The Atlanta Hawks are coming off their best year in franchise history, setting the franchise record for wins in a season by finishing with a 60-22 record. In addition, second-year head coach Mike Budenholzer won Coach of the Year. The Hawks ultimately lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the season has been tabbed a huge success for the organization.
The two largest question marks heading into next season concern the futures of Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, who are both free agents and are in for large paydays that may not be offered by Atlanta. But the majority of last year’s team is returning, including Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefolosha and emerging guard Dennis Schroeder.
With many returning players, the news gets better as Atlanta picks 15th overall in the NBA Draft, thanks to the Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks’ strong fan base was on full display during the regular season and playoffs, and there are certainly going to be supporters of the club showing up to the Barclays Center on June 25. Hipmunk.com can get any Hawks fan to Brooklyn with flights to and from New York City through one of the two major airports. Hotels in New York City can be booked starting from $111 to be a metro ride away from Brooklyn. NBA Draft tickets on the secondary market have an average price of $94.91, with a get-in price of $38, according to TiqIQ.com.
With Carroll and Millsap probably departing this summer, the Hawks will be targeting help in the frontcourt. Below are a few options that the Hawks can tinker with at 15th overall.
Bobby Portis | Arkansas | Forward | Sophomore | 6’11”, 240 lbs.
Portis, the SEC Player of the Year, has one of the highest motors of any player in the NBA Draft. At 6’11”, his offensive skill set in addition to his high-energy playing style have the Hawks intrigued. His transition skills on both offense and defense will be an asset, and Budenholzer, coming from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, reportedly loves big floor-spacing shooters. If Portis lands with Atlanta, it may be a perfect match.
R.J. Hunter | Georgia State | Guard | Junior | 6’6”, 190 lbs.
R.J. Hunter made a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament, and aside from Kentucky’s Devin Booker, is probably the next best shooter in the draft. This could be an embarrassment-of-riches selection for the Hawks, who could rotate Hunter with Korver to keep a constant outside shooting threat on the court.
Kevon Looney | UCLA | Forward | Freshman | 6’9”, 220 lbs.
Looney is a lengthy, athletic big that can move up and down the floor as graceful as any other big in the draft. His raw offensive skill will have to be crafted, but the Hawks struggled to guard in the playoffs and Looney can bring a defensive versatility that the team previously didn’t have before. Looney can excel on a veteran team like the Hawks, where he would be put in during spurts when the team needs an energy boost off the bench.