Pro comparison for Atlanta Hawks rookie AJ Griffin

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks made a tremendous selection when they took AJ Griffin in the 2022 NBA draft. There is some debate as to whether he can crack the rotations under head coach Nate McMillan. There are several pundits who believe that he will spend most of this season in the G League, developing.

Still, the Hawks may change their whole attitude towards playing rookies depending on how he goes in training camp and then in the preseason games. The Hawks will give him all the chances in the world to impress given that he missed the entirety of Summer League due to injury.

This did rob the Hawks coaching staff and fanbase of seeing what he could potentially bring to the franchise but long-term health is more important than participating in Las Vegas. So, for those who do not know much about Griffin, who is he the most like in the NBA right now?

Pro comparison for Atlanta Hawks rookie AJ Griffin.

According to several sources, the player who Griffin is most like in the NBA right now is Saddiq Bey. The third-year forward for the Detroit Pistons is not a bad player to emulate for the rookie, given that Bey has established himself in the league.

There are only minuscule differences between the pair. Bey was taken with the 19th pick in the 2020 draft whereas Griffin was taken with the 16th pick in the 2022 draft. Bey is 6’7″ and 215 pounds, and Griffin is 6’6″ and 222 pounds.

During his time in the league, Bey has averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.8 steals in 30.3 minutes per game. The Hawks would certainly take some of that action if Griffin had to produce from his first game. Bey has also taken more than half his shots from behind the 3-point line. He has taken 12.0 shots per game, and 7.0 of these were from behind the long line.

However, what the Hawks are hoping that they get from Griffin is Bey’s ability to score in bunches. He had a 51-point game against the Orlando Magic last season where he went 10-of-14 from behind the arc. He also has five or more 30-point games in both of his completed seasons.

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Griffin is going to create his own place in the NBA and it is hopefully going to be as part of the successful Atlanta Hawks franchise. He was a true shooter during his college days with Duke and I, for one, cannot wait for him to take the court and show us what he is capable of in the NBA.