The Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks both made some deals at the trade deadline. Which team belongs in Tuesday’s NBA picks?
Atlanta Hawks vs. Phoenix Suns
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – 10:00 PM ET at PHX Arena
Things have changed in the NBA. Last Thursday was one of the busiest trade deadlines the league has ever seen; among the teams who re-tooled their rosters were the Atlanta Hawks and the Phoenix Suns, who will meet this Tuesday at PHX Arena. Which team did the most to improve their chances of beating the NBA odds? It may have been the Suns (31-14 SU, 30-15 ATS). They’ve opened as 5.5-point favorites at SBK, and with the subtle change they made, Phoenix look like they belong in your NBA picks – at least for a small sum. Let’s break down the moves both teams made and see who came out ahead.
The Torrey Party
The Suns may have pulled off the biggest steal of the trade deadline when they acquired Torrey Craig (plus-0.2 VORP) from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for cash and a trade exemption. That deal was made back on March 18, and in his five games with Phoenix, Craig has played at an All-Star level, once again showing some of the promise he did coming up with the Denver Nuggets. This is obviously a much better fit for Craig than what he had with Milwaukee. And the Suns are 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS since making the trade.
The Hawks (23-23 SU, 23-22-1 ATS) waited until deadline day to make their deal, and it’s an interesting one: They sent Rajon Rondo (minus-0.1 VORP) to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Lou Williams (0.0 VORP) and a pair of second-round draft picks. Rondo wasn’t performing at a very high level in the ATL – the Clippers are gambling that they’ll see “Playoff Rondo” once the postseason rolls around. Atlanta, meanwhile, hope Williams will be rejuvenated now that he’s back in the Dirty South, although he told reporters he thought about retiring once he heard the Clippers were letting him go. I’ll call it a wash in the short term, with the Hawks doing very well to grab those draft picks and save some money, too.
Sweet Lou Redux
Williams has yet to start his second tour of duty in Atlanta – he’s expected to join the team on Tuesday – so once again, Phoenix have the jump when it comes to Craig. Players need a little time to adjust to their new surroundings, although it’s normally a relatively small difference in performance level. However, it’s unclear whether Williams will actually play on Tuesday. Head coach Nate McMillan has yet to confirm or deny at press time.
The Hawks have other personnel issues to worry about. Danilo Gallinari (plus-0.4 VORP) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (plus-0.1 VORP) have both been ruled out for Tuesday’s game, while Clint Capela (plus-1.3 VORP) is listed as questionable with a sore right hand. All three players had been listed as day-to-day, so this latest news makes Phoenix look even more like the right choice in this contest – as if the most profitable team on this year’s NBA lines needed any more help.
NBA Pick: Suns –5.5 (–116) at SBK