It feels like a long time since the Hawks were the NBA’s darling team. But it was just last season that Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games, making an Eastern Conference Finals appearance with a “superstar-less” roster.
Things have come crashing back to reality this season. At 27-19, the Hawks are just three losses away from trying last season’s total. They’re still sitting in the east’s three-seed, however, the conference is much more competitive this season. Atlanta appears to be just a slightly above average NBA team in 2015-16.
The drop off is likely going to result in some roster movement, and (according to multiple reports) Jeff Teague is the recent name to surface.
Trading Teague makes perfect sense. He becomes a free agent in 2017, while Atlanta already has a hidden gem on its bench. Dennis Schroder, as you may have guessed, is that gem.
Schroder is just 22-years old (five years younger than Teague), and is signed for another three seasons. The German point guard shows all the individual promise that Teague does, if not more. But even more importantly, the Hawks play much better as a team with Schroder as the floor general (about a 12-point swing per 100 possessions).
With the youngster stepping into the starting lineup, it’s not like the Hawks need an All-Star PG in exchange. They’re more so looking to replace what they lost in DeMarre Carroll when he left for Toronto in free agency last summer.
With that in mind, here are some teams potentially looking for backcourt help that could be able to help Atlanta out.
The Knicks may have their point guard of the future in Jerian Grant, but as of now that’s still up in the air. Teague provides a huge upgrade over Calderon across the board. Could Teague, ‘Melo and Kristaps power the Knicks into the postseason? It wouldn’t be shocking.
Atlanta gains Calderon as a veteran backup to Schroder, but Thomas is the real gain. He’s been having a nice season and his contract expires at the end of the season. If Atlanta sees Thomas as a Carroll replacement, it’d have the inside track to re-sign him.
With Dante Exum on the shelf and his development still in question, Utah may need to start making other plans at point guard. Burke hasn’t been good at all this season, and Teague could really help take the Jazz’s offense to another level. Burks would be the biggest loss for Utah, but it’s worth making an upgrade at point guard. Hardaway, who desperately needs a change in scenery, would help replace Burks.
Burke was a top-10 draft pick and provides a high-upside backup to Schroder. Burks would be the Carroll fill-in that Atlanta has been searching for. His natural position is shooting guard, but with Kyle Korver locked in there for the Hawks, he’d have to slide to SF — something he shouldn’t have trouble with given his athleticism.
Teague is a much better player than Brewer, so if this trade were to be straight up, Houston would likely have to provide some other asset (a protected pick of sorts). The Rockets have a deep front court, so they should be able to deal with the loss of Brewer. The upside would be a PG time-share between Teague and Patrick Bevery (a good change of pace). If the Rockets wanted to go small, they could play the pair in the backcourt with James Harden and Trevor Ariza at the forwards. This move gives Houston tons of flexibility — aside from the fact that they’re still stuck with Ty Lawson who gets bumped out of the rotation.
Brewer would be a good fit for the Hawks on the wing. They get their scoring from Schroder finding Korver beyond the arc and their bigs down low. Brewer would be in charge of locking down on the opposition’s best perimeter player. If he can do that, anything else is a bonus. This would probably be selling Teague on the cheap. But who knows what the draft pick could turn into?
No matter what the final trade comes in as (assuming one gets done) it’s pretty safe to say the biggest fantasy impact will be a huge boost to Schroder’s value in Atlanta. Sometimes addition by subtraction is the real win.Find me on Twitter: @julianedlow