The rebuilding process for the Atlanta Hawks is right on track after two successful draft classes in a row by the team. Picking PF John Collins two years ago and PG Trae Young and SF Kevin Huerter last year puts the Hawks in a good position for the next decade.
For this season’s draft, Atlanta needed to find some players to build around the foundation that was already established so that they can place themselves in playoff contention in the near future. Let’s take a look at what they did in this season’s National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft.
This Hunter hunts
Round 1, Pick 4: De’Andre Hunter – SF – Virginia. 6’7″, 225 lbs. (15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 43.8 3-pt %)
Hunter peaked at the right time as he led the Virginia Cavaliers with 27 points to win the NCAA Championship. He also thrives at the defensive end as well as he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He should fit in quite well with the Hawks since he will not be pressured to score all of the time with Young and Collins being the two primary options on the court. His defense will be critical to the development of the team as he will be asked to guard the opposing team’s best perimeter player. The Hawks have a potential star in Hunter once his offensive game becomes more refined.
Prefer not to
Round 1, Pick 10: Cam Reddish – SF – Duke. 6’6″, 207 lbs. (13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 spg)
After picking Hunter, the Hawks decided to load up at the wing position (pun intended) by drafting Reddish at #10. Reddish is a good three-point shooter who also has the physical tools to make an impact defensively. Although he has the ability to start, he more than likely will come off the bench for Atlanta due to his unwillingness to be impactful in every game.
Reddish’s game reminds me of the short story by Herman Melville titled “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Every time Bartleby’s boss asks him to do something, Bartleby responded by saying, “I prefer not to.” Even though Reddish has the capability to be dominant each and every game, he prefers not to. However, with a long NBA season, he should make valuable contributions in about 20 of the games, which would be good for a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 4: Bruno Fernando – C – Maryland. 6’10”, 237 lbs. (13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
The trend in the NBA is to have a team that is more perimeter-oriented. Nevertheless, too many teams tend to neglect the big men. This trend is proven by the fact that Fernando was picked in the second round even though he averaged a double-double in the Big Ten, the conference that is generally considered to be one of the most physical conferences in college basketball.
Based on his strength and on his rebounding alone, he should obtain considerable minutes off of the bench. He has improved his shooting range out to mid-range, but he will need to become more comfortable in making passes when he is double-teamed because trying to steamroll a defender every time does not work in the NBA.
Overall, the team has simultaneously improved their starting lineup and their bench in the same draft. Grade: A-.