The 2018 NBA Draft is nearly here and, before it arrives on June 21, the Peachtree Hoops staff gathered in roundtable fashion to answer a few pertinent questions. In the second installment, we ask the panel whether the Atlanta Hawks should aim to trade up from No. 19 overall and, if so, which players should be the target of that kind of move?
Brad Rowland: Absolutely. There is, as always, a cutoff point in which it is no longer worth it to pursue a move up but Atlanta’s assets (including another future 1st-round pick from Cleveland) provide ammunition for a move. I’m of the mind that it may be best to simply stay put and select four players but, for instance, if one of the Bridges (Miles and Mikal) slipped or the Hawks became smitten with Robert Williams after selecting Luka Doncic at No. 3, I could easily justify a deal to snatch a value pick.
Jeff Siegel: Everything should be considered when it comes to trades, but outside of the top ten, I don’t think there’s a ton of difference between the guys who will go in the early teens and a player the Hawks could take at 19. If they have the ammunition to get into the top 10 and pair whomever they take at 3 with either of the Bridges or Michael Porter, then that’s something I would heavily consider, but otherwise I’d stand pat at 19.
Zach Hood: Definitely. Obviously, like anything else, it depends what it will cost to move up, but there could be a lot of benefit in moving from 19 to 14-16. If they were able to navigate a deal, I would like to see them take Lonnie Walker. I think he’s a guy who could score 20 points a game in the NBA, possibly the secondary option to whoever they select with the No. 3 pick. If Walker isn’t there, maybe they could snatch one of the Bridges or Zhaire Smith.
Glen Willis: Absolutely, unless as the draft unfolds the math just happens to workout in their favor. For example when Washington is picking at No. 15, if the Hawks still see five players available that they would be happy to select, they should stand pat. I believe this was the case last season when as their spot approached that they would have been happy with either John Collins or Kyle Kuzma. But this year, I feel like the No. 19 spot is going to end up being at least two to three spots away from a player(s) that offers significantly more upside than the group of players that will be available to them should they not move up. And not a single player I imagine them getting at No. 30 or No. 34 would be worth not using one of those picks to move up for the right player(s). The prospects that I would love to see them target (if they end up being in play) with such a move include Lonnie Walker, Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith and Keita Bates-Diop.
Xavier Cooper: I like the idea. Why not attempt to get a Bagley and possibly Michael Porter Jr. or one of the Bridges brothers? The Hawks can’t possibly screw up two picks in the top 10 or 12. Porter Jr. is a guy I think is the biggest risk/reward player in the draft because of his back injury. He could either be a bust or the next best thing the NBA has ever seen. I would go with a safer pick in Bagley or Jackson or Bamba and then go take a chance on a player that other teams might pass on for whatever reason.
Sam Meredith: I think it depends on who the Hawks select with the third pick. If Atlanta comes away with one of the big men, then I say absolutely go for it to target a high upside backcourt player. I believe No. 19 and No. 30 could probably move the Hawks up to around 15 or 16 where a player like Lonnie Walker, Collin Sexton, Gilgeous-Alexander or Zhaire Smith might fall to. I would love to see a draft where the Hawks are able to pick up one of the bigs at the top and then a guy like Gilgeous-Alexander in the late lottery instead of trying to go quantity over quality. It’s also possible for a team like Denver sitting at No. 15 to be searching for a salary dump in exchange to move back which the Hawks should also be all over.
Greg Willis: No, if they trade up, they would likely have to give up the No. 30 or No. 34 pick, or a protected future first rounder to move up. In my opinion, there are enough good players on the board to sit at No. 19 and take the best player there. This draft is deep in terms of projected NBA rotational players and they could get four players in this draft that fit their long term plans. Trading up from No. 19 would likely reduce that number to three.
Josh Lane: If this is a possibility for the Hawks to move up, then they should. There is not a single guy on this roster that isn’t safe from trade talks. If Atlanta sees a guy that they like (Sexton, Bridges, etc.), then they should go for it, assuming the price is right.