2019 NBA Draft: 4 Sleepers Atlanta Hawks Could Draft at #10 Overall

PJ Washington Grant Williams Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PJ Washington Grant Williams Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft
Grant Williams Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Grant Williams

Grant Williams out of the University of Tennessee was one of this writer’s favorite college players during the 2018-19 NCAA Men’s Basketball season. Williams, who is built like a steel fortress, won back-to-back SEC Player of the Year awards – though he had stiff competition this season from various players.

At this point Williams is regarded as a mid-to-late first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, though we have previously mocked him as high as #13 overall to the Miami Heat as a complement to the team’s more athletic and explosive future big man (and fellow SEC alumnus) Bam Adebayo.

However, no drafts have Williams going as high as #10 the Atlanta Hawks, which is why Schlenk should back up the depth of this draft by taking a swing on Williams in the lottery.

Despite being in his junior year, Williams will only be 20 years old on draft day and he will not turn 21 until November per Tankathon. Williams, though slightly undersized for a big man at 6-foot-7, is so immensely strong that his relative lack of length and height does not necessarily matter. Just look at the Playoffs where Draymond Green and P.J. Tucker are manning the five for long swaths of time.

On defense, Williams uses his tremendous strength to stymie most offensive archetypes though he lacks elite quickness to stay with the fastest of guards. Despite that, his preternatural feel and anticipation allow him to paper over those concerns.

On offense, Williams is a brilliant passer from the interior as he seemingly has a sixth sense for knowing when the double team is coming, and he is able to thread passes around and over defenders with relative ease. Beyond that, Williams is a gifted foul drawer with a 63.7 percent free throw rate per KenPom. Combine that with an excellent 81.9 percent free throw percentage and a 64.7 true shooting percentage, per Sports Reference, and you have the makings of an extremely efficient and productive modern big man.

Again, size is a problem for Williams, but with the NBA getting smaller and smaller (even with the hulking 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall maybe making it to the league this year), the Atlanta Hawks would do well to consider taking a brilliant basketball mind like Williams to pair with John Collins in the frontcourt.