The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluated.
Though the Atlanta Hawks had yet another disappointing season, finishing second to last in the Eastern Conference, its players showed signs of massive potential. Trae Young‘s sophomore year was as fun as any former Hawk since Dominique Wilkins, averaging 29.6 PPG to go with 9.3 assists (good for top five in the league in both categories).
Along with Young, John Collins took a big step up this year, putting up a 21-10 on 58% field goal and 40% 3-point efficiency. Even more impressive is that Collins was one of four players who played at least 40 games to average 50-40-80 splits on his field goal, 3-point and free throw percentages (the other three were George Hill, Michael Porter Jr and T.J. Warren). Collins also gave some value as a rim protector, averaging 1.6 blocks per game.
Atlanta’s young core goes beyond these two, as top-ten picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are still panning out. Neither of them had a stand-out rookie season, but Hunter looks to improve the team’s lacking defense as a future 3 and D player, and Reddish shows the potential of being a shot-creating small forward who can also get to the line.
Kevin Huerter rounds out the Hawks’ promising future as a deadly 3-point shooter who in his two years in the league has already established himself as a deadeye from beyond the arc. Between the two years, Huerter has averaged 5.2 3-point attempts per game with a highly respectable 38% clip considering the volume of 3’s he’s taking.
Hawks fans have suffered three-straight years of sub-30 win seasons, but with the addition of one more lottery pick, a few years now under their star’s belts and a proven veteran free-agent, the team could look to take a step up in the 2020-21 season.
The Hawks have two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 6
Second Round: Pick No. 50
Perimeter Defense- The Hawk’s current backcourt of Trae Young and Kevin Huerter is an extreme liability against teams with strong guard scorers like Houston or Toronto. Atlanta could use either a backup point guard or a starting shooting guard that can take on the opposing team’s best wing. Atlanta allowed the most points per game to opponents in the league and gave up the most free throw attempts, showing their vulnerability to players who attack the rim.
Big Man With Range- If Atlanta is trying to build around Trae Young, which is really their only course of action, it will be hard to succeed with Clint Capela at center. Capela got traded from the Rockets because he clogged the lane and drew more defenders to James Harden when he drove due to his lack of a 3-point shot.
The Hawks will likely try to utilize Young in a similar way that the Rockets use Harden or the Mavs use Luka, and it will only make it harder with Capela. He still has three years left on his contract so it won’t be easy to get rid of him, but the small-ball lineups with John Collins put a damper on the team’s interior defense.
If the Hawks could add a center with range that can also replace some of the post defense that Capela so valuably adds, their starting lineup could be set for the next few years.
First Round, Pick No. 6- Obi Toppin, Power Forward/Center, Dayton
Toppin, recipient of last year’s Naismith Award, would be a perfect fit into the system Atlanta is building for Trae Young. He averaged 20 PPG on 63 percent shooting from the field and more importantly, he shot 39% from deep on nearly three attempts per game.
Toppin offers ideal size for a slight stretch five playing next to John Collins. He has the range to space the floor, the athleticism to run the pick and roll with Trae Young and the size to defend the interior. Obi’s athleticism allows him to be a great shot-blocker but also gifts him with solid ball-handling.
If the Hawks are planning to move on from Capela in the near future, Obi Toppin would be a superb replacement.
Second Round, Pick No.50- Jahmi’us Ramsay. Shooting Guard, Texas Tech
Jahmi’us Ramsay can bring so much to the table for a team. Ramsay is an accomplished shooter (43% on five attempts per game last year) and has the frame of a good defender. He can either take a backseat to Huerter and come off the bench as a 3 and D guard to stifle an opposing guard, or he can play the three in a small-ball lineup.
Ramsay doesn’t have to playmaking to be a backup point guard, but he fits in well as a catch and shoot guard that provides some much-needed perimeter defense on a struggling Hawks backcourt.
Featured Image courtesy of Wikipedia