With the NBA offseason right around the corner, teams are starting to put certain players on their radar heading into free agency. One player who the Atlanta Hawks have serious interest in is Spencer Hawes from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 7-foot-1 center will be an unrestricted free agent and Atlanta would love to have someone like Hawes on their roster next year. He is not only the perfect type of big man for coach Mike Budenholzer‘s offensive scheme, but he also should be able to come in at a reasonable price compared to other potential free agents, which is why the Hawks have to consider getting him.
Hawes might not be the key piece Atlanta necessarily needs in order to become legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference, but this doesn’t mean his addition wouldn’t be a step in the right direction. With Hawes coming off the bench, the Hawks would have the perfect guy to come in and replace either Paul Millsap or Al Horford. He’s basically the younger and better version of Pero Antic, which is great news for Atlanta. Coach Bud loved having a player like Antic on the floor to create more spacing last season and with both possibly on the roster next year that means Atlanta will now have two centers with the ability to knock down outside shots. That’s not a bad thing either when you consider the amount of three-pointers the Hawks take under coach Bud’s offensive scheme.
They set an NBA playoff record against the Indiana Pacers this postseason when they attempted a remarkable 44 threes in their Game 7 defeat. It’s a shame Atlanta didn’t have Hawes for that contest because he certainly would have hit a few of those down, too. With the Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers last season, he shot an impressive 41.6% from three on 3.9 attempts per game. That shooting percentage would have been good for second on the team behind only Kyle Korver, who was the best three-point shooter in the league this season.
However, while Atlanta would love to have Hawes because of his offense alone, it’s his defensive presence that could pay off in a big way. He’s an excellent rebounder as evidenced by his 8.3 rebounds per game this season, which is a category the Hawks really struggled in. They ranked 28th in the NBA out of only 30 teams, so his addition would immediately help there. Also, his ability to challenge shots at the rim and record blocks should provide a necessary boost as well. Atlanta didn’t really have a shot-blocking presence when Horford went down, and Hawes’ 1.2 blocks per game will certainly change that.