Could Georgia junior Travis Leslie be a possibility for the Hawks in the second round? (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Without a first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks have very little in terms of excitement surrounding the draft. Atlanta does own a second round selection at No. 48 and that bares paying attention for a couple of reasons. For one there is a strong chance that because of the club's salary cap situation, whomever they select could find themselves on the Hawks roster as a cheap option to get to the 13 man minimum.
Another reason to pay attention is that while this draft overall is considered weak, there may not be that much of a difference in the players selected in the second round from the ones selected late in the first. Therefore it may still be possible to find someone that can provide the club with something useful.
To figure out what we are looking at, I tried to dig up a couple of mock drafts that also projected the second round. DraftExpress.com has the Hawks selecting E'Twaun Moore out of Purdue. Moore is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who averaged 18 points per game last year while shooting 45 percent from the field.
NBADraft.net projects Atlanta to select Malcolm Thomas from San Diego State. Thomas is a six-foot-nine power forward who averaged just over 11 points and eight rebounds for the Aztecs last season.
Keep in mind that at this point, it is very difficult to project the end of the first round, much less the second. So we can still expect to see some movement in the final few days leading up to the draft. One scenario worth keeping an eye on is of the stock of the three players with ties to local colleges. Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert and Georgia's Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie could be in play when the Hawks select.
Shumpert or Leslie might make the most sense for Atlanta if either were to be available as they both in theory would fill a need as a perimeter defender. Shumpert stock has been on the upswing and will in all likelihood be off the board by the time Atlanta picks but Leslie could still be around. Atlanta might not need another power forward if Thompkins were available and if selected he would likely compete with the likes of Magnum Rolle for a spot on the roster.