Hawks’ new acquisitions add versatility and flexibility to rotation

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) and Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) get tangled up during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) and Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) get tangled up during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Hawks did not stand pat at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, adding some young players to the rotation while keeping their starting unit intact.

They acquired Saddiq Bey from the Pistons via the Warriors for five second-round picks. The deal appeared to be in jeopardy Friday night though when The Athletic reported that another player in the complicated four-team trade failed his physical. Golden State, one of the teams in the trade, has until Sunday night to accept or cancel the trade.

The Hawks also traded Justin Holiday, Frank Kaminsky and two second-round picks for Bruno Fernando and Garrison Mathews.

Kaminsky played limited minutes in the Hawks rotation, while Holiday’s role diminished with rookie AJ Griffin playing a more prominent role in the lineup.

If the Bey deal goes through, the Hawks will have 15 players under guaranteed deals, along with two players on two-way contracts. Hawks coach Nate McMillan typically likes to keep his game rotations to eight or nine players. So, both Bey and Mathews will have stiff competition among the wings.

Both Hawks general manager Landry Fields and McMillan repeatedly highlighted Bey’s versatility. McMillan pointed to the 23-year-old’s ability to be plugged in at both the three and the four and how he can space the floor with his ability to shoot.

Though Bey has had some streakiness over the course of his three seasons in the league, the Hawks still see plenty of upside. Bey knocked down 38% of his shots from 3 in his rookie season and is a career 84.3% free-throw shooter. He has played in 97% of the games (204 of 209) over the past three seasons and prides himself on his availability for each game.

“(He’s) still with the age, assuming because you said streakiness, just with the shooting, but you bank on the free throw, you bank on the work,” Fields said. “You also bank on just the guy that can use a new environment and a new way of doing things. So that’s something that we feel we can give him here.”

Fields declined to detail how he anticipated the acquisitions of Bey, Mathews and Fernando would change the rotation and minutes. He deferred to McMillan when asked about it.

Bey is a career 36% shooter on 6.7 3-point attempts per game. So, that allows the Hawks to use any combination of Bey, Bogdan Bogdanovic, John Collins, AJ Griffin, De’Andre Hunter and Jalen Johnson, depending upon matchups of size and skill.

“He was a starter for Detroit a couple years ago and this season, and some of last season he started to come off the bench,” McMillan said. “But he’s a guy who can put the ball in the basket, who can help spread the floor for you.”

Bey’s and Mathews’ ability to space the floor will open things for the rest of the team’s wings, as well as guard Dejounte Murray. A 26-year-old guard, Murray has been having a career-shooting season on a high volume, and adding more threats to the perimeter will continue to open up his game.

The Hawks have struggled from outside this season, having attempted the third-fewest 3-pointers in the NBA. They rank 22nd in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, but with more options on the outside, they can continue to find ways to collapse the paint and kick out.

With Fernando’s return to the Hawks, they add another big body to the frontcourt that will back up Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu.

Here’s a quick prediction of what the Hawks’ depth chart could look like with the new faces.

Starters: Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela.

Off the bench: Bogdan Bogdanovic, AJ Griffin, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson, Onyeka Okongwu.

Third unit: Aaron Holiday, Garrison Mathews, Trent Forrest (two-way contract), Vit Krejci, Tyrese Martin, Donovan Williams (two-way), Bruno Fernando.

All three of the new Hawks will meet with the team Friday, and McMillan said that they could be available as soon as Saturday’s game against the Spurs.

“So, looking forward to getting these guys in and integrating them with our system,” McMillan said.

About the Author