Grade the trade: Hawks land pair of former 1st-round picks from Rockets

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Hawks grade: B

Big man Usman Garuba, 21, was the No. 23 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound tweener is a solid defender and averaged 3.0 points and 4.1 rebounds and shot over 40.0% from beyond the arc, though it came on fewer than 1.0 attempts per game.

However, he also figures to slot into the third center role behind starter Clint Capela and backup Oneka Okongwu. Ironically, Capela – who was drafted by the Rockets with the No. 25 overall pick in 2015 – was linked to Houston before the draft as they looked to bolster their interior presence while the Hawks freed up minutes for Okongwu.

At power forward, Garuba should slot in behind Saddiq Bey and, presumably, former first-rounder Jalen Johnson.

Washington, 21, averaged 4.7 points, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 rebounds in 2022-23. Listed at 6-foot-3, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Dfraft brings some size behind Trae Young with at least some NBA experience compared to none for rookie Kobe Bufkin.

However, Washington shot just 23.8% from deep as a rookie and shot just 35.0% in college.

That has not stopped him from being an aggressive scorer who puts pressure on the rim and has nice touch in the painted area as the clip below shows.

The talent of both Garuba and Washington is clear. What is not as clear is just exactly they will help the Hawks next season, particularly Garuba given the depth of the Hawks’ frontcourt even without Collins, as they try to take a step forward.

Getting those second-round picks for their troubles helps but the cash does not.