Ranking the best options for the Atlanta Hawks in the first round

It’s just like Christmas for NBA fans as they await what shiny new toys are under the proverbial tree for them to fawn over during the next few seasons. There are guaranteed hits (Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram), some that will always been useful and others that just won’t ever work out.

Unfortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, the guaranteed hits will be long gone when they make their selection at 12. As will pure shooters Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield as well as intriguing international prospect Dragan Bender. Cal slasher Jaylen Brown and Providence lead-guard Kris Dunn will also be gone, but beyond that it anyone’s guess.

Since the rest of the board is up for speculation, I’ve decided to take a look at the best options for the Hawks when (or if), they pick at 12. Obviously plenty of these names will be gone when No. 12 rolls around, but since there is no consensus on who will go where, they are included.

15. Furkan Korkmaz, 6-7, shooting guard, Turkey

Korkmaz has shown an elite-level skill as an outside shooter, making 11 0f 26 3-point shots in Euroleague play. The problem is he didn’t to show much else while playing limited minutes for one of the top teams in Turkey.

14. Thon Maker, 7-1, power forward, Canada

Maker is one of the most intriguing prospects in this whole draft (and not because of his YouTube videos). He is a big who can really get up-and-down the floor, can jump out of the gym and has already developed a solid outside touch. While he won’t be NBA ready for a couple of years, he could make a huge splash.

13. Malachi Richardson, 6-6, wing, Syracuse

Richardson shot up draft boards after an impressive run in the NCAA Tournament. His 7-foot wingspan would be ideal to play the passing lanes on the defensive end of the floor for the Hawks, but he has a lot of work to do to become an efficient scorer.

12. Taurean Prince, 6-8, small forward, Baylor

Prince is the kind of player that every roster needs. He has nice range on his jumper, can finish at the rim and can play multiple positions on the defensive end. He wouldn’t be a starter early on, but should be a rotation player from the day-one.

11. Skal Labissiere, 7-0, center, Kentucky

There is no question that Labaissiere is a project at best. He is a great athlete for his size who really knows how to block shots, but was too raw to see significant time as a freshman at Kentucky. What he does bring to the table is one of the highest ceilings of any player in this draft.

10. Malik Beasley, 6-5, shooting guard, Florida State

Beasley came out of nowhere to be one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball. He would be a nice fit on the offensive end of the floor because he can shoot it from the outside. He also showed great touch from the free-throw line where he converted on 81.3 percent of his 3.8 attempts per game.

9. Dejounta Murray, 6-5, combo guard, Washington

Murray has the size and skills to play either guard position. He is a solid scorer with good length, but still needs to add weight to compete at the NBA-level. Where his game really needs work is with his outside shooting where he shot just 28.8 percent from 3-point range and 66.3 percent from the foul line.

8. Timothe Luwawu, 6-7, wing, France

Luwawu is an impressive wing scorer who has shown the ability in the last year to knock down the outside jumper or get to the rim. His is a terrific with good size who can finish at the rim, but needs to be much more consistent at the free-throw line where he shot just 69 percent a year ago. Another place where he needs to be more polished is with his decision-making after averaging more turnovers than assists in 2015-16 during Adriatic league play.

7. Denzel Valentine, 6-6, shooting guard, Michigan State

Valentine can stretch the floor with great outside touch, has great court-vision and is a winner. He is an exceptional rebounder for his position and one of the best all-around offensive players in this draft. He would be much higher on this list if not for the report of significant issues with his knee.

6. Deyonta Davis, 6-11, power forward, Michigan State

Davis would benefit the Hawks as a second-unit defensive player. He is a solid rebounder and an excellent shot blocker. While far from a polished offensive player, he would still be productive on that end of the floor because of his work on the glass  for easy putbacks and dunks.

5. Jakob Poeltl, 7-1, center, Utah

Poeltl is the best big man the Utes have produced since Andrew Bogut. He can finish with either hand around the rim and is a solid rebounder. He still needs plenty of work on his outside touch and could stand to add more weight to compete at the highest level, but does have a great feel for the game and can really run the floor for a 5-man.

4. Henry Ellenson, 7-0, power forward, Marquette

Ellenson would be a solid pick for the Hawks at 12. He is a skilled big man with excellent range on his jumper and good touch around the rim. He is an excellent scorer who can convert when he gets to the foul line. He is also one of the best rebounders in the draft because of his size and strength.

3. Domantas Sabonis, 6-10, power forward, Gonzaga

Sabonis was a dominating scorer from inside during his time at Gonzaga. He has great touch in the paint and a solid face-up game. While his offensive game might take some time to reach its peak against tougher competition, he will be a good rebounder from the moment he steps on the floor.

2. Wade Baldwin, 6-4, point guard, Vanderbilt

Baldwin has great length for a point guard which would translate very well to the defensive side of the ball for the Hawks. He would also be a good fit on the offensive end because of his great outside stroke as a spot-up shooter. He would be a good catch and shoot guy off the ball.

1. Marquese Chriss, 6-10, power forward, Washington

There is little chance of Chriss being available at No. 12, but stranger things have happened. He is a big man who has good range and a NBA body. He has also shown off his ability to block shots thanks to good timing and a good vertical, but needs plenty of work on the defensive backboard where he averaged just 2.9 boards in college.



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