Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk’s Best and Worst Moves

Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk (Photo by Scott Cunngham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk (Photo by Scott Cunngham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
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Best Move – Hitting On the 19th Pick, Twice

The NBA Draft is such a crapshoot. Realistically only five or six, maybe a few more players in each draft class become quality starters in the league. It’s especially hard to find talent outside the lottery, which Schlenk did in each of his first two drafts.

In both 2017 and 2018 (via Minnesota), the Hawks had the 19th overall pick in the draft. The odds of Schlenk finding a player who could be seen as a franchise cornerstone with one of those selections were slim, and doing it in both was even smaller.

He pulled it off, however, taking John Collins in ’18 and Kevin Huerter a year later. Both players went onto make the NBA’s All-Rookie Team and look to be a key contributor for the Atlanta Hawks moving forward.

It’s hard to give him too much credit for the Collins pick, as he kind of fell into their lap. JC was seen as a lottery-talent by most, and him falling to 19 was a draft-night surprise and a no-brainer for Atlanta.

Huerter was different. A late-riser on big boards thanks to a strong showing at the combine, but some mock drafts still had him in the late first before the draft. There were sexier options (at the time) on the table like Aaron Holiday, Mo Wagner, and Robert Williams, but Schlenk grabbed one of the best guards in the entire draft at 19.

Finding a stud in the middle of the first-round is rare enough, and doing it in back-to-back summers was truly a feat for Travis Schlenk.

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Here to many more years of Travis Schlenk running the Atlanta Hawks.