Grade the trade: Hawks deal AJ Griffin to Rockets, land polarizing prospect

The Atlanta Hawks were active on Day 2 of the draft, making a pair of moves that ultimately saw them trade former first-round pick AJ Griffin.
Atlanta Hawks, AJ Griffin
Atlanta Hawks, AJ Griffin / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
2 of 3

Houston Rockets land former 1st-round pick at a discount in trade with Hawks

Griffin slipped in the 2022 draft due to questions about his defense and durability. He has already proven both concerns to be valid during his brief NBA tenure.

The Hawks boasted a plus-1.7 net efficiency differential with Griffin on the floor as a rookie and minus-0.8, per Cleaning The Glass. But he was a non-factor during the Hawks’ postseason stay that season and found himself in a similar situation this past year.

The Hawks had a minus-1.3 differential without Griffin and minus-8.6 with him this past season.

Still, this is a player who stands 6-foot-6 and checks in at 220 pounds. He also shot 39% from beyond the arc as a rookie, a mark that fell to 25.6% this past season.

Rockets head coach Ime Udoka will need to coax that floor-spacing ability back out of him while also getting more on the defensive end. Griffin did average 14.2 points and shot 40% from deep in his six-game stint with the College Park Skyhawks in the G League last season.

The Rockets boasted a top-10 defense last season. 

They could simply be better constructed to withstand Griffin’s deficiencies than the Hawks have been in the last two seasons.

Add in the fact that the Rockets only had to surrender a second-round pick, and this is a win.

Grade – B+: Griffin can boost this grade to an “A” if he gets back into form as a shooter and finds another level defensively. But the value for Houston is great.