With reports coming out that the Hawks aren’t likely to trade the 6th overall pick, I think the team will actually stay put and not navigate the draft board for the first time in what feels like forever. The lottery wasn’t kind to Atlanta in a bad draft class, but here’s who I like tonight.
Round 1, Pick 6: G/F Devin Vassell, Florida State
I’ve profiled Vassell before, and I still love what he offers.
The Suwanee native should be Atlanta’s top target since they didn’t land a top-five selection in the lottery. Vassell is cut from the same cloth as DeAndre Hunter, but I like Vassell just a little more than Hunter coming out of school. Both guys are long 3-and-D wings with smooth 3-point shots. Like Hunter, Vassell is more of a refined product. His floor is very high, but he’s less close to being maxed out as a prospect than Hunter was. Vassell posted a 49% FG percentage while canning 42% of his 3s last season. His PPG is slightly lower than Hunter’s at Virginia, but his APG and RPG are almost identical. The shooting percentages are scary close too. DeAndre Hunter didn’t set the NBA on fire as a rookie, and he was even overshadowed by Cam Reddish, who was taken six picks later. We’ve seen players progress significantly under Lloyd Pierce in year two, so I think Hunter and Reddish both make a jump. Back to Vassell. This kid can jump out of the gym. He is crazy athletic and an explosive finisher, something that he can showcase with Trae Young feeding him dimes. Vassell can score at all three levels, and for a guy with a 7-foot wingspan at 6’6″ — he’s an excellent shooter. Vassell will have to put on some weight at the NBA level, but a 6’6″, 200-pound guard averaging over 5 RPG shows he possesses some toughness. His potential was on full display against Virginia Tech last season when he erupted for 27, 3, and 3, knocking down all seven of his threes and eight of his ten shots from the field.
Hopefully, the rumors about Atlanta being in on Joe Harris are true. A wing rotation of Huerter, Hunter, Reddish, Harris, and Vassell may seem like a logjam, but you can never have enough wings in today’s NBA. I also really like Onyeka Okongwu, if he’s not flying up draft boards like reports are claiming. If James Wiseman has a draft-day slide, you have to consider him here as well.
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. If Atlanta is interested in trading up back into the first or early 2nd round as they did for Bruno Fernando, I would love to snag a project like Jaden McDaniels, Tre Jones, or Isaiah Stewart.