Memorial Day is now in the past and the 2019 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. In fact, the big day will arrive in less than four weeks and, through that lens, crunch time is nearly here.
With that in mind, Chris Stone of the Sporting News put forth a mock draft that is interesting for the Atlanta Hawks, with the team tabbing a pair of long, talented forward prospects. First, Duke’s Cam Reddish lands at No. 8 overall.
Reddish had a lackluster freshman season in Durham, where he finished with an abysmal shooting percentage inside the arc. Atlanta will be betting it’s getting more of what the 6-9 forward showed in high school. Reddish frequently operated in more of a point forward role prior to arriving at Duke.
He has the potential to be a decent secondary playmaker next to Trae Young. If he’s able to consistently knock down outside shots, he’ll also help the team space the floor.
Then, the Hawks tab 18-year-old French standout Sekou Doumbouya
Atlanta’s reward for the Young-Luka Doncic swap is a second top-10 selection in the 2019 draft. Doumbouya is one of the youngest prospects in the class, and he has the physical tools to be an impactful, versatile defender at the NBA level. The key will be sorting out what type of role he can play offensively.
It isn’t a shock to see either of these players projected to Atlanta, particularly in the case of Reddish. After all, the Duke forward has been linked to the Hawks on a number of occasions and, if anything, Reddish could be off the board before Travis Schlenk has the opportunity to select him. It would be tough to make an argument on behalf of Reddish as a top-10 pick based only on his collegiate performance but, as noted by Stone, his pre-college evaluation was (very) strong and Reddish’s talents could unlock in Atlanta’s free-flowing system.
As for Doumbouya, he has displayed encouraging signs in recent days, potentially cementing his status as a lottery pick. He has strong tools as a potential two-way force with an encouraging athletic profile, and if you see him on the right day, it is very easy to observe what NBA scouts would be tied to. On the flip side, Doumbouya hasn’t been incredibly consistent and he could be a long-term projection, rather than a prospect that would help the Hawks in the near term.
Given their status as a rebuilding squad, the Hawks should be in “best player available” mode. That doesn’t extend to the lead guard position, with Trae Young fully installed as the team’s centerpiece, but Atlanta shouldn’t blink at tabbing a pair of young, versatile forwards, at least if the franchise evaluates them as the best prospects remaining on the board.