4 players who will benefit most from Hawks' Dejounte Murray trade

The Atlanta Hawks' trade sending Dejounte Murray to the New Orleans Pelicans could have a big impact on these four players.
Trae Young, Jalen Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young, Jalen Johnson, Atlanta Hawks / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Jalen Johnson primed for true breakout season after Hawks’ Dejounte Murray trade

The most discouraging number of the Murray-Young backcourt was their production with 2021 first-round pick Jalen Johnson. By all accounts, Johnson is one of two players considered off-limits in trade talks. Rookie No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher was the other.

Johnson received limited playing time under former Hawks head coach Nate McMillan. 

He was a legitimate contender for Most Improved Player in his first season under fellow former Duke Blue Devil and current Hawks head coach Quin Snyder.

Johnson averaged 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals last season. His 35.5% mark from beyond the arc was a career-high. It also belies his progress after his first two seasons (28.2% combined).

However, the Hawks had a minus-8.4 net differential with Johnson, Murray, and Young together.

They had a plus-1.4 differential when Johnson was on the floor with Murray but without Young and plus-3.7 when the backcourt flipped.

The biggest factor in Johnson’s continued development will be his health. He made 56 appearances last season, knocking him out of contention for season awards like MIP and interrupting the strides he was making during the campaign.

Johnson suffered a wrist injury on a hard foul by Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma.

He also dealt with a nagging ankle injury that knocked him out for two separate stints last season. Johnson said he was considering switching shoes to address the issue.

He previously wore the signature shoe of fellow Klutch Sports client and offseason training partner LeBron James. If that – plus a continued focus on nutrition – helps keep Johnson on the floor next season, he could enjoy a true breakout campaign.

Johnson is also in line for an extension; a little additional incentive for the versatile forward.