As the NBA trade deadline approaches, who are the point guards the Atlanta Hawks could target to bolster their depth?
Working off the assumption that the Atlanta Hawks remain committed to playing out the season without any more major selling of key pieces, the focus at the NBA trade deadline then turns to adding depth.
Question marks certainly surround the Hawks on the wing, but there’s perhaps no position where they’re currently as short on options than at point guard.
Although Dennis Schröder is currently proving himself more than worthy of the extension he signed last summer, with only Malcolm Delaney behind him for cover, Atlanta find themselves one injury away from disaster.
As a result, it would be no real surprise to see the Hawks explore the backup point guard market, and luckily for them it seems as if they’ll at least have a few different players who they can choose from.
Traded in an ill-advised move to add a version of Kirk Hinrich who was considerably more limited than he was only 12 months ago, it may be time for the Hawks to consider bringing back Shelvin Mack.
The 26-year-old thrived in Utah after the deal reunited him with Quin Snyder, averaging 12.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds in the final 28 games of last season, but has since found himself on a Jazz team with a very different outlook at point guard.
Having received George Hill as part of yet another three-team Hawks trade that saw Jeff Teague end up in Indiana, and with the return of Dante Exum from injury, Utah has now moved Mack to the back of the rotation with limited minutes available to him as he competes with Raul Neto.
Marc Stein of ESPN has suggested that Mack is a target for the Cavaliers, but considering the strong working relationship between the Hawks and Jazz, and Mack’s familiarity with Atlanta’s system, it doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility that the Hawks could hijack any potential deal.
As a steady and efficient playmaker during his time in Atlanta, Mack would be more than capable of sharing backup point guard duties with Malcolm Delaney, and he may even be able to step up in front of Delaney in some of his lesser spells of form.
Mack is currently in the final year of a three-year contract he signed as a Hawk, earning him $2.4 million per year. Again, this would make him a perfect short-term rental at a position of need, but not the kind of target you should be giving up very much for.
With the trade of DeMarcus Cousins signaling a rebuilding effort for the Kings, Darren Collison is one of a number of valuable contributors who Sacramento are seemingly very open to trading ahead of the deadline.
Chris Mannix of The Vertical described the Kings as being eager to “restock” with assets in exchange for free agents-to-be such as Collison, and with strong recent play from the Kings guard, including a game-winner over the Hawks, there’ll be plenty of interest.
The 29-year-old is a speedy and aggressive guard who is a capable playmaker but really excels as a scorer.
Collison is averaging 13.7 points per game this season in Sacramento, while he’s in the middle of a career shooting year.
Currently shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three-point range, Collison is playing at a level that would make him an ideal second-unit leader for any team with playoff hopes.
Although his presence would certainly be a major boost to Atlanta’s bench, with a price tag that could potentially approach a first-round pick, the Hawks would need to weigh up the present against the future very carefully if they were to make a move.
He may be one of the less intriguing options on the list, but D.J. Augustin is a veteran guard who could offer solid minutes right at the back of a rotation, and he’s almost certainly available at a very low price.
A play for Augustin wouldn’t necessarily do anything obvious to transform how the team plays, but he could act as a reliable insurance policy heading into the deeper parts of the season, even if that’s just as a third choice point guard.
Augustin signed a four-year deal with the Orlando Magic last summer, but has failed to have a meaningful impact in the time since. His name even surfaced in recent rumors of trade talks between the Magic and Pistons centered around Reggie Jackson.
With career averages of 9.6 points and 3.8 assists, while shooting 37 percent from three-point range, Augustin offers a solid offensive presence but not a whole lot more.
There’s an obvious appeal to a player like Augustin in the sense that he could well be available for next to nothing, but the reason for that is Orlando has no desire to pay him $7.25 a year through to 2020. The Hawks would be best advised to follow suit.
With trade rumors swirling around the Los Angeles Clippers, one player who is believed to be widely available is point guard Austin Rivers.
Former Hawk, Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations, and Austin Rivers’ father, Doc Riversrecently stated that he’d have no problem trading his son, and that was a sentiment that was shared by Austin who affirmed that it’s “business first”.
Once the source of jokes about nepotism, the younger Rivers has proven himself to be a legitimately skilled and competent NBA point guard of late. For the current season, the 24-year-old is averaging 12.2 points and 3.0 assists, while shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.
With good size for the position, although Rivers isn’t skilled enough to be a starting point guard in the league, his role as a worthy backup can no longer be disputed. On current production, Rivers would step in ahead of Delaney on Atlanta’s bench and offer up a more varied option.
Having signed a new three-year deal last summer, Rivers’ contract certainly doesn’t come cheap at $11 million this year and $11.8 next season, but with a player option for the third year he could become an expiring next season.