The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly discussing avenues to trade the No. 3 overall pick but, if they stay put, the mock draft community is nearly unanimous that the selection will be Luka Doncic. Obviously, a lot can change in the coming hours but, under the assumption of Doncic at No. 3, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic ($$) outlines a very interesting scenario in his latest mock.
In short, Texas A&M big man Robert Williams takes a bit of a slide and... ends up in Atlanta.
This would be a bit of a fall for Williams, but once you get beyond No. 15, it’s hard to find a spot for a true center. Williams has a higher upside as a pick-and-roll dive man than any other prospect in the class. He skies far above opponents with his pogo-stick leaping ability and 7-5 wingspan, but he needs to improve as a screen-setter. Williams also needs to improve his motor.
Even he will admit it ran hot and cold during the season. But the open space of the NBA game figures to help him, and he’d be a great flyer for a Hawks team in need of — well, everything — to take at this spot. It’s worth noting, too, that this pick is absolutely in play for a trade, as the Hawks consider the potential of moving up to consolidate some of their draft capital.
As noted by Vecenie, this doesn’t feel like the most likely scenario and most people rank Williams as something of a top-15 prospect. With that said, it would be a fantastic haul to secure Doncic and Williams without sacrificing future assets and the rest of Vecenie’s mock draft (subscribe to The Athletic for full context) also includes a great value at the No. 30 spot.
Outside of the top big men available (Jaren Jackson, Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter), Williams is the only consensus first round prospect at the position, combining high-end athleticism with good length and skill. Even if the Hawks don’t “need” to come away with a center prospect in this class, it certainly would make sense to add a player of his talent and he would also be the best player available in the scenario outlined here.
Stay tuned throughout the day (and evening) for all the latest.