The Hawks have been mentioned in just about every trade rumor or hypothetical the media has put out there, and most recently, they’ve been tied to the Kings’ No. 4 overall pick.
Almost every team picking after Sacramento in the lottery and even beyond has approached the Kings in exploratory conversations, a source says, a group including Indiana (No. 6), Washington (No. 10), New York (No. 11), Oklahoma City (No. 12), Atlanta (No. 16) and others.
Rival teams say the asking price will be considerable, with a mix of established vets (Malcolm Brogdon, Kyle Kuzma, Jerami Grant, John Collins), a 2022 draft choice and rookie-scale contract players such as the Pacers’ Chris Duarte believed to be some of the options teams have studied
One of those is not like the others. John Collins is by far the best player mentioned above, so the Hawks would probably be able to offer Sacramento the most tantalizing proposal. With a haul like that, the Hawks better be getting a generational player, and they could be.
Most analysts have Jaden Ivey as the No. 4 rated prospect, but he could very well end up being the gem of this class. A backcourt of Ivey and Trae Young would be exciting, so let’s look at how the two could potentially pair together.
Ivey is a combo guard with loads of athleticism, ball-handling ability, refined finishing ability, and an improving shot from beyond the arc. The 20-year-old has been compared to Dwayne Wade and Ja Morant, and he’s got the stat line to go with the comparisons. Purdue finished 29-8 this year, led by the sophomore averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on 46% shooting from the field, 35.8% from deep, and 74% from the line.
Moreover, 37% of his shots came at the rim, finishing at a 66% clip — most of which were unassisted. Another 41% of his shots came from beyond the arc. And though his 36% shooting from 3 isn’t overly impressive, Ivey improved by 10% from the prior season, which proves the kid is willing to work on his game. His 6’10” wingspan shows up when finishing at the rim and on the defensive end. He can make circus shots near the basket, similar to the finishes of Ja Morant. And his defensive acumen is based solely on his length and athleticism.
Ivey doesn’t need Young to get his own shot, which is something the Hawks are looking for. However, when Young drives and draws defenders, Ivey can spot up or put the rock on the floor and get in the lane. He might be a picture-perfect fit with Young on the offensive end.
At Purdue, Ivey used pick-and-rolls at a high rate and averaged 1.38 points per finishing opportunity (88th percentile), which would bode well in Atlanta. He has the explosiveness to get by defenders if they play over top of the pick but also the change-of-pace to adjust on the fly.
Ivey’s ball-handling sometimes doesn’t keep up with his world-class speed, which leads to turnovers, and his shot from 3 isn’t always consistent. There are concerns. But the idea of pairing him with Young has my mouth watering. On defense, the two might be suspect, but it’s up to the front office to surround them with high-caliber defenders.
Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire