The Atlanta Hawks are in control of their destiny with the No. 1 pick

The draft lottery put the Atlanta Hawks back in control of their destiny in a potentially pivotal this offseason.
Atlanta Hawks General Manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks General Manager Landry Fields / Anadolu/GettyImages

Going into the 2024 lottery draft, the Atlanta Hawks had a 3% chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. That 3% turned into 100%. The Hawks did not finish the year the way they wanted. They finished 10th in the Eastern Conference 36-46 losing to the Chicago Bulls in the Play-In Tournament game. Their main struggle was injuries all season.

Up-and-coming superstar Jalen Johnson did not have the best track record, struggling through injuries throughout the season. The face of the franchise, Trae Young, missed a significant amount of the season with a wrist injury and Onyeka Okongwu dealt with his foot injury missing some of the back half of the season.

The Hawks' health issues left a lot of weight on Dejounte Murray. He could only do so much. With the first overall pick and the Hawks coming into the summer healthy, along with some young talent such as Kobe Bufkin and the potential trade of Murray, how will the Hawks be able to accommodate the different look into next season?

With all the hype surrounding the Hawks, the future is what they have to look forward to. The last time the Hawks made a Conference Finals -- which capped off a great season -- was in 2021. That was Young’s third season in the NBA. The Hawks left Atlanta fans with high hopes for the near future.

But Young is entering his seventh season with only one Eastern Conference Finals appearance and no NBA Finals appearances on his resume. On Young's podcast, “From The Point by Trae Young,” he has made it very clear he wants to win now.

With Young expressing his opinion on his podcast, the pressure is on the front office and the surrounding young players. One of those players is Johnson, who is coming off a great third season averaging 16 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Johnson stepping up showed the Hawks who they have right now surrounding Young.

But with Murray potentially on the chopping block. Who would that leave to help Young?

The young talent is there for Atlanta. Kobe Bufkin is one of the promising prospects coming off his rookie season. He showed enough encouraging signs late in the season that if Murray were to leave, the Hawks would have a solid two-way point guard coming off the bench behind Young. This would help the offense flow with Young potentially not playing off-ball as much anymore and Bufkin as a floor general for the second unit.

The missing piece to the puzzle is the depth at center. The Hawks do have an elite rebound chaser in Clint Capela. But with the NBA changing right before our eyes, almost every successful big is versatile. They can shoot the 3, flash playmaking ability, and can defend when the time comes.

The Hawks have Okongwu, but he isn’t the best 3-point shooter at this point in his development. He has shown marked progress in that area, though.

Having the No. 1 pick could be the start of something great for the Hawks.

They finally have control of their destiny. The only variable that’ll make sense would be getting a more versatile big man. The missing piece to that puzzle has to be Alexandre Sarr. He can bring length and versatility on an affordable contract for the Hawks.

The Hawks could still explore trade options for young star talent to pair with Young, with New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram among the potential options.