The Hawks have six selections in the NBA draft — Nos. 8, 10, 17, 35, 41 and 44 — but they won’t all be used on players who will be on the roster next season.
Get ready for a trade — or trades.
General manager Travis Schlenk has said on several occasions that the Hawks would not add five, or now six, rookies. There are options. So many options. Here’s a look at three scenarios that could take place Thursday.
Package and trade first-round picks
With three first-round selections, the Hawks instantly became a centerpiece in the rumor mill as a team that will or could make a big move. That might be the case. The three first-round draft picks are their most valuable assets. There are rumors that the Hawks could package some or all of the picks to move up or even down. The big questions are: What will it take to move up? How much could they move up? What would entice them to move back? In any package to move up, the No. 8 pick will have to be in play. A team isn’t going to let the Hawks move above No. 8 without getting the most valuable of their assets. It likely also will take either No. 10 and No. 17, or both, as well to move into the upper tier. If the Hawks have a player they like enough after Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett, this could be the move. If there isn’t such a player, the Hawks could trade back, acquire another asset (a player or pick) and still draft a player they like.
Make all three first-round picks
This is not beyond the realm of possibility, especially if the Hawks don’t get desired value in a trade up or down scenario. Schlenk has described the draft as deep and mentioned that after, say, the first three picks that evaluations will vary greatly. After Williamson, there doesn’t not appear to be a can’t-miss prospect. If that is the case, it may be better for the Hawks to take all three first-rounders and see if they hit on more than one. Last season, the Hawks took three players in the first round. Two, Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, were starters and a third, Omari Spellman, still has upside. The Hawks could try again to hit it big with three swings. “You might see guys one team has in the top 10 that another team is going to have in the 20s,” Schlenk said last week. “It’s a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder deal. We like a lot of the guys there. We like the opportunity to have … different stabs at it.”
Trade some or all second-round picks
The Hawks won’t make all their second-round picks. When Schlenk was asked whether he is more likely to package and trade his first- or second-round picks, he said he clearly would like to package the second-rounders and move up. That may be easier said then done. Second-round picks are a limited asset. Just watch what generally happens at the end of a draft. However, the Hawks have three picks in the top of the second round. There could be value there. “It’s no secret with our three second-round picks we are going to try to package them and move up if we can,” Schlenk said. “That’s easy for me to sit here and say. It’s harder to accomplish.” It is worth noting that the Rockets, Nuggets and Lakers are all without a draft pick. Also, the Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Wizards only have a first-round pick and the Mavericks and Raptors only have a second-round pick. They could be willing to deal. After the option of trading a pick, the Hawks could look at a draft-and-stash or, least desirable, to sell it.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.