Hawks hosted G League Ignite star for pre-draft workout: Report

The Atlanta Hawks pre-draft workout pool continues to offer little clarity after their latest private workout.
G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis
G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Draft begins in just two days but the Atlanta Hawks’ draft plans have still not been finalized in the estimation of league insiders.

They are still favored to select Zaccharie Risacher with the No. 1 overall pick. He overtook Alexandre Sarr as the favorite amid the latter’s reluctance to show face in a private workout for the Hawks.

UConn center and two-time national champion Donovan Clingan is also on the rader.

However, there is some thought the Hawks could land Clingan later in the draft, leaving a trade back as an option. But they aren’t just eyeing Clingan in a potential trade back.

“The Hawks are still reviewing all their options, though, which is why on Sunday they hosted G League forward Matas Buzelis for his first workout with the franchise, according to league sources,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote on June 23. “With so much attention on Clingan and the French prospects Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher, Buzelis has been an overlooked option at the top of the draft.” 

Buzelis is the third-ranked prospect on O’Connor’s big board. He measured 6-foot-9 at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. He also has a 6-foot-10 wingspan and averaged 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds last season. Buzelis is not a strong shooter (27.3% 3P in 2023-24) at this point. 

He does offer some defensive presence, though, logging 2.4 blocks last season.

“Shades of Franz Wagner, Lamar Odom,” O’Connor wrote about Buzelis. “Connective playmaker with size, shooting, and the ability to play anywhere on the floor.”

The Hawks also hosted Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard among a slew of other potential options that would make more sense in a trade back. Such a move would expose them to missing out on their preferred prospect, so it makes sense to have several to choose from.

Hawks Adding Skyhawks HC to Quin Snyder’s staff

The Hawks are once again shaking things up on Head Coach Quin Snyder’s staff, this time poaching their own G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks.

“In other Hawks news, G League coach Ryan Schmidt is expected to spend next season as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told HoopsHype,” HoopsHype’s Micahel Scotto wrote on June 24. “A potential candidate to replace Schmidt as coach of the College Park Skyhawks in the G League is Steve Klei, sources said.”

Schmidt joined the Skyhawks last year after a stint in the British Basketball League.

He split duties between the Skyhawks and working as an assistant on Snyder’s staff, so this is a natural progression. His potential replacement, Klei, also joined the organization last year and is currently an assistant coach with the Hawks.