The Atlanta Hawks came away with two high-floor college players in the first round and a high-ceiling asset in the 2016 NBA Draft. Though this class does not boast a single "home run" selection according to the general consensus across the league, Atlanta's efforts were generally received favorably when it comes to post-draft evaluation.
With regard to the pick of Taurean Prince at number 12 overall, there were more mixed reviews, but Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated handed out a "B+" grade while saying this:
The Hawks acquired this pick in the Jeff Teague trade Wednesday and coveted Prince, who immediately fills a hole on the wing as a delayed replacement for DeMarre Carroll. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none, but that should be a positive as he slides into Atlanta’s ball movement-heavy system. There weren’t a ton of pro-ready two-way wings in the draft, and the Hawks were decisive and got their guy. You do wonder, though, if he’d have been available later in the draft.
The good folks at USA Today described the Prince investment with a "B" grade:
If the Hawks had any plans to replace DeMarre Carroll, who they noticeably missed this season, Prince is their guy. From the 6-8 frame to the three-and-d capabilities, Prince doesn't necessarily have the makings of a star, but he could contribute as a role player from day one.
If there was a knock on the Hawks taking Prince with this particular pick, though, it came with the description of "a reach". Some reviews were able to get past that (see above with a reference that Prince may have been available later), but Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports did not speak highly of the pick, handing out a "D+" grade for the 12th pick:
Simply put, this is a massive reach for Atlanta, who acquired this pick for Jeff Teague. There's a decent chance Prince would have been there at No. 21. He has massive overlap with Paul Millsap. Why this felt like the right move for the Hawks, I'm not entirely sure, especially when players like Deyonta Davis and Wade Baldwin were on the board.
In terms of overlap with Paul Millsap, this could be a fair point in some instances, but Prince profiles as a player that can also play small forward and Millsap's versatility is vital to everything that Atlanta does on both ends. Still, the point that Prince could have been had later in the draft prevails in the minds of many, even if the Hawks simply picked "their guy", with mock drafts be damned.
The reaction to Atlanata's pick of DeAndre Bembry at No. 21 was not with the same anxiety, as positive marks rained down on Wes Wilcox and Mike Budenholzer. FOX Sports handed out a "B" grade to the overall process while highlighting Bembry (and Prince) for the ability to contribute right away, and Sports Illustrated again praised the pick, giving it an "A".
This is pretty much an ideal fit for Bembry, whose terrific passing ability and well-rounded game are philosophically in line with what the Hawks like to do. His feel for the floor is beyond his years, and he can do a bit of everything for you, with his three-point shot the only real bit of doubt. With Bembry and Taurean Prince, they’ve injected youth and talent on the wing and added two players who won’t be overwhelmed next season. Whether Al Horford stays or goes, the Hawks make two solid moves for the future
Both USA Today and Sam Vecenie expressed similar sentiments, referring to Bembry's versatility, passing and overall athleticism as positives of this particular investment.
In an overall sense, Atlanta's strategy to add two college veterans with high floors and medium-sized ceilings won't be for everyone, but the Hawks came away with two legitimate first round talents that should arrive as contributors sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.