The Atlanta Hawks are the only team with multiple lottery picks in the 2019 NBA Draft and, in conjunction with the franchise’s rebuilding timeline, that opens up myriad possibilities for general manager Travis Schlenk and the front office. Before the lottery occurred, Schlenk was quoted as saying that the presence of five selections would give the team “flexibility” and, with that in mind, Michael Scotto of The Athletic brings word of an interesting scenario.
Scotto indicates that “several executives around the league cited the Hawks, Celtics, Nets and the 76ers as teams looking to unload at least one of their draft picks on the trade market.” This jives with Schlenk’s statement in early May that the Hawks “probably don’t want to add five rookies to the team” and, from a common sense standpoint, this adds up through that lens.
It is important to note that the reporting does not focus singularly on the team’s lottery selections and, if anything, it might be as likely (or even more so) that the Hawks would shuffle one or more of their trio of second-round selections. Atlanta is scheduled to pick at No. 35, No. 41 and No. 44 when June 20 arrives but, with Schlenk’s first two drafts as potential precedent, the front office hasn’t been hesitant to wheel and deal in the past.
Could the Hawks package multiple selections with an eye toward a specific player that might be off the board before No. 8 overall? Absolutely. That may not be a wise investment given the flat nature of this draft class but, if Schlenk and his staff fall in love with a specific prospect, an argument could be made that going to get “their guy” may be wise.
Could the Hawks move down from No. 8 and/or No. 10 with an eye toward value? Well, yes. Conventional wisdom dictates that sliding down the board in a draft considered flat would be a wise value proposition (particularly if the team would be able to select what they deem to be a similar prospect while acquiring an extra asset) and, even if the Hawks don’t want to add five rookies to the 2019-20 roster, additional capital could be used in trade or with the ability to stash players internationally for the future.
In some ways, this reporting isn’t stunning and Schlenk has been active on the trade market in the past. Still, the notion is now publicly available that the Hawks could be open for business, making things all the more interesting over the next month.