The Hawks are steadily moving along this season as new teammates acclimate with each other. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray continue to build chemistry as the team aims to have a repeat of the 2020 campaign and not last season’s first-round exit. They’ll need improved bench play and shooting, which should both be addressed when Bogdan Bogdanovic returns from the same knee injury that has been lingering since he arrived in Atlanta. However, it’s impossible to see those holes and not think back to the trade that sent Kevin Huerter to Sac Town for Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless, and a future draft pick.
It’s looking worse and worse as we move further and further away from July when the trade was made. The Hawks desperately need a player like Huerter, and to get a return of essentially only Justin Holiday is criminal. The Hawks royally screwed that one up, and Red Velvet is making the club look even more silly with his effort so far this season.
On the year, the former No. 19 overall pick is averaging a career-high 16.6 points on the most efficient numbers of his career, including a 49.5% clip from three-point land on 7.4 attempts per game. I understand his role has expanded since joining the Kings, but it’s not that extreme. He’s averaging less than a minute more per game than his highest as a Hawk and a little over one field goal and three-point attempt per game. Despite that slight increase in volume, Huerter is averaging more than four points higher than his best season in Atlanta.
Ironically, the Hawks have a glaring need for three-point shooting, and Huerter is having a borderline All-Star start to the season. Moreover, it’s caught the eyes of the game’s best. Kevin Durant likened Kevin Huerter’s recent play to two of the greatest shooters basketball has ever seen — The Splash Brothers, Steph and Klay.
That’s incredibly high praise coming from KD, and it just makes the entire situation that much more frustrating. The Hawks will look back on this trade and bite their lip because it’s clear Huerter is one of the best shooters in the league, and it’s the single biggest thing plaguing the team right now.