Welcome to day 18 of Draftmas where we will take a look at the Atlanta Hawks 2017 NBA Draft profile.
The Atlanta Hawks are one of the most consistent franchises in the NBA. Atlanta has made the playoffs for 10 straight seasons. Last season, they finished with a 43-39 record which earned them the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta lost to Washington in the first round 4-2. The Hawks have some really good players, most notably, Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap but they are missing that go-to star who will take the team to the next level.
In those 10 straight playoff appearances, they have never been able to reach the Finals, and have only reached the conference finals once which was in the 2014-2015 season. Head coach Mike Budenholzer is a product of Gregg Popovich which means he has the Hawks playing team basketball predicated on ball movement. This is evident in their 10th overall ranking in assists, averaging 23.6 per game.
This is why the Hawks are still consistently good without that superstar player. If Atlanta wants to become a legitimate contender they need to find that star whether it is via free agency or the draft.
Atlanta’s strengths are on the defensive side of the court. The Hawks ranked 10th in points allowed per game (104), seventh in steals per game (8.3) and fifth in opponents field goal percentage (44.4 percent).
Offensively is where the Hawks struggle the most. They ranked 28th in both turnovers (15.8 per game) and free throw percentage (72.8 percent). Atlanta ranked 18th in field goal percentage (45.1 percent) and 23rd in three-point percentage (34.1 percent).
One of the remaining bright spots for the Hawks was their rebounding, they ranked ninth in the NBA averaging 44.3 rebounds per game.
Picks & Needs
First Round: No. 19
Second Round: No. 31, No. 60
The Hawks need to find some scoring in this draft. It will be highly unlikely that they find a franchise star late in the first round so scoring has to be their number one priority.
Atlanta could also look to draft a big at either center or power forward. Dwight Howard is past his prime and there may be better options at his position. Paul Millsap is also on the back half of his career and there were trade rumors surrounding him last season.
Atlanta needs more depth at their small forward position as well. It may not make sense to draft a small forward since that is the position they drafted last year in Taurean Prince but they need another rotation player at that spot.
The last need for the Hawks to become a better team is by adding depth at the point guard position. Dennis Schroder is an average point guard and adding a second point guard to either compete against or spell him would improve the Hawks.
Targets & Thoughts
Pick #19: Bam Adebayo F/C Kentucky
Many of the top shooting guards will be drafted by the time the Hawks are on the clock. Atlanta will look to take the best available big man remaining and around pick 19 that would be Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo. Adebayo averaged 13 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in his first season at Kentucky.
Bam Adebayo is very athletic and loves to play an aggressive style of basketball. His goal is to posterize everyone in his path. Bam is also one of the best offensive rebounders in this draft class.
He will need some more development on offense as all of his game is predicated on playing near the rim. To become a solid NBA starter he will need to work on a midrange game as well.
Defensively, Adebayo is a stud. He has shown the ability to be a fierce rim protector along with the versatility to switch screens and defend quick guards as well.
Bam may not be a dominant force in the NBA but as he develops he can become a solid starter capable of replacing either Dwight Howard or Paul Millsap as they leave Atlanta.
Pick #31: Sindarius Thornwell SG South Carolina
Early in the second round, the Hawks could find a gem at the shooting guard position. Sindarius Thornwell was the best player for South Carolina during their Final Four run. Thornwell can score in all sorts of ways. Inside, outside, off screens, in transition and even spot-up shooting.
Sindarius averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists per game and a player efficiency rating of 30.3. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from behind the arc.
Thornwell has some flaws defensively but his offense could help Atlanta right away. He has a chance to be the next second round gem in the NBA.
Pick #60: Kobi Simmons PG Arizona
Kobi Simmons will be a late second-round pick who may struggle to make the roster. As the final pick in the draft, the Hawks will take a chance on a possible backup point guard. He has a lot of potential but only averaged 8.8 points and 2.0 assists while at Arizona. Simmons also only shot 39.7 percent.
Simmons has tons of athleticism but lacks basketball I.Q. If he can tap into the potential scouts have raved about since he was in high school he has a chance to become a solid backup point guard in the NBA.
Atlanta has made the playoffs for 10 straight years but can’t seem to get over the hump. The Hawks need to continue acquiring talent and building depth. The strength of the team is on defense and the Hawks must improve their offense by adding shooters and scorers.
The number one goal is to get a shooter but if one isn’t available at pick 19 they should go after big men for depth. If the Hawks can do these things they can close the gap on the top teams in the East. They may not win a championship next year but you can guarantee they will make the playoffs.
Thanks for checking out the Atlanta Hawks 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day 19 of NBA Draftmas to see what the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to do.
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