“The roaches, the roaches fly by the way. I don’t know what’s up with that.”
Despite that, the former University of Michigan player is anxious to get to Atlanta and get to work.
Draft experts projected teams would select Bufkin anywhere between 11th and 15th. As the clock ticked away and NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced each name, the Hawks picked their guy.
“It comes with a lot of hard work, dedication, transparency, and just being ready to compete when I come down to the city of Atlanta,” Bufkin said.
Bufkin averaged 14 points per game last season as a sophomore at Michigan.
The 19-year-old Grand Rapids native brings plenty of offensive versatility to the Hawks. He also provides them with another guard that can take the pressure off of both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray when he earns his way into the rotation.
On top of that, Bufkin has trended upward when it comes to his ability to knock shots down. Between his freshman and sophomore years at Michigan, he improved from shooting 22.2% of his attempts from 3 to 35.5%.
Bufkin also has some solid instincts for a young guard that can flourish in the system of Hawks coach Quin Snyder.
“I think it got serious when one of our intel sources said something along the lines of there are guys who love the game, and then there’s guys who are in love with the game,” Hawks general manager Landry Fields said. “This is a guy that is in love with the game.”
The rookie guard would provide the Hawks with some defensive depth. He’s got great instincts off the ball. He can also get inside passing lanes and can use his length to contest jumpers.
As Fields said previously about draft prospects, Bufkin likely won’t play a lot of minutes in his rookie year. So, he will have some time to develop some strength, as well as continue to work on his jump shot.
The Hawks also traded up in the second round to land pick No. 39 and select Mouhamed Gueye, a 20-year-old center, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Born in Senegal, Gueye moved to the United States at age 16. After three years at Prolific Prep, he went to Washington State and had a breakout year during his sophomore season. He averaged 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds.
Gueye will need a little more time to develop the tools and skills he has.
The Hawks also selected Penn State’s Seth Lundy at No. 46. The 23-year-old worked out for the Hawks this month and will bring plenty of shooting to the roster should he crack the rotation.
He shot over 40% from 3 in his senior season with the Nittany Lions and averaging 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
He will also give the Hawks another solid on-ball defender, who can get into the body of his opponents and disrupt their rhythm. Plus he has a solid motor and never gives up on plays, which will greatly benefit the Hawks in the long run.
“He was actually just here, I believe was in our last workout last week,” Fields said. “He’s actually the guy that we’ve monitored, but really caught our eye at the combine. He just has an elite skill in shooting, and he plays with toughness. And he came out here and lit it up in front of us and that’s part of who he is.”