Each year, writers from across the SB Nation landscape come together for a mock NBA Draft. Unlike the previous editions, the 2020 mock does not include any trades (for the purposes of expediting the process) but, in some ways, that helps to yield a slightly more realistic projection.
At any rate, Peachtree Hoops was in charge of the No. 6 pick for the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have a ton of options with this selection bu, for reference, here is the way the draft played out before the Hawks were on the clock:
- Minnesota Timberwolves — Anthony Edwards (G, Georgia)
- Golden State Warriors — James Wiseman (C, Memphis)
- Charlotte Hornets — LaMelo Ball (G, Illawarra Hawks)
- Chicago Bulls — Killian Hayes (G, Ulm)
- Cleveland Cavaliers — Onyeka Okongwu (C, USC)
This isn’t a terribly shocking quintet, with the potential exception of Deni Avdija being projected as a frequent top-five selection in mainstream settings. Ultimately, though, the choice came down to two options for the Hawks.
Peachtree Hoops ultimately selected Auburn’s Isaac Okoro at No. 6 and the (short) explanation, submitted to SB Nation, is as follows:
This is a draft class in which many of the prospects are bunched tightly together, meaning that a lot of the picks in this range come down to personal preference. The Hawks would’ve considered Killian Hayes as an upside swing if he fell to No. 6 but, with him off the board, the decision came down to Okoro and Devin Vassell.
There isn’t a massive gap between those two players in a vacuum, but Okoro brings an intriguing skill set, with athleticism, strength and defensive upside. Offensively, he can attack close-outs, finish at the rim, make plays as a passer and serve as a secondary creator. His jump shot is a work in progress but, if he can become a league-average perimeter shooter, the sky is the limit. Even if he can’t, his other skills, headlined by his defense, will carry the day.
For a bit of additional context, the Hawks could consider several players in this scenario, ranging from Okoro (the pick here) and Vassell, to Avdija, Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton and others.
None of those players would be the “wrong” choice and, at least in my view, this draft lends itself to divides based on personal preference. Tiers are difficult to construct because, well, these players are (very) close together in terms of overall evaluation. From there, it is a mild surprise that Avdija would fall this far but, other than that, this scenario seems plausible for Atlanta.
Avdija is a highly interesting player but, for me, he falls behind Okoro and Vassell, and the same goes for Haliburton and Toppin. Haliburton is an enticing fit in Atlanta to be sure, but Toppin is a player with weaknesses (i.e. defense) that would be tough to overlook in this setting as the Hawks.
For months, we’ve discussed the draft, both in this space and on the podcast that I host on a daily basis. During that time, a lot has changed in the world but, in this class, clarity isn’t necessarily out there, and diverging opinions make draft-based discussion entertaining on a daily basis.
Not everyone will agree with whatever the Hawks actually do on draft night, nor with this mock draft selection that doesn’t mean much of anything. Regardless, Atlanta has a lot options when Nov. 18 rolls around and, in this one scenario, Okoro was the choice.
Stay tuned and be sure to check out the entire mock draft here.