With all due respect to draft sleepers and steals in the late first round or early second round, the franchise-changing pieces typically come from the top of the draft.
All of the attention from the public surrounding the Atlanta Hawks in this year’s draft has been on the No. 3 pick. It hasn’t been on the 19th, 30th or 34th because the Hawks are looking for a cornerstone for the next era in Atlanta basketball.
Run With The Dream
When looking for a blueprint, Atlanta basketball should look no further than its neighbors, the Atlanta Dream. The infant franchise was fighting for a chance to compete for titles a few years after its birth. Much like the Vegas Golden Knights are attempting to do this month. The Dream made it to the first round of the WNBA playoffs before laying an absolute egg the second season. The Dream landed the No. 1 pick and drafted Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry. Atlanta has made three trips to the finals and has become one of more consistent teams in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference ever since the pick.
McCoughtry’s a superstar talent and a two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Those may be the qualities that have attracted other stars like Lindsey Harding and now Renee Montgomery to play in Atlanta. The Dream front office also made moves like trading for center Elizabeth Williams. They also traded for guard Layshia Clarendon in addition to drafting Tiffany Hayes and Shoni Schimmel. In short, the Dream found their superstar at the top of the draft and put the necessary pieces that she needed around her to succeed.
The Hawks franchise has tried every trick in the book to attract stars to the city in the past. Whether it be star-studded front rows, renovating the game arena or even building a new practice facility, stars just aren’t open to coming to the Hawks in their primes. The only way to get the stars to come together or become a successful team in today’s NBA, then, is to start at the draft with a bang. So before picking the “safest pick of the year” in Jarren Jackson, Jr., think if you really want a guaranteed good player, or a potential superstar.
Only a couple of more weeks to figure out what route the team is taking.