Hawks trade 2022 first round pick AJ Griffin to the Houston Rockets

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The offseason is officially underway for the Atlanta Hawks. Last night, they made Zaccharie Risacher the #1 overall pick, and ahead of the second round of the NBA Draft, they have made their first trade of the offseason, sending 2022 first-round pick AJ Griffin to the Houston Rockets for the 44th pick tonight.

AJ Griffin’s brief tenure in Atlanta is incredibly perplexing. A standout as a freshman at Duke, the Hawks selected him with the 16th pick in the draft as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, and rather immediately, he impressed.

As a rookie, Griffin appeared in 72 games and averaged close to nine points with impressive shooting splits — 46.5% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. He looked like a young player with a bright future that could potentially carve out a starting role for himself in year two. But for whatever reason, he was essentially phased out of the rotation this past season, receiving minimal playing time over just 20 games.

I’m not sure what happened behind the scenes, and we may never know, but AJ Griffin clearly fell out of favor with the organization quickly. Less than a year ago, we were talking about him as a potential breakout candidate. Now, he’s been traded for the 44th overall pick in the draft just a couple years after being drafted himself. It’s been a shocking and unfortunate turn of events that’s yet another bad look for the Hawks.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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