Atlanta Hawks: The Gorgui Dieng signing has playoff ramifications

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks‘ need for a backup big became more apparent as news came out over the offseason. John Collins is not a lock to return and Onyeka Okongwu could be out as late as January. Then the Hawks traded Bruno Fernando and Kris Dunn in a move they had to make.

They originally traded for Tristan Thompson but moved him along to the Sacramento Kings so that they could fill their backup point guard role with Delon Wright. It appears that this was due to the one-year, $4.0 million deal they were working on with Gorgui Dieng to play the backup role.

The Hawks front office signed this deal in the full knowledge that Okongwu would be coming back. This means that the front office had longer-term goals in mind with this signing. You don’t have to look too far into the past to see where the big man rotation of the Hawks struggled. It was against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Atlanta Hawks are planning for another deep postseason run

One thing is for sure, the front office has set this team up for another deep postseason run. They started this during the 2019-20 offseason when they made the moves to get Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic amongst other moves.

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They then cemented this by extending Trae Young this offseason, re-signing their insurance policy of Solomon Hill, and drafting Jalen Johnson. All of these are high IQ moves that will be rounded out if Collins signs. However, if Collins does not sign then this is not the end of the world, the Hawks are still in a great position.

However, when all teams have played 82 games there is a good possibility that the Hawks will have to play two out of the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers. This is where the Dieng signing is a stroke of genius.

Against the Bucks, the Hawks will be able to deploy three or four different defenders against Giannis Antetokounmpo including Dieng. The Hawks will also hopefully have De’Andre Hunter back to take on Khris Middleton. They will also rely on their perimeter men to take care of the strengths of the Nets.

However, if the Hawks have to face the 76ers again, they will now have another defender to try and slow down Embiid. Capela struggled with the task and Okongwu was too small. Dieng is not the total answer to stop Embiid, but he will be able to help. He also gives a different look on offense that Embiid will need to defend.

Next. Jalen Johnson's impact on the Hawks roster. dark

There is very little that Travis Schlenk has not done over the past two seasons which has not been directed to a specific need. The Gorgui Dieng move is no different.