ESPN’s Basketball Power Index doesn’t think very highly of the 2017-2018 Atlanta Hawks and that is evidenced by a projection that yields the second-worst record in the NBA. That, of course, isn’t a new phenomenon if you’ve been on the internet over the last few months but, in this case, it serves as an aid for the franchise in one particular area.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN used those BPI projections to influence the draft order in the latest mock draft from the worldwide leader and, in short, it led to the Hawks adding Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. with the No. 2 overall pick.
Porter's size, shot-creation skill and scoring instincts will make him a coveted prospect next June. He's a playmaker on both ends of the floor who is just starting to figure out how to put his talent to full use. NBA scouts will want to see him lead Missouri to the NCAA tournament while playing efficient basketball on both ends of the floor.
There is already a growing divide when it comes to determining the No. 1 prospect in this class, with Porter Jr. battling against Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, Texas big man Mo Bamba, Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and European prodigy Luka Doncic. Still, Porter Jr. has long been a favorite of Hawks fans dreaming of what could be in the future and this should please many folks.
Porter Jr. hasn’t played a college game yet but the 6’10 forward brings a big-time blend of skills to the table. There have been comparisons to Kevin Durant and, while they are (frankly) silly, Porter Jr. is a tremendous prospect that is certainly worthy of top-five hype at this very early stage.
Putting too much stock into mock drafts in September can be perilous but one can dream of Michael Porter Jr. in a Hawks uniform by late June.