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What we learned from pre-draft interviews of mocked Hawks’ picks

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Welcome the draft week where we have the absolute slightest clue of what will actually happen ahead of time.

Northern Illinois v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

It’s been over eight months since the Atlanta Hawks have played a basketball game, which has left plenty of time for fans and media members alike to over analyze and overthink things related to its next major basketball-related event — the 2020 NBA Draft.

Thus, appropriately presenting to you, a product of overthinking courtesy of hours listening to media-trained responses over dreaded-yet-now-routine Zoom sessions.

Many projected lottery picks met with the media in the past week to speak on their pre-draft processes in a pandemic. Here are a few interesting notes for Hawks’ fans to potentially take away from some of the prospects who have been often mocked to Atlanta since March.

Who has the team interacted with?

Florida State wing Devin Vassell said he had an in-person workout with the Hawks. In response to Sarah Spencer of the AJC’s question, Vassell spoke to head coach Lloyd Pierce and front office personnel.

“Who knows? It’d be a dream come true being able to play for the hometown team, but anywhere is a blessing for me,” Vassell said.

The Peachtree Ridge High School product said he has been working out at a local church in the Atlanta area leading up to the draft. He also denied any rumors of him changing his jump shot over the offseason. Vassell has also worked out with the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.

Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton has worked out with four teams — none being the Hawks. Haliburton told the media he worked out and interviewed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, Warriors and the Detroit Pistons.

NBA.com, FanSided, TuftsDaily, Sports Gaming Rosters, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, Draftek and Tankathon (among others) have mocked Haliburton to Atlanta.

Auburn wing Isaac Okoro didn’t work out with the Hawks, but he interviewed with them.

Okoro worked out for the Warriors, Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition to Atlanta, he has interviewed with the Knicks, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Bulls.

SB Nation, 247Sports and USA Today’s RookieWire mocked the McEachern grad to the Hawks.

Killian Hayes has interviewed and worked out with the Pistons.

Although Hayes didn’t name all the teams he’s worked out for, he said he worked out for many Eastern Conference teams. Hayes has interviewed with the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Anthony Edwards didn’t mention the Hawks in his pre-draft availability, and said he’s only worked out for the Warriors, Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets.

Onyeka Okongwu, Aaron Nesmith, Obi Toppin, RJ Hampton, Precious Achiuwa and Deni Avdija didn’t specifically mention the Hawks in their interviews. Avdija mentioned how he wanted to keep the teams he interacted with “on the low” and how he was willing to play for any one. Okongwu also declined to discuss teams he spoke with.

I couldn’t immediately locate a full James Wiseman presser online. Sorry, Ms. Dee.

Movement from the top?

In a draft where the top four or five selections appeared to be somewhat solidified with some combination of Edwards, LaMelo Ball, Wiseman, Advija and Toppin or Okongwu, projected No. 6-10 picks have worked out with the teams currently in the top two.

The confirmed workouts seem to line up with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor report of Minnesota being open to trading Jarrett Culver and the No. 17 pick to the Hawks for the No. 6 pick. The report also lines up with another team O’Connor mentioned in Boston, who Vassell confirmed he worked out for, in addition to New Orleans being interested in Atlanta’s first-rounder.