Close to 24 hours have passed since the 2019 NBA draft happened. This year’s draft was considered top heavy and what we saw last night showcased a class that was anything but that.
The first three picks were determined during the draft lottery in early May. Zion Willamson went to the New Orleans Pelicans giving them something to look forward to after losing top five player Anthony Davis in a trade with the Lakers. Ja Morant went number two to the Memphis Grizzlies who recently traded their veteran point guard, Mike Conley, all but giving Morant the keys to the franchise. RJ Barrett took his shot creating and shot making to the New York Knicks with the third pick.
Looking at the night for face value you would think the Pelicans surely won the night. Well that’s debatable. The Atlanta Hawks won the night for sure.
Coming into yesterday the Hawks already had the 10th pick and that wasn’t enough because they managed to pull off a trade for the 4th pick with the Pelicans for the 8th, 17th and 35th picks. With their newly acquired pick they picked up Virginia forward Deandre Hunter. Adding Hunter to an already strong young core of potential rookie of the year Trae Young, sharpshooting wing Kevin Huerter, and rising young star John Collins. Hunter, a national champion and a solid two way player would be a great addition to any team trying to rebuild through the draft.
Six picks after picking Deandre Hunter the Atlanta Hawks scooped up Cam Reddish, a smooth scoring guard out of Duke. The addition of Hunter and Reddish not only adds shooting to Hawks offense but they have also picked up players who can defend and potentially create their own offense. Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, John Collins, Cam Reddish and Deandre Hunter are the young core they should build around. With the proper player development and room to grow Atlanta might be a force to be reckoned within the next five years and a playoff contender in the next two.
Their draft night transcended just that night, it’s helping them set up for the future. Travis Schlenk, the general manager of the Hawks knows a thing or two about building a team through the draft. Before becoming general manager of the Hawks he was the assistant general manager for the Golden State Warriors. After joining the Hawks in May of 2017, many of Schlenk’s moves and picks have mirrored what Golden State has built. All starting with him drafting guards Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, creating his own sharpshooting backcourt resembling what Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are. Adding Hunter and Reddish makes them a much scarier threat from beyond the arc while also masking Trae Young’s deficiencies on defense.
If we’re just speaking for the one night you could definitely say the Pelicans won draft night by picking Zion. In a forever changing and evolving league where the three ball is key is that really the case? In the long run the Atlanta Hawks have walked away as the winners last night, and are sitting on a lot of untapped potential.