I don’t know why this has crossed the minds of so many Hawks fans. It’s almost like they have entirely forgotten why Travis Schlenk traded back in last year’s draft in the first place. The Hawks GM wanted to accumulate assets, so why would he give up one of those top picks now that it has finally coveted?
These words came out of Schlenk’s mouth verbatim after he decided deal Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a top-five protected lottery pick in 2019, “two lottery picks are better than one.” He’s reiterated that statement several times since the night of the draft, including a few months ago on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast “The Woj Pod,” where he said, “The more swings you get; the more chances you have to get a hit. To be able to take that pick and essentially turn it into two, that made sense for us.”
Does that sound like a coach ready to part ways with one of his top ten picks?
This is a draft class that features two or three superstars at the top. Then there are about ten to fifteen guys that are potential All-Stars behind them. For those picking outside of the top few spots, it’s up to the GMs to decipher between the stars and the busts. Few have been better at that than Travis Schlenk.
In two years, Schlenk has already been blessed with four first-round selections. His first was John Collins, who he selected 19th overall. After just two years in the league, the former Deamon Deacon is on the cusp of becoming an All-Star.
With his second opportunity in the first round, he turned Luka Doncic into Trae Young and the 10th overall pick in this draft. Doncic will probably take home the Rookie of the Year Award, but find me a supporter of the Hawks that is whining over that move today.
Schlenk also had the 19th pick again in the 2018 draft. He used it on lesser-known Kevin Huerter out of Maryland. The lanky sniper doesn’t look like most of the other top draft prospects, but he quickly put the NBA on notice by earning his way into the starting lineup. Huerter even received props from Dwyane Wade after the Hawks final meeting with the Heat. The two swapped jerseys and a quick conversation.
Atlanta possessed the 30th and final pick of the first round last year as well. With it, the Hawks took Omari Spellman out of Villanova. Spellman had an up-and-down rookie season that started with weight problems and ended with injury issues, but in between all of that, he appeared to be a decent find for a player taken 30th overall. He plays taller than he is due to his girth and can shoot it well from behind the arc for a big man. There’s a chance for him to carve out a role for himself as a part of the modern NBA.
In short, Travis Schlenk is pitching a perfect game when it comes to the draft – no matter where he is selecting. So why would any Hawks fans want him to part ways with one of his picks, especially a top ten pick in a loaded draft class? Schlenk has an eagle eye for talent, and I’m fully expecting him to select two players possessing loads of upside with the eighth and tenth pick. But one thing I am positive of, he is not packaging those two picks to move up.