Even though our Atlanta Hawks have been much better of late, there’s still something missing from the lineup. John Collins is posting numbers at an absolutely ridiculous rate, Trae Young is a bonafide superstar at 21 years old, Cam Reddish has emerged as a two-way player with a ton of upside, DeAndre Hunter is shooting 45% from three this month, and Kevin Huerter is canning 38% of his 3s on the season.
So what gives?
Well, for one, defense has been an issue. Trae Young has one of the worst defensive ratings in the association, and DeAndre Hunter has surprisingly been even worse. Hunter was drafted for his defensive prowess, but it seems that this fast-paced Hawks offense is worlds different from what he was used to at Virginia. However, Clint Capela’s eventual arrival will help. I’m not worried about Hunter, I think he’ll adjust. The primary issue is finding another big-time scorer next to Trae Young. We’ve seen it in spurts, but nobody has stepped up to be “that guy.” Luckily, there might be someone available this offseason that would fit the Hawks’ young core perfectly.
Bradley Beal's Top Scoring Games This Season
53 PTS, L
47 PTS, L
46 PTS, L
44 PTS, L
44 PTS, 10 AST, W
42 PTS, L
40 PTS, L
37 PTS, Lpic.twitter.com/yINWCmodEZ
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 24, 2020
Bradley Beal’s face says it all.
One day after this tweet was posted, Beal went off AGAIN for 55 points in a losing effort. The first player to go back to back for 50 since Kobe in 2007. His postgame comments were very telling.
Bradley Beal is averaging 36.2 points in the month February, including two career highs on back-to-back nights in which the Wizards lost. pic.twitter.com/FDK3U7ncpB
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 25, 2020
It looks like Beal wants out of his situation, as he should. Even though Rui Hachimura has been better than most expected in his rookie season, the Wizards are still 20-36 and five games back of a playoff spot. While Atlanta might have a worse record, they have a young core and a bonafide superstar. All Washington has is an obligation to pay John Wall $130+ million over the next three seasons, who hasn’t seen the court since December of 2018. Beal is only 26 years old and has three years remaining on his deal. The Hawks can swallow his $27 million cap hit next season and the $37 million for the two seasons after that without blinking.
With Wall being on the supermax, the Wizards have next to nothing behind these two. Ian Mahinmi is their third highest-paid player, making about $15 million per season. Washington desperately needs to hit the reset button, and Atlanta has the draft picks, young players, assets, and cap space to make it happen. A combination of Atlanta’s 1st round pick this season, some of the trillion 2nd round picks they own, DeAndre Hunter or Kevin Huerter, and maybe a future protected 1st should be enough to get it done. It might be the best that Washington can get for their disgruntled superstar, and it might be what turns the Hawks into a legitimate contender in the East.