ATLANTA (CBS46) -- The Atlanta Hawks lost out in the NBA Draft Lottery Thursday night, but luckily only dropped to the sixth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Now that Atlanta knows where they will pick, the question becomes who will the Hawks look to take at six? Or, could the Hawks look at possibly moving the pick for a proven veteran from a team looking to go young with a rebuild?
For this exercise, we will assume the Hawks move forward with staying put at six in the draft. Taking a look at the mock drafts out there will only yield more confusion than certainty at this point in the process. Here's a quick look at who the mock drafts have the Hawks selecting as of August 21, 2020.
- ESPN - Onyeka Okongwu, F/C, USC
- SBNation - Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
- Sports Illustrated - Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
- CBSSports - Aaron Smith, F, Vanderbilt
- SportingNews - Killian Hayes, G, Ulm
- Yahoo Sports - James Wiseman, C, Memphis
As you can see, the opinions are all over the map for the Hawks. Part of that is the needs of the team. But a big part of it is there is no clear top tier of players in the draft and that makes projecting who each team might take even more difficult.
Looking at the Hawks' roster starting next season shows a good, young core of players. The team will have All-Star Trae Young at point, John Collins as a stretch four, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter playing a wing position, and Clint Capela starting at the five.
The Hawks will also have Dewayne Dedmon and Kevin Huerter coming off the bench, two solid role players. Plus, the team will have all of those players under contract without any player making more than $16 million next season. That will keep plenty of cap space open for re-signing John Collins and Trae Young in the next few seasons.
But lacking on the Hawks' roster right now is a solid wing to serve as the yang to Young's ying. Looking at the mock drafts, CBS' mock draft might be onto something looking at Aaron Nesmth.
The former Vanderbilt Commodore shot 52.2% from beyond the arc last year en route to averaging 23 points and five rebounds per game. That kind of sharp shooting and scoring from a 6'6" wing could do wonders for the Hawks' offense and Young's scoring load. However, he is coming off an injury-shortened season.
Another possibility could be Killian Hayes out of Germany. He's a big-bodied 6'5", 215 pound wing who is a solid ball handler that could let the Hawks move the ball out of Trae Young's hands on some possessions. He is also developing a three-point shot, but still has lots of development to do to make a big impact at the NBA level.
ESPN's suggestion of Onyeka Okongwu may not make sense initially, but he could be a force inside playing alongside either Collins or Capela. However, he's offensively limited at this point to the traditional center position and would be a development project for now.
And that may be the Hawks' biggest dilemma, is there a player in the draft who can come in right away and contribute to the team making a push to playoff contention next season?
The Hawks front office hasn't been afraid to make deals for draft picks or for players. The Hawks could explore trades for a wing like Sacramento's Buddy Hield, or could try to sign a free agent like veteran DeMar DeRozan, Victor Oladipo, or others.
Needless to say, the Hawks have draft capital, needs on the roster, and plenty of time to make the moves they need to get this team back into contention.