I will be going through all 30 teams, grading their drafts & giving my thoughts on what should happen for that team going forward.
The Atlanta Hawks
Rd 1. Pick #12: Taurean Prince, F, Baylor
Prince projects as a DeMarre Carroll clone – a versatile 3-and-D forward who can play small-ball 4. He’s got nice size, length and athleticism, with toughness and a shot to boot. He’ll need to transition from the Baylor zone defensive scheme to a traditional NBA scheme, but he’s got the measurables and ability to make that transition an easy one. However, this is a biiiiiitttttt of a reach. He’s not a shot creator, and doesn’t project as elite in his two best skills – stretching the floor and defense. So Prince was projected by myself and many to be a late-first round pick. The highest I mocked Prince was at 25 to the Clippers. But at 12?? Yeah, he should be able to contribute right away and fits into the Hawks needs and scheme, but they could’ve traded back for him and acculumated more assets. Plus, with Teague being traded and Horford likely leaving, the Hawks would’ve been much better off taking a point guard, such as Dejounte Murray or Wade Baldwin, or a young big, such as Deyonta Davis or Skal. I’ve conferred with the gang on The League, and they agree that the Hawks got “trade raped” on the Teague trade.
Rd 1. Pick #21: DeAndre Bembry, G/F, St. Joeseph’s
I really like Bembry’s potential at the next level. He reminds me of a young Andre Igoudala – as he’s coming in to the league as a versatile G/F who can play and guard three positions. He’s also an excellent distributer and rebounder, and although he can’t shoot, he’s still a pretty good scorer. Iggy can shoot pretty well now, but was a pretty poor shooter at the begging. However, he must focus on his defensive consistency, as his athletic profile suggests that he should’ve been a much better defender than he was at the collegiate level. However, the fit is questionable. Bembry’s value here is okay, but the Hawks’ system values shooting, and that is the biggest flaw in Bembry’s game as of now. Why they didn’t take Murray, Skal or Davis is beyond me here. All three could’ve been selected with their first pick at 12, and nobody would’ve batted an eye. These three would’ve offered a lot of upside and value here, while also filling a position of need.
Rd 2. Pick #44: Isaia Cordinier, G, France
Like Fran Fraschilla mentioned many of times, French players have historically done well in the NBA. Cordinier is very athletic with nice potential – especially on the defensive end – and could prove to be a valueable draft-and-stash player down the line.
The Hawks made reaches with their first two pick – the first one was egregious, the second was more minor – but made a solid draft-and-stash selection with their final pick. They ignored their biggest needs as a team and reached, thus the poor grade.
Where the Hawks go from here:
To Rebuild or To Not Rebuild: The Hawks have been a team over the last few years that have been good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to seriously contend. They’ve got some quality pieces, but they may lose a few in free agency. Paul Millsap emerged as the clear-cut best player on the team and played his best basketball in his career, however he is over 30. Dennis Schröder is now the point guard of the future, and is still young, but he seems like a downgrade from Teague. Kent Bazemore showcased his 3-and-D qualities as a solid starting wing, but he may prove to be too expensive to keep. Al Horford is a quality stretch 5, but looks like he’s moving on, too. With no superstar to build around, and with a lot of free agents, the Hawks look like a team that would benefit more from rebuilding.
Resign Horford? Again, this depends on whether or not they wish to rebuild. If they decide to blow it up, he won’t be resigned. If they do, the Hawks will retain a very good frontcourt.
Don’t overpay for Bazemore: Bazemore proved to be a solid 3-and-D guy, but looks like he is in for a drastic overpay this summer. He is too small to bang consistently with the 3s of the NBA (re-watch the Hawks-Cavs series), and is not a great outside shooter. He’s solid and seems like a great locker room presence, but he probably won’t deserve what he’s bound to get this summer.
Look for depth inside: Even if they do resign Horford, they should continue to build depth inside. If they can’t sign him, the Hawks will need a starting center.
Get guard help: Schröder is now the franchise point guard. The Hawks should look to sign a veteran backup guard that can play 10-15 minutes as lead guard who can mentor the young point.