How Nassir Little Fits with the Atlanta Hawks
If Nassir Little hears his named called by the Atlanta Hawks, he would compete with Taurean Prince for the starting small forward job. In all likelihood he will start his career coming off the bench, with the role of a hustle player. He should guard the best wing scorer when on the floor. He should see considerable time at the power forward spot in small lineups as well, and offers value as a switch defender against the pick and roll.
On the offensive end of the court Nassir Little projects as a decent three-point shooter, especially with the ability of point guard Trae Young to find open shooters and deliver the ball directly to their shooting pocket. Though he struggled from three last season making just 27 percent of his attempts, Little was a career 38 percent three point shooter prior to entering college. Nassir will also thrive in transition, with the Atlanta Hawks playing at the fastest pace in the entire NBA. He will bring added excitement as another high-flying finisher off Trae Young alley oop passes, with his ability to cut and find the correct open spots when playing off the ball.
The prospect of drafting another player who came off the bench for North Carolina, rightfully terrifies many Atlanta Hawks fans after the Marvin Williams fiasco. Yet Nassir Little is a completely different player. Also to be fair, Marvin Williams is a fine NBA role player and would have been a much better value had he been drafted at pick eight or ten. Though Nassir Little is raw, he has major upside. He was a late bloomer that has improved rapidly in the last two seasons.
Despite the fact that Nassir Little isn’t great at getting his own shot, he has the potential to develop into a much better isolation player. He uses a quick first step to blow by opponents and get to the rim, with an off the dribble step back jumper, to counter when guys play him exclusively to drive. This is a combination that will be very tough to stop, when Little perfects that step back shot. Rather than draft more NBA ready players will lower ceilings, the Atlanta Hawks should swing big and take the risk on players with higher upside. The fact that Little has the intense desire to defend great scorers on the opposing team, bodes great for his NBA prospects. At worse Nassir Little should be a solid three and D NBA player. However he has the potential to be so much more. Other than R.J. Barrett who will be long gone by pick eight and Cam Reddish who could possibly be available, Nassir Little is even with Sekou Doumbouya, who I selected in the Atl Mock Draft 1.0, as the wing player I would like to see the Atlanta Hawks Draft the most this offseason.