turn, and the Hawks showcased their emerging talent and depth.
As such, the future is undoubtedly encouraging for the Hawks, but this is an interesting summer. The team’s biggest decision comes in restricted free agency, with John Collins hitting the market and expected to command a lofty deal. That negotiation could have a trickle-down effect but, elsewhere, the Hawks have quality depth up and down the roster, with the No. 20 overall pick also in the mix to provide another future-facing prospect.
Roster Need: Backup point guard, health, clarity on John Collins
Jalen Johnson (No. 20 Overall), Grade: B+
This is simply a bet on talent. Johnson was a consensus top-10 high school prospect and, despite a weird (and short) journey at Duke, he still brings considerable ability to the table. He has a 7’0 wingspan with defensive potential, sees the floor as a high-level passer and doesn’t need to be thrust into duty quickly in Atlanta. No player selected at No. 20 was going to be a huge part of the Hawks’ rotation as a rookie, and this is a quality value through that lens.
2021-22 Roster Danilo Gallinari Bogdan Bogdanovic Clint Capela Trae Young De’Andre Hunter Onyeka Okongwu Cam Reddish Jalen Johnson Kevin Huerter Bruno Fernando
2021 Free Agents John Collins (RFA) Kris Dunn (Player Option) Brandon Goodwin (RFA) Solomon Hill (UFA) Nathan Knight (RFA) Skylar Mays (RFA) Tony Snell (UFA) Lou Williams (UFA)
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