“We’ve had over 100 players come in this year,” Fields said via the team’s YouTube channel on June 16 acknowledging some prospects not wanting to come in but adding the Hawks did announce all of their pre-draft workouts, either.
Most of those have been projected to go in the second round or even be undrafted.
The Hawks currently hold the No. 15 overall pick (and No. 46 overall) and have had some difficulty getting some of the upper-tiered prospects into their building – perhaps due to a combination of a loaded roster and sitting just outside of the draft lottery – per ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony in his most recent mock from June 14.
“I think that that’s most likely what happens is picking at 15,” Fields said. “But we’re still looking at options to move up. There’s some options where if we want to move back because we do feel like…there’s a lot of depth there.”
The Hawks have been rumored to have an interest in Duke center Dereck Lively II who is currently projected to go No. 10 overall to the Dallas Mavericks in ESPN’s mock.
And there are rumblings the two teams have discussed a deal to swap picks and other assets.
“The Mavericks are considering options to move down from No. 10 into the middle of the first round, wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports on June 15. “The Mavericks and Hawks, for example, discussed the idea of swapping Dāvis Bertāns and the No. 10 pick for John Collins and the No. 15 selection…although those talks do not appear to have progressed at this time.”
Fischer also added that Dallas was more interested in acquiring center Clint Capela than in Collins. Adding Lively to a frontcourt that already has Onyeka Okongwu in it could be enough for the Hawks to part with Capela, 29, who is starting a two-year, $46 million contract next season.
Collins, 25, is heading into Year 3 of a five-year, $125 million contract and has been one of the most speculated-on players in recent years. But he does not fit as a true center and his floor-spacing nose-dived this past season.
The deal above would also mean neither team has to add any additional salary.
Lively, listed a 7-foot-1, fits more along the lines of what new head coach Quin Snyder had with the Utah Jazz in Rudy Gobert. The difference is Lively has shown a willingness to expand his range beyond the paint offensively.
“It’s not necessarily positional need,” said Fields about their draft philosophy. “It’s all about ‘Hawks DNA’ and how they fit into the system that we’re building under Quin and, ultimately, who they can become as players and the level of player that they can become. That’s all at the forefront of how we’re evaluating where we would pick or who we would pick.”
Fields did note three-point shooting and defense as areas he is looking to improve the team this offseason.
Spurs great gave Hawks coaching hire a vote of confidence
The Hawks revamped the coaching staff under Snyder, hiring an entirely new bench after he finished out last season with former head coach Nate McMillan’s crew. One of those new hires, Bryan George came with a ringing endorsement from a Hall of Famer.
“Future assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks Bryan George was hired after several telephone interviews with Quin Snyder who had had his background thanks to, among others, [Boris] Diaw and [Tony] Parker,” tweeted Pascal Giberne of MaxiBasket on June 16. “He will be video coordinator ensuring the link between the technical staff and the video cell.”
Former championship San Antonio Spurs Diaw and Parker – the latter of whom won four titles with the organization – were known links to George before he was hired.
Their direct input on the situation is so much surprising as it is good to note.
The Hawks roster two of arguably the most polarizing figures in the NBA in Collins and Trae Young who happen to play the same positions as Diaw and Parker, respectively. If there is any desire to revitalize a potentially dominant connection between the two, this might be it.