Hawks swing draft-day trade for 'less athletic Anthony Edwards'

The Atlanta Hawks kept wheeling and dealing during the 2024 NBA Draft, landing a player lightly compared to former No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards.
Atlanta Hawks wing Nikola Djurisic
Atlanta Hawks wing Nikola Djurisic / Nikola Krstic/MB Media/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks’ wheeling and dealing ways from ahead of Round 2 of the 2024 NBA Draft continued into the event.

The Hawks acquired the rights to No. 43 overall pick Nikola Djurisic, sending the previously acquired No. 44 overall pick and cash considerations to the Miami Heat. Durisic is a 6-foot-7 wing from Serbia, who The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said offers “shades of a less athletic Anthony Edwards.”

“Promising, young shot creator who looks the part but needs his attempts to start going in,” O’Connor wrote in his pre-draft big board evaluation of Djurisic.

“Keeps the ball on a string and has a feel for creating off the dribble. He uses pivots, pump fakes, and change-of-pace moves to generate room for himself as a scorer,” O’Connor wrote. “Shooting will be a make-or-break skill for him. He has historically struggled from everywhere on the court despite fluid mechanics.”

“After finding mixed results early in the year, Nikola Topic's departure opened the door for Djurisic to take on a playmaking role for Mega Basket, where he excelled and played the best basketball of his career in a winning context,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote in his pre-draft evaluation on June 26. “His size, athletic ability and scoring talent are undeniable, and he has upside to grow into at just 20 years old.”

The Hawks traded 2022 first-round pick AJ Griffin to the Houston Rockets in that previous deal. And while Djurisic will not offer a 1-for-1 replacement for what Griiffing was supposed to provide, he can help soften the loss of depth from that deal.

Hawks restock wing depth in 2024 NBA Draft

There were questions during ESPN’s broadcast about whether Djurisic – who was in attendance – would come over.

The panel concluded that Quin Snyer’s experience overseas could play a major factor.

Former College Park Skyhawks head coach Ryan Schmidt also brings a wealth of international experience with him. He is transitioning to a full-time role on Snyder’s bench this season after splitting duties last season.

The Hawks once again boast a deep wing group, headlined by No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher, and bolstered by former second-round pick Seth Lundy.

How much playing time any of them get is to be determined.

But it is notable that the last time this Hawks team made noise in the Eastern Conference – a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 – they boasted a deep and versatile group of wing and forward players. 

A similar recipe could lead to similar results. At least at this point of the offseason, that seems to be the direction the Hawks are taking.