Atlanta Hawks 2023 NBA Draft predictions

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The NBA season is coming to a close, and with it comes the annual NBA draft. The Atlanta Hawks have an important decision to make. They finished the season with 41 wins and 41 losses, including a first-round exit to the Boston Celtics in six games. A disappointing season could be salvaged to some extent by drafting a solid player for the next season.

Even though they were involved in some trades where they had to trade draft picks (Dejounte Murray trade), they still possess the 15th and the 46th picks in this year’s draft. While these picks do not guarantee a star player, which is obvious, they do have a high chance of selecting a player that could become a great bench piece, even possibly a starter in the future.

In this article, we will go over what the Hawks should be keeping an eye on, as well as what wouldn’t be a wise move. We will look at three potential players they could select, so six total players.

The No. 15 overall pick could be a gamechanger

Some notable players were selected with the 15th pick respectively, like former MVP Steve Nash, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The star/bust potential for the 15th pick is extremely high. It’s the first pick outside the lottery, so there is far less pressure on the franchise when it comes to the selection of a player.

While players like Antetokounmpo and Leonard were drafted with this pick 10-plus years ago, there are also players like former Hawk Adreian Payne (rest in peace), who couldn’t translate their game to the pro level. Statmuse displays the 15th overall picks in the last 25 NBA drafts, and honestly, the chances of drafting someone solid are extremely high.

Current NBA players like Kelly Oubre, Cole Anthony, and Robin Lopez are playing valuable NBA minutes. Now, all the history aside, let’s look at the players the Hawks need to keep an eye on.

Jalen Hood-Schifino

The Hawks need a backup point guard, and according to NBADraftNet, Jalen Hood-Schifino might just be the guy for them. The one-and-done prospect could have probably raised his draft stock even more at Indiana if he stayed another season. Besides his cool name, he also has a cool game. Atlanta needs defense, and at 6’6 this big point guard could give them just that. His 6’10 wingspan terrorizes smaller point guards; he is a nightmare to go up against.

He isn’t quick like the average NBA guard considering his height, but he’s strong and athletic, with a solid shooting stroke. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, and won Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades.

Nick Smith Jr.

I remember a time when Nick Smith Jr. was referred to as the next big thing in high school however, those days are long gone. Still, he is projected to go in the first round, anywhere from the late lottery to the late first round. Injuries plagued his college career however, that could mean that, with the right injury prevention treatment, he can become a Michael Porter Jr. type player.

He averaged 12.5 points in the time that he did play and his assists numbers were shaky at best. His defense is also a big what-if. I see the red flags, but he has tremendous upside as a player; his offense could boost the lackluster bench scoring of the Hawks, given that his game translates to the pro level.

Leonard Miller

FSU forward Leonard Miller is one of the fastest-rising prospects in this year’s draft. He was supposed to be in last year’s draft but he decided to withdraw his name and join the G-league Ignite, a smart move for him. The 6’10 forward developed in every sense of the word. He passes the “eye test”, and I surely believe that he could be the sleeper of this draft.

He has great handles for his size, a solid shooting stroke for a big guy, and grit and hustle instilled during his playing time in the G League. He’s long and mobile. If he does add some muscle and continues to develop his game like he has this past season, the sky is the limit. While the Hawks don’t need forwards, this guy might be an outlier just because of how versatile he is.