The Atlanta Hawks came into Thursday’s draft with a level of uncertainty in what direction they might go. Flexibility is always a priority and the Hawks explored their many options which included trading out all together. When the dust settled, the Hawks had selected a pair of wing prospects in the first round and an interesting shooting guard that will likely continue to develop his game overseas in the second.
Atlanta took Baylor small forward Taurean Prince with the No. 12 pick which was acquired in the Jeff Teague trade. Since that deal won’t become official until July due to salary cap restrictions, the Hawks were precluded from discussing Prince at this time. While many mock drafts projected Prince as a late first round, Thursday’s draft was another example that the draft itself is an inexact science.
There wasn’t a lot of difference in the quality of players outside of the Top 8 and the Hawks latched on to a guy they liked in Prince and put themselves in position to acquire him.
At No. 21, the Hawks selected DeAndre Bembry out of St. Joseph’s. Hawks General Manager Wes Wilcox talked about Bembry’s addition and described him as an unselfish player with a high basketball IQ that will fit into the Hawks system well.
“He’s a player that we have watched for some time,” Wilcox said. “A great deal of versatility. A very good passer. A high basketball IQ. Very good person. Very hard worker. We are excited to bring him to the Hawks family.”
Bembry is a 6’6 small forward who needs to work on his shooting but projects as a good defender with the ability to perform at several different positions.
“He is an exceptional passer and he is uniquely unselfish,” Wilcox added. “I think the shooting is one of the areas that he has to improve, and just the adjustment to the NBA game…. Our focus is to get him here, working with our coaches. We expect he will play Summer League.”
“We came into this draft… if we could address the level of athleticism of our team, we would love to do that.”
“He’s a very capable, athletic, long, competitive defender. Defensive rebounding is actually an area of strength of his. I think he projects well as a defender in the NBA.”
“We call them wings. The ability to play multiple spots. We think he has the potential to be a play maker. With the way we play, really 1, 2 and 3 are many times interchangeable. We just think he’s a good basketball player, who in our system has a chance to play a lot of spots…. Certainly he has a skill set that we believe fits the Hawks.”
In the second round, Atlanta took Isaia Cordinier who is a 6’5 shooting guard who played professionally in France last season.
“Isaia is a player we studied deeply throughout the season, he’s very athletic and plays extremely hard” said Wilcox. “He has high character and we are very pleased he was available at the 44th pick.”
Wilcox indicated that Cordinier may be a part of the Hawks’ summer league team but the likelihood is that he will return to France next season to continue his development.
Atlanta also had the No. 54 selection but opted to trade it to the Cleveland Cavaliers for cash considerations.
Overall, Wilcox seemed pleased with the Hawks’ draft as a whole and mentioned that this was just the first part of the next step for the franchise.