With the Hawks picking at #19, new General Manager Travis Schlenk said the team is looking for the best player available, good length and athleticism, and good character. The draft is not a place to fill needs, but instead a place to find talent. Very few players have stand-out seasons in their rookie years, so if a team really needs a piece, free agency is the place to do it. At pick #19, there will still be some good talent left. Check out my mock draft from yesterday and stay tuned tonight to find out who they select and if it is a good fit.
1st Round Pick: #19 Overall
1. Jordan Bell (PF/C, 6’9″, Oregon)
Bell is an explosive athlete. With his strength and his 6’11” wingspan, he is a fierce paint protector who can guard both Power Forwards and Centers. He averaged 2.3 blocks per game this season for Oregon, and in a tournament game against Josh Jackson and Frank Mason’s Kansas Jayhawks, Bell put up 8 blocks. He played all four seasons at Oregon and improved strongly in all four, so there’s no reason not to believe that Bell can do the same in the NBA. Bell can play Center in Coach Bud’s small lineup, or he can play Power Forward in a regular lineup. Although Bell’s shot did not look good during the season, it was actually quite smooth during the combine, showing his commitment to improve his game. A long athlete who can rebound, block, and get above the rim seems very nice, plus he can do something that is crucial to the Hawks: He can run the floor.
2. Jarrett Allen (C, 6’11”, Texas)
Allen is a bit rawer than Bell, but he’s one of the more polished Centers in this draft. Allen has a humungous 7’6″ wingspan to go along with a 9’2″+ standing reach. Allen also has monster hands and can hold the ball like a grapefruit. Allen’s mobility is also great for the Hawks, as he can run the floor in transition and get back on defense. He averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds per game, which is nice considering most bigs in this draft have relatively small numbers. Allen’s big game came against the Kansas Jayhawks, where he scored 22 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Allen also has a solid mid-range jumper that can help him in the spaced-out NBA. He has the physical tools the scouts drool over, and with a bit more polish, Allen could fill in as the starting Center for the Hawks sooner rather than later.
2nd Round Pick: #41 Overall
1. Luke Kornet (C, 7’0″, Vanderbilt)
Kornet hasn’t been on many radars after not being invited to the NBA combine, but a stretch 5 who can block shots is a talent the Hawks shouldn’t pass up on. Kornet averaged 2 threes and 2.7 blocks per 40 minutes this year, showing his ability to protect the rim and shoot the three. In 2015-16, Kornet led the SEC in blocks and blocks per game. Kornet is a very smart player who can make the extra pass, and that along with his talent and ability to space the floor, should intrigue the Hawks at pick #41.
2. Frank Mason (PG, 6’0″, Kansas)
Mason is an experienced player who can come in and make an immediate impact for the Hawks. Although being undersized, Mason would be a good pickup since the Hawks are so slim at Point Guard behind Dennis Schroeder. Mason is an all-around scorer and a better perimeter threat than Malcolm Delaney (current backup). Mason can come in and give the Hawks immediate help, but he also has potential to be a solid player in the league due to his winning spirit, perimeter shooting, and his toughness.
2nd Round Pick: #60 Overall (Mr. Irrelevant of the NBA Draft)
1. Nigel Williams-Goss (PG, 6’4″, Gonzaga)
Although the Hawks are probably not going to find themselves another Isaiah Thomas, there are some good options here. Nigel Williams-Goss has great size (6’4″) and length (6’7″ wingspan) that can carry into the NBA. Just like Fred Van Vleet who got playing time for the Raptors, Williams-Goss is an experienced guard who is a jack-of-all-trades type of guy. He doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he’s good in all facets of the game. Shooting, passing, driving, defense, and grit is what Williams-Goss can bring to the Hawks in hopes to make a roster.