The Atlanta Hawks took the best player available when they selected Kobe Bufkin out of Michigan with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft. Some pundits had the combo guard as high as eighth on their draft board but in a Jalen Johnson-style stroke of luck, Bufkin fell outside the lottery and into the hands of the Hawks.
Some questions may be raised about why the Hawks took a guard when they already have a backcourt with the most potential in the NBA. Trae Young is the team’s superstar point guard and Dejounte Murray is the second star in the lineup who can create for himself and facilitate for others.
On top of that, they have Bogdan Bogdanovic, who, on top of being one of the best bench shooters in the league, can also create for others. However, Bogdanovic has not been able to stay healthy beyond the first round of the playoffs, thanks to his knees. However, they still need another guard off the bench.
What will the Atlanta Hawks do with Aaron Holiday?
Now that the Hawks have taken Bufkin, this does not bode well for Aaron Holiday at all. In fact, he has probably been looking around the league as to where he will be playing next season. One of the biggest reasons that the youngest Holiday signed with the Hawks was that he had a previous relationship with Nate McMillan, who was fired last season.
Holiday did not really fit with the team last season. Yes, he is a gritty defender, but his lack of size and his style of play at the point was totally different from the way that the starters led the team and created problems on offense.
This is where Bufkin is going to be an upgrade on Holiday as he is 6’4″ tall which is an automatic upgrade on Holiday. On top of that, Bufkin has a strong game at both ends of the floor which will fit well with the rest of the Hawks.
Bufkin, is a good finisher, going at 54.6% from inside the arc. He showed marked improvement from beyond the arc in his second season with the Wolverines, going from 22.2% as a freshman to 35.5% as a sophomore. The Hawks will want to see even more improvement in the area over the next few seasons.
Holiday just does not have the same ceiling that Bufkin does, so it makes sense to let Holiday walk. He cost almost nothing to sign, and the Hawks lose very little with him gone.