The Atlanta Hawks made one in every of the summer’s biggest moves after they traded for Dejounte Murray formerly of the San Antonio Spurs. This team was within the Eastern Conference Finals just two seasons ago but they took a large step back last season falling to the eight-seed and falling into the Play-In Tournament.
They won each of their Play-In matchups but were quickly dispatched from the postseason in five games by the rival Miami Heat.
The move to accumulate Murray ensures that the Hawks are usually not stymied like that again.
But there may be some belief that, despite speculation that they’re primed for an additional major move by mid-season, they’re already one of the neglected teams within the NBA and may very well be dangerous due to it.
An improved Eastern Conference could have people sleeping on the Atlanta Hawks
Massive blockbuster trades for Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers) – in addition to Deandre Ayton and Kevin Durant remaining with their respective teams – overshadowed what was the blockbuster of the offseason when it first happened.
But Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley thinks they might be getting neglected a bit an excessive amount of at this point.
“There are some expectations for Atlanta, but nothing huge: Vegas set the over/under at just 45.5 wins. That may be a wonderful season, however the Hawks could engineer something far greater.”
The projected win total could be just two games higher than that they had last season and 4 higher than that they had within the lead-up to their run to the ECF. That just goes to indicate how improved the East has gotten in that point.
However the Hawks are a team that’s well aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
“The theme for Atlanta’s offseason was defense,” says Buckley. “That’s why trading for Murray made sense. Well, that and his ability to ease a number of the offensive burden shouldered by Young, potentially leading to more efficient versions of each players. In the event that they find their chemistry early and the defense can enter even the midsection of efficiency rankings, then Atlanta just might strike the two-way balance needed to navigate one other conference finals run.”
Murray earned his first All-Star nod after leading the NBA in steals per game last season. He has spoken about there being no room for individual goals, only winning this coming season.
Surely the Hawks feel like he should help them win more games – higher health will too.
As Buckley points out, the Hawks return the overwhelming majority of the core that made that run to the Eastern Conference Finals. And their additions even beyond Murray have been skewed towards defense in Moe Harkless and Justin Holiday whom they acquired within the Kevin Huerter trade.