3 players Hawks must avoid in 2022 NBA Draft

The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the most active teams to start the offseason. This is sure to continue in the NBA Draft where trade frenzies have become the norm. As things currently stand, the Hawks hold the 16th pick in the draft. With the Hawks seemingly dead set on trading John Collins, they may find their way back into the draft. Regardless of how many picks they end up with or which selections Atlanta would be wise to avoid these three players.

3 players Hawks must avoid in 2022 NBA Draft

Kennedy Chandler – Guard Tennessee

There is a great deal up in the air surrounding the Hawks roster. The one sure thing the franchise does have in place is building around Trae Young. Each pick should be focused on bringing out the best in their superstar and Kennedy Chandler would not be the answer to this.

The 6-foot guard from Tennessee would create some real concerns on the defensive side of the ball alongside Trae Young. Chandler is a much better defender than Young, but both players lack in size. Chandler will be overpowered in route to the basket at times at the NBA level. There is some hope in his overall defense as the 19-year-old has a 6’5″ wingspan and impressive instincts. He uses his length to poke the ball free and jump passing lanes. Regardless, he will need to add some muscle to his frame in order to compete at the NBA level. Kennedy Chandler averaged 2.2 steals per game along with 13.9 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in his lone season in college.

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While he spent some time playing off the ball, he is at the best when creating with it in his hands. He is a terrific finisher around the basket and creates great space with his driving ability. Kennedy Chandler is a crafty passer and high IQ player. There is a lot to like with his overall game, but he would not be a clean fit on the Atlanta roster.

AJ Griffin – Guard Duke

A 6’6″ standout from Duke, AJ Griffin is one of the best spot-up shooters in the entire draft class. The 18-year-old averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game in his lone season at Duke. He shot 49.3% from the field and 44.7% on three-point attempts. Griffin is a knockdown catch-and-shooter as he connected on 43% (65/151) of his spot up attempts. This accounted for 48% of his total offense this season. The Duke product was also the 19th best prospect across all D-1 players in points per possession off the dribble.

While the shooting ability would look terrific next to Trae Young, Griffin greatly lacks on the defensive side of the ball. His 7-foot wingspan and functional strength gives him the frame to be an impactful defender, but he has lacked the production. Griffin at times looks slow footed and has poor awareness of where the basket is. He is also vulnerable to backdoor cuts when guarding the off-ball player. While he is portrayed as a surefire three-and-D prospect, there is a major red flag on the defensive side of the ball. Griffin is a high floor prospect, but the Hawks could find a more complete player as they look to build a new supporting cast around Trae Young.

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Jaden Hardy – Guard G-League Ignite

Flashback a year ago and it was expected that Jaden Hardy would be in the running for a top pick. The 19-year-old was the number two ranked prospect coming out of high school. He elected to pass on some major college offers and take the G-League path to the NBA. He has a style of play that seems made for the NBA but underperformed to an extent with the Ignite.

Hardy averaged 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in his lone season at the G-League. The concern falls with his efficiency. The 6’5″ guard shot just 37.9% from the field and 30.9% on three-point attempts. He is a pure bucket-getter who needs the ball in his hands. Hardy is an intriguing prospect with the same top-end upside he had just a year ago. He struggled to adjust to the G-League level, but ended the season strong.

While it is always appealing to add this caliber of potential scorer, his fit alongside Trae Young is not clean. Both guys are incredibly ball-dominant with a score-first mentality. Trae Young is obviously one of the best passers in the NBA, but Hardy has had a discouraging lack of growth in this area. He is still 19-years-old and has plenty of room to improve. However, adding a more complimentary skillset to grow alongside Young would be ideal. Jaden Hardy is an intriguing prospect but would not help to optimize the Hawks’ current superstar.

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