Hawks roster: Ranking best prospects for Atlanta after winning No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft Lottery

The Hawks have quite the decision to make on their hands.

Atlanta entered the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery with just a three percent chance of landing the top pick. It leaves with the entire class of prospects at its discretion after receiving the No. 1 overall selection.

There’s still plenty of work to be done. This year’s draft is as volatile as they come. There are a handful of players who can compete for the title of best player available, from Alex Sarr to Stephon Castle.  Nevertheless, the powers that be in the Hawks’ front office — namely general manager (and good luck charm) Landry Fields — will hope to hone in on a consensus sooner rather than later.

The stakes are high for head coach Quin Snyder’s group, particularly with rumors swirling around star guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray’s futures.

With that, here’s a look at the Hawks roster heading into the 2024-25 season, as well as examining some of the draft’s top prospects and their fit within the franchise.

MORE:  Full 2024 NBA Draft lottery results

Atlanta Hawks roster

Unlike its lottery counterparts, Atlanta is far from a terrible team. It went 36-46 in 2023-24, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks were trounced in the Play-In Tournament by the Bulls. However, they remain a solid, if unspectacular, side spearheaded by one of the sport’s most alluring talents: Trae Young.

Young is the star that stirs the drink in ATL. Over the course of his six-year stay in Atlanta, Young is averaging 25.5 points and 9.5 assists per night. He’s not only one of the league’s deadliest shooters but also one of its greatest playmakers.

Young is a formidable No. 1 in today’s NBA. He’s not alone, though. Dejounte Murray dovetails him in the backcourt, although rumors have persisted linking him with a move away over the past few months.

Here’s a closer look at Atlanta’s roster ahead of what figures to be a pivotal offseason for the franchise:

No. Player Age Position Height School/Country
41 Saddiq Bey 25 G/F 6-7 Villanova
13 Bogdan Bogdanovic 31 G 6-5 Serbia
4 Kobe Bufkin 20 G 6-5 Michigan
15 Clint Capela 29 C 6-10 Switzerland
24 Bruno Fernando 25 F-C 6-9 Maryland
2 Trent Forrest 25 G 6-4 Florida State
14 AJ Griffin 20 F 6-6 Duke
18 Mouhamed Gueye 21 F 6-10 Washington State
12 De’Andre Hunter 26 F 6-8 Virginia
1 Jalen Johnson 22 F 6-8 Duke
27 Vit Krejci 23 G 6-8 Czech Republic
3 Seth Lundy 24 G-F 6-4 Penn State
25 Garrison Mathews 27 G 6-6 Lipscomb
32 Wesley Matthews 37 G 6-5 Marquette
5 Dejounte Murray 27 G 6-5 Washington
17 Onyeka Okongwu 23 F-C 6-10 USC
11 Trae Young 25 G 6-1 Oklahoma
See also  When does Inter Miami 2024 season begin? Lionel Messi back in action in February with MLS, Champions Cup

Ranking best prospects for Hawks with No. 1 pick

The Hawks have the pick of the litter when it comes to figuring out who to select in the 2024 NBA Draft. Do they look to find a long-term replacement for Clint Capela, a dynamic wing player capable of sharing the offensive load with Young or something else entirely? 

Everything is on the table for Fields and his fellow front office officials ahead of next month’s NBA Draft.

Here are the top seven prospects in Kyle Irving’s most recent big board
 along with his expert analysis:

1. Alexandre Sarr, Perth Wildcats (NBL, Australia)

  • Age: 19
  • Position: C
  • Height: 7-0

Sarr has had an interesting journey leading up to becoming our No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft. The French native played two seasons in the Overtime Elite development league before taking his talents to Australia’s NBL Next Stars program.

Sarr fits the mold of a modern-day center who is capable of more than just running rim-to-rim. He’s long and athletic, and the combination of his shot-blocking and budding perimeter skills make for a limitless ceiling.

Sarr held his own playing professionally for the Perth Wildcats, averaging 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 17.3 minutes per game.

2. Nikola Topic, Crvena zvezda (ABA, Serbia)

  • Age: 18
  • Position: G
  • Height: 6-5

Topic is the top-ranked guard in this class as a pick-and-roll maestro who can score in the paint at will. The 6-5 guard is an elite passer who plays as physically as his size suggests. He’s not as quick or shifty as most players at his position, but he plays with a calmness that every team could use in their floor general.

Topic missed a big chunk of this season with a knee injury after transferring to Crvena zvezda. Before his injury in January, he posted impressive averages of 18.4 points and 7.1 assists per game for Mega Basket, which is also in the world-renowned Adriatic (ABA) League.

3. Stephon Castle, UConn

  • Age: 19, Freshman
  • Position: Guard
  • Height: 6-6

Castle was one of the breakout stars of the NCAA Tournament, helping lead UConn to its second-consecutive National Championship. The 6-6 big guard defends at a high level, can score at the rim off the dribble and create for others.

He showed even more versatility during March Madness, playing off the ball and doing some dirty work in the paint on both ends of the floor. If he irons out his jump shot, he has the potential to be the best guard in this class.

MORE:  NBA Mock Draft 2024: Kyle Irving’s expert 2-round edition

4. Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

  • Age: 23, Senior
  • Position: Forward
  • Height: 6-6
See also  Yankees’ Luis Gil continues red-hot rookie season as team’s X-factor

Knecht established himself as one of the nation’s most consistent three-level scorers, averaging 21.7 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting from deep. There isn’t a shot he can’t make — he’s confident shooting off of movement, off the catch and off the dribble. His size and strength will help his scoring ability translate to the NBA level seamlessly.

Knecht’s 37-point clinic in Tennessee’s Elite Eight loss to Purdue  should leave a lasting memory in the minds of NBA scouts

5. Ron Holland, G League Ignite

  • Age: 18
  • Position: F
  • Height: 6-8

Holland was sidelined down the stretch of the G League Ignite’s season with a right thumb injury. The Ignite struggled all year, but Holland still showed plenty of flashes as to why he was in the preseason conversation for the 2024 No. 1 overall pick

The 6-8 forward is one of the best, most versatile defenders in this class. His energy and motor are unmatched on both ends of the floor and on the glass. He has active hands to come up with steals and blocks, and he does damage as a scorer in transition and off of timely cuts.

Even without a reliable jumper or shot-creation skills, Holland averaged 20.6 points per game for the Ignite. That’s a good sign for when his offensive game develops down the line.

6. Zaccharie Risacher, JL Bourg (LNB Pro A, France)

  • Age: 19
  • Position: F
  • Height: 6-8

Risacher falls right in line behind Victor Wembanyama (and Sarr) as the next generation of French prospects to grace the NBA. Competing in the same league as Wemby before he was taken No. 1 overall in 2023, Risacher has boosted his draft stock tremendously as a fluid, sharp-shooting forward.

Risacher caught fire from beyond the arc at the start of the season for JL Bourg but has since cooled off. He is still shooting a respectable 34.9 percent from 3 through 31 LNB Pro A games, but that’s down a full 10 percentage points from his hot start. Averaging 10.1 points as a teenager in one of the best leagues in the world is still no easy feat.

With his shooting, length and activity on defense, Risacher will be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in this draft.

7. Donovan Clingan, UConn

  • Age: 20, Sophomore
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7-2

Clingan put on a two-way clinic in the NCAA Tournament, anchoring UConn to its second straight national championship. His performance against Illinois in the Elite Eight was the most dominant defensive game of March Madness. The Illini only had two made field goals when Clingan was on the floor going into the final 10 minutes of a 30-point blowout.

See also  Indiana State vs. Seton Hall final score, results: Pirates storm back in final minutes to win 2024 NIT championship

The UConn sophomore is a massive presence at 7-2, 280 pounds with a reported 7-7 wingspan. He’s an elite shot blocker, rebounder and lob catcher who has the rim-running ability to hang in the NBA.

Dejounte Murray trade rumors

During the 2024 NBA trade deadline, Murray was one of the most popular names bandied about in the trade market.

It was reported that the Hawks were looking for “at least” two first-round picks for Murray, a lithe guard who has posted averages of 21.4 points, 7.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds in the past three seasons while hitting 46.2 percent of his shot attempts.

Murray and Young haven’t worked thus far. Much of that is due to reasons outside of the duo’s control — the Hawks are severely lacking on the wings, placing additional pressure on Young and Murray on both the offensive and defensive ends. To that point, Murray’s reputation as a Grade-A point-of-attack defender hasn’t quite materialized. He’s still good in that capacity. But with an imperfect defense, he hasn’t shined like he did in San Antonio.

Plenty of postseason contenders called about Murray ahead of the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising if those same teams retained interest in his services. Still, the package would have to be sizable for Atlanta to budge. The Hawks are in a position of strength heading into the draft. If the offer isn’t right, Murray is likely to stay.

Trae Young trade rumors

Much like Murray, Young’s name has swirled in trade rumors over the course of the year. Unlike Murray, though, such a deal seems more unlikely.

Young is undoubtedly one of the best offensive hubs in the NBA. The prospect of pairing him with a highly-touted youngster — particularly someone like Sarr, who offers some alluring chops as a modern big — should captivate Fields. Young’s standing around the league is far higher than that of Murray. To fetch him would require an otherworldly offer, one that likely will feature a treasure trove of picks and/or prospects.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *