Based on all the talk and mock drafts from experts, it is assumed the Atlanta Hawks are looking to get longer with their first two picks at 8 and 10. They want to continue to surround their rookie sensation, Trae Young, with shooting and defense. Here are a few players I am fond of as we draw closer to Draft Day:
Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina– at 6’6”, 225 lbs, the Freshman from ‘Carolina is a physical specimen. Little remains a project on the offensive end, like most prospects entering the draft after their freshman year, but the upside is there for him to be one of the best players in this class. What should excite Hawks’ fans is his defense. He is an explosive defender who can guard almost any position on the floor. Little defends on the perimeter exceptionally well – something the Hawks desperately need next to Trae Young. However, he will need to find more consistency on the offensive end to maximize his potential.
Cam Reddish, SG, Duke– At 6’8”, the former Blue Devil is a long body that could play the two or the three. Reddish possesses the ability to get his shot anytime he chooses, but those shots didn’t fall nearly enough as a freshman at Duke, causing some to question how he will transition to the NBA. That said, his shooting form and the array of different shots he can take (and make) is second to none this draft class. Reddish has the skill set tailor-made for the NBA – a long wing that can play above-average defense, dribble, slash and pull up from anywhere on the court. Don’t let his college stats fool you; this former Blue Devil will wreak havoc in the NBA. He has been compared to a more-developed Joe Johnson. I think the Hawks would take that next to Trae Young.
Sekou Doumbouya– The 6’9”, 230-pound Frenchman is the top international prospect in 2019. He is big, strong, and has a ton of upside on the defensive end and in transition. Due to his elite defensive potential, he can guard nearly every position on the court outside of point guards. The majority of his buckets come from transition, but he is an above-average 3-point shooter at this stage in his development. He is a raw talent, so he needs to improve in his fundamentals and court awareness, but his physical attributes could make him a problem in the NBA for years to come.
Jaxson Hayes, C/PF, Texas– At 6’11”, 220 lbs, Hayes is a typically undersized five but could be an ideal fit at the center spot with the way the NBA is changing. He is athletic, nimble, has soft hands, and moves well in transition. His touch is spectacular around the rim for a big man, as is evident by his 72.8% FG percentage and 74% free throw percentage. Hayes has excellent shot-blocking prowess and gets his blocks without drawing fouls. He is still raw in his development but perceived to be a lottery pick.