After weeks and months of speculation, the 2020 NBA Draft arrived on Wednesday evening, and the Atlanta Hawks began the night with the No. 6 and No. 50 overall picks. Though the Hawks were linked to chatter in a number of directions, Travis Schlenk and the front office eventually elected to stay put at No. 6 and, when the time came, the Hawks chose to select Onyeka Okongwu, the big man out of USC.
Atlanta Hawks are selecting Onyeka Okongwu with the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 19, 2020
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports broke the news Wednesday night with NBA commissioner Adam Silver then announcing the selection moments later. With many rumors of a potential trade out the No. 6 slot, Atlanta wound up standing pat and selecting one of the best players in the class, and the best player remaining on the board to many.
Okongwu was a standout performer for Southern California during the 2019-20 season, averaging 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks for the Trojans. The 19-year old profiles as a versatile defensive player, with the quickness needed to compete at a high level in the modern game.
From a salary cap standpoint, Okongwu will earn $5,813,640 during his rookie campaign as the No. 6 pick, with $6,104,280 guaranteed for the 2021-22 campaign. From there, Atlanta will have team options on his contract for $6,395,160 in 2022-23 and $8,109,063 for the 2023-24 season.
The Hawks were reported to have considered a wide range of prospects, but ultimately end up with Okongwu, who was a favorite among many draft enthusiasts. Some wondered if the presence of Clint Capela would hinder Atlanta from taking Okongwu, but obviously that was not the case. More to come, stay tuned.