The Blue Route Mock Draft: Pick #8 – Atlanta Hawks

With the eighth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
  6. Phoenix Suns – Coby White
  7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish

Current State of the Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have John Collins and Trae Young. That’s a good base to work from. The rest of the roster is a mix of expiring veterans and young roleplayers. They are probably a year or two away from contending, which means they are still looking to add to their young talent base. They have plenty of cap space and little in the way of notable free agents (just Dedmon, who will likely sign elsewhere), but this is probably not the year they spend it all. As such, they are still looking for a third piece to pair with Collins and Young. Look for them to use that cap space to absorb other expiring contracts in return for more assets. In the draft, they have no need to take a ready-now prospect. They need another star.

Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency

Let’s be completely honest: nobody willingly heads to Atlanta. When they were a good team, they could only sign players by overpaying them. And they are not a good team. They may pick up a vet on a big one year deal like the Suns did with Ariza last year, but they are not going to be active. If they sign anybody, it will be young players looking for opportunity or looking to rebuild value. That is, they’ll be looking at the Mario Hezonja and Emmanuel Mudiay types rather than quality players. The Hawks’ most notable contribution to free agency will almost assuredly be taking on salary so another team can sign a player.

The Selection – Sekou Doumbouya

Trae Young is a PG. John Collins is a PF/C. Doumbouya could slot in at PF if Collins develops into a C or at SF if Collins stays at PF. From a fit perspective, he makes sense. The future of the NBA is long athletes at every position, and Doumbouya fits that mold perfectly. But in a draft full of young, raw athletes, Doumbouya might be the youngest, rawest, and athlete…est. That makes him extremely difficult to project.

Doumbouya, as he currently exists, is not an NBA player. The Hawks here are not drafting a basketball player but a bag of really expensive parts that need to be assembled. And that’s fine, as long as they’re willing to be patient. Bruno Caboclo was famously two years away from being two years away and, well, he was actually five years away, not four, but he’s now an actual NBA starter. Doumbouya should probably spend the next three years in the G-League learning how to play basketball, but the potential payoff here is huge. For a team like Atlanta that is never going to draw a superstar on its own, drafting the super high upside Doumbouya makes plenty of sense.

Rookie Prediction

If Doumbouya even gets to see the floor, he’s not going to see it much. My guess is that he gets a few minutes early in the season to let the fans cheer him, then he disappears to the G-League until the end of the season when he comes back up to remind fans he still exists. Doumbouya would be the average age of a freshman if he was going in to college this year. He’s that young. 18 year olds don’t succeed in the NBA. Check back in when he’s 20 or 21 to see how he’s doing then. The key is going to be being patient enough to allow him to reach that when he looks completely overmatched his first few seasons.

Projected Stats, Per Game: N/A. He’s not going to play enough minutes to even project per game. If he does play, his stats are going to be poor. Don’t look at his stats until at least his third season. It’s for the best. This is a pick for the future, not for the now.