4 Reasons why the Hawks should not trade Trae Young or Dejounte Murray

For all of the talk about the Atlanta Hawks splitting up Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, there are plenty of reasons to keep them together.
Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray
Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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What the numbers say about the Hawks' dynamic duo

Fields would only be justified in staying with the backcourt if there were enough metrics to counter the negative that have been promoted about the duo’s ineffectiveness.

The Murray-Young combo produced negative numbers on the whole. But one simple change – removing Jalen Johnson from the equation – saw that number rise to minus-3.3. A lineup of Young, Murray, Bey, Hunter, and Clint Capela had a plus-3.5 rating last season.

That’s still not great, or even good. 

One step further – removing Bey – and the Hawks are in plus territory, albeit only slightly, and on just 182 qualifying possessions.

Of course, the Hawks want Johnson on the floor. Bey was a key contributor last season too.

The Hawks may have to split the difference as lineups featuring Johnson with Bey or Hunter produced net efficiency differentials worse than minus-17. However, lineups with Johnson, Murray, and Young alongside Bogdan Bogdanovic ranked in the 99th percentile.

Bogdanovic’s presence even boosted a lineup with Bey on the floor and Johnson at the 5. Another small sample size (five groups with 136 total possessions) makes that difficult to trust.

Still, each of those groups boasted positive net efficiency differentials.

That would seem counterintuitive to the underlying issue for the Hawks’ backcourt. Young and Murray are fine as a pair but have historically thrived as the primary ball handler. Adding more playmakers would seem to be to their further detriment.

The fact that it did not and instead enhanced them is worth exploring, especially coming off such an injury-marred season. 

The answer could be to insert Bogdanovic into the starting lineup.

He has been excellent as the Hawks’ sixth man, though, and such a change would make the Hawks smaller and worse defensively. The Hawks need a two-way wing to step in and be that connecting piece.

Hunter, the No. 4 overall pick in 2019, is the perfect candidate. He lacks Bogdanovic’s passing chops but has the athleticism and two-way game to be impactful. Unfortunately for Hunter and the Hawks, he hasn’t been healthy enough to maintain that impact.

He too thrived off the bench this past season – at a costly $20 million – and only saw success with Johnson as Bey did – with Bogdanovic as the fifth man.

That makes the profile clear for any outside target who could fix the issue.