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NBA Mock Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks could seek ‘fresh start’ in backcourt

A few interesting nuggets in a recent mock draft.

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We are in the height of mock draft season around the NBA, with less than one week until the big day finally arrives on June 21. As a result, we check in from time to time on the latest from those in the know and, on Thursday, Michael Scotto of The Athletic ($$) released a new mock draft that provides a ton of interesting insight.

Though the post is behind the site’s paywall (and I would recommend a subscription), the Hawks are linked to French guard Elie Okobo with the No. 30 pick. That is intriguing on a number of levels, including the fact that many believe Okobo (profiled in this space) might be gone by the time Atlanta could choose him in that slot.

However, Scotto’s rationale includes a very interesting nugget concerning Dennis Schröder and his future in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s starting point guard Dennis Schroder is available on the trade market, and both sides would like a fresh start.

Okobo could be developed, similarly to Schroder years ago, to become the point guard of the future.

“As I look at the field, I am confident I am one of the best point guards in the draft,” Okobo told ESPN.

It isn’t ground-breaking to suggest that Schröder may want out at this stage, especially given his public comments in Germany just one month ago. Still, it is noteworthy that Scotto suggests the Hawks could be in the market for “a fresh start” at the point guard spot.

Even if that doesn’t come with Okobo (or De‘Anthony Melton, also linked here), it is something to keep in mind throughout the draft process and into free agency. Schröder’s contract may be difficult to move without pain but, for instance, the Hawks could aim for a high-end option (cough, Trae Young, cough) and it would be a tough sell to have both guards on the same roster when training camp opens.

Elsewhere within the same mock draft, the Hawks put together an interesting haul and, again, the full context is important. However, Scotto drops in a sentiment that is both obvious, yet interesting, with regard to Atlanta’s plans this summer.

The Atlanta Hawks are open to using their cap space to absorb a bad contract in return for either young asset(s) or first-round draft picks. The worse the contract, the higher the compensation Atlanta would seek.

The salary cap situation for the Hawks is not unique in that a few teams around the league are in a similar rebuilding position and would be looking for assets. As such, this point of view has been widely assumed, both in this space and otherwise, but Scotto’s direct reporting serves as confirmation that, yes, the Hawks can (and should) be looking for partners that would allow the team to take on bad money, preferably in the short term, with an eye on future-facing assets.

Mock drafts will continue to roll in and we’ll have you covered in breaking them down between now and June 21. This one, however, is potentially more intriguing as a result of the overall sentiment, rather than the specific players involved.

Stay tuned.