I’ve said it, written it, and yelled it before: I do not believe the Hawks will package their two top-ten picks to move up in the draft. It doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the whole reason Travis Schlenk traded with the Mavericks last year is so he could have two lottery picks instead of one. I think I’ve heard the Hawks general manager say it 1,000 times on several different occasions.
However, a recent report by Jonathan Givony suggests that the New York Knicks are mulling over the idea of trading back and are considering moving their number three overall pick for the two Hawks’ lottery selections (8 and 10). This is about the only scenario I see that would pique Travis Schlenk’s interest.
By many accounts around this draft, this is a three-man class with a significant drop-off afterward. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant have virtually been penciled in as the first and second picks. And despite all of the noise, it would be shocking to see any name other than R.J Barrett’s be called third overall. There are several other players that I’m fond of like Cam Reddish and Jarrett Culver, but if Atlanta is moving up to three; it has to be Barrett they are eyeing.
While parting ways with two top ten picks for one would be out of character for the Schlenk, taking a swing for the fences would not. And that is exactly what this move would be.
The majority of scouts had Barrett as the #1 overall pick in 2019 coming out of high school. While he’s taken a bit of hit since then, I’m not sure how much of that is warranted. There remains a strong chance that he becomes the best player in this draft.
Barrett averaged over 22 points and shot 45.4% from the field as a freshman at Duke, showing off impressive traits as a passer and rebounder as well. At 6’7″, he’s going to be a monstrous shooting guard and will only get stronger with time. Was Barrett as efficient as some would have liked him to be? No, but he was not abysmal, and the upside here is off the charts. Imagining a scoring duo of Barrett and Young in the backcourt, along with the passing that those two bring, is invigorating to think about.
One thing I’m sure of: Draft night is going to be a fun one for Hawks fans.