What the Luka Doncic news could mean for the Hawks

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

Luka Doncic, while being one of the more coveted players in the pool, may not be selected in the top three picks of this year’s NBA Draft. According to a report from ESPN, both the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are unlikely to draft the European guard with their second and third picks, respectively.

Sunday was an interesting day for Luka Doncic. On the court, he completed a dominant season in the Euroleague by leading Real Madrid to a championship. He also hauled in plenty of individual accolades along the way.

Off the court, however, clouds continue to form over the question of his draft stock. The Phoenix Suns are likely to take DeAndre Ayton, and now both the Hawks and Suns are likely to go in different directions.

While surprising, this doesn’t hurt Doncic in a massive way. He’s still almost guaranteed to go in the top five. It really comes down to a slight monetary difference from pick to pick.

What does this mean for Atlanta?

The Doncic news as of late can be positive or negative for the Hawks, depending on how you look at it.

The negative side of things is subjective. Many that cover the team, including yours truly, believe Marvin Bagley should be the pick at three. If you’re of like mind, then simple math says this decreases the likelihood of Bagley being on the board. Should Phoenix take Ayton, and Sacramento take Doncic, Bagley would fall into the Hawks’ lap. If Sacramento doesn’t take Doncic, then perhaps they go Bagley.

The positive side of things takes into account a growing possibility in Atlanta. Maybe Travis Shlenk decides to trade the number three pick.

Despite recent news, Luka Doncic is still a very coveted prospect. Should he be available at three, Atlanta would undoubtedly command a wealthy return for the ability to select him.

This is a big-man draft. Most of the elite prospects this year are big men. At the same time, the league continues to see big men get neutralized in key situations. There are exceptions to this, but those are transcendent guys.

If the Hawks indeed have no interest in Doncic, then a trade is certainly in the realm of possibility. Should that trade include moving back in the first round, there are some good guard options later on.

Given the recent rumors surrounding Dennis Schroder, perhaps Atlanta is looking for a new point guard. Collin Sexton out of Alabama sits in the 12-15 range on many big boards.Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky is just behind that.

Another possibility is that Shlenk would just feel better if he came out of this having netted draft or trade capital. If you don’t think the transcendent franchise player is there, the smart thing to do is stock up on ammo for the future.

Myriad of meaning

The news that Atlanta is unlikely to draft Doncic can have several different meanings. So much of the lead-up to the draft comes down to what is a smoke screen, and what isn’t.

Next: Who should the Hawks target?

Rebuilds are tough, but the intrigue this time of year is the one fun part. What will the future of the Hawks be? What will they do with the third pick? The NBA world will find out in 30 days.