If you believe in the conventional wisdom provided by the world of mock drafts, OG Anunoby is expected to be selected in the 2017 NBA Draft before the Atlanta Hawks come on the clock at No. 19 overall. However, it isn’t a lock that the former Indiana forward will be off the board and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report released a mock draft that pairs player and team.
Limited skills and a season-ending knee injury will make lottery teams think twice about OG Anunoby. The gamble becomes worth it this late for the Atlanta Hawks, who could buy into his elite tools and athleticism and potential to improve offensively in the NBA.
Even if he doesn't, with his size, strength, length and quickness, he could look to follow in the path of an Andre Roberson, who's built up his value with lockdown defense and the ability to guard multiple positions.
Anunoby is expecting to return at full strength in November or December, per FanRag Sports' Jon Rothstein. Atlanta coaches should ultimately look to prioritize his shooting development over the next year.
It should be noted that Anunoby isn’t necessarily a perfect fit in Atlanta in that the Hawks invested heavily in wings (Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bembry) in the draft one year ago. With that said, Anunoby’s wingspan (7’2) and overall athletic profile trend toward the fact that he could excel as a small-ball power forward in the NBA and that would ease some of that tension.
The big concern with Anunoby’s game is with his offense, as he is a very raw player that might struggle to perform even adequately on that end. With that in mind, the comparison to Roberson (see above) might be a good one.
Still, a player similar to Andre Roberson would provide a great deal of value considering the expected notion of a No. 19 pick. Anunoby’s defensive tools are virtually unmatched (with the exception of Jonathan Isaac) in this class and “Hawks University” could be trusted to develop his offensive game into a useful package.
It might be a pipe dream but, if the Hawks were able to snag Anunoby at No. 19 in the scenario above (and one that does not include Jarrett Allen being available), it would be very, very interesting.