Pick #8, Pick #10, Pick #42, & F Taurean Prince
Pick #3, Pick #55, G Frank Ntilikina, & G/F Damyean Dotson
With Pick #3, Atlanta Hawks Select: G/F RJ Barrett, Duke
Travis Schlenk cashes in some draft capital to move up and get his guy. RJ Barrett once dubbed the “Maple Mamba,” has been a star since his early days playing the FIBA circuit in Canada. His numbers speak for themselves, 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists. He fits a need and is probably the last potential superstar in this draft with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant locked into their draft positions.
With our (very popular) mock trade, the Hawks bring back a guard with some defensive chops in Ntilikina and wing depth to provide scoring off of the bench in Dotson. This immediately improves one of the worst benches in the league. It is also a good trade for the Knicks too: Prince provides a cheap but talented wing to fill the roster in pursuit of Kyrie, KD, & AD. With DSJ, Kevin Knox, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Alonzo Trier emerging, the Knicks can afford to replace Ntilikina and Dotson with picks #8 and #10 or package them for a Bradley Beal to pair with a star. They also jump up 13 spots in the 2nd round, which the Hawks can afford to spare with extra chips and back to back picks.
A new starting 5 of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, RJ Barrett, John Collins, and Alex Len/Dewayne Dedmon provides Atlanta with one of the most promising young cores in the entire NBA. The later picks will be focused on getting guys who can contribute right away to the second unit, so the Hawks can free up cap space and go star hunting next summer.
With Pick #35, Atlanta Hawks Select: F Chuma Okeke, Auburn
Buckets, Buckets, and more Buckets. Georgia boy Chuma Okeke was one of the most prolific scorers on a potent Auburn offense, and he was sorely missed after suffering a torn ACL in the tournament. He’s a candidate to slide on draft day, and the Hawks would need a little luck to get him. Okeke is a prototypical 3 and D wing, shooting 38% from 3 with above-average athleticism. Filling another need with a dynamic player who Lloyd Pierce can bolster the second unit with.
With Pick #41, Atlanta Hawks Select: G Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Edwards is one of the most critical choices in the draft. Barrett gets you the buckets and a potential star; Edwards is another facilitator and ball handler whenever Trae Young is taking a breather. Edwards has had some notable scoring eruptions, 40 vs. Illinois in 2018 and most recently his tear through the NCAA tournament where he tallied 42, 29 and 42 in consecutive games.
One downside to Edwards is his size, and he sometimes tends to take over games instead of facilitating, but off of the bench that can be perfect for a high octane offense like Lloyd Pierce runs. He broke the NCAA tournament record for 3s, which is precisely the type of player Atlanta should be searching for. Travis Schlenk is all about shooting, and an experienced college point guard is one of the top needs for this team. Perfect fit.
With Pick #55, Atlanta Hawks Select: C Jontay Porter, Missouri
I think Jontay Porter can be the Mitchell Robinson of this draft, for different reasons of course. The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., he got some loves as a lottery pick in the early stages of last year’s draft. He’s a great talent offensively, but injuries and inconsistencies have knocked him down draft boards everywhere. However, Porter has a technical feel for the game and is a fluid athlete with length. Any prospect chosen at 55 is going to have warts, so why not take a lottery ticket who could develop into an elite offensive talent. Dewayne Dedmon is an excellent player, but Porter is a superb understudy in case he prices himself out of town. He’s the best value towards the tail end of the draft.