The Atlanta Hawks have a very intriguing situation in the frontcourt, with Paul Millsap facing, Mike Muscala and Ersan Ilyasova facing free agency and Dwight Howard potentially wearing out his welcome. With that in mind, the Hawks have frequently been tied to “project” big men with regard to the 2017 NBA Draft and names like Jarrett Allen, Justin Patton, Harry Giles and Ike Anigbogu will certainly be in the mix throughout the process.
In his most recent mock draft, though, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report presented an off-the-radar name for the Hawks at No. 19 overall and the player in question is Anzejs Pasecniks. The 21-year-old big man from Latvia is an unheralded player to the casual fan but Wasserman likes the fit, saying the following.
Already one of the Spanish ACB's breakout young players, Anzejs Pasecniks may have moved the needle for himself with 24 points in 21 minutes April 23.
Difficult to miss, standing 7'2", he's quick off the ground with soft hands around the basket, shooting 66.2 percent on the season.
With his campaign still going and NBA teams looking for last-minute sleepers, contagious interest could make Pasecniks a candidate to rise this month, particularly if he can build on last week's performance. Turning 22 years old in December, he's automatically eligible for the draft.
ESPN is (much) lower on Pasecniks, ranking him at No. 55 overall, but Sam Vecenie of Sporting News has Pasecniks within his top 40 and DraftExpress places the big man at No. 30 overall. With those rankings in mind, it would be fair to wonder if this is a more reasonable target for Atlanta at No. 31 than at No. 19 but the Hawks went away from conventional wisdom with Taurean Prince at No. 12 a year ago and could do so again.
A lot can change based on the NBA Draft Combine taking place over the weekend but, for now, this is simply another name to ponder and consider moving forward. Stay tuned.