Of course since we’re just a few days away from one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, NBA Draft rumors are pouring out from the media profusely.
Half of the league will be drafting a player they think could be “the guy” to be a franchise cornerstone, while the other half will be picking a guy who could be a “nice piece” to add to an already talented roster.
The Atlanta Hawks fall under the latter.
The Hawks had a decent year as they managed to make the playoffs in the East despite losing their best player in All-Star center Al Horford to a season-ending pectoral injury in late December. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make a deep run without Horford, but did push the top-seeded Indiana Pacers to seven games in the first round.
Now, Atlanta will focus on improving their roster through the draft by finding that “nice piece” that would work well with their already talented core that features Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap.
With Korver getting up there in age (33), the Hawks will be looking for a player to help fill the need at the wing.
There are many players in the draft who could help the Hawks, but word is they have their eyes on three main candidates.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Atlanta is interested in James Young (Kentucky), Rodney Hood (Duke) and Gary Harris (Michigan State):
Two players who are rising on teams’ draft boards: Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic and Louisiana-LaFayette point guard Elfrid Payton. Nurkic could be a stash option for the Bulls at 19, if they keep the pick, or for Atlanta at 15. The Hawks, in need of a wing, also are said to be considering James Young, Rodney Hood and Gary Harris.
Harris is ranked as the 14th-best NBA prospect, according to DraftExpress.com. At the NBA Scouting Combine, the former Spartan swingman measured in at 6’4.5″ and 205 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’6.75″. With Michigan State this past season, Harris averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 42.9% from the field, 35.2% from behind the arc and 81.0% from the free-throw line.
Hood is ranked as the 21st-best prospect. At the NBA Scouting Combine, he measured 6’8.5″ tall and 208 lbs. with a wingspan identical to his height. He averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season for Duke, while posting shooting marks of 46.4% from the field, 42.0% from 3-point land and 80.7% from the foul line.
Young is ranked as the draft’s 24th-best prospect. He measured up to 6’6.75″ and 213 lbs.with a wingspan of 7’0″ — the longest of the three prospects. The former Wildcat averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for Kentucky last season, while shooting 40.7% from the field, 34.9% from deep and 70.6% from the charity stripe.
Any of the three players would be a nice addition to the Hawks, however Rodney Hood might be the best fit due to his measurables and more importantly his shooting prowess — he could be the offensive-version of Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll.