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 third installment, we look at some players that the Atlanta Hawks should avoid, at least in their widely projected draft slots.
Brad Rowland: It’s tricky to flatly cross players off the board, particularly with the Hawks having six picks. Still, there are a few guys often mocked as top-20 picks that I would avoid if Atlanta stayed put with their top-17 selections. Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and USC’s Kevin Porter are two players that I’m definitely lower than the consensus on, and I don’t love the fit of either Indiana’s Romeo Langford or Kentucky’s Tyler Herro. The ultimate answer to this question for me, though, is Oregon’s Bol Bol. It’s a non-starter for me in the top 20 with his defensive and durability questions.
Jeff Siegel: Outside of the top guards (Ja Morant, Darius Garland, and Coby White), there isn’t necessarily a player who absolutely should be avoided for fit issues with the current roster. That said, there are a few players I would avoid, all related to their lacking basketball IQ -- Jaxson Hayes, Bol Bol, and Mfiondu Kabengele would scare me off drafting them in the top 20, though Hayes is almost certain to hear his name called in that group. All three have the potential to put it together, but prospects with poor feel for the game would be ones to avoid in a draft that has plenty of players who have better recognition and awareness on both ends.
Glen Willis: The Hawks should still effectively be in the mode of taking the best player available. That said, Darius Garland and Coby White would offer significantly less value to Atlanta as compared to teams that haven’t secured their future star point guard. So if either are on the board at No. 8, I would expect trading back to be quite likely. Otherwise, I would steer clear of Rui Hachimura given that the success he had at Gonzaga seems quite unlikely to translate at the NBA level. Bol Bol is another player I would not select apart from him falling to the early second round. KZ Okpala is an interesting athlete but has so far to go in terms of developing a useful set of basketball skills that I would not recommend using a top 17 pick to acquire him. Some outlets are mocking Mfiondu Kabengele to the Hawks at No. 17 overall, but that seems like a reach to me. He seems like a value pick in the 31-40 range to me.
Greg Willis: Bol Bol has far too many question marks to be worthy of a top 20 pick, in my opinion. The same can be said for Kevin Porter. If the Hawks trade down to the latter portion of the first round, all options should be considered at that point.
Sam Meredith: As everyone else has already said, the Hawks really don’t need a point guard in the top 10. Outside of that, this team just needs talent to put around Trae Young so there isn’t really a single player you need to avoid. Jaxson Hayes and Bol Bol are two guys that probably should go outside of the top 20, but won’t. As always, it is wise to be wary of the bigs and draft a ton of wings.
Zach Hood: Aside from the obvious fit related red flags with Ja Morant, Darius Garland or Coby White, there are a few prospects I would steer clear of in the lottery. Sekou Doumbouya is an enticing, yet unpolished prospect that probably represents too much risk for an Atlanta group that seemingly has its core pieces in place and needs stable production out of the rest of the bunch. The young Frenchman may have a really bright future, but his ability to contribute in the near future is questionable at best, and there seem to be better fits on the board in the range he’s expected to fall in on Jun. 20. Personally, I’d also stay away from Jaxson Hayes, who is a fine prospect but has similar strengths and weaknesses to incumbent big man John Collins.
Rashad Milligan: Like everyone else said, there’s obviously no reason to take a lead guard in the top 10. Bol Bol’s talent (and potential) doesn’t scare me as much as his health does. Ben Simmons is arguably the only prominent rookie who has recently entered the league with an injury and hasn’t dealt with consistent health concerns since returning to the floor. I’m also not overly high on Kevin Porter, Jr.