Travis Schlenk looks forward to rebuilding the team through the draft ideally the way Golden State did while he served as an assistant GM. That’s where solid guard Tyler Dorsey and John Collins come into play as the very first group to restructure the culture and prepare for a brighter future.
The brighter future will obviously consist of youth, however, unlike year’s past the front office will have to do a much better job in evaluating talent i.e Acie Law, Salim Stoudamire, Marvin Williams and Sheldon Williams just to name a few.
Here are a list of a handful of players that the Hawks should ideally be targeting next season that could help contribute right away, in the event they declare after freshman season and Atlanta earns picks in the upper half of the lottery:
Marvin Bagley III – Duke
Tate’s Take: Think Kevin Garnett’s motor/intensity combined with Chris Bosh’s skill set and Anthony Davis’ upside. Bagley is the most recent addition to this season’s Devils of Durham as of last week. With high praise, the future 10-time NBA All-Star is ultra-skilled, runs the floor like a deer, scores in bunches and refuses to be outworked, especially on the glass.
How good is he exactly? Bagley would have been the #1 pick in the past two drafts over Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. Add Michael Porter Jr. to that list (barring injuries of course). This should easily be the Hawks’ No. 1 priority.
Michael Porter Jr – Missouri
Tate’s Take: Scouts have fallen in love with not only the untapped potential that Porter oozes but the tools he already possesses within his arsenal. Length, athleticism, shooting touch and size are just a few of MPJr’s many strengths on the wing.
He needs to add physical strength but this rare breed of a player could be even more special if he embraced the defensive challenge of wanting to be equally as good on both sides of the ball. We know Porter can put the ball in the hoop with finesse and lead on the floor, but can he be the vocal leader in the huddle that a team may need and require? Remember Joe Johnson?
Trevon Duval – Duke
Tate’s Take: Depending on where the Hawks could land in the lottery and who’s all been removed from the board of available players, Duval may be too good to pass up even with Dennis Schroder as the PG. Could a 2-starting PG system work for a short while as it has with Monta Ellis in various destinations even as the league is continuing to venture towards the idea of “small ball”?
Duval is pro-ready if any are suiting up for a college team this year. Trevon has sneaky athleticism, strength with a calm demeanor and a level head that is hard to rattle. He’ll always control tempo/game speed and make the right/easy play. Considered by many as the best PG in an EXTREMELY guard talented draft class.
Miles Bridges – Michigan State
Tate’s Take: Hawks fans will never forget the impact that ATL native Josh Smith had on the franchise. Bridges is much like a J-Smoove clone but more coachable and values winning differently. Miles returned to MSU’s campus for that reason; and to get better individually and as a teammate. Sounds like a good fit for any team.
Now add in a lefty who’s shot continues to improve, a second-to-none work ethic, good size, knack for rebounding, vocal leadership and teammates love. Wait, did I mention athleticism? Though Bridges is very capable of being a Top 5 pick, he may slip into slots 9-14 and be widely considered as a steal while other GM’s chase the one-and-dones.
Mohamed Bamba – Texas
Tate’s Take: History shows that New York has largely been known for its guards but this Harlem Power Forward/Center is arguably the best post player on the block not named Marvin Bagley. Bamba is a bit raw offensively but it’s hard to argue his presence on D. Don’t even look towards once-top ranked DeAndre Ayton’s direction if Bamba is still available.
Mo has the ability to get better if he can put together a more polished offensive game with some go-to moves; though surprisingly his jumpshot is not bad. Judging by it, there are strong possibilities that his offensive game takes a huge leap. Bamba could very well be another version of Serge Ibaka or even worse but very unlikely, Hasheem Thabeet.
Collin Sexton – Alabama
Tate’s Take: We may not have heard this much (tasteful and clean) trash-talking since Floyd Mayweather on the boxing circuit. But Sexton and Mayweather both share one thing in common: they back it up better than anyone in the game. Collin is a high-energy, athletic, electrifying and charismatic combo guard that plays with a chip on his shoulder and leaves it all out on the floor every night without showing fear.
There’s not a spot on the floor Collin cannot score from and though many have questioned if he can run a team of grown men, I’m not sure that 17 or 18 year-old exists. However, if anyone could gain the respect of basketball’s best players at the next level, it’s Sexton and Duval. It’s likely Sexton will be the very first guard taken next June. Yes, he’s that good. So expect a plethora of highlight reel dunks and acrobatic moves this upcoming season.
Wendell Carter Jr. – Duke
Tate’s Take: Yes I know, I know, another Dukie – but like Sexton, another Georgia native. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Carter may have the highest IQ of any on this list, which is major; especially for a frontcourt player. Much like another former Hawk, Carter gives off an Al Horford vibe both in character and style of play, which is good for any organization to provide an extensive professional tenure and will be a great rep on and off the floor.
Carter may not jump out as the most athletic, above-the-rim player, but is fluid in all areas; which in many cases plays as a more beneficial asset to everyone involved. If you look up to see Carter’s longevity and productivity outlast many ranked above him 13 years from now, don’t be the least bit surprised.