Isaac Okoro, Deni Avdija, and other potential picks:
Auburn’s Isaac Okoro is one of those players who’s all over mock drafts. Some, (like SI’s that had the Hawks taking him at #3) have him in the top-five, some have him in the late Lottery, and some have him entirely out of the top 14 picks.
That’s likely due to him succeeding modest expectations coming into the year. ESPN ranked him as the 39th best prospect out of McEachern High School in Power Springs, Georgia, but has turned into a top tier prospect within one season.
Okoro, who recently turned 19, has helped lead his Auburn team to a 21-2 record with solid play across the board. He’s currently shooting 50% from the field on 9.1 attempts per game, just 28% from three however.
He could be one of the bigger boom-or-bust picks in this year’s draft, and as the Hawks drift away from rebuilding, they could look to stay away from a player like that.
Deni Advija is ranked as the #1 forward on most big boards, but is also no sure-fire hit. He’s been knocked for his jumper, and has made just 51% of his free throws this season. His field goal percentage is higher than that at 53%, making a name for himself as a slasher.
It’s hard to read too much into his numbers, as he’s getting less than 20-minutes per game for Maccabi Tel Aviv (on which he’s teammates with former Hawk Tyler Dorsey), but the eye test makes him out to be more of a point-forward.
He has good ball-handling skills, especially at 6’9, and could learn to run an offense. His defense has been streaky, but has the length to make up for his lack of premier athleticism.
Other names that could be notable, although not mocked to the Hawks here, could be: Onyeka Okongwu, Jaden McDaniels, Killian Hayes, Obi Toppin, James Wiseman, and Vernon Carey Jr.
Unlike the last two seasons, the Atlanta Hawks will go into the Draft without an immediate need to a starter. De’Andre Hunter is the fourth straight to play starter minutes as a rookie in the past three seasons (John Collins, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter).
Drafting for someone who’s set to be a backup and get to learn off the bench rather than a instant starter is different, and could see them taking a point guard, power forward or center despite having pieces there for the future.
The Hawks currently hold the 3rd best odds to win the first pick, with a range that could drop them all the way down to seventh however.
A right pick in this year’s draft could be all the Hawks need to finally start winning again.