Justin Bean

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Ron Harper Jr., Others To Enter 2022 NBA Draft

Rutgers senior forward Ron Harper Jr. is declaring for the 2022 NBA draft and will go pro rather than taking advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“I’m ready to put myself out there to get myself in the best position possible to be drafted,” Harper said. “I’m going all-in.”

Harper projects as a potential second-round pick, according to Givony, who has the 6’6″ wing ranked 65th on ESPN’s big board. Harper Jr., the son of former NBA guard and five-time champion Ron Harper Sr., tells ESPN that he envisions himself becoming a Robert Covington-esque three-and-D role player in the NBA.

“The NBA is more spaced-out basketball; there are different defensive rules,” he said. “I had to take a lot of contested 3-pointers this year. Those will be open ones in the NBA. The biggest thing NBA teams will see is I’m more athletic than a lot of people realize. I’m going to get my body in the best shape possible to help with that, including improving my eating habits.”

Here are a few more updates on players entering the 2022 NBA draft:

  • A former teammate of Harper who transfered from Rutgers to Bryant in 2020 is also declaring for the draft, according to Adam Zagoria of NJ.com (Twitter link), who hears from a source that senior guard Peter Kiss is entering his name in the 2022 pool. It’s unclear if Kiss – the top D-1 scorer this season with 25.2 PPG – is just testing the waters or if he intends to go pro.
  • UConn senior guard Tyrese Martin will forgo his extra year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2022 NBA draft, he announced on Instagram. Martin averaged 13.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG on .449/.430/.689 shooting in 29 games (32.1 MPG) for the Huskies in 2021/22.
  • Utah State senior forward Justin Bean will give up his final year of NCAA eligibility and declare for the 2022 draft, he announced on Twitter. Bean was a two-time All-Defensive player in the Mountain West Conference and made the All-MWC Second Team this season after averaging 17.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG in 34 games (35.4 MPG).
  • Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, who just completed his sophomore season, will put his name in the 2022 draft pool, he announced on Instagram. The wording of Pack’s statement suggests he’s just testing the waters for now. He averaged 17.4 PPG with a .436 3PT% for the Wildcats in 2021/22.

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Grimes, Henry, Pacers, More

Justin Bean (Utah State), Eric Ayala (Maryland), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Latrell Jones (Portland), Quentin Scott (Texas State), and De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) are all withdrawing from the 2021 NBA draft after testing the waters as early entrants, according to a series of reports from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all six links go to Twitter).

Of those six players, three will transfer, with Jones heading to Nicholls State, Scott making the move to Tulane, and Harmon going to Oregon.

Meanwhile, Texas big man Jericho Sims, who boosted his stock with a strong showing at last week’s combine, will remain in the draft. Klutch Sports published a tweet today welcoming Sims to the agency. UCLA’s Chris Smith is also expected to go pro, per Goodman (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the draft:

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2021 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 353 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 296 are from colleges, while 57 are international early entrants.

That number obliterates the previous record of 236 early entrants, established in 2018. That had been expected, however, since the NCAA gave players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

Since well over half of the college early entrants are seniors, there are actually fewer college underclassmen than usual in this initial group of early entrants.

This year’s total of 353 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by July 7 and again by July 19, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2021 draft now includes seniors and is fully up to date. It can be found right here. It doesn’t include players who are automatically draft-eligible this year. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, that list of auto-eligible players includes the prospects who played for the G League Ignite, such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players hadn’t previously been included on our unofficial list of underclassmen early entrants and weren’t on the list of senior early entrants that the NBA sent to teams last week.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.


Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list for the time being.