Atlanta Hawks Mock Draft 4.0

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III /
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OMAHA, NE – MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III
OMAHA, NE – MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III /

PF/C. Duke. Marvin Bagley III. 4. player. 125.

When it comes to top-five draft picks, the rule of thumb is usually look for upside and take the best player available. The Hawks (and many other teams) have gotten into trouble by selecting based on positional need rather than on talent, so with their own first round pick in the 2018 draft, they should not fall into that trap and select Marvin Bagley III out of Duke.

Bagley is an explosive athlete, and his 6’11”, 234-pound frame is already NBA-ready. He could do with a little more muscle mass, but that will come after a full NBA season and offseason and his broad shoulders invite more growth.

There are definitely some questions about Bagley’s game on both ends of the floor, as the NBA will be the first time that his singular talents will not allow him to dominate players physically – something that might hurt his ability to contribute out of the gate.

Though he drilled 39.7 percent of his deep tries during the college season, he only attempted 58 total, which is quite a small sample size. His free throw numbers might be more indicative of his jump-shooting ability – where he only shot 62.7 percent on 209 total tries at the charity stripe. Via the eye test, his shot looks okay, if a little bit gangly, as if his long arms don’t seem to be working in concert with the rest of his body.

Still though, his numbers were just immense as a Blue Devil, as he finished with per-game averages of 21 points on 64.3 percent true shooting with 11.1 rebounds, a sky-high 30.6 Player Efficiency Rating as well as 6.9 win shares. He did all this work on 26.3 percent usage rate, meaning he is comfortable with the ball in his hands and the offense could run through him in the high or low post.

Bagley also plays with tremendous energy, something that could become infectious for a young Hawks team that will be looking to each other for guidance. His rebounding ferocity will be particularly important, and pairing him with John Collins would create an impenetrable wall of two supremely gifted athletes who can bang inside, make wild plays with their innate athleticism, space the floor if necessary and just generally wreak havoc on both ends of the floor.

The real question mark for Bagley is his defense. In 1114 minutes played at Duke, Bagley only notched 27 steals and (more concerningly) 29 blocks. His block rate of 2.6 percent was criminally low for a player with his physical tools (specifically that 7-foot wingspan) and the same could be said of his paltry 1.4 percent steal rate.

Though his defense is concerning, the Hawks should not hesitate to select Bagley if their pick lands at 3 or 4, as he is one of the best players in this draft class not named Ayton or Doncic. The choice between Jaren Jackson Jr. and Bagley is between what the team wants to value in the future: Bagley’s immense offensive upside and explosive, ferocious playmaking or Jackson’s striking physical tools and defensive upside.

Other Options: Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Wendell Carter Jr., Mohamed Bamba