The Atlanta Hawks hold the No. 19, No. 31 and No. 60 picks in the 2017 NBA Draft and, as you may expect, the great majority of focus has been on the team’s first-round selection. However, the No. 31 overall pick is exceedingly valuable given the way that NBA contracts are structured and the good folks at DraftExpress put up a mock draft updated over the weekend that includes a fascinating choice for Atlanta.
That pick is Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans.
For reference, the same mock has the Hawks selecting Creighton big man Justin Patton at No. 19. While that would not be a surprise based on other mock drafts, Evans even being available at No. 31 shouldn’t be considered a given.
Sam Vecenie of the Sporting News places Evans at No. 15 overall on his big board and many others believe that the talented guard is a first-round lock. Still, wild things happen in the NBA Draft world and there is a strong group of lead guards expected to go near the top of the draft.
There are also size concerns with Evans, who measured at less than 6-feet tall at the NBA Draft Combine, and that could facilitate a drop. Still, he was a terror against opposing defenses in the Big 12 and Evans profiles as a competent backup with upside. Given the struggles of Malcolm Delaney (the other point guard under contract) in 2016-2017, it is at least conceivable that Atlanta would invest at the position, even if the team believes (as I do, for the record) that Delaney will rebound in year two.
Trying to project the No. 31 overall pick is even more difficult than doing the same with the No. 19 selection. With that said, Jawun Evans at No. 31 would be a big-time win for the Hawks.