How would the Atlanta Hawks look with Fultz instead of Collins?

If the 2017 NBA draft was to be done all over again, it’s very likely that John Collins would go much higher and Markelle Fultz would go much lower.

In the 2017 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks lucked out and drafted John Collins with the 19th overall selection. However, if the draft were to be done now, knowing what we now know, John Collins would never fall that far.

This would be a pretty unfortunate scenario for the Hawks as they would likely get a significantly inferior player to Collins with this selection. Fortunately for all of you, we let it all play out in the FanSided NBA NETWORK 2017 RE-DRAFT.

In this re-draft Jayson Tatum became the new number one overall pick followed by Donovan Mitchell second and De’Aaron Fox third. John Collins was certainly one of the biggest climbers in the draft getting selected number seven (and he could’ve gone higher).

With Collins off the board in the re-draft, the Atlanta Hawks needed to re-evaluate. There were so many solid role players still on the board, Monte Morris, Thomas Bryant and Malik Monk are just a few examples. However, the Atlanta Hawks decided to take more of a risk.

Considering the Hawks are still in the relatively early stages of the rebuilding process, they have the ability to take a risk with the 19th overall selection. That’s why they decided to go with Markelle Fultz in the 2017 re-draft.

Markelle Fultz is nowhere near the player he was projected to be when he Philadelphia 76ers picked him first overall back in 2017, however, he’s currently a solid role player for the Orlando Magic and still shows flashes of potential.

Fultz, despite his poor shooting, is still an elite perimeter defender and a great playmaker. This season for the Magic, Fultz averaged a career-high 12.1 points and 5.2 assists per game. Considering the fact that this is Fultz’s first full NBA season, these are pretty impressive numbers.

As I mentioned, his shooting numbers are quite poor, but at least he wasn’t as afraid to shoot this season. Fultz only shot 25.4 percent from behind the three-point line this season but he managed to get up 1.8 three-point attempts per night. It’s especially encouraging that he didn’t allow the poor three-point shooting to affect the rest of his game.

Fultz’s 5.2 assists per game were good enough to have him at 34th in the NBA in that category and he did so in just 28.3 minutes per game. His assists numbers per 36 minutes were 6.6 assists per game which would have put him inside the top 25 playmakers in the NBA.

Not only is Fultz an incredibly high-level playmaker, I briefly mentioned his elite perimeter defense. This season, Fultz averaged 1.3 steals per game (32nd in the NBA) and was incredibly disruptive on that end of the floor.

Fultz is a super athletic and long defender so even if his effort doesn’t always result in a steal, his length allows him to be incredibly disruptive in passing lanes.

Another impressive part of Markelle’s performance this year was his free-throw shooting. Over his first two NBA seasons, Fultz shot just 53.4 percent from the free-throw line, this season Fultz shot 72.3 percent from there. While it’s still not great, it’s much better.

His improved free-throw shooting is a clear indicator of his increased confidence and as his confidence continues to grow, Fultz should only get better.

While it’s unlikely that Fultz ever becomes the player he was projected to be when he came into the league, he will definitely be a solid NBA player for many years. And while Fultz is certainly not as good as John Collins at the moment, he could definitely get there one day.

Considering how perfect John Collins fits with Trae Young, it’s unlikely that Fultz could fit better. However, I think Fultz would still fit quite well.

Markelle Fultz, due to his size and strength, could easily slide down and play shooting guard alongside Trae Young. Fultz would certainly be elite as a secondary ballhandler/playmaker beside Trae. Not only would they work offensively, but Fultz could make up for a lot of the mistakes that Trae Young makes defensively on the perimeter.

I think this says more about Trae Young’s ability to fit with almost anybody than it does about Markelle Fultz, but either way, it’s an interesting hypothetical.

All in all, I think the Atlanta Hawks lucked out again in this re-draft and despite losing John Collins, I think the Atlanta Hawks and their fans would be pretty happy with a consolation prize of Markelle Fultz.

Fortunately, this isn’t real life and the Hawks will hopefully have John Collins for years to come.