Many big men have been projected to the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and that makes sense. After all, the team is largely void of frontcourt players under contract and prospects like Jarrett Allen of Texas and Justin Patton of Creighton are generally seen as being potentially available in that range.
On Wednesday evening, though the good folks at DraftExpress inserted a new young big man for the Hawks in that slot with Bam Adebayo of Kentucky.
Adebayo is a tremendous athlete. The 19-year-old stands 6’10 with nearly a 7’3 wingspan and he brings enough bulk and strength to the table to be able to bang on the interior with NBA-level big men. Beyond that, Adebayo is fully capable of catching and finishing around the rim offensively and switching effectively on the defensive end.
If there are questions about Adebayo, they arrive with his overall skill level. He had a (very) low usage rate at Kentucky, largely due to a jam-packed roster that featured Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. However, that does leave questions about his offensive ceiling and, despite his athletic tools, Adebayo did not rebound at the rate that you would want for a physically dominant college big man.
No. 19 might seem (slightly) high for Adebayo but it isn’t ridiculous either. In DX’s scenario, players like Allen, Patton and Harry Giles were off the board and the mock inserts Adebayo ahead of players like UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu and Indiana’s OG Anunoby. As noted earlier in the week, Anunoby would be a best-case scenario (at least in my opinion) should he fall but Adebayo is a perfectly reasonable choice.
There might be a scenario in which Adebayo or another big in this range falls to No. 31 but, in order to be sure, the Hawks would be wise to take “their guy” at No. 19 and it could potentially be Bam Adebayo. Stay tuned.