5 teams to target to move back into the first round
Atlanta Hawks (Pick No. 16)
The Atlanta Hawks are in the same situation as the Dallas Mavericks. They know they are capable of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and they can put everything together and play at a high level — especially on offense.
But they also saw last year how things could stall out. The Hawks suffered a ton of injuries and some of their veteran players seemed to start declining in a meaningful way.
Atlanta seems like it will be one of the most active teams in this offseason as they look to improve. They know they have a superstar in Trae Young and they cannot have another season of stagnation or disappointment like this last one. Their window is open and they know they can be good enough to make noise.
The question then is what would they do with this pick?
It seems like the Hawks would be a team ripe to make a trade. They have had some solid picks — De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter come to mind — and some big misses — hello Cam Reddish. But they need to come away from the draft with someone who will contribute to the team and help push them forward.
Atlanta is now well over the cap and so the trade market is their best bet to make changes to the roster. As good as some young talented players might be to add to the roster, they like many of these playoff teams do not have time to wait on development.
The Hawks may well be thinking bigger than someone like Terrence Ross — or they might insist on trying to pry Chuma Okeke from a team like Orlando, although his salary is fairly negligible on his rookie contract — but that remains an option.
Atlanta should be looking to cut some payroll with Danilo Gallinari on an expiring $21.5 million deal, Clint Capela at three years left starting at $19.7 million this season (Capela seems like the biggest chip the Hawks may shop around, possibly even for someone like Rudy Gobert to try to bolster their lagging defense) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (two years at $18 million per season).
Danilo Gallinari especially seemed to age pretty quickly this year and he struggled to help carry the Hawks when John Collins sat out for a good chunk of the year.
Atlanta used Bogdanovic largely off the bench in a similar role that Orlando used Ross. He came off the bench to give the second unit some scoring punch. The Hawks do not mind adding more shooting and scoring. That is a big part of their strategy.
But Atlanta seems ripe to move this pick one way or another. Expect the Hawks to field plenty of calls.