Several names for the Atlanta Hawks to keep track of next offseason

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 4: Nerlens Noel
SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 4: Nerlens Noel /

In the twilight of the 2017 NBA offseason, it’s time for the Atlanta Hawks to look forward to those available in the summer of 2018.

This offseason has been nothing short of spectacular. That being said, things are starting to die down around the league and the September slump is well and truly under way, with the commencement of the NBA season still about a month and half away.

The Atlanta Hawks finished a majority of their business relatively early and have since been focusing on getting ready for their preseason matchups leading up to the season opener. However, it’s never too early to start the speculation on next summer’s player movements and who the Hawks should be keeping an eye on.

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Projected to finish in the bottom two of the league (next to the Chicago Bulls), the Hawks will still very much be in “rebuild mode” and won’t exactly be looking for that superstar acquisition to send them to the finals to play against the best from the west.

Next summer will largely be one spent gathering assets, in the form of draft picks from other teams’ contract dumps, experienced role players to complement the current core, and young talent with potential to grow.

As far as draft picks go, Atlanta is sitting pretty on three first round selections in 2018, one of which is their own, and two more acquired from trades (one protected top 3 and the other projected top 14). They also boast a second rounder, all of which come together to allow them the opportunity to either draft some young talent or trade with others to begin looking towards being competitive.

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The small forward and power forward positions are where the Hawks will want to focus most of their attention next season, as Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, and Luke Babbitt will be unrestricted free agents and Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala will have player options. Malcolm Delaney will also be a restricted free agent.

Experienced role players that will be featured on the market in the summer of 2018 include names like: Jerami Grant, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Amir Johnson.

At the present moment John Collins and Taurean Prince seem to be the only certainties in the frontcourt moving forward. This is where bringing in someone like Jerami Grant, who has had time with the 76ers and Thunder will be beneficial to the chemistry of the group. At only 23 years old, he would fit in very well with Collins and Prince at the small forward position, assuming it’s vacated by Belinelli.

Another option at the small forward for the Hawks to take a hard look at is defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute. The former Clipper and current Rocket has a set of defensive acumen possessed by few others around the league and would make an excellent leader on the second group of players off the bench.

Another attractive name for Travis Schlenk and company to consider would be the services of former Celtic and current Sixer Amir Johnson. The slightly undersized power forward by trade is another defensive stud and he would do well to serve as a mentor of sorts to Hawks wunderkinds Collins and Prince. Entering his 13th year in the association, Johnson has been a cornerstone for organizations for a long time and at the age of 30, he could look to help start a new era in Atlanta.

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 16: Dennis Schroder
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 16: Dennis Schroder /

The summer of 2018 will also see several young free agents that the Hawks should be very interested in. On the shortlist are: Patrick McCaw, Kyle Anderson, and Nerlens Noel.

At 21 years old, Patrick McCaw has played one year in the NBA and has won the championship, but yes there is more to his game than just being on the Warriors roster. He appeared 71 times for the Warriors primarily off the bench and averaged 15.1 minutes per game.

At times, he stepped into the shoes of the likes of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. Although many may argue that his game needs much more refining, there is nothing that can substitute the experience he has playing alongside those superstars and during the playoffs.

Kyle Anderson is entering his 4th year in the league and the young man from the San Antonio Spurs has greatly impressed with his athleticism playing the 3 and even being able to step into the 2. His numbers don’t fully do his game justice, and he is certainly ready for a larger role in the league, as evidenced by his maturity and willingness to learn over the past three years.

And finally, there is the case for Dallas Maverick Nerlens Noel. After a standoff with the Mavericks this offseason he resigned for just one year, hoping to land a bigger deal in 2018, and Atlanta has the chance to capitalize on it. If Dedmon chooses to move on, the Hawks could make space for Noel at the 5 by moving Kent Bazemore’s or Miles Plumlee’s hefty contracts and make Noel and Collins the frontcourt of the Hawks’ future.

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As aforementioned, the September slump is bound to hit hard in the next couple of weeks and scenarios like this are what keep the NBA a year-long sport with all of the association’s associated trials and tribulations. There isn’t much to look forward to in terms of Hawks success next year, but the excitement surrounding the team is certainly no less.