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 Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Hawks 2021 NBA Draft Pick No. 2: Cooper is the backup point guard of the future and was there in Round 2

Everybody loves a good homecoming story and Sharife Cooper is just the latest for Atlanta. He was born in Powder Springs, Georgia where he attended McEachern High School. A five-star recruit ranked 20th in the country by ESPN, Cooper would have just one Georgia school, Georgia Tech, on his final list before leaving for Auburn.

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Cooper averaged 20.2 points and 8.1 assists per game for the Tigers while chipping in 4.3 rebounds, an impressive number for a 6-foot-1 guard.

Like Johnson, Cooper started his college career with a big game, going off for 26 points and nine assists against Alabama. He followed that up with a 28-points, 12-assist, five-rebound performance against Georgia (ouch) the next game.

Cooper had seven games with at least 19 points and at least nine assists in five.

So, how does a player who ranked as 19th (per wind up falling to the Hawks at 48th overall?

There are more questions about Cooper’s jumper than there are about his size. He shot just 39.1 percent from the floor and 22.8 percent from three. That, in combination with his size, has some wondering how effective he will be at the NBA level.

But he gets to the rim and shot 82.5 percent from the free-throw line. What’s more, he’s got really good vision and finds teammates with ease even when under duress.

Like with Johnson, Cooper’s floor projection was well within the Hawks range, but unlike Johnson, not many would have imagined he would still be there when they came back on the clock in the middle of the second round. Schlenk sure sounds happy.

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He can be a contributor immediately as the backup point guard on most teams, but he might be a very dangerous third point guard off the bench to start with several others competing.