Given all of the latest John Collins trade rumors, it appears as if the Atlanta Hawks have gone into a bit of a panic after a disappointing follow-up campaign to their deep playoff run last season. Some claim that the Hawks are in need of another guard that can run the offense and take some pressure off Trae Young, which may be true, but I’m in the camp that thinks they’re much more in need of players with defensive talent.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, though, most of the draft’s talented defenders that would also qualify as being one of the best players available have been taken off the board at this point. So, with that in mind, I have the Hawks selecting Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams.
While his defense is mostly theoretical at the moment, he certainly has the tools and feel for the game to grow into a good defender, standing at roughly 6’6” with an absurd 7’2” wingspan. Despite taking on a heavy offensive load at Santa Clara, I think he was able to show enough flashes on the other end of the floor to convince a team to gamble on his defensive upside.
I think what makes this selection much more interesting for the Hawks, though, is Williams’ guard skills. Despite his big, yet lanky frame that resembles a small-ball 4, he’s a very gifted passer and shooter that should easily be able to take some of the offensive weight off Trae Young’s shoulders. And while he would likely be able to provide immediate help, he also fits next to the Hawks’ recent draft picks.