Looking at the fact that the New Orleans Pelicans are stocked with a slew of versatile perimeter players and are still actively wheeling and dealing, the Atlanta Hawks have to be aware that they could move in any direction. One thing that should ease some concerns for Atlanta Hawks fans, is the fact that Pelicans general manager David Griffin is said to be high Lonzo Ball. Los Angeles Lakers FanSided site The Lake Show posted a story that detailed Griffin’s previous comments about Ball, before becoming the Pelicans general manager. However, NBC Sports writer Ben Standig is reporting that the Pelicans have interest in Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. Should such a deal come to fruition it would almost certainly include the number four pick. This would muddy the waters even more for Atlanta, by having a division rival move up in front of them. Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter are highly likely to be drafted by the Wizards, should they acquire that pick. Leaving the Atlanta Hawks to deal with Cleveland, Phoenix, or Chicago, should they covet the wing that isn’t selected number four.
What the Atlanta Hawks Should Do
As I have watched countless scouting videos and read numerous reports, I am of the opinion that if the Atlanta Hawks truly covet Jarrett Culver and the price is not ridiculously high, Travis Schlenk should trade up to number four and get his guy. I can certainly understand why the Atlanta Hawks would be enamored with Culver among the prospects in this draft. He would give the Atlanta Hawks the best of both worlds, a player who is ready to start on the wing now, yet also has high upside. Culver would give the Hawks the secondary ball handler that they have not had since Joe Johnson, while also adding a solid perimeter defender that the team badly needs.
I am on the record as saying that the Atlanta Hawks should avoid drafting low ceiling De’Andre Hunter. While I believe that Hunter will be a fine three and D role player, I am afraid that years later the Atlanta Hawks will regret drafting the older Hunter, over some of the younger, more raw prospects with All Star potential. Hunter also does not add another ball handler and shot creator. Such a creator would allow Trae Young’s role to be diversified, by Atlanta using his lethal shooting ability to spot up and come off of screens at times. I personally believe adding a ball handler on the wing would bring the Atlanta Hawks offense and Trae Young’s game to new heights. While I can understand the Hawks drafting the NBA ready Hunter should the team stand pat early in round one, I am vehemently opposed to trading assets to move up and secure a player, who does not project to ever be All Star caliber.
If they do not trade up for Jarrett Culver, Atlanta would be better served standing pat and selecting Cam Reddish or Sekou Doumbouya at eight and using pick 10 or 17 to select their center of the future. They could then use the third pick to draft a second wing player. UNC small forward Nassir Little is a good option. They could also trade one if the picks for more future draft assets. The NBA is currently negotiating with the Players Association about allowing high school players to once again enter the NBA Draft. The rule change will eventually result in a “double draft”. Such a draft will be the deepest in many years, as the top high school seniors and college freshmen, would all be in the same draft pool. 2022 is the earliest and most likely year, for such a draft to take place. Travis Schlenk would be very intelligent to collect as many pick as he can for that draft, with the Hawks currently already holding two potential first round picks that year.
Passionate Atlanta Hawks fans are now feeling butterflies in their stomachs, brimming with excitement for the upcoming draft. The only thing will calm those butterflies, is finding out what moves and what draft picks the team they love makes. The countdown is on! There is no better time than now to be an Atlanta Hawks fan. What a time to be alive!