Bradley’s Buzz: You shouldn’t be disappointed by the Hawks’ draft

Duke forward AJ Griffin (21) celbrates after hitting a three point shot against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Credit: AP

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Duke forward AJ Griffin (21) celbrates after hitting a three point shot against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Credit: AP

For a team picking outside the lottery, the Hawks did OK. In a league where you can’t have enough shooting, they added a shooter. AJ Griffin of Duke projected as a lottery pick; the Hawks got him with the draft’s 16th selection. That’s value-shopping.

They didn’t trade up – or down – in Round 1. Their only move came in Round 2. They shipped Ryan Rollins, the draft’s 44th pick, to Golden State for UConn guard Tyrese Martin, taken 51st. This might be the last you hear of Martin for a while. NBAdraft.net ranked Griffin the seventh-best player in the draft. Martin was rated 95th-best.

If these additions seemed underwhelming, that had more to do with expectation than execution. The Hawks were viewed as a team desperate to make a major move. They were believed to be casting hungry eyes on the No. 4 pick held by Sacramento. The Kings wound up keeping it and taking Iowa’s Keegan Murray. Purdue’s Jaden Ivey was regarded as the apple of the Hawks’ – and many other teams’ – eye. He went fifth to Detroit.

Still unclear is why the Hawks, who have assembled an estimable core via the draft and added requisite veterans through trades and free agency, are seen as desperate. Their usual starting five includes only one player older than 24, and that’s Clint Capela, who’s 28. Their No. 1 pick of 2020 – Onyeka Okongwu – is rising fast. Last year’s No. 1 pick – Jalen Johnson – has worked 120 NBA minutes.

The Hawks might have oversold their disappointment. After a rousing run to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals, they were eager to do better. They did worse, which isn’t to say they had a terrible year. They won two play-in games and made the playoffs. They lost in Round 1 to Miami, which is what the No. 8 seed is supposed to do.

The remorse expressed by team president Travis Schlenk and principal owner Tony Ressler was understandable, but it mightn’t have been warranted. Even rebuilds that work don’t track straight lines to the top. I understand if you’re disappointed in this draft, but you shouldn’t be.

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About you-know-who

Freddie Freeman is 11-for-22 over his past five games with three home runs and 11 RBIs. He’ll make his first Truist Park appearance as a visiting player today. He’s scheduled to meet the media at 4:30 p.m. He’ll receive his 2021 World Series ring in a pregame ceremony. He’ll smack Ian Anderson’s first delivery over the wall in left-center at around 7:25 p.m. Everybody will go nuts.

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About you-know-who’s former team

On the morning of June 1, the Braves were tied with Boston for the 17th-best record in the majors. As we speak, they have MLB’s sixth-best record. FanGraphs gives them a 12.3% chance of winning the World Series. It gives the Mets – still leading the National League East – a 11.9% chance.

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About the latest Manning

Arch Manning – grandson of Archie, nephew of Peyton and Eli – committed himself to Texas. Depending on the day and the source, he was thought to be leaning toward Georgia. This leaves the shattered Bulldogs with two choices. One is to re-up Stetson Bennett, who never goes away, for another six-year term. The other is to drop football.

Seriously, though: It would be no great surprise if young Arch’s decision is subject to change. Given that he still has a high school season to play and that Steve Sarkisian is in the process of coaching himself out of another job, the latest Manning might yet wind up in Athens. Plus, there’s always the transfer portal. This is college football. Never say never.