How the Atlanta Hawks can save their season after the All-Star break

The Atlanta Hawks' season was on the verge of being over before the All-Star break. How can they turn this around?

Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder reacts to a call
Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder reacts to a call / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Hawks (24-31) again find themselves in the unenviable position of needing to resurrect their season after the All-Star break. The Hawks are sitting in tenth in the Eastern Conference, a position they seem to own over the past three seasons. This is the last play-in seed and the Hawks are yet to miss out on the playoffs when they qualify for the play-in tournament.

This is the biggest problem for the Hawks. They are good enough to make the play-in, which they then improve their position by qualifying for the playoffs. This then takes them out of the draft lottery which means that they have to rely on trades, free agency, or other teams missing on a quality player early in the draft.

This is commonly known as NBA purgatory, where teams are not able to improve to contender status, nor are they bad enough to get a franchise player in the draft. Due to the Hawks not making any moves at the trade deadline , they now either have to figure out how to play together more cohesively, or they need to park the season and develop their younger players.

What is the best course of action for the Atlanta Hawks for the second half of the season?

The last two games that the Hawks have played have been really hard to watch, particularly the game against the newly minted Charlotte Hornets. Kobe Bufkin did not play against the Chicago Bulls and only had just over two minutes against the Hornets. This is not the way for the Hawks to move forward this season.

The starters and main rotation players have not been able to produce at a level which means that the Hawks win. Then it is surely time for the team to start seeing what they have in their younger players. Yes, this may mean that the stars take a hit to their playing time and their numbers but only a fool continues to try the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

The Hawks are strapped for salary cap space next season and to be frank, this roster is just not good enough. However, unless the front office can actually make the right trades, then there is nothing that the Hawks can do to improve. There seemed to be a market for Dejounte Murry prior to the deadline, but the Hawks did not seem to have the required nerve to complete any deals.

So, in order to move on from some of their more expensive players in the offseason, the Hawks need to see what they have in their younger guys in a live game situation. The best way to do this is to give them court time. It is a delicate balance given that they still need to play their stars to keep their trade value high, but also giving the younger players enough time to learn, grow and develop.

The Hawks have used Trent Forrest's eligible games and now they need to find an adequate replacement for the minutes that he used to play. The best option for that time appears to be Kobe Bufkin who was able to keep players in front of him on defense, particularly against the Houston Rockets.

On top of that, Clint Capela is struggling with his body, so the Hawks need to see if Bruno Fernando can defend as well as rebound and finish plays. The Hawks are already developing Jalen Johnson which is positive but are missing out on their best shooting option.

The Hawks drafted AJ Griffin to be a perimeter shooter and he is very good at that particular skill. Despite only being a 27.3 percent shooter from outside the arc this season, his career number sits at 37.7 percent. He has not been given the opportunity this season and how can a player develop without opportunity?

This is how the Atlanta Hawks are going to turn their season around, by developing their younger players.

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