Atlanta Hawks Look To Find Value With First-Round NBA Draft Pick

Atlanta Hawks Look To Find Value With First-Round NBA Draft Pick

Following a Cinderella run to the NBA Eastern Conference Final in the 2020-21 season, the Atlanta Hawks entered the past season with all eyes on guard Trae Young and coach Nate McMillan, who together helped turn around the franchise halfway through the ’20-21 campaign.

The Hawks posted a two-game win improvement over the ’20-21 regular season in 2021-22 by going 43-39. But they were unable to replicate their postseason success, falling to Jimmy Butler and the Heat in the first round over five games. 

Now the franchise finds itself in the middle of the pack for NBA title odds ahead of the ’22-23 season, as the shine from a season ago seems to have worn off with oddsmakers.

The defending champion Warriors lead the futures favorites with BetMGM Sportsbook at +500, followed by the Boston Celtics (+650) and the Milwaukee Bucks (+700). 

The Hawks have the 18th best title odds at +8000, behind the Bulls, Raptors and Timberwolves, all at +6600.

Georgia sports betting has not been legalized. It might be several more NBA seasons before fans in Georgia can bet on the Hawks.

But legislation was talked about this year and could set it up for passage in the future. But for now, Georgia bettors will have to wait at least until next year.

2023 NBA Championship Future Odds Top 12

🏀 Golden State+500
🏀 Boston+650
🏀 Milwaukee+700
🏀 Brooklyn+750
🏀 L.A. Clippers+750
🏀 Phoenix+900
🏀 Dallas+1400
🏀 Denver+1400
🏀 Memphis+1400
🏀 Miami+1400
🏀 Philadelphia+1400
🏀 L.A. Lakers+2000
Odds provided by BetMGM Sportsbook.

Hawks Have Options With Mid-First Round Pick

The Hawks on Thursday night hold the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, a slot where it’s not impossible to find value, but also no sure thing. 

Who could the team be looking to add to a rotation led by Young that also includes wing De’Andre Hunter and big man John Collins? 

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony in his latest mock draft has the Hawks selecting Ohio State’s Malaki Branham, a shotmaker whose 6-foot-5 frame also could help out on defense. Branham at just 19 years of age would also seemingly fit into the young roster the Hawks have built out to complement the 23-year-old Young. 

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman projects the Hawks will call Jalen Williams’ name at 16. The point guard with a 7-2 wingspan appears to be one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft pool following three seasons at Santa Clara. 

Williams’ ability to read the entire floor as a ball handler could give Young a much-needed rest at times throughout the season should Young’s minutes pile up.

Finally, CBS Sports’ David Cobb has the Hawks selecting Memphis center Jalen Duren, whose 6-11, 250-pound build could help Collins on the boards. Duren, who only averaged 12 points a game in college, projects as a rim-running center who blocks shots and plays strong defense.

Regardless of which direction the Hawks go Thursday night, the team will depend on developing new young talent to complement their current nucleus and return to the Eastern Conference Final after a down season.



Thomas Leary

Thomas Leary is a news editor and writer for He previously spent six years at Sports Business Journal, where he helped identify emerging sectors across sports business, such as legalized gambling, and helped launch a digital newsletter division. Thomas lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife Emmie and their dog, Pickles.

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