The Atlanta Hawks were two wins away from making the trip to the Finals with a very young team. Led by Trae Young, a 23-year-old, they made somewhat of a Cinderella run, since they missed the last three postseasons. However, the Milwaukee Bucks were simply too strong in the end and they could not pull through. Still, it is a team beaming with potential and they should be Playoff stalwarts for the next few years, barring any major injuries or roster shake-ups.
The overall opinion still is that this roster is not experienced enough to make a true run to the championship. Last year, they did play a New York Knicks team that should not have been the fourth seed, then played against a clearly struggling Philadelphia 76ers, so there is a small caveat on their success. Only Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams were a bit more experienced, but the true leaders of the squad, Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic, are both lacking in serious NBA experience.
However, if the Hawks had the ability to pull two players out of the 1990s, it could give them everything they need. These two players would be Reggie Miller and Charley Oakley, giving the Hawks some wing scoring and a true enforcer who would not let anyone mess with the young guys of the roster.
Hawks 1990s Dream Signings For Today
Charles Oakley – toughness, enforcement, intimidation
These kinds of rosters really do well in certain conditions. Like it was said above, the Hawks really played well, especially Trae Young. However, it should not be controversial to say that circumstances went in their favor. One of the circumstances is this era, where there are fewer and fewer teams playing tough basketball. If this Hawks team played against the Knicks of the 1990s or the Pistons of the 1980s, it is clear that they would be crushed by the pure physicality of their teams.
Knowing that they lack physicality, the Hawks would benefit a lot from someone like Charles Oakley. The incredibly tough center and former Knick and Bull was a solid player, but all of his teammates loved him because he did not let anyone come close to them. The Bulls, who traded for him after he was selected 9th in 1985, kept him there for three years, mainly to protect Michael Jordan.
It was clear from the start that Jordan had an aura around him and he was dominating opponents, so he got a lot of negative attention from opposing enforcers. Charles Oakley did not like that and took a stand for his teammate at all costs. In the Hawks, the main star is Young who is very small in stature and is an easy target. However, while he could be an easy target now, if Oakley was waiting in the wings with an elbow or two, the opposition would think twice.
In terms of playing style, Oakley would be a reserve center or power forward behind Clint Capela and John Collins. It is clear that, in terms of big men, the Hawks are stacked, but neither Capela nor Collins are the types of players that would be intimidating for the opposing squad. If Oakley was waiting from the bench to settle some scores or waiting in the paint for a guard driving, it would definitely intimidate some teams into changing their game plans. He was not the greatest defender or scorer, but Oakley would compliment this squad to the highest degree.
Reggie Miller – leadership, toughness, shooting
Sam DiGiovanni ·
A young Reggie Miller backcourt is a dream of any NBA fan that likes shooting. Miller is one of the greatest shooters in the history of this game and to have both Miller and Young, one of the best shooters in the NBA, in the same court wearing the same jersey is a privilege. The Golden State Warriors backcourt would finally have good competition in terms of shooting and that would be one of the most interesting match-ups in the league.
However, Miller has many other skills that would be great for the Hawks. As explained above, toughness is one regard where the Hawks are seriously lacking. Coming from an era that he is coming from, Miller would bring a lot of intensity and a no-nonsense attitude. As a true leader, Reggie Miller would also keep the rest of the team in check, making them work very hard on the court. His competitiveness was rivaled only by Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and he would not let his teammates drop their effort level a single level.
He also led the Indiana Pacers for a very long time. It is true that they only made one Finals appearance, but it was not Miller’s fault, since he was an All-NBA player at the time and did his best to bring them over the hump. A common debate in the NBA community is how the landscape of the NBA changes if Jordan is either not as mythic as he was and Miller’s name comes up constantly, stating that his Pacers teams would win at least one title. Miller would be a great veteran leader for this Hawks team that is crying out for it.
The Hawks, as it was mentioned above, should be a postseason team for the foreseeable future. The problem becomes if the team gets complacent and ends up in the circle of mediocrity, similar to the Indiana Pacers or the Boston Celtics, who squandered their chances for Finals runs and now are hoping to make the Playoffs at best. However, with an enforcer like Charles Oakley and a compliment to Young like Reggie Miller, the Hawks are instant contenders without a second thought.