With training camp still almost one month away, most of the focus in the NBA world is on previewing the upcoming 2018-19 season. For some, however, NBA Draft scouting is a year-round endeavor and that means plenty of attention for players like R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson.
To that end, Jonathan Givony of ESPN released an updated 2019 mock draft on Tuesday morning and, with full context that it is far too early to be taking this kind of thing seriously, the Atlanta Hawks come away with an impressive haul.
With the No. 2 pick (note: the draft order was projected using ESPN’s RPM), the Hawks snatched North Carolina swingman Nassir Little. The 18-year-old stands at 6’7 and 215 pounds with a multi-dimensional skill set and, while he isn’t attracting the mainstream attention of the Duke standouts mentioned above, Little has a legitimate chance to crash the party as the No. 1 overall pick in this class.
He profiles as a two-way wing with real upside on both ends of the floor and it feels almost silly that he was not a consensus top-10 high school prospect just one year ago. Regardless, Little fits the mold of what NBA teams are looking for given his size and profile and he would slot in nicely with the Hawks.
Elsewhere, the always entertaining Cleveland Cavaliers draft asset did not convey in this mock scenario but the Hawks did end up with the No. 7 pick, courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks. That led to the selection of Kansas shooting guard Quentin Grimes. This, of course, tests the “you can never have too many wings” theory, as the Hawks would already have Taurean Prince, Kevin Huerter, Kent Bazemore (admittedly a lesser consideration as a veteran entering an expiring contract for 2019-20), and Little before taking Grimes. Still, it makes sense to take the best player available in virtually every circumstance and Grimes might be that.
Like Little, he has a two-way projection, though Grimes leans more into the scoring realm, at least at this juncture. It will be interesting to see how he fares at Kansas, particularly as head coach Bill Self doesn’t have the best background in showcasing potential one-and-done players on the wing.
It’s worth emphasizing again that mocks shouldn’t be taken with too much seriousness in late August but it is fun to dream, and the Hawks are likely to have multiple lottery selections when June arrives. Stay tuned.