Final mock drafts are rolling in around the NBA universe and the Atlanta Hawks are undoubtedly considering a number of factors with each of their four selections. With that as the backdrop, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated weighed in with his “version 11.0” on Thursday morning and, with the No. 30 pick, he projects Melvin Frazier of Tulane to the Hawks.
Given Atlanta has four of the first 34 picks in the draft, it’s possible someone other than the Hawks ends up drafting at this spot. Frazier has big-time tools, a workable jumper and a nearly 7’2” wingspan—making him clearly appealing despite the fact that he’s raw for an upperclassman.
His game isn’t polished, but he does cover a ton of ground defensively. He has some bad habits and is more of a reactive than instinctive player who needs work as a decision-maker. His feel for scoring just isn’t that great. But if Frazier plays hard consistently, hits open threes and continues to generate extra possessions on the defensive end, he could certainly make it work.
Frazier is a player I value at a high level, to the point where he would be in consideration for me at No. 19 overall. As noted above, Frazier isn’t a polished player at the moment but his defensive upside is off the charts with his length and athleticism and there is 3-and-D appeal of his jump shot continues to progress. If nothing else, he would fit the bill for Travis Schlenk as a two-way piece that is switchable and athletic.
Elsewhere, the Sports Illustrated mock projects another hyper-athletic wing talent at No. 19 overall in the person of Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith.
The late teens are feeling like a sweet spot for Smith, a hyper-athletic project in need of serious skill development but with enough of a ceiling to become a starting-caliber player one day. He could become a high-flying two-way contributor, or he could flame out quickly if his guard skills don’t develop.
If Atlanta sits on this pick, he would be a terrific upside play as they rebuild. If the Hawks can move up in the draft, he could be a target for the Clippers, Nuggets or Wizards.
It would have been nice if Smith measured at taller than 6’4 in shoes at the combine but his 6’10 wingspan and incredible burst help to make up for that. Honestly, he may be the best athlete in the entire class and, even if a lot of development is needed considering his meteoric rise, Smith would be a snug fit in Atlanta and a good value with the team’s mid-first round selection.
Finally, it comes as no surprise that Luka Doncic is the projection at No. 3 but Woo has this to say about that potential marriage.
The Hawks have discussions about trading this pick with a range of teams including the Mavericks and Magic, according to league sources. If the Kings go with Bagley at 2, Atlanta should have a rich market for Luka Doncic here and may well opt to trade the pick and move down.
There is strong internal interest in Trae Young in the event that happens, and he’s likely to be available if they choose to do so. There’s also a possibility the Hawks keep the pick and end up selecting whichever of Doncic or Bagley is available. Doncic would be able to start for the Hawks immediately, and gives them another lead ball-handling option as Atlanta has soured on Dennis Schröder. He’d be a strong fit if the Hawks decide to go for it, and seems highly unlikely to fall out of the top three.
Any number of options are on the table here, from selecting Doncic, Bagley or Jaren Jackson Jr. at No. 3 to trades that involve all kinds of teams and scenarios. At this point, everyone outside of NBA war rooms is in “wait and see mode” and all that can be reasonably added is that my personal analysis would lend itself to taking Doncic at No. 3 overall if he was available.