Thursday night, the Atlanta Hawks received the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery. Following the proceedings, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk spoke to reporters via Zoom in regards to the Hawks landing at No. 6 in the lottery.
To no surprise, Schlenk stated the Hawks would be in best player available mode if they choose to keep the No. 6 selection come October.
“Any time you’re picking this high in the draft, you’ve got to take the person that you think is going to be the best player long-term,” said Schlenk.
In regards to the possibility of trading the pick, Schlenk said “We’ve proven we’re not afraid to move one direction or the other during the draft.”
“We’ll look at all of our options. We’re in a place financially where we can take on a contract,” Schlenk added on the potential of trading the first-round pick. “If there’s a player out there that’s under contract and we have the ability to acquire then and they’re good fit with our young team, we’ll certainly look hard at that.”
Schlenk added that he is not opposed to adding young talent to the roster regardless of position.
“If we stay at No. 6, we’re going to take the player we think is going to be the best player long-term,” he said. “If we create competition with our other young players because they play the same position, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s healthy.”
When asked about the 2020 draft class, Schlenk echoed what is virtually a consensus sentiment in that there has been far less in person scouting time approaching this draft, and that has made preparation more challenging.
“I think what makes this draft class difficult is a lot of players at the top you don’t have big books on them, a couple of them went overseas, got hurt,” said Schlenk. “One of them left college early..then everything got cut with the conference tournaments. You just weren’t able to see them play a lot this year.”
“We’re in kind of an unprecedented time here,” he continued. “The league has said they’re going to send out more information about the (virtual) combine, but they haven’t sent out that information yet...Now that we know our pick in the first-round, we’ll start trying to set up meetings with all the players that fit that pick.”
Schlenk did note there has been one silver lining in the draft preparation process, the ability to meet with more prospects virtually due to the lack of travel involved.
“We’ve been able to talk to way more kids via Zoom just because the travel is not involved like it would be in a normal year, so I think that’s advantageous in itself,” Schlenk remarked on additional complications COVID-19 has presented in terms of draft preparation.
When asked about adding quality veteran talent in the offseason, Schlenk noted this was a priority regardless of what the club does with the pick.
“Any time you have a young group, it’s important to have high quality veterans in the locker room to help groom these guys. That’s one of the reasons we brought Dewayne (Dedmon) back,” Schlenk said in regards to adding more veteran presence to the team.
“As far as free agency, we’ll have to plug four to five holes to fill there,” Schlenk noted. Obviously we’ll look to bring in veteran leadership there as well.”
Nothing Schlenk said on Thursday evening was particularly shocking, and he seemed quite content for the Hawks to be picking No. 6, which was their most likely landing spot with a 25.7% chance.