Photo Courtesy of Sarah Stier/Getty Images
As Baylor topped Gonzaga in the National Championship game earlier this month, college prospects have already begun declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Atlanta Hawks currently sit at 5th in the Eastern Conference standings and will most likely end up with a mid-to-late first round pick in the upcoming draft as the team makes a push for the playoffs. Travis Schlenk and the front office have some key decisions to make this upcoming offseason in order to turn the Hawks into a true title contender. Here are some of the prospects that fans could see in a Hawks jersey next season.
Isaiah Jackson | Power Forward | Kentucky
Kentucky’s 2020-2021 season was underwhelming to say the least after bringing in the No.1 ranked recruitment class in the nation and failing to make the NCAA tournament. Isaiah Jackson still made great strides though on the offensive and defensive side of the ball though averaging 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks a game in only 20 minutes of play. Jackson is one of the best rim protectors in the draft and has room for growth in developing a consistent jump shot. The freshman has been projected anywhere from a late-lottery pick to a mid-first round pick, according to ESPN. With John Collins’ future in Atlanta still being determined, the Jackson pick makes all the more sense.
Davion Mitchell | Combo Guard | Baylor
Coming off a National Championship, Davion Mitchell is one of the most NBA-ready guards in the draft averaging 14.1 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game this year. The Georgia native is one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft and won the Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year award this past year. Mitchell would make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball and most importantly can play next to Trae as a secondary ball handler with the ability to distribute. Similar to Jackson, the 22-year-old projects as a late lottery to mid-first round pick and depending on where the Hawks land on the board they could trade up.
Jared Butler | Combo Guard | Baylor
Jared Butler was named The Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year and was Mitchell’s running mate this year for Baylor. Butler drew even more interest from teams after his 22-point performance against Gonzaga in the National Championship totaling 7 assists as well. Butler could see a similar role the way Mitchell would on the Hawks playing alongside Trae but could also be the Hawks’ backup point guard for the foreseeable future. With the Hawks trading Rondo at the deadline and Brandon Goodwin on an expiring deal, Butler could have an immediate role on the Hawks’ roster next season.
Josh Giddey | Dual Forward/Point Guard | Australia
Giddey of the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL is a 6-foot-8 forward with all the abilities of being a point-forward similar to Ben Simmons. Giddey is a tremendous iso defender and is active in the passing lanes averaging 1.3 steals a game. The 18-year-old lacks a consistent perimeter jump shot but is consistently crashing the boards and getting his teammates involved. Projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick, Giddey could see time as a guard and wing on the Hawks with the possibility of Lou Williams, Tony Snell, and Solomon Hill making their exits.