How the P.J. Washington and Gordon Hayward trades impact the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks did not make any moves at the trade deadline but that does not mean that they were not impacted by the various moves around the NBA.
Dec 26, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) moves the
Dec 26, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) moves the / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the Atlanta Hawks not making any moves at the trade deadline, the landscape around the NBA changed, in some cases quite significantly. One team to make such changes was the Charlotte Hornets, who almost conducted a fire sale with the number of players that they moved.

There were some positive signs for the Hawks. In one trade, the Hornets sent Gordon Hayward to the OKC Thunder. Now, while Hayward has been injured recently, he is still a quality player who is a good presence in the locker room. He only averages 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game against the Hawks but it is when he does it that hurts the most.

Plus, when Hayward gets going, he tends to take the rest of the team with him. Without Hayward, the Hornets will not have the leadership that he brings. They replaced his perimeter game with Seth Curry and Davis Bertans as well as his grit with Tre Mann. However, this is where basketball is more than just numbers, they have not replaced his leadership or presence on the court.

Overall, this move by the Hornets is a win for the Hawks, but it will be interesting to see how the Hawks defend the perimeter with the outside threats that the Hornets have added.

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Moving Hayward was a win for the Atlanta Hawks, what about P.J. Washington?

The other big move that Charlotte made that the Hawks would certainly take notice of was P.J. Washington going to the Dallas Mavericks. Washington is in his fifth season and has been a really good third or fourth option for the Hornets on offense. His ability to be a little bit of everything is a skill that is highly coveted skillset around the NBA.

The Hornets did not really replace what Washinton was able to give then via trade. In fact, the Hornets really traded to improve their team in a season or two. This is a good thing for the Hawks if they are looking to try and win now. The Hornets are in 13th position in the Eastern Coference, 12.5 games back from the Hawks so will not threaten them this season.

The Hornets actually beat the Hawks in the first game of the season and given that the teams match up three more times, this is actually going to help the Hawks record for the season. Assuming that the Hawks don't take the Hornets lightly.

The Hawks have only won one of their last last six games, so it is safe to say that the Hornets are a bogey team. Given that they have moved two of their better players on, this should certainly put the Hawks as favorites to win their next battles.

The Hawks still need to bring their best each and every night. Every athlete in the league is a professional who wants to win. The Hornets may have traded two starting level players but that does not mean that other teams can take them for granted. The scouting report will now be different and it might be an easier game but nothing