The Atlanta Hawks are ensuring roster depth as they pick up options on Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson. That’s according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps. These roster moves should come as no surprise as Atlanta is keeping a pair of first round picks from the 2020 and 2021 NBA Drafts.
EXPECT LARGER ROLES
Neither Okongwu nor Johnson has contributed much to Atlanta’s success, but both should expect to see more time on the floor this upcoming season. Okongwu has mostly backed up Clint Capela, but has still managed to average 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season. He was picked sixth overall in 2020, so the Hawks are banking on him being their center of the future. He hasn’t had much opportunity yet, but I think he’ll get more time on the floor to set him up to take over as starter when Capela’s contract is up.
As for Johnson, the 20th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft spent the majority of his rookie season in the G-League with the College Park Skyhawks. But with Danilo Gallinari gone, there’s more room at the power forward position. I’m expecting to see Johnson get some minutes and play a larger role. He won’t start, at least not at the start of the season, but I’m predicting he will shine and be the starting power forward next season.
The Hawks have high expectations entering this upcoming season. Trae Young has worked out wonderfully for their team, making that draft day trade that sent Luka Doncic to Dallas worth it. Just two years ago Atlanta made the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s a long season, but if these two play as well as the team hopes, we may see another deep playoff run from Atlanta.
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