Wojnarowski: Donovan Clingan in play for Hawks at #1

Clingan Hawks

The Hawks received a much-needed gift last Sunday, winning the lottery for the first time in franchise history. They had just a 3% of doing so after losing in the play-in tournament to the Bulls, making them the most unlikely lottery winner since the Cavs won back in 2014.

It adds a lot more excitement to an offseason that was already expected to be an active one. Most expect them to be very active in the trade market, and it could involve their new shiny #1 overall pick. However, if the Hawks choose to keep the pick and take the best player available, Adrian Wojnarowski recently said UConn center Donovan Clingan is a possibility, via Evan Sidery, an NBA reporter for Forbes Sports.

Many of the potential top prospects in this year’s draft are foreign that haven’t been in the spotlight in America. That’s not the case for Donovan Clingan, who is fresh off helping the UConn Huskies to back-to-back national championships.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Clingan’s game is the frame. He’s a legit 7-foot-2 center who is already 280 pounds and could probably easily add even more muscle. Clingan should have no problem immediately stepping in and banging with some of the biggest bodies in The Association. He’s probably the best defensive big man in the draft, which has to be attractive for a team like the Hawks, who were one of the worst defensive teams in the league a year ago.

But for a player with that kind of size, Donovan Clingan is a tremendously fluid athlete. He doesn’t move awkwardly like you see from a lot of seven-footers and is very comfortable with the ball in his hands, whether he’s attempting to score or facilitate.

The biggest concerns surrounding Donovan Clingan lie on the offensive end. He wasn’t a threat from beyond the arc in college, attempting just nine threes over two years at UConn, and didn’t shoot free throws particularly well (58.3% last season). The back to the basket game isn’t anything to write home about either; most of his offensive production comes from putbacks and easy opportunities around the rim from assists.

Donovan Clingan is the type of player who’s going to have a long NBA career because of his size and defense. But when talking about a #1 overall pick, you’re looking for a guy that could potentially be the face of your franchise. I’m not sure Clingan will ever be anything like that, but he may be the safest pick for a Hawks team that could desperately use a young rim-protecting big.


Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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