The Atlanta Hawks got a nice close-up look at Matas Buzelis of the G League Ignite

The Atlanta Hawks should be starting to look towards their prospects for the 2024 NBA draft and Matas Buzelis could fall within their range.
Atlanta Hawks: G League Ignite's Matas Buzelis
Atlanta Hawks: G League Ignite's Matas Buzelis / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks need to accept their reality now for the 2023-24 NBA season. They are not going to do themselves many favors if they try to qualify for the play-in and get knocked out in the first round. This takes away any possibility of them entering the lottery, which now needs to be the teams goal for the season.

If the Hawks do not do this then they risk another season of mediocrity which is not going to go down well with the fans or the playing group. As such, they have to work out which you players they want to keep and develop, but also showcase the older players to keep their value up for any potential offseason trades.

To that end, this is why the Hawks have AJ Griffin in the G League, and Kobe Bufkin is developing with the main squad. However, the injuries to Clint Capela earlier in the year, and then Onyeka Okongwu's extended absence now have shown that the Hawks are desperately lacking size which they need to address as a matter of urgency.

So why should the Atlanta Hawks draft Matas Buzelis of the G League Ignite?

The College Park Skyhawks hosted the G League Ignite and ended up winning the contest 100-81 behind the big games of Chris Silva, Jordan Bowden, Robert Baker, and AJ Griffin. The Ignite could not get within 10 points of the Skyhawks for much of the last period and outclassed the Ignite.

One player that was incredibly solid for the Ignite was Matas Buzelis who, as mentioned earlier, could fall to the Hawks later in the lottery. If this happens, then the Hawks should certainly look at drafting the youngster. Buzelis is a 20-year-old, 6'10" forward who is displaying a well-rounded game.

Against the Skyhawks, Buzelis produced 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and four blocks in 37 minutes. He had the best plus/minus of any of the Ignite starters, with only a minus-eight impact on the box score. No other starter was under minus-ten. He was above most of his season averages of 13.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 0.9 steals in 31.3 minutes per game.

This box score shows that Buzelis can impact a game in so many ways, the one area where he struggles is beyond the arc. Buzelis is going at 29.7 percent from beyond the arc, a number not helped by his 0-of-3 against the Skyhawks.

However, given his ability to create for himself and others, he will not be too hampered by this early on in his career. In fact, given that he will get the full-time benefits of being a professional, this many improve over the start of his career.

The other benefit of Buzelis is that he is a good size and can play both the power forward and center positions. This will give the Hawks a level of flexibility that they simply do not have at the moment. Time will tell if Buzelis falls to the Hawks, but this scribe can already see the positives that could come from this G League forward being drafted to the South.