g-dawg Posted May 30, 2019 Share Posted May 30, 2019 Roundtable discussion of the possibilities the Hawks might explore on draft night By Chris Kirschner 2h ago 6 The NBA Draft is exactly three weeks away, and the Hawks will enter June 20 with two picks in the top 10. To get a better understanding of all the possibilities Atlanta might explore, I gathered four draft analysts for a roundtable discussion on the Hawks’ draft decisions. The panel: Sam Vecenie, lead NBA Draft analyst, The Athletic Jeremy Woo, NBA Draft analyst, Sports Illustrated Fran Fraschilla, college basketball and NBA Draft analyst, ESPN Rashad Phillips, NBA Draft analyst, sportstalk2319.com (Editor’s note: Some of the panel’s answers were condensed for clarity.) The Hawks have five picks in this year’s draft and obviously two in the top 10. Outside of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, do you think it’s worth it for them to package picks to move up for anyone in particular? Vecenie: So, I have Zion at a clear No. 1. I have RJ Barrett right in the mix with Ja Morant, as well. They are both very close as prospects, honestly. I think Ja has the incredible athleticism, his intersection of quickness, and his passing ability is elite. RJ is a guy who is incredibly productive. He’s tough and an underrated athlete at this stage. He’s still incredibly young and averaged 22-7-4 this year. His growth trajectory as a shooter is on the positive side right now. Everything about RJ is good, and then you throw in the fact that he’s an incredible worker who really, really gets after it. He wants to be great. If the Hawks could get up to No. 3, then sure. I just don’t see the (New York) Knicks making that move because they’re either going to trade it to the (New Orleans) Pelicans to get their hands on Anthony Davis or they’re just going to take RJ. For me, it would take more than 8 and 10 to move up because you’re talking about — let’s just throw random prospects out there like Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish or Nassir Little and Sekou Doumbouya. I’d rather have RJ Barrett than two of those guys. That’s just me being as high as I am on RJ. Woo: From Atlanta’s perspective with the picks they have, I think it would make sense for them to sit on those picks. You could make a case for RJ Barrett, but he’s sort of a ball-dominant guy, and I don’t necessarily know how well he would mesh with (Trae) Young. I think Young is the centerpiece. You could make the case for (Texas Tech’s Jarrett) Culver, too, if you want to get up to four or five to make sure you get him. I don’t know if the Lakers would want more picks. I think the Hawks are in good position with the two picks. The way their roster is constructed, they could foster a couple of rookies if they need to. I don’t think it would be an issue. Fraschilla: The problem with packaging those two picks is you would have to find a buyer who would have to believe they can get what they want at 8 and 10. Let’s say RJ isn’t in play. If RJ isn’t in play with the Knicks, now you have to figure out if it’s worth it to package 8 and 10 to move up when — OK, let’s say someone blows you away. The (Los Angeles) Lakers probably can’t deal because they have to hold on to assets so they can make a trade for Anthony Davis. I just think moving up to 4 or 5 may not be worth it. The only way you do it is if they are absolutely sure that whoever they get is going to be a difference maker. Phillips: I would try to maneuver something if there’s someone the Hawks are eyeing outside of those in that 8 and 10 range. You don’t need five picks in any draft. If they didn’t do anything and just drafted five dudes, three of those guys probably don’t make the team because of the numbers game, so I would try to reduce it down to three quality picks — 8, 10 and one early in the second round. I would give the rest of the picks to another team and bring in three quality guys. I would move up to get Cam Reddish, honestly. Do you think the talent gap between the players projected in the 3-8 range is too small to give up an asset? Vecenie: I don’t think it would be a good decision because there are several teams in that 4-7 range who need guards. Just doing game theory on the various situations, it’s not impossible the Lakers take Darius Garland or Coby White. I would imagine the (Phoenix) Suns will look heavily into taking Darius Garland or Coby White. Chicago will obviously look heavily into taking those guys. You’re basically getting two free slots given that Atlanta is not going to take a point guard in this draft, I wouldn’t think. Woo: I don’t know if it’s so much that. I think Atlanta knows and hopes that it already has a star in Trae. They already have (Kevin) Huerter, who is going to be a good, solid role player around him. John Collins has a lot of upside. So I think they have enough already, and this isn’t a draft where the Hawks necessarily have to hit a home run where they have to give up extra draft capital in order to improve their draft outlook. If there was a way to get to No. 1, well, sure. That’s not going to happen, but I ultimately think a couple of guys are going to fall to them and fill their long-term needs. In a draft like this, where the talent does flatten out a bit in this range, why not take two chances? Fraschilla: I do. You can say that the first tier is Zion and Ja Morant. If you want to throw RJ in there, too, fine. To me, it’s Zion and Ja. Then it’s RJ and Darius Garland. After that, I think a lot of those guys are going to be in the same value to teams. For example, Jaxson Hayes is going to stare the Hawks right in the face. He’s 6-11 and just a baby, but if you’re building around John Collins and Trae, you’re probably hoping you get a Hunter or Reddish and then grab Hayes with the 10th pick. Phillips: Possibly from other team’s standpoints. This is a draft where I see six players who are diamonds in the rough. I’ve already given out two (on his site), but there are four more where I haven’t said anything about just yet. One is Daniel Gafford from Arkansas and KZ Okpala from Stanford. I really think the Hawks should target a guy like Gafford. (Dewayne) Dedmon had a good year. Alex Len had a good year. I just think Gafford reminds me of that Mitchell Robinson type and Jarrett Allen type. The Hawks need a rim protector. I would trade some of those second-round picks and get back into the late first and grab him. He’s not being talked about a lot, but he’s a first-round pick. He’s tremendous. He’s exactly what the Hawks need. They need a rim protector and someone who can run the pick-and-roll with Trae to give John a break. If you’re Atlanta, which player out of Jarrett Culver/DeAndre Hunter/Cam Reddish are you hoping falls to you at 8 and why? Vecenie: I think there’s an outside chance that Culver falls to 8, but I wouldn’t expect it. They should certainly be running through scenarios if that happens. The Knicks are bringing in Culver. I think it would be malpractice to take Jarrett over RJ Barrett. That’s just me, but I don’t think every team thinks that way. The Lakers will look at Culver. The (Cleveland) Cavs will look at him, and so will the Bulls, I’d imagine. There are so many landing spots for him in there. DeAndre Hunter is the guy I have highest on my board out of the Hunter/Culver/Cam Reddish/Sekou Doumbouya/Nassir Little grouping. I think DeAndre is a 6-7/6-8 wing who is strong, physical and tough. He’s an elite level defender. The jump shot will come along, and the percentages lie on how comfortable he is as a shooter. I think he’s going to become a great shooter in time. He’s a great worker and great kid. I think he could help the Hawks’ defense a lot and fits a lot with what they’re building. If he fell to 8, he would be my guy, but I would imagine they will look at Cam Reddish intently, as well. I think I’ve written before that most teams around the league think the Hawks like Reddish. That’s certainly the feeling around the league. It wouldn’t shock me if Reddish was higher on their board than Hunter. Woo: I think Culver would be the best guy. I’m a little higher on Culver than some people are. I think his feel is really, really good. If you look at how he improved over these past few years — I put a lot of stock into that. I think he’s going to keep improving. He’s got the size. He’s going to be able to do a little bit of everything. If you’re building what Atlanta is, you need guys who are going to be ball movers and not ball stoppers. I think with Culver, you could play him with Huerter and Young and have a really good perimeter trio. He has the best chance of being what they need. I don’t think he’ll get to 8, but it would be awesome for them if he did. Fraschilla: That’s a good question, and I like the way you put it because a couple of those guys will likely be gone by 8. To me, if Cam Reddish is available at 8, and it’s possible because there are a few kinks in the armor, so to speak — durability, effort, etc. He’s the most talented of the three. To me, he’s got top-five potential in terms of his basketball athleticism skill level for the league, but he doesn’t bring the safety of a Culver or Hunter, who are both going to walk in Day 1 to a training camp and be beloved by the veteran players. They are both low-maintenance guys who have been hard-coached. Each has different skill sets. I don’t know if either one has All-Star potential. I think you’re looking at fourth- or fifth-starter potential on a good team long range. But Reddish is the most talented but has the questions surrounding him. When a guy like him falls to 8, you have to roll the dice. He’s from a good family. He was reasonably hard-coached at Duke. (Mike Krzyzewski) is kind of laissez-faire these days about attention of detail. Reddish is an above-average athlete who can play the two or three. He can handle the ball and be a playmaker. His shooting was spotty this year with him shooting 33 percent. Nothing looks broken. He didn’t really step up when Zion missed six games. He averaged 18 points per game, but the efficiency level was low with Zion’s absence, and you just get the sense he could have taken over more. You may be dealing with personality issues with his aggressiveness, but you can’t argue with his talent. With a young coach like Lloyd Pierce and a good support system around him — he’s a great kid. I don’t hear anything negative about him. I ran a Steph Curry Under Armour camp, and he didn’t play. He just hung out for four days and sat out with a minor injury. After 10 minutes working out in Phoenix last week, he “tweaked” something. These are all questions Travis (Schlenk) and his staff have to do great detective work on. Ultimately at 8, he’s a very good risk. Phillips: I would hope Cam Reddish falls if I was drafting. I really would. I believe if you get Cam Reddish — and I’ve said this in football terms — he’s the Randy Moss of this draft. He’s the guy that a lot of people are creating this negative narrative around him. It’s, “Oh, he didn’t play well at Duke. His percentages aren’t great.” It’s like when Randy Moss came out of college from Marshall. It was he had trouble at Notre Dame, and then he transferred to Florida State and then to Marshall. All of these teams passed on him. The red flags have been media-created for Reddish. I just think Reddish on the Hawks can really get them to make a playoff run in the next two years. Out of Culver/Hunter/Reddish, who do you think is the most likely to still be on the board? Vecenie: I would say Culver is unlikely, and I would say it’s likely that one of Cam Reddish or DeAndre Hunter will be there. NBA teams are so mixed on them. You could say one team has this guy higher, but another will have a different guy higher and so on and so forth. It’s very split. So many teams have different things they look for. A lot of teams like tools guys. Cam Reddish has the tools. Some teams are production based. Some teams place an emphasis on defense. Some teams place an emphasis on being an elite-level person. Those teams would probably have DeAndre higher, so it’s all over the place. Woo: I think there’s a chance both Reddish and Hunter are available at 8. I think the team you would have to look out for is Cleveland, which might take one of them at five. Phoenix and Chicago both need guards. There might be some shuffling if the Lakers trade that pick, and it might affect what happens. Phillips: I would say Hunter is probably going to be the guy who falls. I like Hunter, too, he’s just more defensive-oriented than the others, which the Hawks need. He can hit the standstill jump shot. He’s just not as exciting as someone like Culver or Reddish. He’s the safer pick. I do like Nassir Little, too. I would prefer to get Little over Hunter at 8, if both of those guys are still available because of his energy, and he’s also a terrific defender. He’s extremely explosive. In an interview yesterday with (UNC head coach) Roy Williams, he said Nassir is probably the most explosive guy he’s ever coached. Roy Williams has been coaching for 35 years. He’s not the type of guy who is just going to say that. He’s not going to go on record if he doesn’t mean that. Nassir is another one who has been given these red flags of not dominating at North Carolina. I just think sometimes we just have to watch the tape. With the young core the Hawks already have in place, who do you think would fit the best? Vecenie: I think DeAndre Hunter would be a stud for them. The one thing that Hawks’ core doesn’t have is an elite-level defender. John Collins is a super athlete who got a little better defensively. Not to **** on John or anything, but I think DeAndre is a higher-level defender than him already. He won national defensive player of the year awards this year. Trae is obviously going to struggle defensively because of the offensive load and the tools. Kevin Huerter is smart defensively, but I worry about the tools there, as well. DeAndre is a perfect fit for what they’re building. Woo: Culver is a guy who I talked about before, but he would be a really great fit just in terms of the perimeter feel he has. The knock would be is he’s not an elite athlete to where in transition he might not be sprinting down the floor. I think it’s hard to go wrong with him. If we’re talking about bigs, if Jaxson Hayes is available with one of their picks, I think he fits with what they’re going to want to do. I think people are going to debate on what’s a center worth? He’s really athletic. He’s going to be able to run the floor well and finish around the basket. Collins does that now, but I would think the hope is his jump shot continues developing where he can play the four. If they are looking at bigs, he would be a good fit. Fraschilla: The safest fit is probably DeAndre Hunter. You can put Hunter in at the three spot and have a very safe pick. I’m not in love with Hunter’s athleticism. I kind of peg him as a rotation player, and that’s not what you want to try to acquire at the 8 spot. You’re looking for a starter, hopefully. With a building team like Atlanta, and Travis really seems to know what he’s doing, Hunter might be a guy where he says, “You know what? When we get good, he’s always going to be a guy that will be in our rotation.” He gives them the ability to have a player who can defend a couple of spots. He comes from a good program and can shoot it well. He proved to shoot it better than a lot of people expected. He’s safe, but I don’t see All-Star from him or Jarrett. I see safe, solid NBA player from Day 1. Phillips: I think Cam fits the best, but I also think Daniel Gafford is another guy to know. The Hawks have to get better in their second unit. A guy like Gafford can give them that defensive presence and that rim runner. I obviously love Culver, too, but I just think he’s going to be gone by 8 so there’s no reason to even fantasize about having Culver on the team. He’ll be gone. I like Culver more than RJ Barrett. He’s a better basketball player, in my opinion. He may not be a better athlete than RJ, but I think he’s a better overall basketball player. The Hawks have the proper core in place, and I think they’re two to three years away from making a run in the playoffs. This draft is really important for them. With the 10th pick, from those I’ve talked to inside the organization, it seems like they are open to moving the pick for future assets. Is there one player who’s projected in that 10 range where trading down wouldn’t be a good option for the Hawks? Vecenie: I don’t think it would be malpractice or anything, but I would take Jaxson Hayes if I was them and he was on the board at No. 10, but there’s not a guy where I would say, “You can’t pass on this dude.” It would also depend on what they’re offered. If the (Boston) Celtics offered 14 and 20 for 10 because they want Sekou (Doumbouya), then, sure, do that because it’s good to accumulate assets in a draft like this. Woo: It’s unlikely that they walk out of this with guys like Reddish and Hunter, right? I guess it’s hard to know what Washington is going to do because they don’t have a GM. I don’t think so, though. It depends on how you feel about the picks. Fraschilla: I don’t think this is going to happen, but a Coby White would be too hard to pass up at 10, even with Trae. Reddish comes to mind if he’s there. People are going to be concerned with the love-of-the-game question. Jaxson Hayes is another guy. It’s possible DeAndre Hunter will be there. I’m not in love with Brandon Clarke. He’s 207 pounds and has the skill level of an inside player. I just think after the first four, in my opinion, it’s a total crapshoot. Phillips: Let’s just say hypothetically you get Cam Reddish at 8. I would trade 10 to move back because once you get your main guy, you can move back. I would give someone that pick and move back to like 22 or somewhere in that range and still get a guy like Gafford. You don’t have to be greedy if you get Cam at 8. Cam gives you the luxury of moving that 10th pick, but if you don’t get Cam, I think you have to draft at 8 and 10. Are guys like Hayes or even Goga Bitadze players who could come in right away and compete for the starting center spot with Alex Len if they don’t re-sign Dewayne Dedmon? Vecenie: I think Goga certainly would be able to. He’s just at a higher level of experience. I have both of them right next to each other on my board at 11 and 12. I think Goga would fit particularly well as a pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll big man. I’m intrigued with NBA teams playing more drop coverages in pick-and-roll defenses and are more willing to give up corner 3s to average shooters. I think that bodes well for Goga defensively because he’s not the most athletic guy. He’s certainly improved over the past year and is a bit more mobile, but he’s not going to be a switch guy like Clint Capela, who can go out and guard on an island. He’s going to be a team defender for the most part. The question is does Atlanta really care about getting someone who will help right now, or does it want developmental guys it can mold? I would take the guy who is higher on their board over someone who can help immediately. Fraschilla: Goga would have been a first-round pick last year, but no one wanted to pull the trigger on him. He was 18 turning 19, now he’s 19 turning 20 with another year under his belt. He’s nearly 7 feet and 240 (pounds). Half of the league starts international big men. This is a kid who I have pegged between 10 and 17. He’s tough, physical and learning how to defend. He’s not a great defender right now, but he’s a stretch-five. He’s really improved his outside shooting. If they get a wing at 8, he could be the guy at 10 where they can take him if they really want to keep that floor spacing that Dedmon brings. Phillips: I don’t think they could start right away. I like Jaxson. He’s one of those rim runners who reminds me a lot of Willie Cauley-Stein from Sacramento. I don’t think he’s going to be a Day 1 starter. Goga is a better basketball player right now, but I don’t think they should be Day 1 starters. I think they need a year or two to get going. If I did draft those guys, I wouldn’t be drafting them to come in and start. For those who don’t watch international basketball, what can you tell us about Sekou Doumbouya and what he could potentially bring to the Hawks? Vecenie: Sekou Doumbouya has come on really strong in the past couple of months over in France. I’m worried personally that he might be a second-contract guy where you want to be the second team who gets Sekou because he’s so young right now. He doesn’t turn 19 until late December. I would be worried a bit about him because his skill set isn’t particularly polished at this stage. Woo: He’s a flexible guy who you could play in a few different ways. He’s a good athlete. He’s young. Approach is a thing for him where he’s still learning how to be a professional. He’s a guy where if you get him to be consistent every night, he could be an ideal combo forward. He can shoot it, too. He’s more of an idea than some of the other guys at this point. He’s the youngest player in this draft, which matters. Fraschilla: He will be the youngest player drafted in the first round. He was born on December 23rd, so he’s 18. He won’t turn 19 until two months into the NBA season. You’re looking at a 6-foot-9 forward who’s really a stretch four. That’s what he is. He’s more of a four than a three, but I think you can put him on the court with John Collins, eventually. This kid is going to get it handed to him as an 18-year-old. The talent indicates that he’s an NBA athlete, without a doubt. He has the ability, while inconsistent right now, to shoot it well. Remember, he’s shooting the international 3, unlike the college guys. He’s great in the uptempo game. He loves to run the floor. When you look at him in person, you say he’s going to be an NBA player. There are some issues with his intensity on the defensive end, which is normal. But you’re looking at a 6-foot-9, 18-year-old NBA piece of silly putty. If Lloyd and his staff are as good as I think they are at developing young players, then this kid has a chance to go 10, especially if you’re willing to wait for him at 10 if you make the safe pick at 8 for a guy like Hunter or Culver or even a Cam Reddish. You can wait a year or two for Sekou to mature if you do that. The league he plays in has translated to the NBA. (Rudy) Gobert, (Tony) Parker, (Evan) Fournier have all come from there. There are a lot of reasons why he’ll be in the mix at 10. He definitely has the talent. Phillips: He’s a high-energy guy who is really good in transition. He reminds me a lot of Mickael Pietrus. If you draft Nassir Little at 8, and then I wouldn’t draft Sekou at 10 because they are the same player. You don’t want to draft the same player. When you play with Trae, you have to be able to make jump shots, and Sekou is more of a slasher to me. That’s why I like Nassir and Cam more for the Hawks because they can make jump shots. You want your quarterback to be surrounded with the right targets. You also have to look at the guys they are going to keep moving forward. Trae isn’t going anywhere. Huerter isn’t going anywhere, and Collins isn’t going anywhere. You have your quarterback in Trae. You have your left tackle with John and your running back with Kevin Huerter. Now you have to find your wide receiver and your defensive end who can rush the passer. It’s the same thing in basketball. You should be drafting to support the three guys you know you’re going to keep. You’re not drafting for Alex Len. That’s why I think the Hawks need to nail this draft and get those players to surround those three. What would you consider the best-case scenario for the Hawks at 8 and 10? Vecenie: Probably DeAndre Hunter falling to 8. I think if they could end up with Hunter and Cam Reddish, it would be an interesting mix of swing-to-the-fences with Cam and getting a guy who is going to contribute in Hunter. I think DeAndre Hunter is going to step in the NBA and be a Hawks-like DeMarre Carroll. He’ll be a guy who averages like 11 points, shoots 36 percent from 3 and is super switchable and very positive on defense. That’s a super valuable player. Cam is a question mark, but the Hawks have such a strong developmental basis and a core that would make it an ideal landing spot for Cam. I think Atlanta is the place where he’s most likely to succeed. Woo: If you walk out with one of the three guys whether that’s Culver, Reddish or Hunter at 8 and if you grab a big at 10 whether it’s Hayes or Goga (Bitadze) — I don’t know if Goga fits well with what they want to do — I would consider him in that range, though. If they get two guys who can grow with what they want to do, then I think that’s great. The benefit of having someone like Trae is he’s such a good shot creator. He’s ball-dominant so there are going to be some guys who just don’t fit well with that. But if you put him next to Hunter, who’s a good example, it really allows them to focus on things they are really good at. Fraschilla: That would mean someone slides down. That’s a tough one. I would say Reddish and Jaxson Hayes. I think Reddish, no matter what, has top-three or -four talent. It’s just a matter of him putting it together, growing up, maturing and becoming a pro. Jaxson Hayes at 10 has a lot of terrific long-term potential. The one sneaky pick here might be (Goga) Bitadze because guys like him have translated to the league. There are so many guys born outside of the United States who have played at a high level in Europe at his position. He translates as well as any young big man currently in the league. He translates as well as (Nikola) Jokic at his age, like (Marc) Gasol at his age, (Jusuf) Nurkic in Portland. Bitadze is the one sneaky guy at 10 because at 6-11, 250 (pounds), he has the ability to play outside. It’s all there for him. Phillips: You get a guy who can knock down shots with one of those picks and another guy who can defend. You need an offensive and defensive guy with those picks because the Hawks have to get better on the defensive side of the floor. That’s how I look at it. Nassir Little gives you a little bit of both. So my best-case scenario for the Hawks is taking Reddish at 8 and Little at 10. blkbigdog35 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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