The Atlanta Hawks talented roster has really come together in the last four seasons. And while this current rebuild technically began with drafting John Collins 18th in 2017, most will say it got its rock in the 2018 NBA draft. Atlanta traded away third-overall pick Luka Doncic for fifth-overall pick Trae Young and another pick that would become Cam Reddish.
It’s fair to wonder how different things would be had they gone in a different direction when they were on the clock.
Thanks to Bleacher Report, we get to see one take on just that.
The Atlanta Hawks would look a lot different if the 2018 NBA Draft played out this way
We’ve already looked into where John Collins would be selected if the 2017 draft were held with today’s information. The short answer is well before his original slot at 18th overall. We also reacted to Bleacher Report awarding the Hawks Danuel House and Ivica Zubac in their 2016 re-draft.
Now, as part of Andy Bailey’s series revisiting the past five years’ worth of drafts, the Hawks just miss out on their original pick, Trae Young. He now goes one spot higher, going second overall to the Sacramento Kings.
He also still goes behind Luka Doncic, but only Doncic, in this “what if…?” scenario.
As for the Hawks, they still walk away with some top-shelf talent. Michael Porter Jr. was originally the final pick of the lottery after sliding due to concerns of a back injury. The 6-foot-10 scoring machine missed his entire first season but averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while starting 54 of 61 games this past season.
Porter Jr. was in the discussion for the top pick overall had his medicals come back clean.
Jae’Sean Tate went undrafted out of Ohio State despite being a double-digit scorer in each of his final three seasons. His best was his junior season when he averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 boards, and 2.0 assists.
He spent a couple of years overseas including in Australia before joining the Houston Rockets last November. Whereas Porter Jr. is the point-producing dynamo, Tate is more of the jack-of-all-trades, master of none type offensively. But his bread and butter has been on his ability to guard any position.
Both Porter Jr. and Tate are solid to very good players. But losing out on Young — who just signed an extension worth up to $207 million — hurts.
Not only is he electric on the floor but, as a point guard, his potential impact on a game is unmatched by a player of equal stature at a different position. It is similar in some ways to quarterback in the NFL.
Except, in the NBA, you can indeed win without what most would consider the “traditional” lead guard.
So, with all due respect to Porter Jr, who averaged 17.4 points, 6.2 birds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 steals in the playoffs, and Tate we’ll stick with the way things turned out originally. It can be fun to play the hypothetical game. But this is one time we have to say, “no thanks!”