Friday, April 13, 2018

NBA Draft 2018: A Quick Look at the Top Six for the Atlanta Hawks

Let's make this quick as there will be more to come as the Hawks know what pick they will have in mid-May when the Lottery occurs.

DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

At first look, the center that most call the #1 pick in this draft looks less like Joel Embiid than you would like, should the Hawks win the lottery. He has an okay college 3-point shot, does not look terribly long as a defensive disruptor and his skills look a little raw on both ends. He is a legit 7-footer, so that's something, but would love to see a more polished player with more projection in this spot.

Luka Doncic, Guard, Real Madrid

He is interesting, though this is someone I want to watch more as the draft season wears on through the spring. By some accounts, he is part Toni Kukoc, but with more a point guard player mentality, rather than Toni, who was a very capable passer, but not an offensive initiator in his time in the NBA. Doncic could fill the playmaker spot that we see Ricky Rubio filling into in Utah, but with a much taller frame to boot.

Jaren Jackson, Jr., PF, Michigan State

Defensively, he is exciting, and may project best into the recent Threes and D mold more than anyone else in this grouping. However, I am not convinced of his offense, which looks less than fluid and his body size is scrawny. I do love a shot-blocker, however, and JJJ definitely fits the mold, averaging a higher block rate than Ayton, easily.

Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke

The most polished offense player I have seen is Bagley, who is very long, can play either back to the basket or facing and is super aggressive on the offensive end. He is a scorer and a good one, even finishing above the rim consistently and authoritatively. His defensive side is almost a zero, but he has the size and length to be a factor if coached. He reminds almost immediately of Julius Randle, but taller and with more above the rim capabilities.

Michael Porter, SF, Missouri

We were robbed of seeing Porter, who came from high school as maybe the most electric scorer in the country, since his back injury cost him nearly the entire season. When he returned, he was not physically the same, which is obviously concerning. Did he lose even one level of his physicality? Will the back injury project as chronic (if you can do such a thing)? We will see if he allows teams to check the back during the draft process and it will be a major red flag if he will not. If his back is fine, he is a creative and skilled scorer, maybe like Blake Griffin coming from Oklahoma. But that is a big if.

Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

Bamba looks great to me as a defensive center in the mold of Rudy Gobert. He is risky because, while Gobert has become a playoff caliber force, there is no guarantee Bamba will develop the same way. Still, how he might fit into a Mike Budenholzer coached team could be a factor here.

What do you think the Hawks ought to do at the top? Is there someone else you would consider up here? Let me know in the Comments area or hit me up @JasonWalkerNBA on the Twitter machine.

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