With the 23rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. Jenkins is the best three-point shooter in the draft, shooting 47 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range. The Hawks were big on Jenkins from the beginning and brought him back for a second workout on Wednesday. Jenkins gives the Hawks some much needed shooting off the bench, and he could find his way into the starting lineup depending on what the Hawks do with the six players currently under contract.
Larry Drew was ecstatic about getting Jenkins at 23 and thought the Hawks had gotten one of the best shooters in the draft.
“You talk about making shots and someone who’s in the game you have to guard him at all times that’s him,” said Drew. “We worked him out twice and he shot the lights out both times. If he’s not the best he’s one of the top two shooters in this draft.”
The Hawks will hope that Jenkins will improve their 31 percent shooting as a team from three-point range last year. Jenkins is not the best defender, but will compliment Marvin Williams, who has struggled with his shot recently but remains a shutdown wing defender. Jenkins is also a guy that can knock down his foul shots, and he shot over 80 percent each season at Vanderbilt, topping out at 89.4 percent in 2010-11. The Hawks struggles from the line are well documented, and Jenkins can help them in that regard.
Jenkins knew the Hawks needed a shooter, and after his two workouts, he had a slight idea he could be their selection.
“It was kind of funny because working out for them twice I had an idea that I might go to them,” said Jenkins. “I wasn’t sure though. I knew they needed a perimeter threat, and I knew I could fill that void.”
Jenkins will offer the Hawks an explosive player on the bench that stretches the floor and forces the defense to constantly know where he is on the court. The Hawks needed to get a player that can contribute immediately and John Jenkins is exactly that. Jenkins is not a great overall player, but at 23, he is a great three-point specialist that will provide much needed youth and shooting ability off the bench.
Jenkins made sure to point out that he is hard-worker and more than just a spot-up shooter.
“I can put the ball on the floor, something I’ve definitely worked on,” confirmed Jenkins. “I’ve worked on my body a lot which has allowed me to become more athletic and I’m just a competitor. I fight hard and just want to win.”
The Hawks struggled to score when they brought in their bench rotation last season, and did not get consistent scoring from guys like Jannero Pargo, Willie Green and Tracy McGrady. Each would occasionally give them a lift, but each lacked consistency, which hurt the Hawks. Jenkins fixes that issue and gives them a true scorer off the bench that can quickly get the offense out of a slump.
As to the kind of player and person Jenkins is, he told us what his plans were after getting drafted.
“I’m actually going about to go to the gym believe it or not, I’m waiting for my teammates to get called right now and we’re going straight to the gym to get some shots up,” said Jenkins. “It’s not enough to just get drafted, I want to be a great player in this league and hard work is what it takes.”
The Hawks haven’t always gotten it right in the draft, and this pick is not what many expected, but the Hawks have gotten a great shooter and a great person that will work hard to be a great overall player.