Atlanta Hawks 2024 NBA offseason preview: There's nothing left to do but compete

2023-24 season: 36-46

Highlight of the season: The play of Dejounte Murray when Trae Young missed 23 games. Murray, who averaged 24.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 9.2 assists during that stretch, reminded the Hawks and the league at large he's not just a complementary player.

In a way that will force the front office to have serious discussions regarding the current roster. The Hawks, despite having quality depth, an abundance of talent and seemingly quality players at each position, simply could not turn their individual pieces into a coherent collective, finishing far below their own set of expectations and getting beaten out of the play-in tournament by the even more inconsistent Chicago Bulls. Not exactly a dream season.

In fairness to Atlanta, only three rotation players (Murray, Bogdan Bogdanović, and Clint Capela) cracked 70 games played this season, and head coach Quin Snyder constantly had to make adjustments to an evolving rotation. Young, the team's primary star, missed a significant chunk of the season (28 games), with breakout forward Jalen Johnson missing 26. De'Andre Hunter, arguably the team's most potent two-way wing, missed 25 games, and their center of the future, Onyeka Okongwu, managed just 55 appearances.

That type of injury-riddled season does need to be accounted for before the Hawks even consider blowing up this team, particularly as the organization is on the threshold of a changing of the guard. Or, well, changing of the center. Okongwu signed a four-year extension worth $62 million before the season, and that potentially could lead to Capela being moved elsewhere to clear up minutes.

Before any decision on anything is made, the Hawks need to identify which players they believe will hold up best long term from a health perspective. They can't afford another season like this with a roster this skilled.

That won't prevent fans or pundits from wondering out loud, however, about who will stay and who will go. The name on everyone's lips is Young, and the question above all is whether the pick-and-roll maestro will return to Atlanta next year.

The answer remains to be seen, but there are elements that work both for and against the theory of him sticking around, and yes, we'll get to it.

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts to a call during the second half of the 2024 Play-In Tournament against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on April 17, 2024  in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Is moving on from Trae Young in the Hawks' future? (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A better primary wing. As solid as Hunter is, and regardless of what happens to Young, the Hawks need a high-end big forward who can create sustainable offense, defend and make plays on-ball. Think Keegan Murray, but as an optimized version. Of course, such a player is rarely on the market, so the Hawks are likely forced to bid on players of that archetype by making a premium offer.

Atlanta landed the No. 1 pick in the draft after coming in with only a 3% chance at the top spot. Alex Sarr, the 7-foot-1 French center, is a great option at No. 1 with his size and ability to grow into the new hybrid center role in the NBA. If Young stays in Atlanta, Sarr could be a dream tandem in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop. — Krysten Peek

Draft pick: No. 1

The Hawks do not have cap space and have spent recent summers shedding money due to a roster that's only getting more expensive. That isn't going to change this summer as Saddiq Bey is in need of a new contract and Okongwu's extension kicks in.

They do have Murray under a brilliant deal, which looks like a complete steal, and if the organization pivots toward a core that has Murray and Okongwu as two of its primary pillars, Atlanta could be in good shape moving forward.

Key free agents

Saddiq Bey (RFA)

Win games. Simple as that. The Hawks have no lottery balls to play for, which has given them every incentive to field a competitive team, regardless of what they do with Young and Capela. There will be no tanking in Atlanta next season.

Trading Young or Murray. After failing to make the playoffs and the duo carrying a -6.5 net rating when sharing the court this season, it's time for a change. Capela has one year left on his contract, so trading him for some future draft capital before next summer would also be a wise move. Okongwu is next up and signed through 2028, so Atlanta already has a sizable investment in their frontcourt. Okongwu is a fantasy sleeper you’ll want to keep an eye on heading into next year. — Dan Titus