Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft: Travis Schlenk does it again

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks were the subject of many rumors in the days leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft. It began with murmurs over suitors for John Collins, continued with Lou Williams’ potential return, and peaked with Cam Reddish being mentioned along with the 20th overall pick for anything ranging from a top-10 pick to another superstar player.

But, as team after team made their selections, the Hawks stood pat and cool as a cucumber. And it paid off in spades.

Their first pick is easily a top-10 talent and the fact that he fell all the way to the Hawks is an indictment on more than one other team. The Hawks, though, are not one of them. They deserve kudos for, once again, reading the room right and taking the best player on the board.

The Atlanta Hawks staying put and still landing Jalen Johnson might be the steal of the draft

We gave our take on the matter back when The Ringer broached the subject on their podcast. However, it needs to be highlighted just how much of a steal this pick is. He alone fills several needs both now and in the future.

He’ll bring defensive potential with his length — he’s listed at 6-foot-9 — and athleticism at either forward spot. He has the ability to be the top backup to both Collins and De’Andre Hunter right out of the gate.

With the 48th-overall selection, they landed some toughness and playmaking-making behind Trae Young; something that’s been an issue for some time.

Both give the Hawks options with Williams, Kris Dunn, and others.

Danilo Gallinari only has $5 million left on his deal after next season and, as we’ve mentioned, Reddish was mentioned. It’s always possible they re-visit a trade for him at a later time.

For now, let’s get into the Hawks draft haul from Thursday.