Another successful NBA Draft is in the books and each team feels they made at least one solid move in the draft. The Atlanta Hawks made several moves prior to and during the draft.
Of course, the first move is sending Jeff Teague to Indiana. His arrival also sent George Hill to Utah and the Jazz gave the Hawks their rights to the 12th overall pick.
So, that means for the Hawks that Dennis Schröder will likely be the starting point guard in Atlanta. Al Horford is also a free agent this year and no moves have been made yet to re-sign him. This same scenario goes for Kent Bazemore.
With that being said, the Hawks were really looking to make some dynamic moves in the Draft. They had the 12th pick, the 21st pick, the 44th pick, and the 54th pick. After the night was over, they had gotten three new players to add to the Organization.
Taurean Prince (6’8” / 220 lbs.)
Taurean Prince was selected 12th overall by the Utah Jazz and his rights were given to the Atlanta Hawks. In other words, he will be in a Hawks uniform next year. Some of you may know Taurean as the guy who described a rebound after his college team, Baylor, was eliminated by Yale in this year’s March Madness Tournament.
It went a little something like this…..
Reporter– “How does Yale out-rebound Baylor?”
Taurean– “You go up and grab the ball off the rim when it comes off and then you grab it with two hands. Then, you come down with it, it’s considered a rebound. So, they got more of those than we did.”
Here is a link to the video of his response that went viral.
I think it’s easy for you to guess that no more questions were asked after that answer was given. I can see why Prince was frustrated, though. He exploded in this game for 28 points. He only had four rebounds and 3 assists but he only committed 1 turnover and added a steal. Prince was dunking all over the Yale defense. When he wasn’t dunking, he was hitting threes.
He played one of the best games of the season and his team was eliminated. Of course, he is going to be frustrated when his team has to go home. Not only that, but the next highest scorer had 15. He had hardly any help in their 79-75 first round loss.
Taurean led his team in points per game with 15.9, was second in rebounds with 6.1 per game, second in steals with 1.9 per game, and was third in assists with 2.3 per game. In simpler terms, he was the best player on Baylor’s team.
Taurean will add another shooting presence to the Hawks lineup. He averaged 43.2% from the field his senior year and 36% from three. Not stellar numbers, but they’re pretty good for a big man with such a versatile skill-set.
I believe he will transition well into the NBA due to his ability to spread the floor. Taurean can move up and down the floor like a small forward but he can dunk and rebound like a power forward. He can spot up for a three, or dribble in and try to go around you. He has a very smooth jump shot.
However, watching Taurean you can clearly see that he needs to add some strength. After watching the Yale players, for the most part, get the better of his team in the paint, it was clear something was missing. After all, that whole video that went viral was due to the fact that his Baylor team, a #5 seed, was out rebounded by Yale, a #12 seed. This was against a team that had NEVER won a March Madness Tournament game in history.
Once Prince gets a couple of years under his belt and adds some strength and more of an inside game, he can be a very valuable contributor in Coach Budenholzer’s system. He has the skill-set to make some noise in his first year, but is not likely you will see any consistent contributions from Prince for at least two years.
DeAndre Bembry (6’6” / 210 lbs.)
The Hawks got the A-10 player of the year in Saint Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry with the 21st overall pick. Bembry averaged 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists last year at SJU.
According to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, the fit is perfect for the Hawks and Bembry.
“This is pretty much an ideal fit for Bembry, whose terrific passing ability and well-rounded game are philosophically in line with what the Hawks like to do. His feel for the floor is beyond his years, and he can do a bit of everything for you, with his three-point shot the only real bit of doubt. With Bembry and Taurean Prince, they’ve injected youth and talent on the wing and added two players who won’t be overwhelmed next season. Whether Al Horford stays or goes, the Hawks make two solid moves for the future. – Jeremy Woo”
Bembry can clearly score the basketball and that is what the Hawks will need next year. Everything I have read says that he will be able to come in and contribute to this team early. He is an excellent passer which I believe will work well with the Hawks.
He not only excelled in his last year in college, but he burst on to the scene in his sophomore season at Saint Joseph’s. He led the conference in points per game with 17.7 becoming the first SJU player to win the league’s scoring title. Not only that, but he led the nation in minutes played his sophomore year with 38.6 minutes per game. This shows that he can produce and play in the long, grueling schedule the NBA calls for.
He is very quick off of the dribble and can easily go around some of those bigger, slower defenders. One of the drawbacks for Bembry though is his jump shot. Even though he won the A-10 player of the year this past year, he shot just 26.6% from three point range.
In the 2016 Conference Tournament, he averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists en route to a Conference Championship, his school’s 2nd in 3 years. SJU ended the year with 28 wins, the most in school history.
Even though his three point shot is lacking, Bembry is a great all-around player. He led his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game last year and will hopefully contribute in similar ways for the Hawks.
Isaia Cordinier (6’5” / 190 lbs.)
The 44th pick was used on Isaia Cordinier, a 19 year old French shooting guard. No one is really sure of what the Hawks will do with Cordinier, but it is very likely that he will stay in France to work on his craft.
With the two first round picks likely wrapped until 2018 and beyond, this pick falls into the category of the “draft and stash” strategy that so many teams like to utilize. We will see what happens with Cordinier as we get deeper into the off-season.
Dennis Schröder was drafted out of Germany a couple years back when he was very young and now he set to become the starting PG for the Hawks. Hopefully, Isaia Cordinier can provide a spark like Dennis has when he gets his chance.
With the 54th pick, the Hawks drafted Oakland’s Kay Felder, but he was traded to the Cavaliers for cash considerations.
Even though the Hawks drafted two wing players this year, it is still said that re-signing Bazemore is an off-season priority for Atlanta. He wants to stay with the Hawks, but no moves have been made yet.
I am a free agent again this summer and would love to stay in Atlanta. The one thing I have learned throughout this journey is how important balance is. The game takes up a huge amount of your time, and those moments you step away from it, you want to be happy. I have grown so much in Atlanta, not only as a player but as a person, too. I am recently engaged to the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. –Yahoo Sports
Either way, the 2016-2017 Hawks are going to look much different than the 2015-2016 Hawks. This NBA off-season has already been riddled with blockbuster moves, and the Hawks could be next to make one. Will they re-sign Horford to a long-term deal potentially making him a Hawk forever? Or, will they let him go to clear up cap space for a proven superstar to possibly come to Atlanta?
We can only speculate now, but as this off-season progresses, watch out for the Hawks to try to make some big moves.