Hawks: Travis Schlenk needs to find a backup point guard to shore up the roster

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There aren’t too many holes on the Hawks roster, as almost every single critical piece is under team control for the time being. There are obvious concerns the Hawks front office won’t be willing to match a massive offer sheet for John Collins, but there is optimism the two sides will come to an agreement. Even if that does come to fruition, though, the roster needs tweaking in hopes of improvement — complacency is death.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is aware of that too; after all, he’s the man who built this young powerhouse of a team, and he knows where this roster needs to improve, “We’re in a good space. A lot of our guys are under contract moving forward. One of the areas, it’s no secret that we’ve always struggled to field a consistent role is at the backup point guard spot. We’ve had a couple of different guys. I think that’ll be one area where we look to shore up this offseason.”

Schlenk saw this problem before it became apparent when he signed Rajon Rondo this offseason to address the back point guard position specifically. Obviously, it didn’t work out as Schlenk flipped Rondo for Lou Williams and a couple of picks. Williams hinted in an Instagram post that he would be returning to the Hawks next season. Lemon Pepper Lou is a fan favorite, but more importantly, he’s a valuable veteran for this team. Still, he will be 35-years-old next season and is looking for a multi-year deal, which could force the Hawks to find help elsewhere.

With Trae Young off the court, the Hawks need another ball-handler who can take the pressure off the second unit. Jake Gordon believes the answer could come from the NBA draft.

Round 1, Pick 20 — PG Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

NBADraft.net has my favorite player in all of college basketball falling to the 20th pick in one of their recent mock drafts, and I think he’s a picture perfect pick for the Hawks outside of the lottery. While I don’t think backup point guard is the biggest need for Atlanta, if Dosunmu is available for Atlanta at 20, this is an easy “best player available” scenario. Dosunmu led one of my favorite teams in college basketball last season in Illinois, posting a ridiculous 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while shooting 49% from the floor and 39% from 3. With great size at 6’5 and 200 pounds, he’s closer to a finished product at 21 years old — exactly what the Hawks need off the bench. He isn’t an elite defender, but he has some chops and good size to work with. A terrific rebounding, shooting, and efficient point guard off the bench would massively benefit Trae Young and the Hawks as a whole.

Of course, there are other prospects in the draft, such as Jared Butler, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four after scoring 22 points in the win over Gonzaga in the title, or Sharife Cooper, who is similar in stature and style to Ice Trae. Cooper is a gifted passer and playmaker with an impressive midrange game. Free agency is also an option, but regardless of where they find the help, this is the top priority for the Hawks outside of bringing back John Collins.

Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire



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