Feb 23, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Laimonas Chatkevicius (14) fouls Georgia Bulldogs guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) on his way to the basket during the second half at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia defeated South Carolina 62-54 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
In their current mock draft, NBADraft.net (my personal favorite as far as NBA Draft sites go) projects former University of Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Atlanta Hawks with the 18th pick overall.
The reigning SEC Player of the Year would look fantastic in a Hawks uniform, and staying close to “home” (he is from Greenville, GA) would be an ideal fit for Caldwell-Pope. He averaged 18.5 points per game last year and profiles as a big-time shooting guard at the next level.
At 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, he could be a potential upgrade (down the road) for the size-challenged Hawks at the position, and Caldwell-Pope is the type of player who contribute for any team as a bench scorer (if nothing else). There are certainly worse places for him to land in the same area of the draft (i.e. Cleveland or Milwaukee), but the “fit” is probably a bit overstated thanks to the realization that both John Jenkins and Lou Williams are locked up to long-term contracts for the Hawks. With that said, his NBA upside is higher than virtually any other guy in the mid-to-late 1st round, and for that alone, it would be a worthy selection.
As the draft inches closer (Thursday, June 27th), Caldwell-Pope’s landing place will be worth keeping an eye on, and with the Hawks having two picks in the same area (#17 and #18), Atlanta is one of the more likely landing spots for the UGA star.
Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for more updates.