The Atlanta Hawks went into the draft looking to get two players that would have an opportunity to come in and immediately contribute next season. With the No. 23 overall pick, the Hawks took shooting guard John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. Jenkins will be able to play from Day 1, and his shooting skill adds a different element to the Hawks bench that lacked consistent perimeter scoring last year. In the second round the Hawks took Virginia power forward Mike Scott with the No. 43 overall pick. Scott is a bit undersized at 6-foot-8 and change, but he is a tough kid that can knock down mid-range jump shots.
The Hawks new GM Danny Ferry, who was only on the job for four days leading up to the draft, jumped into the process immediately. The new GM spoke about the team’s plan and reasoning for their two picks.
“I like people that can shoot,” said Ferry of the Jenkins pick. “And he can definitely do that. He plays hard, he’s a competitive kid and he tries to play the right way.”
He elaborated further on what kind of impact Jenkins has both on the Hawks and the opposition.
“[Offensively] he almost makes it like a four-on-four game because you can’t leave him,” said Ferry. “He’s got decent length for his size. The kid plays hard and really tries to compete at both ends. He can really shoot. Having a guy out there who can space the floor for our core group will make the whole team function better.”
As to the plan for the draft, Ferry pointed to the lack of players on the roster as to why they went after two guys that can step in immediately but may have lower ceilings than others.
“We have six players under contract, and now have the rights to eight,” admitted Ferry. “We’re going to need guys that can come in and contribute, guys that can add something. When coach Drew’s looking down the bench asking ‘Why would I put this guy in?’, for Jenkins it’s because he can knock down shots. I think Mike Scott’s experience and ability to score, his ability to rebound I think was a good value where we were picking.”
Ferry also made it clear that Mike Scott is a power forward.
“Mike Scott is definitely a four. He’s got the strength to be able to play at the four position. He’s a good 16-foot pick-and-pop type of player that can also finish around the basket.”
The Hawks were very happy to get both players where they did, and were able to grab two players they had high on their boards without having to move around in the draft. While the draft itself may be over, the Hawks are not done. There are a number of undrafted free agents available, and sources say the Hawks are targeting Iona G Scott Machado, who many had as the second-best pure point guard in the draft.
Machado’s slide to undrafted free agency can be attributed to two factors. First, a number of highly rated players slipped into the second round which made Machado’s value less because of the widely used strategy of taking the best player available in the second round. Also, many of the teams in the latter half of the second round wanted to use the “draft-and-stash” method of drafting European players that would not be available immediately in order to avoid having to pay their second round draft pick and minimize their spending against the cap. Machado has been offered by the Hawks and a few other teams. If the Hawks are able to pick him up, they could very realistically have three players from this draft on the roster next season.