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 second edition, we discuss whether the Atlanta Hawks should consider trading down in the first round.
Brad Rowland: Absolutely. I’ve been on record for a long time that the value in this class is moving down and, even with the obvious caveat that Atlanta already has six picks, the value proposition hasn’t changed. Granted, picking up more picks in the 2019 draft is probably a non-starter but the Hawks could slide down for No. 10 or No. 17 in this class while adding a future asset. That would make sense and taking the trade-down option off the board entirely would be a mistake.
Jeff Siegel: They absolutely should, if the right deal comes along, but there might be some value to zigging when everyone else is zagging. The consensus across the board is that this draft is relatively flat and that trading down is where the value is, but if a number of teams are trying to trade down, it makes it a lot cheaper to trade up. The Hawks are well-positioned to trade up with the assets they currently have in their war chest and if they find a team who’s desperate to trade down, they’ll make that move. Schlenk has proven that he’s willing to make value trades, even if it flies in the face of the general consensus -- he did so last year when he moved down from No. 3 to No. 5 and picked up No. 10 in this year’s draft. Doing so this year would be going the opposite direction, but if the value’s there, he doesn’t care what the general consensus is.
Glen Willis: The Hawks certainly could have fared better (and worse) in the draft lottery. But, with the No. 8 and No. 10 picks in the first round Atlanta will kind of be in the catbird seat on draft night. Teams in the 11-16 range that really like a player that is not projected to be available when they pick could be strongly motivated to make a deal. As such, the Hawks should be taking every call regarding their first round picks. It’s also important to remember that if they stand pat and use each of their three first round picks a few years down the line they could be encountering consecutive seasons with three players approaching restricted free agency. With the No. 17 selection, I would personally hope the Hawks stand pat and exercise that as the opportunity to get a big man they really like, with Nic Claxon, Bruno Fernando and Luka Samanic looking like interesting fits to me.
Greg Willis: The parity in this draft class certainly makes the option of trading down very sensible. However, on the inverse, it could be very difficult finding trade partners willing to give up anything of value to move up. Travis Schlenk is sure to be working the phones hard on draft night. Should any particular team be so enamored with one particular player and be willing to spend assets to move up, the Hawks should be willing to listen and pounce on that opportunity.
Sam Meredith: The Hawks should definitely be weighing every option if the right deal comes along. However, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Schlenk and Co. to take three swings in the lottery. In a perfect world you’re able to trade picks ten and seventeen for pick four or five to make a run at Culver while also keeping pick eight to take another big swing, but as things go the Hawks will likely never be able to get great value in a two-for-one swap. Unless Atlanta has a prospect they’re absolutely in love with around picks 3-4-5 it would be wise to just take their three swings.
Zach Hood: In a word, absolutely. The more aggressive strategy is starting to leak out, with the potential for Atlanta to move up in the draft looking more and more likely. If they’re unable to move up for Jarrett Culver, they should be open to turning at least one of the first round picks into a future asset. It will be tough to bring in three somewhat high profile rookies two years in a row, so only incorporating two first-round picks in 2019 would probably make head coach Lloyd Pierce’s life less stressful.
Rashad Milligan: It all depends on how high management is on the wing guys i.e. Jarrett Culver, Cam Reddish, DeAndre Hunter, Sekou Doumbouya and Nassir Little. If Travis Schlenk truly feels that Culver is the only guy worth chasing this year out of that bunch, then sure, trade down or even out if you’re unable to trade up for him. As many have noted, his track record shows what he values the most, followed by “pass, dribble, shoot,” which are future assets. Trading out on draft night may upset some fans in the heat of the moment, but that’s not a situation the fanbase isn’t accustomed to at all.
Graham Chapple: Consider? Of course. They’d be foolish not to. If Travis Schlenk is as low on this draft as everyone else seems to be it’s in his interest to maybe leverage those assets and turn his picks this year into additional assets, which he did last year when he turned the third overall pick into the fifth pick and a future first (which turned into the 10th overall pick this year, though I’m still annoyed Schlenk gave up 34 the way he did last year for future picks). Even if he is high on this draft, he’ll still be listening - Schlenk has history of trading out of good spots in favor of additional assets in the future, turning one pick into two. I think he’d be wise to consider exchanging 8 or 10 in favor of a future first, with this year’s crop seemingly lacking. He loves his assets, trading down gives him a chance to add more.