Full-blown NBA mock draft season isn’t quite here but, with the All-Star break arriving and the college basketball scene heating up, more and more information is being dispersed. Earlier this week, we explored a scenario in which the Atlanta Hawks tabbed DeAndre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick and, while Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated did not place Atlanta in the top spot, his latest mock projection is quite intriguing.
By nature of Atlanta’s acquisitions of first round picks from both Minnesota and Houston, the Hawks are blessed with the No. 2, No. 24 and No. 29 overall selections in this mock draft and the team focuses heavily on the perimeter. At the top, the pick-up of Slovenian wunderkind Luka Doncic is not a surprise (with only Ayton off the board in this scenario) and, frankly, there will be plenty of time to dissect him in the coming days.
After that, though, the Hawks add high-major college talent on the perimeter in the form of Arizona wing Rawle Alkins and Duke point guard Trevon Duval. Woo had this to say about the Alkins pick-up:
Although he’s missed time on and off with a foot injury, Alkins has been an X-factor for Arizona all season and looks to be rounding into form for the stretch run. His ability to slash and shoot from outside and keep up with opposing wings defensively would be a nice fit with Atlanta’s rebuild. Alkins is an intelligent player and has some scoring upside thanks to his strong build and explosive leaping ability. He can gather some steam with a strong finish to the season.
Alkins has taken a nice step forward as a shooter this season, knocking down 37 percent of his three-point attempts, and that improvement is highly noteworthy. He profiles most likely as a 3-and-D prospect but, in the mid-20’s, that type of profile makes sense to target, especially with uncertainty surrounding DeAndre’ Bembry’s development.
As for Duval, the freshman point guard has seen his stock drop precipitously this season and the biggest culprit is his lack of shooting. In some ways, that would make him a tough fit next to Doncic but Duval does bring athleticism, burst and defensive upside to the table, especially if he can iron out some of the decision-making issues that have plagued him this season. Beyond that, Woo notes that “the team doesn’t seem tied down to Dennis Schröder” and, at this juncture, there is no reason to think that Atlanta would avoid point guard simply due to his presence on the roster.
Trying to nail down scenarios with three first-round picks will be next to impossible even when June arrives and, in February, it is almost a comical exercise. Still, a haul like this would be very interesting for Atlanta and with only John Collins (and, potentially, Taurean Prince) as definite building blocks, drafting for fit will likely take a back seat to tabbing the best player/piece available with all four (including the Hawks’ early second round selection) investment opportunities.