The Atlanta Hawks are in an interesting position. They have a ton of young talent with 13 players 26 years old or younger. Of those 13, six played more than 20 minutes per game. Of course, the first two names that come to mind are Trae Young and John Collins. Adding to that dynamic duo, the Hawks have a loaded wing position with Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter. Now, they find themselves near the top of the draft and will be adding another young player to their core. So, who makes the most sense?
Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft Possibilities
Starting in the backcourt, the Hawks have a plethora of young talent. Between the starting duo of Young and Huerter, with Reddish off the bench, there is more than enough scoring and playmaking. Additionally, DeAndre’ Bembry and Brandon Goodwin showed some promise as deep bench options.
If the Hawks choose to take a guard, such as Anthony Edwards, then it may make the most sense to move Reddish or Huerter to a back-up point guard role. The problem with that is you lose significant shooting. Huerter is a 38 percent shooter from deep in his career, but those numbers will continue to improve. Removing Huerter and adding Edwards means Young will be surrounded by fewer shooters on an already poor shooting team.
Other players that may make more sense, but would fall much lower than Edwards, would be Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes. Both are big bodied guards that are great playmakers and add some much-needed shooting. The question is, would you draft a player in the top seven to come off the bench? Yes, Reddish did come off the bench last year, but he played significant minutes. With another guard in the mix, Reddish and Huerter will see their minutes drop which is not good for the Hawks.
Moving to the small forward and power forward spots, the Hawks have some options. Hunter started at the three and Collins at the four last season. Beyond those two, the roster is thin. Of course, Reddish and Huerter can take some of those minutes at the three-spot behind Hunter. However, names to look for include Devin Vassell and Aaron Nesmith. Both players are significant projects but could add more shooting and athleticism off the bench. These would be players that could be selected after a trade down to the end of the lottery.
Other bigger forwards to mention are Isaac Okoro and Precious Achiuwa. Both players add plenty of athleticism and playmaking abilities that would alleviate some pressure with Collins off the floor. However, size and defense is still an issue.
The Hawks have yet to see Clint Capela suit up since he was acquired from Houston. Anyone who watched Hawks games knows that the center position is thin and defense has been an issue. Capela will immediately help in those aspects. However, it could be helpful for the Hawks to add another center behind him, especially since Capela is dealing with plantar fasciitis, which is a long-term injury.
The name to watch here is James Wiseman. He is probably the most talented player in the draft and would be a steal for the Hawks. The offense would take major steps forward with the addition of Wiseman, most likely coming off the bench.
What the Atlanta Hawks Should Do in the NBA Draft
The Hawks have so much more talent than their record would show over the last two years. One of the main issues for them is experience. Adding another young draft pick, especially a freshman, to that mix is not going to help in the experience category.
Realistically, especially in this weak draft class, the Hawks may want to explore a trade that either adds a future draft pick for next year in a loaded draft class or adds a veteran. Adding more youth results in a clogged roster of young talent that will take longer to develop due to lack of playing time.
The longer the Hawks take during this rebuild, the harder it becomes as Collins is due for an extension and then Young and Huerter follow soon. With only minimal, if any improvement this year, after a struggle last season, the timeline is starting to speed up. No one is saying a championship needs to be won next year, but the Hawks should at least be competitive for an eight seed.
If they do choose to follow the draft route, Wiseman should be at the top of the list, followed by Edwards. If those players are not available, then they should trade down to take a backup forward or center and try to acquire an additional first-round pick next season.
Regardless, Travis Schlenk and Lloyd Pierce have their work cut out for them to get the most out of this talented young core. There is plenty of money to be spent in free agency which could help in landing a star or filling out a depleted bench, but we will have more on that later.
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