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 sixth (and final) edition, we glance at which players the Atlanta Hawks should be targeting with the team’s pair of top-10 picks.
Brad Rowland: This should be “best non-point guard available” at both picks, at least in my opinion. This was already true before the Taurean Prince trade but it is doubly so now, with the Hawks having a (very) easy ability to add two forwards to the mix without any concern for positional blockage. It seems insanely unlikely that Barrett or Culver would fall to No. 8 and, although less implausible, Hunter doesn’t seem likely to be there either. If any of those guys are available, the choice is easy. If not, things get more interesting. Cam Reddish would my pick if the top seven goes according to plan. If either of the point guards (Darius Garland, Coby White) fall, the Hawks should put No. 8 up for sale to the highest bidder. At No. 10, I’d be deciding between another forward (Nassir Little, Sekou Doumbouya) or a big man in Goga Bitadze, with Little in pole position and Bitadze ahead of Doumbouya for me.
Jeff Siegel: If they’re still there at Nos. 8 and 10, the only way they can go wrong is by reaching heavily, taking a lead guard, or taking two traditional centers. Realistically, as long as they don’t take Darius Garland or Coby White, don’t take both Jaxson Hayes and Goga Bitadze, and don’t fire away on a player who should be there at No. 17, there’s no bad outcome for the Hawks in this spot. Then again, it’s become more and more unlikely that they’ll even use both of these picks in the first place -- if they only have one, then a wing or forward makes more sense than a center (and we’ve already covered why lead guard is a bad idea). Cam Reddish or Nassir Little would be strong picks in this range, with Reddish as the more offense-oriented prospect and Little as the player who could elevate what is a particularly poor defensive roster.
Glen Willis: There is a possible path for De’Andre Hunter to still be available at No. 8. It would likely require both Darius Garland and Coby White to go in the top seven. It would also likely be the result of at least one team taking a younger player with more perceived upside than Hunter (age 21). If he’s there, it’s an absolute no-brainer pick. Otherwise, I’d love to see the Hawks land Brandon Clarke and the immense defensive versatility he could bring. At No. 10, I wouldn’t be disappointed with a Nassir Little selection. Additionally, there are many questions about Cam Reddish’s approach to the game, but his upside might be too good to pass if he is available. Two of those four players seems like a solid outcome for those picks.
Greg Willis: Assuming Barrett, Culver and Hunter are gone before No. 8, the Hawks should focus on position diversity. At least one big wing makes sense in these two spots, but the best players available may be small wings and bigs. Reddish certainly fits the big wing label. He has lots of question marks but may be too good to pass on. Doumbouya has massive upside. However, I would like to see the Hawks diversify risks here as well by taking one high ceiling player and one player who is more low ceiling/high floor. Brandon Clarke fits the latter of those two profiles but may be a bit of a reach at No. 10.
Sam Meredith: It might seem too general to say, but the Hawks should focus on getting as many wings as possible in this draft. If Cam Reddish or De’Andre Hunter are still around at eight then those would be fine choices. If the Hawks wanted to reach at ten for a guy like Nassir Little or Brandon Clarke, nobody would blame them, because the reality is that if the Hawks can get just one starter on the wing out of this draft then it is a huge win for Schlenk.
Zach Hood: Brandon Clarke is the guy who seems to be fairly safe to be there at No. 8 that I would want the most. His motor and defensive versatility represent something the Hawks sorely need on the wing going forward. Cam Reddish represents great upside, but was severely outperformed by Clarke in the college ranks analytically. Nassir Little would be great at No. 10, but probably wouldn’t reach for him at No. 8. Some combination of Clarke, Reddish and Little would be a good haul assuming they keep both top-10 picks.
Rashad Milligan: If you keep No. 17 as well, I’d say go for two wings in the top 10 and get your center at No. 17. I think Cam Reddish would be a great pick for popularity around the city. He was one of the primary reasons why Duke basketball was as big as the 2010 Heatles in Miami. He has a very cool, aesthetically-pleasing game to watch, and that alongside the young returning corps fits perfectly, also as Brad has told me for most of the year, his length gives him the potential to be an amazing defender in the league.
At No. 10, it’s a bonus, but heck, why not pull the trigger on Nassir Little? He wants to play in Atlanta, his game might be more suitable for the NBA than college, and Schlenk would be the judge of that based off of last week’s workout.
I wouldn’t be mad at Doumbouya either, he’s a big risk, big reward guy. I’d pick up Hunter if he was still on the board at No. 10. Goga Bitadze has been a guy Hawks fans have attempted to speak into existence, but I’d prioritize Jaxson Hayes over him first. Bitadze has a chance to fall to No. 17, according to some mocks.
Graham Chapple: It depends how adventurous Schlenk if feeling, assuming no deal he likes arises and he’s using both No. 8 and No. 10 for himself. If he wants to hit a grand slam, Sekou Doumbouya is a good option with one of those picks. It’s a risky move in the top 10 but if that’s what Schlenk wants to accomplish, the option is there. Otherwise, the usual suspects like Reddish, Clarke or Goga are safe options. Wing spots seem to be a good place to aim for, especially in light of the Taurean Prince trade.