Weekly, I, (Brad Washington. The B stands for Brad) Collin Hughley, Rocky Robertson and Nile Goodwyn will provide our very own weekly Question and Answer format. As the principle Soaring Down South writing team, on these posts we will answer five questions concerning the Atlanta Hawks and matters/hot topics from around the league. Let’s go ahead and get right into our first Q&A.
Collin Hughley: The Hawks could go in a number of ways. This years draft board is all over the place after the top 8 or 9 guys. The Hawks could target any position as they could use wing depth, a potential replacement for Al Horford, more rebounding down low, and another point guard given that position dilemma. A couple of prospects could fall due to injury concerns, or some higher ranked guys could fall due to lack of fit. While names like Ante Zizic, Damian Jones, and Tyler Ulis have been floated around, I ultimately think the pick will come down to the best wing available. I think it’s one of the following: Malachi Richardson, DeAndre Bembry, or Denzel Valentine. Richardson has ridiculous upside but is very raw. Bembry has great tools but is a bit undersized and struggles with the 3 ball. Recent concerns about Valentine’s knee have his stock falling a bit, perhaps right into Atlanta’s lap. His fit as an all-around threat is just too good to pass up, in my opinion. Therefore, my prediction is Valentine.
Hughley: The Hawks have been swept at the hands of Cleveland for the last two seasons, showing that they are not on the same level competition wise as the Cavs. But, I believe that they are not too far away. Regardless of popular opinion, the Hawks have a star player in Paul Millsap. Therefore, they need a bench big that can grab a lot of rebounds and defend down low. That can be obtained at the 21st pick in the draft with prospects like Cheick Diallo, Brice Johnson, or Ante Zizic. But the biggest need for the Hawks is a go-to wing scorer. Maybe young wing free agents like Harrison Barnes or Evan Fournier could fill that role. Maybe the Hawks will move around in the draft to find a wing that can create his own shot. Who knows? There are a few names with that potential in the draft outside of the top 5 but they are raw. Names like Malachi Richardson, Dejounte Murray, and Malik Beasley come to mind. Maybe the Hawks could get Denzel Valentine or move up in the draft to take a scorer that falls a little bit in the lottery like a Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield. But I believe the Hawks are two pieces away from competing with Cleveland. A physical rotation big and a go-to scorer. The latter is hard to find, but the Hawks will be dangerous if one is obtained.
5. What will the Hawks’ wing rotation look like next season?
Goodwyn: The Hawks currently have just three wings on their roster going into next season. Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefolosha, and Tim Hardaway Jr. Kent Bazemore will be a free agent that could possibly command at least a 9 million dollar contract, which the Hawks will likely give him. This leaves the Hawks with a number of ways to obtain a 5th wing, as a form of insurance for any major change in the rotation. The Hawks could target a wing player, such as Malachi Richardson, who could develop without much pressure to put up transcendent numbers while learning how the NBA game plays. The Hawks could also target a number of elite wings, including Kevin Durant, Demar Derozan, Eric Gordon, or Evan Fournier. If the Hawks signed an aforementioned wing, Kyle Korver would likely be reduced to a reserve role, and Bazemore would start alongside the Hawks’ free agent splash.