The Atlanta Hawks will have the No. 19 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Here is a look at five players they could use that first-round pick on Thursday night.
The Atlanta Hawks will have three picks in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft, including the No. 19 overall selection in the middle of the first round. Atlanta is coming off its 10th straight trip to the playoffs. Only the San Antonio Spurs have to been to more playoffs consecutive than Atlanta over the same stretch of time.
However, Atlanta has not had the same amount of success in the playoffs as have the Spurs. Atlanta has only been to the Conference Finals once since switching conferences in the early 1970s. That magical year was back in 2014-15 when Atlanta came out of nowhere to win 60 regular season games and capture the No. 1 seed in the East. Yet, that magical season seems so far away.
Atlanta has a new general manager coming over — former Golden State Warriors front office executive Travis Schlenk. He has the tough task of keeping Atlanta playoff viable while carefully making the right acquisitions in trades, free agencies and drafts.
What happens with Atlanta’s best player in free agent Paul Millsap will largely shape how the Hawks feel about their offseason. However, Schlenk still has a great opportunity to win with a sleep pick at No. 19. Here are five players that Atlanta could target with that mid-round selection.
Power Forward, UCLA Bruins
One thing that favors Atlanta greatly during the 2017 NBA Draft is that the Hawks will have several solid frontcourt players available to address at No. 19. The point guards will be off the board early in round one and shooting guards are just plain hard to find.
One player that could be an interesting selection for the Hawks at No. 19 has to be former UCLA Bruins power forward Ike Anigbogu. Though he only played one year for Steve Alford in the Pac-12, primarily coming off the bench, Anigbogu was the undeniable muscle that the Bruins needed to win over 30 games in 2016-17 and reach the Sweet 16.
Anigbogu averaged 4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 13.0 minutes per game for the Bruins. Keep in mind that he missed the first five games of the 2016-17 NCAA season after coming back from surgery on torn right meniscus.
At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, Anigbogu has the frame to be a powerful and rangy shot blocker at center. He won’t offer any sort of shot from distance, but he did make 56.4 percent of his shots from the floor as an undergrad. Overall, Anigbogu is a developmental project as a prospect, but one Atlanta can absolutely work with.