Five Free Agent Big Men the Atlanta Hawks Should Pursue

Atlanta Hawks, Willie Cauley-Stein (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Willie Cauley-Stein (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks, Dragan Bender (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /


Willie Cauley-Stein Center

Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings /

Sacramento Kings 2018-19 Top 10 Highlights

Now that the Sacramento Kings have poached Atlanta Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon, the Hawks should take a look at their outgoing big man. Willie Cauley-Stein is a 7’0 240 pound center, that is soon to be 26 years old.

Cauley-Stein is a restricted free agent, meaning the Kings would have the right to match any offer sheet that a team signs him to. However with the Kings focusing on Dedmon to be their new starting center, it’s possible that they could decline to match an offer, for the big man out of Kentucky.

Basketball wise, Willie Cauley-Stein is an athletic rim running center. He averaged a career high 8.4 rebounds, to go with his 11.9 points per game. The drawback with Cauley-Stein is to be as athletic as he is, he blocks very few shots, only swatting 0.8 per game and 1.2 per 36 minutes over his career.

The other drawback with Willie, is the fact that he doesn’t space the floor. He attempts more than 70 percent of this shots at the rim, where he makes nearly 60 percent of those shots. Outside of that, he doesn’t offer much offensively.

Contract Offer: 2 years at 4.8 million per year

2018: PPG:11.9 REB: 8.4 APG:2.4 BPG:0.6 STL:1.2 FG%:55.6 2P%:55.6 3P%:50.0 FT%:55.1 PF:2.8

Per 36 Min: PPG:15.7 REB: 11.0 APG:3.2 BPG:0.8 STL:1.6 PF:3.7


Dragan Bender Big

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Free Dawkins Highlights

Dragan Bender is the next player that the Atlanta Hawks should definitely have a conversation with. The Croatian Sensation stands 7’1 and tips the scales at 225 pounds.

Bender is just 21 years old and won’t turn 22 until November, making him less than a month older than 2019 first round pick De’Andre Hunter. Like Hunter, Dragan was selected number four overall. Except Bender was drafted in 2016.

The former lottery pick has not lived up to expectations, averaging just 5.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assist in his three-year career. Bender has 36 starts in that time span for the lowly Phoenix Suns.

Bender doesn’t protect the rim or rebound particularly well, so the Atlanta Hawks staff would definitely have to coach him up in this area. However he could definitely develop into a useful offensive weapon off of the bench.

Dragan is a good passer and a capable floor spacer. He made 36.6 of his triples in 2017-18 on 3.9 attempts per game, before regressing to 21.8 percent on 2.2 attempts last season. He also averaged a career high 4.4 rebounds in 2017-18.

Dragan Bender has had success shooting the ball at the NBA level. So it shouldn’t prove difficult for the Atlanta Hawks, who are known for improving players’ shots, to correct the flaws in his stroke.

Bender has also never played with a point guard like Trae Young, as a play making point guard has been the Sun’s biggest roster need for years. The Atlanta Hawks struck gold last offseason, by reviving the career of a failed Sun’s lottery pick Alex Len. Could lightning strike two years in a row?

Contract Offer: Two Years, 3.5 Million per year, 3rd year team option

2018: PPG:5.0 REB: 4.0 APG:1.2 BPG:0.5 STL:0.4 FG%:44.7 2P%:68.8 3P%:21.8 FT%:59.3 PF:2.0

Per 36 Min: PPG:10.0 REB: 8.0 APG:2.4 BPG:1.0 STL:0.8 PF:3.9