If the Mavericks don’t luck out and nab a top-four draft pick via the lottery, the Hawks will own five of the top 44 selections in next month’s NBA draft. Currently, those picks project to land at Nos. 5, 9, 35, 41, and 44.
Speaking today to reporters, including Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, general manager Travis Schlenk acknowledged that the team is unlikely to bring five rookies to camp in the fall. In other words, the Hawks probably won’t use all five of those draft picks.
As Vivlamore notes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Hawks will trade one or more picks, though that’s certainly an option — the club could package two or three picks to move up, or could surrender one of its 2019 selections for a future pick or two. Another potential scenario for Atlanta would be going the draft-and-stash route, whereby the team drafts an international prospect who won’t be ready to immediately come stateside.
As we wait to see what the Hawks do with all those draft picks, here’s more from Schlenk:
- The Hawks may have two top-10 picks in the draft, and they sound prepared to simply draft the best player available with those selections, regardless of positional overlap. “We are still in a development stage,” Schlenk said, per Vivlamore. “We feel good about the development we made this year but I think it’s important not to jump steps. We are still going to take the best players we can. You look at the playoffs now, position-less basketball is what is out there. We are going to keep getting the best talent we can, keep adding them to the mix and we’ll figure out how to blend them on the back end.”
- Although Schlenk says there’s a “buzz” around the NBA about the Hawks’ young core, he doesn’t expect the team to be overly active in free agency this summer. As Vivlamore relays, Atlanta is more likely to wait to see what sort of players slip through the cracks after the initial wave of signings is over. “Once we show we are in contention, playoff contending, that’s when free agents are going to look at this group and say ‘I want to go there because we can take it to the next level,'” Schlenk said.
- If and when the Hawks do pursue bigger-name free agents, the opportunity to play alongside Trae Young figures to be a selling point, according to Schlenk, who praised Young’s ability to set up his teammates and get them open shots.
- Vince Carter said this week that he intends to return for his 22nd NBA season, and Schlenk “certainly wouldn’t have a problem” if Carter ends up re-signing with the Hawks, he said today, praising the veteran’s leadership in the locker room (link via Vivlamore).
- Taurean Prince, considered one of the Hawks’ core players, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension starting in July. According to Vivlamore, Schlenk spoke to Prince’s agent on Thursday and said he expects to resume those discussions later in the offseason once Prince officially becomes extension-eligible.