Many people were a bit confused with the Hawks trading for second year shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. on draft night this past Thursday. Some have thought that the Hawks were going to select a rookie small forward, but instead dealt their pick in a three team trade with the Knicks and Wizards, and wound up with Hardaway Jr. and two second round picks. The Hawks may not have any new exciting rookies, but there are reasons to get excited for our newest addition!
- Hawks had depth on bench, but shooting guard was their least deep position.
In Coach Mike Budenholzer’s offense, shooting guards and small forwards can be interchanged at different time. Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carrol, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kent Bazemore were all interchanged at various times in the lineup. The Hawks would sometimes play two point guards on the floor just to give Kyle Korver rest. But after Sefolosha went down with a season ending injury, there simply wasn’t enough depth at the position, and that exactly what Hardaway Jr. adds.
- Hardaway is 23 years young.
There were plenty of players who were actually older than Hardaway Jr. that are just now coming into their rookie year. Hardaway is basically as young as a rookie with some NBA experience, which is a plus. He is still a young talent that can be molded and crafted into exactly the type of player the Hawks are looking for. Budenholzer said, “”His abilities are a great starting point,” he added. “Now we’re refining and adding to his game.””
- Hawks are in a bit of an injury situation.
Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha are both spending their offseason dealing and recovering from leg injuries, and their timetable to return lines up close to the beginning of the season. If neither player were able to return at the beginning of the season Hardaway Jr. would be an excellent back up plan that has NBA experience.
- The Hawks didn’t lose any cap room for the offseason.
Atlanta’s main priority going into free agency is to resign both Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carrol. The Hawks don’t have much room so any relief will optimize the chances of resigning the two. The Hawks actually gained a little bit of room for the salary cap, so the situation kind of works as a win-win!