General Manager Wes Wilcox hoped to infuse the Hawks with a boost of young, athletic talent in the 2016 NBA Draft.
“We came into this draft (knowing that) if we could address the level of athleticism of our team, we would love to do that,” he said.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
In picking DeAndre’ Bembry and Isaia Cordinier, Wilcox may have accomplished his stated goal. The Hawks selected Bembry from Saint Joseph’s University with the 21st overall pick and Cordinier from France with the 44th overall pick Thursday night, and both players have the tools to play both fast and above the rim. More importantly, both should also have the ability to mesh in the Hawks’ system.
“DeAndre’ is a player we have watched for quite some time,” Wilcox said. “He has a great deal of versatility, is a very good passer, has a high basketball IQ, and is a very good person and hard worker. We’re excited to bring him to the Hawks family.”
While playing for the other Hawks – the ones from St. Joseph’s University – the 6-foot-6 Bembry garnered numerous conference and national honors. For the 2014-15 season, Bembry averaged 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and was named Atlantic-10 Player of the Year. He followed that up with 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds and a second consecutive A-10 Player of the Year award this season.
“We say in our room, ‘He’s a good Hawks fit,'” Wilcox said. “He can handle and pass. He’s unselfish.”
Bembry said via teleconference that he felt like he could play (and guard) multiple perimeter positions for the Hawks, including point guard, and added that he liked the fit with the Hawks.
“It was a very intense workout,” the 21-year-old said, “but I liked the vibe down there when I worked out with the players and the coaches.”
In the second round, the Hawks picked Cordinier with the 14th pick of that round.READ MORE: Wild Ride: Suspects Identified In Carroll County Police Chase
Despite being just 19 years old, Cordinier has already spent four years playing professionally in France. In Pro B, the country’s second division league, the 6-foot-4 guard enjoyed a breakout 2015-16 season while playing for Denain. He averaged 10.8 points and 3.6 rebounds, while shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from three. The teenager also demonstrated the combined gifts of intensity and athleticism on the defensive end.
“He’s very athletic and plays extremely hard,” Wilcox said. “He has high character, and we are very pleased he was available at the 44th pick.”
Wilcox also said that the Hawks followed Cordinier closely this year, both in France and at the Nike Hoop Summit. He noted that because the Hawks were edging close to the maximum 15 roster spots, they were especially interested in drafting a player who could play overseas next season.
“It’s likely that Isaia will end up playing internationally,” he said, “but I think there’s a pretty good chance that he might be able to play Summer League.”
Bembry is also expected to take the court with the Hawks in Las Vegas when the team begins Summer League play on June 8. Bembry stated his summer goals succinctly, perhaps recognizing the tall task of making the leap from college to the pros.
“Just getting used to some of the teammates that I’ll be playing with and just getting used to playing NBA basketball,” he said.
Article courtesy of Atlanta Hawks Digital Content Department, it originally appears here: http://www.nba.com/hawks/features/bembry-cordinier-make-hawks-younger-more-athleticMORE NEWS: Deal Between Battery Firms A Big Lift For Georgia
Story by KL Chouinard