The Donovan Mitchell trade saga is finally over. After more than a week of back and forward between the New York Knicks and the Utah Jazz, Mitchell was finally dealt … to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deal that seems to satisfy the needs of both franchises. However, how does this trade impact the Atlanta Hawks?
Well, that answer is not a very simple one as the Hawks and Cavs have both made really definitive moves in the offseason. The two teams were together in the standings last season with the Cavaliers starting out well and the Hawks finishing the stronger. The Hawks knocked the Cavaliers out of the play-in tournament last season.
So the question is, which of the new players will form better chemistry with their teammates? The answer to this will determine who finishes higher in the standings out of these two franchises. While the focus is on the addition of Mitchell, the Cavaliers lost two starting caliber players to add the superstar.
So, where are the Atlanta Hawks going to be able to exploit the Cavaliers?
To put it simply, Trae Young is a much better point guard than Darius Garland. The Hawks win that position and then the newly signed Dejounte Murray is not as good offensively as Mitchell offensively. However Murray is superior defensively but as Mitchell is a superstar, the newly acquired Cavs player wins that one. This means that the backcourt is evenly matched, the Hawks probably winning this one.
Jarrett Allen has a higher in-game ceiling than Clint Capela and Evan Mobley is still developing so John Collins holds the edge on this one. However, it feels that the Cavs win this one. So what is remaining to be asked is whether De’Andre Hunter has taken the leap this offseason after giving the Hawks hope last season and whether he can best whoever the Cavs start at the wing.
What this means for the Hawks is that their quest to qualify directly for the playoffs is now a little harder. The Cavaliers were going to definitely be below them in the standings and now it is going to be a fight.
It also means that the Eastern Conference is even stronger and the Hawks are going to have to fight really hard to get where they think they should. Still, after last season, this playoff push feels a little different already.