The Atlanta Hawks have too many big men on the roster, and far too many of them lack upside.
The Hawks have made a number of questionable decisions over the past couple of months. It was an oversight to not cut ties with Al Horford and Paul Millsap earlier and get some assets for them, but the mindset was understandable.
Since then, each move the Atlanta front office has made in regards to bringing in big men has been confusing. They gave up the two best assets in the Dwight Howard trade (pick 31 and Howard) to move down ten spots, grab Marco Belinelli and almost dead money in Miles Plumlee.
It would have been justifiable if the Hawks decided that they were going to try and make Plumlee a featured part of the roster considering the investment they made in him. He'll earn $12,400,000 for each of the next three seasons. Instead, it looks as though he will be the fifth big man on the team. The Hawks made a shrewd signing in Dewayne Dedmon. He'll likely be the starting center, holding down the fort with his defense and ability to rim run alongside Dennis Schroder. His partner at the four will be Ersan Ilyasova, which makes plenty of sense on paper. They should hopefully cover each other's weaknesses, but what exactly is the plan for the Hawks?
The Hawks bolstered the shooting stocks by signing Luke Babbitt who started in a pinch for the Heat last season. He's got a low ceiling, but for a cheap deal, he makes sense as a rotation player.
So there are four guys already taking up minutes at the four and the five, but none of those guys have real future upside. All those contracts are tradeable, except for Plumlee, so perhaps trading one of those guys at the deadline makes sense.
The Hawks drafted John Collins, a power forward who showed plenty of talent during summer league. You'd assume he'd be the first big man off the bench, and it's not unreasonable to think he can play 20 minutes per game.
Diamond Stone was a low-cost flier that the Hawks were able to grab in the Jamal Crawford deal. He was recently waived by the Hawks, which was curious considering the lack of upside on the roster, but it's fair enough.
Mike Muscala returned to the team as well, which was the right call for the Hawks. He's a rotation guy, but now that John Collins is on the team, he may see less time on the court.
The Hawks also have Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore who in certain line ups could play as small-ball fours. There just doesn't seem to be enough minutes for all these guys.
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have all these guys taking minutes from Collins. It's difficult to understand what direction the front office is trying to do here. They've clearly trying to rebuild, but they're getting in their own way with these questionable roster choices.
So let's break down how many minutes are available for these guys.
At center, there's 48 minutes available.
25 minutes: Dedmon
12 minutes: Plumlee
11 minutes: Muscala
Power forward may not be as simple.
22 minutes: Ilyasova
20 minutes: Collins
5 minutes: Babbit
Babbitt probably shouldn't play as a small forward, so if they don't have minutes for him, why sign him? Collins perhaps could play a couple of minutes as a center and Babbit could play some minutes there alongside him.
It's clear a move needs to be made down the line, or else one of these guys is going to fall out of the rotation completely. Ilyasova, Dedmon, and Muscala could all be trade deadline carrots for playoff contenders, even if it nets a mid-late second round pick or a reliable guard.