With their first pick in the second round (acquired from Dallas as a part of their earlier trade), the Hawks have selected Bucknell center Mike Muscala with the 44th pick in the draft.
In the days leading up to the draft, I wrote this about Muscala:
Wait, a big man from Bucknell!? Really? Yes, I really, really like the aforementioned Muscala. His stock has risen in recent days and weeks on the back of some impressive workouts, but Muscala’s play on the court at Bucknell was tremendous as well. He averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game as a senior, and while the competition levl was admittedly suspect, Muscala also produced against big-time opponents like Missouri (25 points, 14 rebounds), George Mason (16 points, 15 rebounds), and Purdue (14 points, 10 rebounds).
He is an extremely efficient player, as he posted a college PER (player efficiency rating) of 36.34, and shot 51% from the field with 79% from the free-throw line. The #1 attribute that has scouts excited about Muscala is his basketball IQ, and he seems to always be in the right place at the right time. I have a soft spot for smart players, and he fits the bill. I don’t see any scenario where he becomes a flat-out stiff in the NBA, and while his defensive ability could be average at best based on his failure to cover a lot of ground, there is definitely a place for Muscala in the league.
Given his current “status”, he is the most likely guy on this list (so far) to actually fall to #47, and he’d look great as a backup to Al Horford in the potential absence of Zaza Pachulia and Ivan Johnson.
Obviously, I enjoy the work of the Bucknell center, and I’m high on the pick. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against 1st-round pick Lucas Nogueira, and he’s certainly more polished at this point in their careers. Muscala is the type of guy who could potentially play right away as a 2nd-rounder, and that’s a positive thing.
Love the pick!