The 2016-2017 NBA season is over for the purposes of the Atlanta Hawks and the next big event on the calendar is the 2017 NBA Draft. While we are still more than six weeks away from the action, we now know that the Hawks will be making the 19th overall selection in the first round and Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation took a stab at projecting who Atlanta will land this week.
The full mock draft is certainly worth a read on the mother ship but the Hawks walked away with Texas big man Jarrett Allen. O’Donnell described him in this way:
Allen was Shaka Smart’s first signature recruit at Texas and was supposed to take the program to the next level. Instead, the Longhorns stumbled to an 11-22 largely because they had no true point guard. Allen might not have made a big impact on college basketball, but his tools are undeniable as a long-term prospect.
Allen is something of a divisive prospect, which can be traced back to expectations in the way that the mock describes. There was a school of thought that the 6’11 center could ascend into a top five pick but Texas was brutal at times and Allen’s production suffered as a result.
With that said, the freshman big man did come on strong in Big 12 play, averaging nearly 17 points and 10 rebounds per game against conference opponents and that is perhaps a positive indication. Allen’s skill set as a (very) long, mobile big man could fit in nicely in Atlanta and, at the moment, the Hawks do not have a building block piece for the future at the position.
As a disclaimer this early in the process, it would be wise to not become attached to particular prospects, especially given all the turmoil that could take place before the Hawks send a pick to the podium at No. 19 overall. Still, Jarrett Allen is the type of high-upside big man that could be very interesting under the tutelage of Mike Budenholzer and company and this is a pick that would make sense to that end.