Recently, Bleacher Report wrote an article about how each team should replace their worst starter. For the Hawks, they named Taurean Prince. However, this trade was much less about Prince and much more about a disgruntled superstar – Anthony Davis.
Now that the Pelicans landed Zion Williamson, there is no guarantee they even deal Davis. The way those two pair up in the frontcourt could be something special down in the Big Easy. Although, no reports have suggested that Davis has become any more fond of signing a long-term extension with the Pels. There will be several teams attempting to pry the league’s best big man away from New Orleans, most notably the Lakers and the Celtics, but few have a package as enticing as the Atlanta Hawks.
Here was the trade offer from Atlanta in the article:
Pelicans receive: John Collins, Taurean Prince, and the 8th overall pick in the 2019 draft
Hawks receive: Anthony Davis
Why the Hawks should do it
It amazes me there are not more Hawks’ fans that would be on board with this deal. Maybe, our fanbase is much smarter than most, or perhaps they have forgotten just how transcendent of a basketball player Anthony Davis is. So I will remind you.
Just 26 years old, Davis has been the best big man in basketball for a few years now. His versatility on both sides of the court makes him a coaches’ dream. He can stretch the floor effectively from the center position, shooting 33.1% from three this past season and 34% the season before that, but is at his best when he is playing from 18 feet and in – where he is walking bucket.
It doesn’t matter if opponents put one, two or three men on him in the post. His length makes his shot impossible to block, and he is not phased by a few hands in his face. Davis is a career 51.7% shooter from the field, and he is just beginning to enter his prime. John Collins is a potential star. I genuinely believe that, but Davis is a walking 30 points and 11 rebounds nightly. There’s no way you can project Collins to make that sort of leap.
While the superstar centers’ offensive game is ungodly, it almost pales in comparison to his defense. This was Davis’ most noteworthy attribute coming into the NBA and has continued to be a staple of his at the highest level. For his career, he averages 2.4 blocks per game. That only leads all active NBA players. Defense has to be an emphasis for the Hawks this offseason. Adding a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate gives Atlanta something they have been sorely missing.
The Hawks have been starved of a superstar ever since Dominique Wilkins was traded. It’s tough to find them, and when you have an opportunity to acquire a talent like Anthony Davis, sometimes it is best to roll the dice – a lot like the Raptors did with Kawhi Leanord.
Atlanta would still have a top-ten pick in the draft, and I’m not sure anybody believes Taurean Prince is in the long-term plans for this team. The thought of having Trae Young and Anthony Davis in their primes together, along with other young talents like Kevin Huerter and whoever the Hawks take 10th overall, maybe too tantalizing to pass on.
Why the Hawks should not do it
This section is going to be a lot shorter than the previous one because it boils down to one thing: Anthony Davis’ contract. At this point, Davis will be a mercenary for whatever team he goes to. He is be entering the final year of his deal, and I doubt he is in a hurry to ink an extension before next offseason, especially with the Hawks – who are not totally out of the rebuilding stage. Like most NBA players, he’s going to soak in the sun of free agency and listen to all of the perks that come with each franchise.
I’m not sure about you all, but I’m not betting my future on Anthony Davis choosing to stay in Atlanta. He’s already forced his way out of New Orleans, and while most of that lies on the shoulders of the Pelicans faulty management, I believe Davis is ready to decide where HE wants to go. Unfortunately, Atlanta is rarely that place; which is something a general manager has to take into account. Gambling may end up paying off for the Raptors if Leanord ends up staying, but the Hawks aren’t at that point of their rebuild right now. They should stick with their young core, continue on the path they are on, build chemistry, and let Travis Schlenk work his magic in the draft.