The Atlanta Hawks are one of the young teams in a prime position to turn a corner. With Trae Young and John Collins leading a young core, the Hawks ended the season strong. After a chaotic draft lottery, here are a few NBA draft targets Atlanta should keep an eye on.
The 2019 NBA Draft lottery was arguably the most hyped lottery since LeBron James‘ arrival back in 2003. Dubbed the “Zion Williamson sweepstakes”, numerous teams hoped that luck fell upon them to draft a generational star. Among them were the Atlanta Hawks, who after finishing with a 29-43 record, tied for the best odds.
Yet with the new lottery odds implemented in its inaugural year, the change also brought upon the possibility of chaos; and possibility turned into reality. On Tuesday night, the Hawks were one of two teams (the other being the Phoenix Suns) that fell out of the top four. As a result, Atlanta almost assuredly will miss out on the likes of Zion Williamson or even R.J. Barrett.
Hope is not lost though, and Atlanta can still build towards the future come draft night. The Hawks fell to the eighth spot, but also hold the tenth pick via last year’s Luka Doncic trade with the Dallas Mavericks. With two picks in the top ten, Atlanta can effectively build around their current young core for future success.
Here are the draft prospects that the Atlanta Hawks should realistically target come June 20th.
De’Andre Hunter, Forward, Virginia
As we all know, anything can happen on draft night and that includes a premier talent slipping on the board. Should luck fall their way, Atlanta could have a chance at selecting De’Andre Hunter out of Virginia if he’s available at pick number eight. That’s a big sized “if” but it could happen.
Hunter would fit in as a small forward for the Hawks, and his ability to knock down shots would be a welcome sight next to Trae young. Perhaps more importantly, he’s a quality defender making his usage applicable on both sides of the floor. In a league that has evolved to value the two-way player, Hunter fits the mold.
Cam Reddish, Forward, Duke
Cam Reddish had a bit of an underwhelming freshman season at Duke, but one can argue its justified when you play behind the likes of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. Reddish is still a top talent, and his college tape could allow him to fall to the Hawks at number eight or ten. Reddish was the more reliable shooter next to Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, and the hope is that skill can translate to the NBA. If he can hit shots consistently, he can help space the floor for Trae Young and Atlanta.
Jaxson Hayes, Forward, Texas
Jaxon Hayes is a bit of a raw player heading into the draft. He’ll likely be a development project for the foreseeable future. His shot-blocking prowess and knack for defending the rim could be a boost to a young Hawks team that struggled defensively. The ceiling could be starting at center, but at least he could provide depth behind John Collins as a big.
Rui Hachimura, Forward, Gonzaga
Rui Hachimura might be a bit of a reach even if the Hawks take him with the tenth pick. Hachimura was a standout player for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and would be a nice offensive threat next to Trae Young. At 21 years old, he’s a bit more developed than some of the younger prospects and perhaps that could be an advantage. He’ll need to work on his defensive game or at least prove to not be a liability on that end.
Bol Bol, Center, Oregon
Going with Bol Bol with the tenth pick is a legitimate stretch, but that doesn’t mean Atlanta Could have their sights set on him later in the draft. Via trade, the Hawks could trade down to take the big out of Oregon. Bol struggles with mobility but his sheer size and physical presence would be welcomed in the middle. Bol being a starter might be reaching, but he could be a nice presence off the bench for the Hawks.
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