Entering the February 6th trade deadline, the Atlanta Hawks found themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with seemingly no hope of ever making the playoffs. Even with All-Star starter Trae Young putting up gaudy numbers en route to the top five leaderboard in points AND assists, Atlanta has only managed to accumulate 14 wins so far this season.
Sensing the frustration of their young star point guard, Trae was notified that help was on its way. Making due on their promise, the Hawks proved to be one of the more active teams at the deadline in an effort to retool their roster.
While we could go into all the the minor details of the various trades the Hawks organization made, I want to focus on the one move that matters the most, which was the acquisition of Rockets center Clint Capela.
When you’re a lottery team, small transactions aren’t going to move the needle that much. But the addition of Capela is much different. He is only 25 years old and is averaging almost 14 points and 14 assists for the season on incredible efficiency. Rebounding and rim protection is something that the Hawks have been lacking, both of which Capela can now provide.
The most interesting aspect of Capela is not the sheer numbers that he can put up, including a seven-game streak of 19+ rebounds, but that he fits the young Atlanta timetable much more than another star would have. The Hawks have raw talent in the form of Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, and De’Andre Hunter. While they haven’t been winning many games, (partially because of a lot of missed games from the four of them but I digress) this young lineup has the potential to become a potent threat in the future. Having Clint Capela added to that core accelerates their growth.
The biggest impact of this trade will be the added pick-and-roll game that Trae has already begun to master. He already does an incredible job with this alongside Collins, and Capela adds another professional rim-runner to the mix. On top of that, Collins can now start at the power forward spot, a more natural position for him.
The Hawks will probably not make the playoffs this season even with all of the trades that they made, but I can see them becoming even better and come next season they could have things figured out enough to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Featured Image: Sports Illustrated
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