Thus far into the offseason, most of the Hawks’ free agency talks have centered around their front court; and for good reason. Atlanta’s big men failed to do the most vital jobs for their positions: rebound and work inside.
Part of this can be attributed to Coach Budenholzer’s offense. Atlanta’s offense has been built to shoot well and space out. Millsap and Horford have excellent range, while also very good rebounders. But the lack of time around the rim has cost them offensive rebounds, which could have been the difference in a few games this season.
So while the front office and media focuses on the Hawks need for a big center, they shouldn’t look past the possibility of dwindling depth in the back court. Yes, Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder provide a great tandem at point guard. But constant trade rumors revolving around Teague and his recent tweet about playing with a patella injury raises questions about Teague’s future as a Hawk.
It’s also a possibility the Hawks could lose Kent Bazemore this summer. Bazemore became a key player for the Hawks this season. He shot the ball well and provided a spark from the bench. He earned himself a spot in the starting rotation. Would Atlanta be willing to pay him above and beyond if other teams show interest?
An aging Kyle Korver tops the list of Atlanta’s back court questions. Korver shot inconsistently throughout the season. How can you justify keeping a player paid to knock down shots when he is no longer dependable? For the last few years, Korver has been a leader of the Hawks. His time, however, is coming to a close.
With so many questions in the back court, Atlanta should consider seducing Bradley Beal away from the Wizards. Beal’s sharp shooting skills make him the an ideal addition for an Atlanta offense that at times struggled to score this season. If he can produce at his capabilities, Beal has the potential to become a solid number 2 scoring option for the Hawks.
Working with Teague and Schroder should provide Beal with open shot opportunities in a dynamic offense. Teague, when healthy, is one of the best scoring point guards in the East and Schroder is a lightning rod off the bench. Both would be able to draw attention to leave Beal with favorable shots.
This will only work, however, if Beal can remain healthy. Beal has never stayed on the court for all 82 games, which diminishes his overall value.
Perhaps his injury history could work in Atlanta’s favor. Beal has the talent to command a max contract, but what team would offer him that if he can’t stay on the court? Atlanta may be able to negotiate Beal’s asking price down.
Atlanta is smart to prioritize a big man over another perimeter shooter. If presented with an opportunity to swoop in and steal Beal, though, Atlanta would be wise to take it.