General manager Landry Fields spoke publicly in advance of the 2023 NBA Draft today. He outlined some of the process of getting prospects into the practice facility, working them out, and interviewing them. It was clear from listening to his remarks that he intended on clarifying what obstacles can be present in this endeavor — as well as the fact that there are plenty of players who privately work out with the team that the public does not hear about in the moment.
He started his remarks by giving thanks to Dotun Akinwale, the Director of Player Personnel, for handling this moment with capability and professionalism. He effused, “we’ve had over a hundred players come in this year and a lot of that prep work is not just in the last year. It starts many years ago, when guys are in high school. I mentioned that because it takes a lot of work, and our staff does a really good job, specifically [Director of Player Personnel] Dotun Akinwale who has been leading this process and scheduling all the guys that come in and speaking with their agents. It’s not an easy task and I’ve tasked them with that over the last two years. And I think he’s done a hell of a job.”
Fields was asked about what he likes about this class, replying, “speaking with them in Chicago [at the NBA Combine], in all the interviews, just the collective maturity, there’s something to be said about that. I think I have a theory that these guys going through COVID and having an opportunity to stop and reflect on their life has been a transformative experience.”
About what the plan is for the Hawks with the 15th overall pick, Fields responded, “well, we’re comfortable to draft in the spectrum of possibilities. I think that that’s most likely what happens is picking at 15, but we’re still looking at options to move up. There are some options where we want to move back.”
He later detailed some of the ‘behind closed doors’ machinations involving sports agencies and their clients, saying, “sometimes there are agencies that don’t want to send their guy in because of ‘X’ number of reasons. And you can have the greatest relationship in the world with them, but they just feel like for their client and for what they’re trying to accomplish on their end, it’s just not the right fit. It’s part of the business. It happens.”
In tandem with the vision of head coach Quin Snyder, Landry Field made sure to speak about the qualities he, Coach Snyder, and all involved are aligned in seeking to add to the team. Fields commented, “we value guys that have basketball feel, that have basketball IQ, and shooting is always at a premium. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t take a guy that can’t shoot. It’s just more about for how we want to play with the spacing with our current roster of guys with Trae [Young] and Dejounte [Murray], we need guys that can space the floor. So that’s always going to be a benefit to us. But when you’re weighing a number of different factors for guys, yeah, this guy might not be an elite shooter, but he’s an elite defender and defensively, we still need to improve there.”
Thursday is a big moment for Landry Fields, as he oversees his first draft as the de facto top executive in basketball operations. Years of scouting and research efforts for the franchise will finally culminate in Atlanta being able to add young talent to fit with the current core of players.