The Atlanta Hawks are hurting, and they might be getting worse if the team cannot find a new superstar. The season is already in trouble with their record at 17-24 while having to face teams like Boston and Toronto every night. Five key fixes could help this struggling squad get back on track.

The “trae young weight” is a player that the Atlanta Hawks acquired this past summer. He has been struggling to find his footing in the NBA, and it appears that he needs some assistance. The “Five Fixes to Help the Slumping Atlanta Hawks get Superstar Guard Trae Young Some Assistance.”

Five Fixes to Help the Slumping Atlanta Hawks get Superstar Guard Trae Young Some Assistance

ORLANDO, Fla. — Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk is in a tough place, and it seems like he knows it based on his recent remarks on an Atlanta radio station. Schlenk, the architect of a rebuild that has resurrected the Hawks, is well aware that he has to aid superstar guard Trae Young, but spending sprees from the previous two offseasons have complicated matters.

There’s also this in terms of any prospective retooling: The Hawks struggled early last season before finding fire late in the season and defeating the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs. How can Schlenk rip apart a team that was just two victories away from the NBA Finals only six months ago?

With a 17-22 record, the Hawks are in desperate need of a shakeup. Before the season, the Hawks spoke loudly about fighting for the East crown, but now they’re 12th and four games behind Charlotte for the last playoff spot.

Here are five areas where the Hawks either need to make substantial improvements or should reorganize their personnel:

The Atlanta Hawks’ defense, which is ranked 25th in the NBA, needs to improve.

Atlanta-Hawks-5-fixes-1024x683

Atlanta-Hawks-5-fixes-1024x683 Onyeka Okongwu (17) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) of the Atlanta Hawks swarm Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac in the first half at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, on January 09, 2022. | Getty Images/Meg Oliphant

Any discussion of Atlanta’s progress must begin on the defensive end of the court. The Hawks have surrendered 111.5 points on 46.7 percent shooting, which ranks them 25th in the NBA. Both stats are oddly comparable to what they allowed last season (111.4 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting), but scoring is down this season, and the Hawks aren’t nearly as effective offensively to compensate for their defensive shortcomings.

During a recent 2-4 road trip, the Hawks let up 131 points to Chicago, 136 to Portland, and 134 to the Los Angeles Lakers, highlighting their defensive issues.

Atlanta has to improve its second-half and fourth-quarter closing skills.

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When the Hawks made their thrilling run through the playoffs last season, they were strong finishers in the fourth quarter. This season, their fourth-quarter net rating is 27th in the league.

The Hawks have already blown five games in which they led going into the fourth quarter. One of the more glaring examples was on Dec. 13, when the Hawks squandered Young’s 41-point performance by losing a six-point game to the rebuilding Houston Rockets after being outscored 44-25 in the fourth quarter.

Another example occurred last week in Portland, when Young put on a record performance (56 points and 14 assists) in a defeat. Young went to the bench for a break with the Hawks ahead by five points in the fourth quarter, but when he returned, they were down by six.

During a recent media availability in Orlando, head coach Nate McMillan noted, “We were a terrific team at closing games last year.” “With our execution last season, we became a better fourth-quarter team, and that’s something we have to accomplish again this season.” We must recognize the importance of a sense of urgency in the fourth quarter of games.”

Surprisingly, the Hawks haven’t had much punch while playing from behind. When they’re down at halftime, they’re only 2-16, and when they’re down in the fourth quarter, they’re a dismal 1-17.

‘Perhaps bringing everyone back wasn’t such a good idea; that’s on me,’ Schlenk says.

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Schlenk said that to Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game about the $300 million he spent this summer to lock up Young, John Collins, Clint Capela, and Kevin Huerter to long-term contracts.

The Hawks also hired McMillan as their full-time coach, after he took over for Lloyd Pierce last season. The Hawks, on the other hand, do not seem to be reacting to McMillan’s old-school approach of emphasizing toughness, defense, and perseverance.

Teams should never make deals to convey signals, but with a team that has suffered major drop-offs in many areas, this might be the right move for Schlenk.

The Hawks must find a way to extract more value out of their $125 million guy. Collins, John

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Collins has been “increasingly unhappy” with his reduced role in the Atlanta offense, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Despite earning a five-year, $125 million contract during the summer, he has a lower usage rate this season.

Collins is a phenomenal athlete who plays larger than his stature, but he isn’t very gifted offensively. He’s averaging 17.5 points on 54.1 percent shooting, but he’s not the kind of player the Hawks can hand the ball to and expect him to make a decent shot. Huerter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Clint Capela are in the same boat.

Collins, to his credit, is hitting the 3-pointer at a higher rate than at any other time in his career (42.7 percent), but he has to broaden his offensive game to assist Young carry the weight.

Could the Hawks be on the lookout for a big-ticket acquisition to shake up their roster?

If Schlenk chooses to pursue a trade, the Hawks have plenty of cash on hand. They have all of their selections in the forthcoming drafts, plus Lou Williams, Solomon Hill, Gorgui Deng, and Delon Wright each have $20 million in expiring contracts. In addition, the Hawks may be able to lure a trade partner with the potential that DeAndre Hunter or Cam Reddish can give. Hunter is close to returning to game action after missing several weeks due to a wrist ailment.

Whatever the Hawks go after, it has to be someone who can relieve some of the pressure on the young players. The versatile guard is fourth in the NBA in scoring (28 points), third in assists (9.6), and sixth in ESPN’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) (25.61).

Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Domantas Sabonis, and Dejounte Murray are all top targets who might provide Young with some superstar firepower. Other veterans, like as Eric Gordon, Terrence Ross, or Robert Covington, might provide more spark off the bench for the Hawks than a stuttering Lou Williams (6.5 PPG and 36.6 percent shooting). Of course, Simmons is the best player available in a trade, and he might assist the Hawks both defensively and by keeping Young off the ball.

Unless otherwise stated, all quotations in the report were gathered personally.

ESPN.com provided the statistics.

RELATED: The Atlanta Hawks might make a huge mistake by trading an up-and-coming youngster, perhaps putting them out of contention for the NBA title.

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