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 fourth edition, we evaluate potential options at No. 17 overall.
Brad Rowland: The aim here is to be realistic, so imagining a scenario (for example) in which Nassir Little falls to No. 17 is probably too dreamy. With that in mind, I think there would be good value in Tennessee’s Grant Williams, a pair of Kentucky prospects in Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington, or potentially even an intriguing big man like Nic Claxton. The value isn’t great at No. 17 in this draft if the top 16 goes how my big board would go (including Williams and Washington, FWIW) but, in that case, trading out or down might be the move. Also, there might be a faint chance that Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke or a super-talented big like Goga Bitadze fall out of the lottery and, if that happens, Atlanta could jump in with a trade-up to get “their guy.”
Jeff Siegel: Frankly, I’d be surprised if they were even picking at No. 17 come draft night. Moving up or down feels like the way this is going for them, though there’s a chance they trade out of No. 10 and use No. 17 as their second first-rounder of the evening. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is one of my favorite players who should still be available in this spot -- he’d give the Hawks another secondary ball handler and can defend both guard positions. His game may be a little bit similar to Kevin Huerter’s, but a team can never have too many wings, particularly wings who can handle the ball, and Atlanta could envision a more egalitarian offensive system that sees Trae Young move off the ball a bit more if they had confidence in their other ball handlers.
Glen Willis: A big man they really like. A month ago or so ago, the view was that there was not a player among the group that stands out enough to use a first round pick with which to acquire one. What happens in the final 4-5 weeks prior to the draft as teams get players in for workouts, however, is that a few players at each position start to get separation from the rest of the group. I believe at the PF/C position that those players are Nic Claxton, Bruno Fernando and Luka Samanic. I’d be happy with any one of those three prospects.
Greg Willis: The No. 17 pick may be a bit early for him, but Cameron Johnson is a player who can shoot the lights out. He is more of a finesse player who likes to float on the perimeter, but that is a style that is well suited for the spacing in today’s NBA game. Schlenk has shown a willingness to draft players with strong offensive profiles, especially as shooters, with the anticipation they can be coached up on the defensive end. He might be viewed as a reach, but I would not be shocked to see the Hawks target the North Carolina product on draft night.
Sam Meredith: The No. 17 pick might be the one high pick that the Hawks have where selecting a big man is alright. Still, looking for more wings would be the best thing for Atlanta to do. There is a good chance that Grant Williams will be there and he’s a great fit with the Hawks. I highly doubt the Hawks will actually be picking at No. 17, but if they do, there will be a ton of “role player” level prospects available for Travis Schlenk and Co.
Rashad Milligan: Pick No. 17 is the first “house money” pick for the Hawks. If you end up best player available that both happen to be wings at No. 8 and No. 10 , then Atlanta should go big with the third selection. The P.J. Washington/Trae Young reunion, Goga Bitadze, Nicolas Claxton and the Bruno Fernando/Kevin Huerter reunion are my preferences, in that order.
Zach Hood: Grant Williams or Matisse Thybulle. Williams is one of the best pure basketball players in this draft, and if he were a little bigger, he’d probably be a lock to go in the lottery. His intangibles and IQ will play wherever he goes, and I would love to see him in Atlanta’s offense. It may be a reach to take Thybulle at No. 17, but assuming Nassir Little is gone, I could argue he has the most upside remaining on the board, and it may not be close. If they can trade back a couple spots and still get him, that’s great, but if not, I’d be fine with them reaching for him at 17.