The prospect of losing starting forwards DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap in free agency complicates the Hawks’ decision-making entering the draft, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta may have to consider drafting for a potential need rather than just going with the best player available strategy, Vivlamore continues. The Hawks have two second-round picks this year and next June, which could help them move up from the No. 15 overall spot in a draft-day trade, Vivlamore adds. If the Hawks are confident they can re-sign their top free agents, they will have more incentive to go with a developmental player, as the team’s assistant GM Wes Wilcox told Vivlamore. “You may end up with a 19-year-old where there is positional opportunity or a 22-year-old where there is not a positional opportunity,” Wilcox said. “That is where we believe in our development staff, our assistant coaches, to where we can continue to improve the player and give them a chance to be a good Hawk long-term.”
In other news around the Southeast Division:
- Willie Cauley-Stein’s defensive prowess and superior athleticism make him a serious option for the Magic with their No. 5 overall pick, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel opines. The Magic need an upgrade on defense and Cauley-Stein’s shot-blocking and ability to guard all five positions may be too tempting for Orlando to pass up, Robbins adds.
- The Hornets hosted Cauley-Stein for a solo workout on Friday, the team’s website reports. That could be a signal that Cauley-Stein will not slip past the No. 9 spot, since that’s the pick Charlotte owns in the first round.
The Magic pulled off a surprise in last year’s draft by selecting Aaron Gordon and that could happen again, especially if they trade down, Robbins writes in a separate piece. Myles Turner, Kevon Looney, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker or Bobby Portis could wind up with the Magic, depending upon their draft strategy, Robbins adds.