If achieving mediocrity was the Atlanta Hawks' goal, then they've more-than achieved it over the last decade.

While being middle-of-the-road with stars that could push you over the edge is a better place to be than sitting at the bottom with no direction, the Hawks ended this season the worse than they did last season — and taking it down the line, worse than two years before.

Since the 2014-15 season, Atlanta has amassed a winning percentage of just under 50 percent. If you shorten that time frame, you'll find stretches across multiple seasons where it lost the same amount of games as it won. It seems to be a pattern.

Before Dejounte Murray joined the fold — leaving the San Antonio Spurs in a trade involving multiple first-round picks — it was John Collins who suited up alongside Trae Young as the Hawks' “dynamic duo,” yet still, the needle failed to be moved. Even Trae Young himself wasn't enough to push the Hawks over the edge.

He got them there, sure, but with a lack of postseason success beyond the 2020-21 season, it seems that change is imminent.

There are plenty of ways that Atlanta could go about making changes to try and bolster its squad ahead of next season, but while the easy way out to is to continue to place faith in the Murray-Young duo, it's unlikely to be successful going by the numbers.

That's why the biggest need of the Hawks' offseason is arguably the toughest decision they could make.

And the most important.

Are Young and/or Murray the answer?  

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) and guard Trae Young (11) react during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When Trae Young was taken in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks, it was clear that they didn't see an imminent future with him.

Instead of building around the Oklahoma star, Dallas opted to go with Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic. Both teams made an exchange, and were happy with their respective rookies, and for good reason.

Doncic has led the Mavericks to the Western Conference Playoffs in four of his six seasons and despite losing Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks in the offseason, he's making a push in this year's postseason while the Hawks weren't able to scratch the playoffs.

It isn't the fault of Young, per se, but rather the overall team that Atlanta has around him. He's the best player on a team that just falls short of other teams, whether it be by experience or talent.

Young has had his moments of greatness. He's earned a nickname worthy of an incredible scorer and given an entire fanbase nightmares after his performances in Madison Square Garden, but something about his fit in Atlanta seems to be off.

And then there's Murray.

Murray joined the Hawks two seasons ago, and seamlessly fit into the role of a proficient scorer. He has what it takes to lead an offense — even recently scoring 44 points on 44 shots — but even with him and Young's combined scoring, the Hawks haven't made enough noise to warrant a clear profession of faith in the duo.

One of the Hawks' stars might need to go

So, who leaves and who stays?

Well, the first thing to consider is the pair's respective contracts. Young has a couple more years until his player option is exercisable, while Murray is locked-into the Hawks through the 2027 season. If any immediate action is to be taken, then it'll have to be done through a trade. Some suitors — remember those Spurs? — have become prominent, but no true talks between the two teams have begun.

As it stands, Young might be the best option for trading. He's the one of the duo who came out and gave a murky answer about his future. In short: He likes Atlanta, but also likes to win. That doesn't scream happiness.

He also addressed the idea of him being the best player on a team, and how it's not of high importance for him.

“People may think that I have to feel like I'm the best player on the team or first option,” Young said, via Brad Rowland on X. “I'm not that way. I've never been that way. … I know when we win, everybody eats. So, that's just been my motto since I was in high school.”

Young, being the best player on the Hawks, might be subtly alluding to an idea that he does want to try out some new scenery. Perhaps he's more open to the idea than Murray would be, especially with still such a long contract to go.

The Hawks don't have a clear answer as to what should happen with their dynamic duo. If not Young, then Murray. Or, if they do decide to keep both, there may be some other changes needing to be made.

Only time will tell what the Hawks will do, but if there's anything that's been made clear, it's that there is an issue at hand.

And a long offseason to fix it.