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NBA Mock Draft: Isaac Okoro to Atlanta Hawks in ESPN update

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Kentucky v Auburn Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

More than four weeks have passed since the last glance at a mock draft in this space but, on Wednesday, ESPN’s duo of Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz released an update. While ESPN’s reporting isn’t gospel on the 2020 NBA Draft, Givony and Schmitz certainly have influence as representatives of mainstream draft sentiment and, with only one week until the Atlanta Hawks are on the clock at No. 6, ESPN projects Travis Schlenk and company to select Auburn wing Isaac Okoro with the team’s lottery pick.

Okoro is the type of wing stopper who can go a long way in masking Trae Young’s deficiencies on the defensive end, with his ability to guard point guards and power forwards alike. He has significant upside to grow into as well thanks to his budding passing and ballhandling ability while bringing the type of competitiveness and physicality the Hawks lacked at times last season. There’s also buzz about the Hawks potentially trading down to the teens while adding another young yet more proven player to the roster.

Within this obscenely long draft cycle, the Hawks have been linked to virtually every possible prospect in a prominent mock draft. That list includes Tyrese Haliburton, Deni Avdija, James Wiseman, Onyeka Okongwu, Devin Vassell and Killian Hayes, with LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards tied to the Hawks before the lottery dictated the draft’s order.

In this mock, Avdija and Toppin are off the board, leaving the Hawks with reduced options. Still, it is interesting that Okoro would be the projected pick from an intel-based source, particularly with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reporting that Avdija, Okongwu and Haliburton could be in a higher tier for Atlanta’s front office.

Okoro is a (very) talented player, especially on the defensive end, and he projects as a potentially game-changing force on that side of the floor. Offensively, his jump shot is certainly a question mark, but Okoro does have underrated ball skills, with the ability to put pressure on the rim as a quality finisher.

The Hawks are involved in all kinds of rumblings at this stage but, with one week until the draft, the most prominent national mock draft pegs Okoro to Atlanta.

Stay tuned.