Since being drafted as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young has already shown huge potential to become a legitimate superstar in the league. With his performance in the 2019-20 NBA season where he is currently averaging 29.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, Young proves that he is ready to take the Hawks to a different level. However, with the emergence of numerous powerhouse teams in the NBA, the Hawks clearly need to surround Young with additional star power in order to have a realistic chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and contending for the NBA championship title.
The 2020 NBA free agency may not be as loaded as the previous offseason, but it is still not hard to see the Hawks using their salary cap space to give Young some help in the 2020-21 season. According to Dallin Duffy of Fansided’s Soaring Down South, one of the potential free agency targets for the Hawks this summer is DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs.
“If the Atlanta Hawks cash out and make a splash this summer, I think DeRozan is the most likely candidate. The ever-capable scorer would be a very intriguing fit next to Trae Young in the backcourt. He’s still among the NBA’s best when it comes to creating his own shot, giving Atlanta two very dangerous guards. DeRozan has essentially given up on a three-point ball since joining the Spurs, but in Atlanta he would finally not be the first option on offense night in and night out. It could open the doors to more catch-and-shoot threes, which he drained over 31 percent of in ’17-’18 with the Raptors.”
Pairing Young with DeRozan won’t make the Hawks an instant title contender in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan has plenty of flaws in his game, and there is no assurance that he could immediately build chemistry with Young in the Hawks’ backcourt. However, his potential arrival in Atlanta could make the Hawks a more competitive team in the Eastern Conference next season.
Aside from giving him an All-Star caliber backcourt partner, DeRozan could teach Young a thing or two about excelling in a playoff environment. Though he hasn’t reached the NBA Finals, DeRozan has led his former team, the Toronto Raptors, in the postseason for eight consecutive years.
However, as Duffy noted, the chances that DeRozan would leave San Antonio depends on the path that the Spurs are planning to take after this season. If they finally decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild, DeRozan may consider opting out of the final year of his contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent.