The blockbuster trade that send Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, to the Los Angeles Lakers, has the NBA world abuzz. This is how the deal will impact the Atlanta Hawks.
We have our first huge trade of the 2019 NBA Offseason! Star center Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. In return the New Orleans Pelicans receive small forward Brandon Ingram, point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Josh Hart and the number four pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. According to Brad Botkin of CBS Sports, the Pelicans will also receive a 2021 first round pick in the top eight, that becomes an unprotected first round pick in 2022, if it doesn’t convey the previous year. The Pelicans also get the choice of another first round pick in either 2024 or 2025, as well as the right to swap picks in 2023, should the Lakers draft pick be higher. The Pelicans commandeered a nice collection of players and future draft assets, to build around upcoming number one pick Zion Williamson. The deal certainly has several ramifications for the Atlanta Hawks, so let’s look at them.
Pick Four in the 2019 NBA Draft
Prior to the big Anthony Davis trade, it was thought to be nearly a sure thing, that point guard Darius Garland would be selected at number four. The AD trade certainly puts pause to that notion. With the Pelicans receiving point guard Lonzo Ball in the trade, the team could decide to go in another direction. Last seasons starting point guard Elfrid Peyton also averaged a career high, 7.6 assists, but he is a free agent so his status is up in the air. The Pelicans also have Jrue Holliday who was originally a point guard but has been the team’s starting shooting guard for the last two seasons. In addition they also acquired shooting guard Josh Hart, so there doesn’t appear to be room for a top five pick in the backcourt.
Now that Julius Randall has declined his option and will become a free agent, the Pelicans definitely have a need at the center position. Jahlil Okafor is the only starting caliber big on the roster. Zion Williamson however is expected to play some center in small ball lineups. Brandon Ingram who came over from the Lakers, is the only talented true small player on the roster, so there is certainly room for the Pelicans to add wing players. Wings that can play small forward and shooting guard and combo forwards that can play small forward and power forward, are often the life blood of a team in this small ball era.
That is where the problem lies for the Atlanta Hawks. After trading Taurean Prince, the sharpshooting small forward, the Atlanta Hawks are in the market for a new starting small forward. DeAndre’ Bembry is an in-house option, but he did well as a primary ball handler for the second unit, so the Atlanta Hawks would probably prefer he remain in that role. In addition he only connected on 29 percent of his tries from beyond the arch, making him less than an ideal fit to space the floor for Trae Young and John Collins to operate. Kent Bazemore has started 242 games during his tenure with the Hawks. Yet he also shot a his worse percentage from beyond the arch as a Hawk and has become the model for inconsistency over the last few seasons.