Point guard has been a position that most NBA Draft pundits have ignored with regard to the Atlanta Hawks. After all, the team has both Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder under contract for the 2016-2017 season and, as such, there is no gaping hole on the current roster.
Still, Michael Schottey of Forbes released his latest mock draft on Tuesday, and he sent former Vanderbilt point guard Wade Baldwin to Atlanta with the 21st pick. Here is what the writer had to say:
Baldwin missed the first round in my last mock, but he’s definitely got that kind of talent, and this scenario lands him in a good spot for his game. Though he’s got great size and athleticism, just about everything he does could be just a little bit better. If he cleans up his decision making and finds a groove offensively, the potential is there.
Scouts appear to be all over the board on Baldwin, with some pegging him as a potential lottery pick and some (as Schottey suggests) even skeptical that he will land in the first round. ESPN currently ranks the 6-foot-4, 202-pound guard as the number 20 prospect overall in this class, with DraftExpress sitting in a more optimistic position with Baldwin at number 15 overall.
There have been real questions about Baldwin's makeup, ranging from leadership concerns to general immaturity, but the physical traits are impressive. He is a big point guard to be sure, and while he may end up as a "combo" guard at the NBA level, Baldwin has displayed encouraging court vision to go along with 5.2 assists per game as a sophomore at Vanderbilt.
It would be very interesting if the Hawks elected to take a point guard without a corresponding roster move (i.e. a trade involving Teague or Schröder), but if they did choose that route, tabbing a high-upside player like Baldwin with good size would be the best path. As usual, every caveat should be assigned to this projection given that it claims no insider information, but Baldwin is an intriguing prospect nonetheless.