Atlanta Hawks Blog

A blog about Atlanta’s NBA franchise, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Beat writers mock draft: My picks for the Hawks


The Boston Globe conducted an NBA mock draft with beat writers making first-round picks for the teams they cover. No trades allowed, so I made all three Hawks selections: Nos. 3, 19 and 30. Here are the results:

1. Phoenix: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

The Suns believe Ayton fits as a modern-day center.

— Scott BordowThe Arizona Republic

2. Sacramento: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri

The Kings could go several ways, and Porter’s upside intrigues them.

— Jason JonesSacramento Bee

3. Atlanta: Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State

The youngest top prospect has 3-and-D potential.

— Michael CunninghamAJC

4. Memphis: Luka Doncic, SF, Real Madrid (Spain)

Doncic is, in my opinion, the top prospect in this draft. Getting him here is an absolute steal for Memphis, and he gives the Grizzlies the ready-to-play wing player they’ve been trying to find for years now.

— Tim BontempsThe Washington Post

5. Dallas: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

No way the Mavericks expected him to be here, but when the fighting Bontemps broke their heart by taking Doncic at No. 4, the Mavs are OK with the consolation prize.

— Eddie SefkoDallas Morning News

6. Orlando: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

The greatest chicken-or-egg problem in the NBA today is deciding whether to rebuild around size and length or shooting and scoring. The league is trending toward scoring, so I think the Magic go with Trae Young, believing they can find rim protection elsewhere and using Jonathan Isaac and a (re-signed) Aaron Gordon to bolster the defense around him. Young has the potential to change any team’s offense, and Orlando has needed a perimeter scoring injection for a long time. No guard has averaged more than 20 points per game in a Magic uniform since Steve Francis in 2005.

— Philip Rossman-ReichOrlando Magic Daily

7. Chicago: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

The Bulls aren’t expecting this scenario and Wendell Carter Jr. represents a more traditional pick to complement and aid Lauri Markkanen. But Bamba’s length, defensive force potential, and upside would be too good to pass up here.

— K.C. JohnsonChicago Tribune

8. Cleveland: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

High energy, defender, position of need, possible trade bait for the Hornets and Kemba Walker. Dan Gilbert loves him.

— Joe VardonCleveland.com

9. New York: Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke

While Mikal Bridges or Kevin Knox may have made sense, the Knicks can’t pass on the raw talent.

— Steve PopperThe Record

10. Philadelphia: Mikal Bridges, SG, Villanova

A good two-way player, he can defend and is a good shooter. That will spread the floor for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to operate. The added bonus is that the he doesn’t need the ball to be effective.

— Keith PompeyPhiladelphia Inquirer

11. Charlotte: Shai Gilgeous Alexander, PG, Kentucky

With Kemba Walker really being one of the only ways to move off of bad contracts, Charlotte needs a replacement at PG. His size compares well with Charlotte’s smaller lottery pick last year in Malik Monk.

— Walker MehlLocked On Hornets

12. LA Clippers: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

A clutch shooter in college who can score in the lane.

— Broderick TurnerLA Times

13. LA Clippers: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

A player able to play multiple positions is what the Clippers need.

— Broderick TurnerLA Times

14. Denver: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

The Nuggets have uncertainty both on the wing and in the backcourt, with Wilson Chandler still deciding whether to pick up his player option and Will Barton entering unrestricted free agency. Knox, a recent riser on draft boards because of his youth and potential, helps fill the first need if he slips to Denver.

— Gina MizellThe Denver Post

15. Washington: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Smith is raw and athletic and still needs development. But the Wizards need a player like him. Plus, the kid may have the best upside in the draft.

— Candace BucknerThe Washington Post

16. Phoenix: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

The Suns will try to trade up, but if they can’t, they go for Holiday, who was in twice for workouts. Undersized but can shoot and defend.

— Scott BordowThe Arizona Republic

17. Milwaukee: Elie Okobo, PG, Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France)

The Bucks have a task that is easy to describe and difficult to execute: fully leverage the incomparable talent of Giannis Antetokounmpo. To do so, Milwaukee needs to ensure that he is surrounded by shooters as often as possible. Okobo presents the most dynamic option available, and he should be able to join Mike Budenholzer’s guard rotation this season.

— Mitchell MaurerBrew Hoop

18. San Antonio: Melvin Frazier, G/F, Tulane

Some scouts consider Frazier the most athletic wing in this year’s draft class. If the Spurs are in serach of adding more athletic wings, Frazier, who is praised for his defense, can be developed and help the team in a few years.

— Jabari YoungSan Antonio Express-News

19. Atlanta: Jacob Evans, SG, Cincinnati

The Hawks would have liked Holiday here. They settle for a great defensive prospect on the wing with play-making ability.

— Michael CunninghamAJC

20. Minnesota: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Could trade this pick, but they need toughness, shooting, and defenders (particularly on the wing), and the Big Ragu could help supply some of all three.

— Jerry ZgodaMinnesota Star Tribune

21. Utah: Troy Brown Jr., SF, Oregon

With the Jazz roster stocked, they can afford to swing for the fence with Brown, the second-youngest player in the draft. He’s big, athletic, versatile, and has the chance to be a good two-way wing in time.

— Tony JonesSalt Lake Tribune

22. Chicago: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College

Robert Williams surprisingly being on the board could give the Bulls pause. But with a now-crowded frontcourt, they address their biggest need: a D-and-3 wing.

— K.C. JohnsonChicago Tribune

23. Indiana: Chandler Hutchison, SG, Boise State

The Pacers lack size in the backcourt, which is why they limit switching, and athleticism on the wings (which allowed the Cavs to load to Victor Oladipo without paying a price). They don’t just need a shooter but an athlete who can create his own, be a good stretch shooter and get to the rim which opens the floor for Oladipo.

— J. MichaelIndy Star

24. Portland: Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

I think the Blazers should — and will — actively shop the pick in pursuit of a veteran to help now. But trades are off the table in this mock. And while Anfernee Simons intrigues the Blazers, I’m going with Thomas, an excellent defender and shooter who would depth on the wing.

— Joe FreemanThe Oregonian

25. LA Lakers: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M

Given how this draft has played out, the fact the Lakers can still get a guy who was a projected lottery talent at No. 25 in Williams — particularly the kind of athletic big with the potential to play in today’s NBA — is a no-brainer, despite some of the oddities that have cropped up over the past couple months since his career at Texas A&M came to an end.

— Tim BontempsThe Washington Post

26. Philadelphia: Dzanan Musa, SG, Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia)

This young native of Bosnia will remain overseas for at least another season in a draft-and-stash situation. That allows the Sixers to create more cap space to go after an A-list free agent and allow Musa to develop more. But he has a great upside.

— Keith PompeyPhiladelphia Inquirer

27. Boston: Kevin Huerter, SF, Maryland

He’s fallen here because of a hand injury, but the Celtics gladly scoop up one of the draft’s best shooters.

— Adam Himmelsbach, The Boston Globe

28. Golden State: MiKyle McIntosh, F, Oregon

Averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in his one season with the Ducks, can rebound well and guard multiple positions.

— Pick by Mark MedinaThe Mercury News, text by Rachel G. Bowers

29. Brooklyn: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech

The Nets liked Keita Bates-Diop and were on Chandler Hutchison before most; but a 19-year-old 3-and-D wing with a 7-foot wingpan could help their leaky defense too much to pass up.

— Brian LewisNY Post

30. Atlanta: De’Anthony Melton, SG, USC

Melton is a good defender, rebounder, slasher, and playmaker. He’s not a good shooter but the Hawks will work with him on that.

— Michael CunninghamAJC


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About the Author

Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.