5 players the Atlanta Hawks can target with their MLE

Heading into free agency, the Atlanta Hawks will be looking to get back into a position where they can compete in the Eastern Conference. With Trae Young closing in on his prime, the should be looking to maximize the play of their All-Star point guard. That being said, here are five free agents Atlanta could target this summer with their taxpayer’s mid-level excpetion.

While he might be slightly undersized like Young, Gary Payton II’s defense could help the Hawks improve on that end of the floor. The 29-year-old found a home in Golden State this year and proved to be a valuable piece with his energy and work on defense. Across 71 games, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. Payton also shot an impressive 35.8% from three, albeit on low volume.

Gary Payton II’s confidence on defense is sky high – even tells veteran Andre Iguodala to go guard Lu Dort, as if to say “I got this” – and he did. https://t.co/jqagwKl3IH

Another guard who could help the Hawks on both ends is Donte DiVincenzo. The former first-round pick was a productive piece in the Bucks’ rotation before being dealt to the Kings. During his time in Sacramento, DiVincenzo posted averages of 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.5 steals while knocking down 36.8% of his threes.

If the Hawks were looking to gamble in free agency, Josh Jackson might be worth a flier. The former fourth overall pick has struggled in the NBA, but might be able to thrive in a limited role with Atlanta. His athleticism fits the team’s young core and his size can help on defense. Jackson also played for the Kings, where he averaged 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds across ten games.

2 free-agent wings the Hawks should consider signing

Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets
Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets

Keeping the trend of atheltic wings, Josh Okogie is a player Atlanta should be closely monitoring. At six-foot-four, he can play alongside Young and help bolster their defense.

The only downside to Okogie’s game is that he isn’t much of a three-point threat. In 49 games for the Timberwolves this season, he averaged 2.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, and shot 29.8% from beyond the arc.

One final name the Hawks should have near the top of their list is Cody Martin. Not only is he coming off his best season as a pro, but his three-and-D skillset would be a big addition for Atlanta.

Cody Martin took McCollum’s cookies and yammed on him 🤯 https://t.co/gCdSgKC2SR

Martin not only posted a career-best 7.7 points per game this season for the Hornets, but increased his three-point percentage ten points. While it was on only 2.2 attempts per game, the 26-year-old converted 38.4% of his shots from beyond the arc.

Defense should be a top priority for Atlanta in free agency, and any of these players would be a much-needed upgrade.

Edited by Kevin McCormick

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