With the NBA draft on Thursday, let’s take a look at my final predictions for Lloyd Pierce’s club. Travis Schlenk is notably very unpredictable, but this is how I’d like to see things shake out.
Hawks Trade: #10 Overall Pick, #41 Overall Pick
Nuggets Trade: G Malik Beasley
Malik Beasley may be left out with a near max extension for Jamal Murray looming, Gary Harris recently getting paid, and Michael Porter Jr. potentially emerging. With Paul Millsap’s $30.5 million team option likely getting declined, this is an opportunity for Denver to make a real splash in free agency and add some depth to their roster. They found Nikola Jokic at pick 41, don’t think they won’t see value here.
In return, the Hawks get one of the most underrated players in the association. On top of canning 40% of his 3s last season, Beasley shot 47% overall from the field and averaged 18 points per 36 minutes. He’s an efficient scorer and will only improve in Atlanta’s system with Trae Young feeding him. The Atlanta native is only 22 years old and is another building block added to the young and talented scoring machine.
Pick #8: F Cam Reddish, Duke
More help on the wing. We’ve mentioned this time and time again, Cam Reddish, if available, has the highest ceiling at this point. He’s a very talented player who had to play third fiddle on a stacked Duke roster. With Anthony Davis going to Los Angeles and Kevin Durant out for all of 2020, this pretty much takes the Hawks out of the running for RJ Barrett in a potential trade. As disappointing as this is, we could see Cam Reddish blossom. He’s visited with the Hawks this past week, and they obviously have some interest. This is an organization that can be patient with his development. Duke did not shoot well from 3 last year, so he could break out with some actual floor spacing opportunities.
Pick #17: C Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State
I mentioned Kabengele as my sleeper for this draft on the podcast, and I’m sticking with him here. The nephew of Hawks legend Dikembe Mutombo, Kabengele is coming off a 6th man of the year award in the ACC and some eye-popping numbers for a guy his size. Per 40 minutes, Kabengele averages about 25 points, 11 Rebounds, 3 blocks, and shoots 39% from three. A lengthy 6’11 guy, he slots perfectly next to John Collins in the Hawks frontcourt.
Pick #35 F Chuma Okeke, Auburn
While it’s getting increasingly more difficult to pronounce these names, the Hawks should be ecstatic if Okeke is available here. He was going absolutely bonkers in the NCAA tournament before he tore his ACL. The Atlanta native is a fluid athlete who was putting up 17 points per 40 minutes while knocking down 39% of his triples (see the theme here?). The Hawks might be the thinnest team at Small Forward in all of the NBA. Okeke can play it to a T while playing some small ball at the four. He won’t be available for a while due to his injury, and could potentially go way higher than this, but this is a chance for the Hawks to get a lottery talent guy in the second round.
Pick #42 F/G Cody Martin, Nevada
In the late rounds, I prefer to focus on productive college players who could blossom in the right systems with the right coaching. Enter Cody Martin. After spending two seasons at NC State and two at Nevada, Martin is a bit of an older prospect. However, he did catch an invite to the combine after a strong G-League Elite camp showing. Martin is a swiss army knife of a player; he even played a decent amount of point guard for Nevada while playing some wing spots. He’s often praised for his basketball IQ and at 6’6, is a walking mismatch. His only real knocks are that he’s already 24 and is a bit of a tweener in the modern NBA, but with his skill set, impressive wingspan, and 36% 3 point percentage, I think he’s a perfect ball handler to have on the 2nd unit.