The 2022 NBA Draft is 17 days away and the Hawks have some tough choices to make. Over the past decade, the front office has struck gold some nights while standing out at other times. To avoid future mistakes, you must learn from your past. So, let’s rank the worst Hawks first round draft picks in the last ten years.
10. Onyeka Okongwu
The Atlanta front office made a smart move selecting Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Even passing on Tyrese Haliburton, I still like the pick. There is no doubt that Okongwu is the center of the Hawks’ future.
9. John Collins
In 2017, the Hawks landed a diamond in the rough by selecting John Collins with the 19th overall pick. Despite role changes, roster turnover and new coaches, Collins has thrived in Atlanta. Every season, “Jean-Baptiste” comes back with a new skill in his arsenal, which is why I say publicly that it’s a bad idea to trade him. A few notable players who were selected after Collins are Jarrett Allen, OG Anunoby, Kyle Kuzma, Derrick White, and Josh Hart.
8. Jalen Johnson
We still don’t know much about the Hawks’ 2021 first-round pick. Jalen Johnson played historically low minutes in his rookie season. It should be noted that the Hawks passed on Herbert Jones and Ayo Desonmu, who both made the 2022 NBA All-Rookie Team.
7. Omari Spellman
The 2018 draft will forever be remembered for the Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade. But honestly, this trade was mutually beneficial (I still believe the Hawks won if you ask me). But after the Hawks struck gold with the Trae Young trade, selecting Kevin Huerter with the 19th overall pick, they retired their third first-round pick.
Come to think of it, selecting Omari Spellman ahead of Jalen Brunson was obviously a miscalculation. Brunson is on the verge of a big payday, while Spellman played just 95 games before leaving the league. Fun fact, the Hawks selected Devonte ‘Graham in the second round to trade him for two second-round picks.
6. John Jenkins
At this point in the article, it’s going to start to hurt for Hawks fans. In the 2012 draft, the Hawks selected John Jenkins with the 23rd overall pick. They passed on Miles Plumlee, Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Will Barton and Tomas Satoransky.
5. Reddish Cam
In 2019, the Hawks selected Cam Reddish with the 10th overall pick. It was with Tyler Herro, Matisse Thybulle, Grant Williams, Jordan Poole and Kevin Porter Jr. still on the board. Making matters worse is that the Atlanta front office traded Reddish to the New York Knicks for Kevin Knox II and a draft pick. Not much return on such an investment.
4. Kelly Oubre Jr.
In 2015, the Hawks selected Kelly Oubre Jr. with the 15th pick before trading him to the Washington Wizards for Jerian Grant (the 19th overall pick) and second-round picks in 2016 and 2019.
Additionally, the Hawks passed on Terry Rozier, Delon Wright, Bobby Portis, Larry Nance Jr., Kevon Looney, Montrezl Harrell, Pat Connaughton and Normal Powell. Yeah, 2015 was a rough patch for the Hawks.
3. DeAndre’ Bembry
I have nothing but good things to say about DeAndre’ Bembry. I’m really glad he played well for the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks this season. But the Hawks passed Pascal Siakam, Dejounte Murray, Ivica Zubac and Malcolm Brogdon to select Bembry with the 21st overall pick.
2. Lucas Nogueira
Atlanta had the 17th and 18th picks in the 2013 NBA draft. Dennis Schroder was a great pick at 17. The front office then selected Shane Larkin with the 18th pick and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks as planned. In exchange for Larkin, the Hawks got Lucas Nogueira (the 16th overall pick), a second-round pick, and goaltender Jared Cunningham.
However, several notable players were passed over. Gorgui Dieng, Solomon Hill, Mason Plumlee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, Rudy Gobert and Allen Crabbe. What’s weird is that four of the players mentioned above ended up playing for the Hawks later in their careers.
1. Adrian Payne
Last month we tragically lost Adreian Payne. The 31-year-old became a national sensation in college for his basketball talent and kind heart. Hoops always come second in a man’s life, and the world always hurts after losing Payne.
In the 2014 NBA draft, the Hawks dropped Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kyle Anderson, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jerami Grant, Nikola Jokic in the first round only . In the second, they selected Edy Tavares ahead of Dwight Powell and Jordan Clarkson.
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