Yeah, it’s still early. We’re not even a quarter of the way through the NBA season yet, and I’m already writing an NBA Free Agency story. Well, unfortunately, between John Collins’ suspension compounded by a brutal schedule early, the Hawks have found themselves dug deep down in the lottery once again. The Eastern Conference is weak, and the Hawks could undoubtedly make a run, but it seems optimistic fans before the season like myself, may have to exercise patience.
The Hawks have their superstar and franchise player in Trae Young. Kevin Huerter has struggled to see the court due to injuries, but he is an intriguing prospect as well. The team doubled down at wing in the 2019 Draft, and despite the suspension, John Collins appears to be a future cornerstone for this franchise.
Bruno Fernando and Damion Jones have looked promising at center, while Alex Len has struggled. All three may have a role going forward, but no one is looking at them in the same light as those previously mentioned, at least not yet.
With the free-agent market looking weak in 2020, the Hawks have unlimited cap space, but limited options. However, as we see the needs of this team unfold, the perfect free agent is available to them on the open market: Andre Drummond.
A one and done out of UConn, Drummond will be hitting unrestricted free agency at a younger age than most, and whoever signs him will be getting him in his prime at age 27. We have seen Drummond make considerable strides in his game, despite being stuck in Detroit. Even though he has had to stuff the stat sheet a bit more due to the absence of Blake Griffin, Drummond is having the best year of his career. He is averaging 19.6 points and 17 rebounds per game, both career highs. Not too shabby considering Drummond has led the NBA in rebounds per game in three out of the last four seasons. He protects the rim and will probably feel like he had died and gone to heaven catching passes from Trae Young.
The biggest knock on Drummond in the past has been his free throw shooting, but hours in the gym have resulted in a noticeably impressive bump in that area as well. He had previously established himself as a sub-40% free throw shooter but has that number up to 69.4% on nearly five attempts per game this season, thus making him a player you can no longer hack at and hope he misses.
Alex Len is getting things back going as of late, but his contract is up after this season, and Lloyd Pierce has decided Len is best served as a backup. Whether the Hawks decide to bring Len back or not won’t change the fact that they will be searching for a starting center this offseason. Why not make a push for the best free agent on the market who fits their most apparent need?
As I said, it is still early. But this article is being written because it seems like a match made in heaven. Maybe Fernando or Jones breaks out. Perhaps Drummond signs an extension. Maybe the Hawks even end up with James Wiseman. The possibilities are endless, but looking ahead, Drummond should be on the Hawks radar as a player who can still fit the timeframe for this young team ready to take the next step.
(Photo by Prensa Internacional/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)