clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

An NBA Draft viewing guide to the All-Star break

New, comments

Four days to fill and plenty of basketball to watch.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks have a full week off from game action and, with NBA All-Star weekend in the rear-view mirror, the entire league is on hold for a few days. In fact, the Hawks don’t return to the floor until Friday, Feb. 22 against the Detroit Pistons, leaving four full days of silence.

However, the Hawks are in rebuilding mode and that means there will (and should) be plenty of attention paid to the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft. During this hiatus from NBA action, fans might want to catch up on draft evaluation and, with that in mind, we’ve created a viewing guide to help you find basketball to watch this week.

Here we go.

Monday, Feb. 18

  • Virginia at Virginia Tech - 7:00 pm ET (ESPN) - Honestly, this is a great starting point for the week. Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter is the big-ticket player and he should be firmly in the mix for either of Atlanta’s two projected lottery picks. Elsewhere, Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a likely first round pick and Virginia guard Ty Jerome could be in play for the Hawks early in the second round.
  • Illinois at Wisconsin - 8:00 pm ET (FS1) - There isn’t too much intrigue here but, on a light night of college basketball, there are two names to monitor. Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu might be more of a 2020 draft prospect but some see him as a potential (late) first rounder this year. On the Wisconsin side, Ethan Happ is a far better college player than he’ll ever be as a pro but the Hawks have a few second round picks and he might be intriguing in the back half of round two.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

  • Vanderbilt at Tennessee - 7:00 pm ET (WatchESPN) - Tennessee doesn’t have a lottery pick but the Vols might be the best college team in the country. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams could slip to the Hawks in the second round and, for me, both are first round-caliber prospects. Vanderbilt’s biggest prospect (Darius Garland) isn’t playing anymore but big man Simi Shittu could be worth a look in the early-to-mid second round.
  • Purdue at Indiana - 7:00 pm ET (WatchESPN) - Romeo Langford is the headliner in this match-up and the Indiana freshman could be a top-10 pick. He might not be a great fit in Atlanta because he needs the ball and has shooting issues but, with the way the board could fall, the Hawks should be monitoring him closely. Purdue’s centerpiece is Carsen Edwards and, while he’s a second round prospect for me, he’s fun and intriguing.
  • Maryland at Iowa - 8:00 pm ET (BTN) - The Hawks could be in the market for a center at some point in the draft and Bruno Fernando could fit the bill. He could be gone late in the first round but the Hawks should have a top-36 pick with their own second rounder and that might be enough.
  • Kentucky at Missouri - 9:00 pm ET (ESPN) - This would be more fun if Jontay Porter was playing for Missouri but there is enough intrigue on the Kentucky side to keep things interesting. Keldon Johnson is a lottery-level prospect on the wing for the Wildcats and John Calipari’s team has a trio of prospects (Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, P.J. Washington) that could fly off the board in the top 40.
  • Baylor at Iowa State - 9:00 pm ET (ESPN2) - No one in this game will be in play for the Hawks in the first round but Iowa State has a pair of wildly interesting perimeter players in Talen Horton-Tucker and Tyrese Haliburton.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

  • Villanova at Georgetown - 6:30 pm ET (FS1) - Last year’s Villanova team had a bunch of first round picks. This year, Eric Paschall is probably the only top-40 guy but he is a great “glue guy” and Phil Booth could sneak into the second round.
  • Florida at LSU - 7:00 pm ET (ESPN2) - LSU big man Naz Reid is very divisive. You could find scouts that have him in the top 20 or outside the top 40. Watch for yourselves.
  • Arkansas at Auburn - 8:30 pm ET (SEC Network) - Arkansas big man Daniel Gafford should have declared after last season and, if he had, he would’ve been a top-15 pick. Now, he’s probably a late first rounder but he would fill an interesting role in Atlanta.
  • St. John’s at Providence - 8:30 pm ET (FS1) - If you want to watch a bucket-getter, watch St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds. He’s either a late first rounder or an early second rounder. That means the Hawks should have a watchful eye on him.
  • North Carolina at Duke - 9:00 pm ET (ESPN) - As you may imagine, this is THE headline game on this entire list. In addition to UNC-Duke being the most high-profile rivalry in college basketball, there are four lottery picks and two additional first-round picks on the floor. Zion Williamson is my No. 1 prospect by a wide margin. After that, Duke’s R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish are consensus top-five picks and UNC’s Nassir Little might be in the same tier. Later, UNC guard Coby White and Duke guard Tre Jones are in the top 30 on most boards. Just watch this game.
  • Stanford at Arizona State - 9:00 pm ET (ESPN2) - Everyone will be watching Duke and North Carolina with good reason. If you want to save that one for later, though, this game features a pair of first-round talents. Stanford forward KZ Okpala probably won’t be in Atlanta’s range (he’s a mid-first round pick for me) but he’s interesting, and so is Arizona State guard Luguentz Dort.
  • Nevada at San Diego State - 11:00 pm ET (ESPNU) - Nevada is an awesome college team that doesn’t have a single top-40 prospect. In contrast, San Diego State isn’t all that good but the Aztecs do have Jalen McDaniels, who might be a first round pick when all is said and done.
  • Utah at Washington - 11:00 pm ET (FS1) - There isn’t a ton happening here but I love Matisse Thybulle. He’s a terrorizing defender and any team should consider him in the second round as a result.

Thursday, Feb. 21

  • Michigan at Minnesota - 7:00 pm ET (FS1) - With Iggy Brazdeikis cooling off considerably, Michigan might only have one top-40 prospect but Charles Matthews would be an interesting fit in Atlanta. He’s not a shooter but Matthews is arguably the best wing defender in the country.
  • UT Martin at Murray State - 8:00 pm ET (ESPN+) - Murray State point guard Ja Morant is now a top-five prospect for most people. That’s enough to tune in to this obscure game, even if the Hawks probably can’t justify drafting him with Trae Young already on the roster.
  • Pepperdine at Gonzaga - 9:00 pm ET - You might have to get creative to watch this one (streaming or otherwise) but the Zags have a few players to monitor. Rui Hachimura could be in play for Atlanta with the pick acquired from Dallas and, later, Brandon Clarke is a defensive monster that could conceivably slip into the early second round.
  • Oregon at USC - 9:00 pm ET (ESPN/ESPN2) - Bol Bol isn’t playing but Oregon still has a draftable player in Louis King. On the USC side, Kevin Porter is a risk/reward player but his talent places him in the lottery mix, providing all kinds of incentive for Hawks fans to watch this as a nightcap.