The 2019 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching and the Peachtree Hoops crew gathered in roundtable fashion to answer some interesting questions before June 20 arrives.
In the first installment, we glance at some players the Hawks should be targeting with their trio of second-round selections.
Brad Rowland: This draft, perhaps even more so than recent iterations, could produce wild scenarios and players unexpectedly falling. For example, Georgia’s Nic Claxton or Maryland’s Bruno Fernando would be (very) good for the Hawks at No. 35 but, in the end, they will probably be gone. More realistically, I’d be targeting Chuma Okeke, Ty Jerome, Dylan Windler, Eric Paschall and Darius Bazley in this range. There are certainly other options (Daniel Gafford, Miye Oni, Ignas Brazdeikis, etc.) to consider and, honestly, the flat nature of the draft makes this fun.
Jeff Siegel: If the Hawks are still picking at these spots, there will be plenty of options available to them in the first half of the second round. This draft isn’t deep on star talent, but it is immensely deep on role players with strong cases to be rotation players in the NBA, which will give Travis Schlenk many avenues to explore as the draft moves out of the first round. Packaging multiple picks to trade up, using these picks as fodder in a larger deal, or moving down and picking up future assets are all on the table for Schlenk, as well as standing pat and drafting players to fill out the team’s roster going into the summer.
The fact that the draft is so heavy on rotation players could lead to some erratic outcomes, with players dropping from the mid-teens all the way to the second round or rising from the bottom of the top 60 on most boards all the way into the end of the first round. There are so many options and so many players who all have strengths and weaknesses that somewhat balance out that it makes ordering them immensely difficult. If things fall perfectly for Atlanta, a player like Washington’s Matisse Thybulle or even Tennessee’s Grant Williams might be available to them all the way down at No. 35, even though those are both guys I’d consider at No. 17.
Glen Willis: Despite the general consensus that this is not a great draft class, there is solid wing depth in this draft that Atlanta should be able to target one at either No. 35 or No. 41. Darius Bazley might have ended up a mid-first round draft pick had he played at the collegiate level last season, and there is some likelihood that he could be available at No. 35. Chuma Okeke has likely dropped on boards after suffering an ACL tear in the NCAA tournament. In the long term, he could offer a lot of value given his projected defensive versatility. Isaiah Roby could offer some nice length and versatility as well. If he develops into one of his better potential outcomes, he could end up being a Kyle Anderson type with maybe a bit of actual athleticism.
As for the selection at No. 45, I am hoping they target a point guard with Tremont Waters being my first choice. His defensive potential would compliment Trae Young as the firmly established starter. Shamorie Ponds has an offensive game that fits what the Hawks want to and projects to potentially be a useful off ball defender where he might be a fit to play along with DeAndre’ Bembry on Atlanta’s second unit, but there is some chance that Ponds could be had as an undrafted free agent. One of the tougher aspects of picking as many as three times in the upper half of the second round is projecting which players might not get drafted in the latter half. As such, trading back with one of their current picks would not be a surprise.
Greg Willis: There are a lot of players in this draft that are easy to like as second rounders but not so much as first rounders, primarily due to the extensive parity in this draft class. I think it is very, very tough to predict the 21-30 picks in this draft and thus very difficult to know who will be available in the second round. Dylan Windler would be an excellent find in the second round. He is a first round shooter with a solid all around game. Admiral Schofield is a tough, physical player who reminds me a lot of Jae Crowder who was also an excellent second round find. Chuma Okeke is undervalued because of his injury and would be a great “semi-stash” type player if he Hawks do actually draft 5+ players. Deividas Sirvydis is very young and has significant potential upside as well.
Sam Meredith: After watching what the Hawks did with their second round picks and with the 30th pick in last year’s draft, it would be super hard to predict what the front office would decide to do. This draft, unlike some others, does not have the most well-defined tiers of players. So, with that said, there are a ton of ways the first round could go which could result in some players sliding down to the early 30’s. In that case I think Schlenk and Co. will make at least one of their second round picks, but really I don’t expect them to make a single pick in the second round. With three first rounders and three second rounders the Hawks might find themselves in a situation where they could move up into the top five and go after one of the more choice prospects. The Hawks definitely don’t want to go into next season with six new rookies so my best prediction isn’t a player, but instead a trade of the three second round picks to move their other picks up into the more valuable pool of players to choose from. However, if they did make a selection at 35 I wouldn’t hate to see someone like Dylan Windler or Keldon Johnson that could slip into the early second. Maybe even an older point guard to backup Young like Ty Jerome or Shamorie Ponds could be a nice fit.
Zach Hood: Depending on what they are able to do in the first round, it would be ideal for Atlanta to pickup a potential backup center for the future in the second round. Maryland’s Bruno Fernando and Georgia’s Nic Claxton will probably be off the board at No. 35, but Schlenk could use the combination of the three second-round picks to move up in order to guarantee a shot at drafting one of those players. If they elect to pick a center in the first round (most likely at 10 or 17, assuming they keep one or both of those picks), it would be good to see them add some defensive versatility. Terance Mann guarded multiple positions for Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State team over a stout four-year career with the Seminoles, and would bring in some defensive pedigree that the current Atlanta roster lacks.