Atlanta Hawks, The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard: The Atlanta Hawks have quietly assembled a draft pick stash

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The Atlanta Hawks have some promising young talent on the roster right now between Trae Young, John Collins, and Taurean Prince, and it appears those three will soon be joined by even more young players with a lot of potential. The Hawks will certainly have ample opportunity to do so, thanks to Atlanta’s surprisingly thicc store of draft picks.

The Hawks technically owe two second-round picks in the coming years, but they don’t really. The picks Atlanta dealt are both protected 31-55 and both are set to convey (or not) by 2020, meaning unless the Hawks have one of the best five records in the NBA after the 2019-20 season they’ll keep both picks.

In addition to, realistically, all of their picks, Atlanta has quite a few coming in. The Hawks get two extra second rounders in this draft, coming from Charlotte and (almost certainly) the Lakers, in addition to two bonus second-round picks in 2023 and a Brooklyn second in 2025. That’s five added second rounders, and they should all have at least some value.

The real value, of course, lies in the first-round picks the Hawks have added to their stash. It’s technically possible for Atlanta to have three firsts in the 2019 NBA Draft, although that would be highly unlikely as one of those is a top-10 protected Cleveland Cavaliers pick.

That Cavs pick is top-10 protected for this and next year before it becomes two second-rounders, so the Hawks would greatly prefer Cleveland’s rebuilt to progress quickly in order to get a bad lottery pick from the Cavaliers.

The Hawks have another strongly protected first coming in 2024, when the Oklahoma City Thunder owe Atlanta a lottery-protected first-rounder. If that pick is not conveyed that season, the Thunder instead owe the Hawks two second-rounders as well.

This last one is the best pick Atlanta owns (besides their own) because it is guaranteed to be a first rounder. Thanks to the Luka Doncic trade, the Hawks have a Mavericks pick that is protected top-five for two years, top-three for two years, and then entirely unprotected if not conveyed by 2023.

It’s possible that the Hawks only have one bonus first round pick and a lot of second rounders, but that’s still a nice little treasure trove to build with. If Atlanta decides it isn’t ready to contend (or at least to sign big name free agents) by the summer the Hawks could use their cap space to add even more picks. Maybe none of those picks turns into an impact player, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have more shots at getting one. Atlanta’s process is a sound one.

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