There is a growing theme emerging with regard to the Atlanta Hawks and 2017 mock drafts, at least to this point. The Hawks have been linked to both John Collins and Zach Collins in recent weeks and, recently, another young, talented big man was projected to land in Atlanta by a prominent mock.
Howard Megdal of CBS Sports links Creighton center Justin Patton to the Hawks at No. 20 overall and his rationale is as follows:
Few are better equipped to mold the raw Marcus Camby-like athleticism into a productive two-way center than Mike Budenholzer, who can groom him to take over the starting spot by the time Dwight Howard’s contract ends.
Patton was not “supposed” to be a one-and-done player but the 7-footer emerged in a big way for Creighton this season and he might even fall within the lottery once late June arrives. With that in mind, Patton is both athletic and highly skilled to the point where a future projection as a starting-level center isn’t out of the question.
Given the recent track record (especially in 2016) of the Hawks, the widespread focus on big men is a bit surprising but this draft does boast a great deal of high-upside talent at the position. It remains to be seen what Atlanta will do but an athletic big man in the mold of Patton or Zach Collins would not be a bad addition, almost regardless of free agent direction in July.