With Atlanta once again suffering from the “luck of the draw” in the NBA lottery, they’ll choose 6th in this year’s draft even though they had the 4th worst record in The Association. With the team seemingly out of the Anthony Edwards, Lamelo Ball & James Wiseman sweepstakes, I’m in favor of trading the pick for a player. I also like my trading down scenario (for a certain Florida State guard) a lot more, but that’s coming later.
I’ll be cooking up some trades for that pick in another mock draft, but we’ll stick to chalk in this article. The Hawks will select at 6th and 50th — they traded two picks in this draft (17 from Brooklyn to Minnesota & 34 to Philadelphia). It’s going to be as tricky as ever to evaluate prospects as NBA talents with COVID-19, so a lot of this is subject to change.
Pick 6: F Deni Avdija, Israel
There’s a lot to like about the 19-year-old Deni Avdija. He comes with a super easy comparison — fellow EuroLeague standout Hedo Turkoglu. Both stand around 6’9″ with silky smooth handles and jump shots. Avdija can play the 1-4, and his versatility should be appealing to the Hawks, who need another ball-handling playmaker outside of Trae Young. His court vision and handle profile him as a Point Forward that can be used as a chess piece on the court.
At 6’9″, 210 pounds, Avdija possesses rare basketball ability for someone his size. His most tanalizing move is the smooth stepback three, which he will kill opponents all day with it, and it’s hard not to think of Luka Doncic when he pulls it off.
Avdija’s basketball IQ has been praised by GMs and scouts alike. He’s got some chops on defense, but he will need to put on weight to drive on NBA defenders. His free throw shooting also leaves a lot to be desired. I could see the Hawks shying away from Avdija because he’s so raw, but I think he’s worth the gamble at six if they decide to hang onto the pick. Players his size that have handles and a three-point stroke don’t grow on trees.
Pick 50: PG Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Winston could be a draft riser, but senior point guards rarely go very high. Backup Point Guard has been a sore spot for Atlanta for a long time now, and a secondary ball-handler to take the pressure off of Trae Young makes a lot of sense. Winston shot 43% from three in his senior season and was a big part of a Spartan team that looked primed to make a run at the championship. He averaged 19 & 6 and was a very efficient shooter for Tom Izzo. He also set the Big 10 record for assists. Winston’s probably already maxed out as a prospect, but his floor is extremely high. He isn’t very big at 6’1″-190 or fast, but he makes up for it with his basketball IQ. His leadership skills, ball handling, and efficient scoring make him a perfect match for a Hawks bench that desperately needs a floor general. If Winston is available at 50, I can’t think of anyone that makes more sense.