After a big draft night, the Atlanta Hawks’ offseason has been mostly quiet. There have been minor additions — Jabari Parker, Damian Jones — but nothing that tips the scale at first glance. The Hawks are continuing to ride with a promising young core built around Trae Young, John Collins, and Kevin Huerter.
It’s clear the Hawks are a principled organization, prioritizing fit, culture, and calculated risk during a lengthy rebuild. In addition to roster moves, the Hawks have also cracked the national conversation around Team USA — a prime breeding ground for player relationships that can translate to free agent pair-ups in the future.
Here are some notes on the Hawks’ most recent happenings.
Second two-way slot filled
Atlanta has now filled both two-way contract slots. Charlie Brown Jr., a rookie wing out of St. John’s, was signed during the Hawks’ Vegas stint. Now Brandon Goodwin, who spent Summer League in a Denver uniform, will occupy the second spot.
Goodwin played 16 NBA games last season, averaging 1.4 points on 26.1 percent shooting in 3.6 minutes per contest. Not the sexiest numbers. Even so, his productive G-League stint and strong four-game run in Vegas were enough to pique the Hawks’ interest.
With the Nuggets this summer, Goodwin showcased deep pull-up range and serious passing chops. He’s undersized at 6-foot-2, but someone who can bury deep 3s and run the pick-and-roll has value in the NBA. He will naturally spend a lot of time with the College Park Skyhawks next season.
Right now, the Hawks only ‘pure’ point guards are Trae Young and Goodwin. While there’s a chance Schlenk still has a couple moves left, it’s increasingly likely Evan Turner and Cam Reddish receive significant minutes as lead guards.
A non-guaranteed deal
After playing 14 games in the NBA last season — 13 with Phoenix — Ray Spalding showed out on the Suns’ Summer League team. The Hawks awarded him with a non-guaranteed contract, which will likely place Spalding on the Skyhawks next season.
Atlanta should give real consideration to placing Spalding on the 15-man roster, though. Alex Len, Damian Jones, and Bruno Fernando are the only centers on the roster. While all three will get a crack at minutes, it isn’t the most inspiring group. Spalding has a chance to enter training camp and compete.
Spalding’s skill set fits Atlanta’s current needs. He’s an athletic rim-runner, a valuable archetype when deployed in conjunction with Young at point guard. His shot-blocking stood out in Vegas as well. He’s a long, explosive athlete with good timing. There’s real two-way upside.
In the G-League last season, Spalding averaged 2.2 blocks and 1.7 steals per contest, so there’s a precedent for success on that end. He posted similarly strong numbers in his junior season at Louisville. He passed the eye test in Vegas and is worth an extended look.
Hawks crashing Team USA
The U.S. National Team has taken a hit this summer. Stars are dropping out at an all-time rate, instead focusing on the upcoming season and body preservation. That opens the door for more young talent to join the roster and get international experience.
Trae Young and John Collins are taking the first step in that journey. Per a team release, Young and Collins will join the USA Basketball Select Team in Vegas from August 5-8. It functions as a practice squad, training with Team USA and appearing in the Blue/White scrimmage.
We have seen USA Basketball provide the foundation for pivotal NBA relationships in the past. The Brooklyn Nets are the most recent example. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant first became friends on Team USA, which snowballed into the duo wanting to team up.
It’s not always advantageous for the home team — both Irving and Durant left their incumbents to team up — but it’s a way for Young and Collins to interact with NBA stars for a week. There’s a marginal chance it improves Atlanta’s outlook in free agency down the line. Anything’s possible.
Preseason schedule announced
The Hawks’ preseason schedule was announced on July 26 via team release. It will feature five contests in total. The first three will air on Fox Sports Southeast.
- New Orleans Pelicans at Atlanta Hawks: Oct. 7, 7:30 PM E.T.
- Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks: Oct. 9, 7:30 PM E.T.
- Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat: Oct. 14, 7:30 PM E.T.
- Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks: Oct. 16, 7:30 PM E.T.
- Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls: Oct. 17, 7:30 PM E.T.
The main attraction here is New Orleans. The Pelicans and Hawks are intertwined after a massive draft-night trade that landed De’Andre Hunter in Atlanta. Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are who the Hawks gave up.
It will also give NBA fans a muted version of Zion Williamson’s actual NBA debut. How the Pelicans’ starting five and second unit shape up will be exceedingly interesting. It’s an odd yet potential-laden group, featuring questionable spacing and multiple high-level defenders.
Orlando is a modest rival, but it’s not the loudest feud in the association. It’s geography that pins the two franchises together. The game probably won’t unveil Markelle Fultz, so there’s less intrigue on that front.
The Heat game could provide a first look at Miami’s new star in Jimmy Butler. His decision to join the Heat was a curious one when speaking strictly on basketball terms. How the group coalesces and competes under his leadership is something to watch as the season transpires.
The Knicks have a few interesting prospects — namely the #3 pick R.J. Barrett — and a glut of overpaid, short-term veterans who don’t make much sense together. They’re going to be painfully bad or painfully mediocre. New York fans should feel right at home.
Chicago is an underrated playoff contender in the East. While I’m not sure they get there, the roster has more than enough talent. Zach LaVine and Otto Porter can shoulder the perimeter scoring burden, while Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen are a beautifully paired frontcourt. Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky are under-the-radar additions who raise the Bulls’ floor in a wide-open East.
Expect more in the near future — including our new podcast, Inside the Perimeter, which will debut soon.