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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Kobe Bufkin could take 1st leap with Hawks this season

Johnson is not the only youngster who stands to benefit from Murray’s departure. 2023 first-rounder Kobe Bufkin could be in line to absorb a significant chunk of the 2021-22 All-Star’s vacated 35-plus minutes per game.

Bogdan Bogdanovic has been named in some trade speculation. But he also already plays 30-plus minutes per game and has some injury concerns entering his age-32 season.

Bogdanovic’s similar spits as a starter and reserve underscore how valuable he is.

Bufkin, though, has already flashed his defensive chops and a willingness to be aggressive on offense in an injury-truncated rookie season. He averaged 4.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 22.5% from deep in 17 appearances last season

He averaged 23.6 points, 5.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals while shooting 35.6% from downtown in 14 appearances with the College Park Skyhawks.

Bufkin was the No. 16 overall pick of his class, so there is reason to hope/expect progress.

His three-point shooting could limit his ceiling. He shot 35.5% in his final collegiate season. But lineups featuring him and incoming trade acquisition Dyson Daniels could give opposing backcourts fits on the defensive end.

Like Johnson, Bufkin will have to overcome early durability concerns after dealing with thumb and back issues last season.

Still, the 6-foot-4 guard fits the defensive turn that has taken precedence this offseason.

The Hawks’ defense cratered last season; a season in which Young played the fewest games of his career. That further highlights that a change was made. Time will tell if the right change was made and if Bufkin can be a part of the solution.