Atlanta Hawks' 2014 NBA Draft Big Board

Jared Johnson@@jaredtjohnson21Featured ColumnistJune 23, 2014

Atlanta Hawks' 2014 NBA Draft Big Board

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Picking at No. 15 and No. 43, the Atlanta Hawks will do their best to improve their roster in Thursday's 2014 NBA draft.

    Whom should the team target with its two picks?

    Let's take a look at the top three players the Hawks want to see available at each of their selections, assuming they don't trade either pick.

    Players will be included only if their status in mock drafts and big boards is somewhat near to the pick in question. For example, Andrew Wiggins would be a fantastic get at No. 15, but the smart money says he won't be available that late in the draft.

15th Pick, No. 3 Option: T.J. Warren, North Carolina State

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 24.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 31.3 PER

    The Hawks' biggest need is wing scoring. Starters Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll are solid role players, but neither can consistently create his own shot.

    Enter T.J. Warren, the No. 3 scorer in college basketball last year.

    Warren gets most of his points in the paint, unlike many scoring wings. According to Matt Kamalsky of DraftExpress, "Warren's finishing ability is the byproduct of his truly outstanding instincts and touch on short range shots."

    Atlanta would certainly find some use for the forward's natural scoring ability, but with an offensive system built on ball movement and floor spacing, he might not be an ideal fit.

    Warren's unimpressive playmaking (0.48 assists per turnover) and three-point shooting (26.7 percent from long range last year) are the two main reasons he shouldn't be Atlanta's No. 1 target in the first round.

15th Pick, No. 2 Option: Rodney Hood, Duke

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Age: 21

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 208 lbs

    Position: SF

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 16.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 20.1 PER

    Rodney Hood's scoring numbers aren't eye-popping like T.J. Warren's. But unlike Warren, Hood had to share the scoring load with freshman sensation Jabari Parker.

    Hood's game also fits the Hawks better.

    His 42 percent shooting from three-point range is a major plus, and he takes care of the ball well for someone mainly concerned with scoring.

    The Hawks are rumored to be interested in Hood, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger (h/t FanSided's Andrew Melnick). Chad Ford placed him No. 20 on his ESPN Big Board (subscription required) as of June 22, which places him nicely in the mid-first-round range for the Hawks.

    Two concerns the Hawks should have with Hood, however, are his NCAA tournament dud (2-of-10 shooting against Mercer) and his mediocre defensive skills.

15th Pick, No. 1 Option: James Young, Kentucky

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Age: 18

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 213 lbs

    Position: SG/SF

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 16.6 PER

    James Young should be the Hawks' No. 1 option at the No. 15 pick heading into the draft.

    At just 18 years old, Young almost certainly would have been the Final Four Most Valuable Player had Kentucky defeated Connecticut in the final game of the NCAA tournament.

    That's pretty impressive for such a young guy.

    Young can shoot the three (2.1 makes per game last season), possesses the athleticism to finish in traffic (as shown by his ridiculous dunk versus Connecticut) and has the potential to be a lockdown defender.

    Bleacher Report's Josh Cohen predicted in his mock draft that the Hawks would take Young at No. 15. Per Cohen:

    No Hawk can blow by defenders closing out like James Young can. He'll be able to probe off the bounce into the sweet spots Atlanta's offense generates in the mid-range, and he'll also be able to provide some more above-the-break three-point shooting than a DeMarre Carroll could when he plays small forward.

    Young is a perfect fit for the Hawks. He should be able to contribute to them right away, but he still has the potential to become a star down the road.

43rd Pick, No. 3 Option: Patric Young, Florida

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 247 lbs

    Position: C

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 11.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 22.1 PER

    Although wing scoring is the Hawks' biggest weakness, the frontcourt depth could stand to improve. With Al Horford out most of the season, the Hawks had to roll with Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, Mike Scott and Elton Brand as their big-man rotation.

    That's not terrible, but it definitely doesn't scare playoff teams.

    Patric Young is a player who could have an immediate impact off the bench for the Hawks with his defense and athleticism, even though he will probably never be a starting-caliber player in the NBA.

    The bulky Young would be a good complement to stretch 4s such as Millsap and Scott, neither of whom is known for mixing it up in the paint.

    The DraftExpress mock draft from June 20 has Young at No. 42, just one slot ahead of the Hawks' pick.

43rd Pick, No. 2 Option: Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 263 lbs

    Position: PF

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 15.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 27.6 PER

    We continue the trend of inside bangers with Jarnell Stokes.

    Unlike Patric Young, Stokes is an elite rebounder. His 10.4 rebounds per game led the SEC in 2013-14, and his 4.2 offensive rebounds per game were particularly impressive.

    Stokes' work on the boards could work wonders for a Hawks team that ranked No. 27 in the NBA in rebound differential last season, according to ESPN.

    The main issue with Stokes is whether he will be available at No. 43. The DraftExpress mock from June 20 has him going No. 26, while's Aran Smith ranks Stokes as the No. 45 prospect.

    Needless to say, mocks and big boards have him all over the place. But the Hawks should take a good, long look at Stokes if he is still there at No. 43.

43rd Pick, No. 1 Option: Mitch McGary, Michigan

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 263 lbs

    Position: C

    2013-14 college per-game stats: 9.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 26.2 PER

    It's close with Jarnell Stokes, but I think Mitch McGary is the best option for Atlanta at the No. 43 pick.

    The red flags are certainly there with McGary: lingering back problems, a rudimentary offensive game and his positive marijuana test in March.

    All three of these are reasons why I think McGary could take a huge tumble down the draft board on Thursday night. He's ranked at No. 30 in the DraftExpress mock from June 20.

    But the hustle, size and rebounding are definitely there. Atlanta could use all of those traits coming off the bench in 2014-15.

    It's definitely a long shot, but compared McGary's game to that of Detroit Pistons great Bill Laimbeer.

    If McGary has half the career that Laimbeer had, the Hawks will get a huge steal drafting him at No. 43.


    Note: All stats used are from, and all position distinctions, heights and weights used are from unless otherwise indicated.