As of now the Hawks have the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft. It has been rumored that the Hawks are talking to multiple teams about moving a few spots up, but for this article’s sake we will assume the Hawks will stand pat with the 15th pick. I have done loads of articles on who the Hawks should look for and who the Hawks should avoid, but this one is simple. Who will the Hawks take with the 15th pick of the draft?
My favorite option for the Hawks is Devin Booker. He is the best shooter in this draft, fills a position of need and he can play defense. The other aspects of Booker’s game are also vastly underrated. He is athletic and can score in the paint. Unfortunately, I think Booker goes somewhere in the 8-10 range in the draft. If the Hawks make a move up in the draft, Booker has to be a guy on their short list. My second and third favorite prospects are centers Frank Kaminsky and Myles Turner. Both of these guys are stretch big men, but on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Kaminsky was not a highly touted recruit, played all four seasons at Wisconsin and is coming out a very seasoned and well-rounded prospect. Meanwhile, Turner was the #2 overall recruit coming out of high school, played only one season at Texas and is a very raw prospect. I definitely give Kaminsky the edge out of these two guys because he can step in immediately and add to an already great team. With Kaminsky and a couple of key offseason acquisitions, the Hawks could be poised for 2016 Finals run. However, the Hawks will likely get neither of these players because I believe both of them will be selected before the 15 spot. Turner will go 11th to the Pacers, and Kaminsky will follow him going 12th to Jazz.
Even though these three guys probably will not be available for the Hawks, do not get discouraged because there will be loads of talent still on the board. I believe Sam Dekker, Bobby Portis, RJ Hunter, Jerian Grant, Trey Lyles, Kevon Looney, Cliff Alexander, and Kelly Oubre will still be on the board. These are all guys the Hawks could see making a difference for them in the 2015-2016 season, so who do we weed out first?I love Cliff Alexander, and think he will be a steal in this year’s draft, but there is simply better talent available at the 15 spot. I am not high on power forwards Trey Lyles and Kevon Looney and think the Hawks pass on both of them. RJ Hunter refused to talk or workout with the Hawks, so there is a very little possibility the Hawks consider him, and Jerian Grant is a guy I think might have already hit his ceiling. So that leaves us with three players: Sam Dekker, Bobby Portis, and Kelly Oubre.
Oubre is a talented prospect, but I think he gets cut because he is simply too raw. He only spent one year at Kansas and his play was far from noteworthy. He averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21 minutes a game last season for the Jayhawks. He no doubt has star potential, that is the reason he is even in this conversation, but the Hawks are not that far away from being great. They do not need to go reaching for a possible star. We already saw that movie with Marvin Williams.
When it comes to Dekker and Portis, I do not think the Hawks could go wrong. Dekker can flat out ball. He shot 35% from three in his years at Wisconsin, is very athletic, can play defense and has a high basketball IQ. His game was made to play in the Hawks system. In Portis, the Hawks would be getting a guy who can rebound well and score in the low post. He also has the ability to make both mid range and three point jumpers. The Hawks desperately need more good bodies in the post. Even if Millsap does return or the Hawks sign another big name power forward like Aldridge or Monroe, the Hawks would benefit from having a guy like Portis off the bench. He was named SEC Player of the Year, and could step in and really strive in the NBA immediately. But even though the choice is tough, the Hawks will select Sam Dekker with the 15th overall pick. I think this almost comes more down to the fact that Carroll will not be in a Hawks uniform next season. There are a lot more big bodies available in free agency than there are quality wing players, and Carroll is simply going to be asking for too much money. The Hawks cannot afford to lock themselves up financially like they have done previously, and that is why they will select Sam Dekker at number 15.