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Why the Hawks are the clear winners of free agency

John-Collins-Trae-Young

The Bogdanović affair has finished as the Kings didn't march the offer, making the Serbian shooting guard the latest member of the Atlanta Hawks - four years, $72 million. We are waiting for Giannis' decision (or lack thereof), but we can safely say all significant free agents signed their deals, and it is time to recap the results. Who "won" free agency?

A team that made significant improvements to their roster and reassured their young star in the making they mean business has to feel good about themselves a month before the NBA season. Atlanta Hawks went from trash if Trae's not on the court to having Danilo Gallinari as a bench player. Not bad Atlanta, not bad. Here's their depth chart.

  • PG: Trae Young, Kris Dunn, Rajon Rondo
  • SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter
  • SF: De'Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish
  • PF: John Collins, Danilo Gallinari, Solomon Hill
  • C: Clint Capela, Onyeka Okongwu

With the NBA confirming there will be a play-in tournament and all their
improvements, to go along with a projected winning percentage of approximately 0.475 to put them in seventh place, the Hawks making the playoffs seems like easy money.

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While the Hawks still aren't on the level of the Bucks, Heat, Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, or the Nets, they should be in the running for the 7 and 8 sport with the Pacers. That's the benefit of playing in the East - they only have to be better than the Hornets, Magic, or the Pistons.

Depth is more important in the regular season, particularly in a condensed 72 games season ahead of us. A lot of people wondered about the log jam at the forward positions, but the Hawks made it clear - Gallinari knows he is coming in to come off the bench behind John Collins. Do I hear the sixth man of the year frontrunner?

This Hornets team will still be bad on defense, but Capela, Dunn, Rondo, and Bogdanovic should help them improve just enough for their offense to win games. If the Hawks making the playoffs is still suspicious to you, banging the over every night shouldn't be. There will be a lot of points on both sides when they play.

Overall, this is a step forward for the Hawks. I don't love all the contracts they gave out, but none of them are tragic and untradeable. They are obviously ready to take a significant step forward while keeping a healthy amount of flexibility.

As hectic as free agency was, not a lot of teams actually made significant changes (well, Pistons and Hornets shocked everyone, but let's stay positive on Thanksgiving). Let me put it this way - Hawks fans have the biggest increase in optimism compared to how they felt about their team a few weeks ago.

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