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Landry Fields says Hawks likely to keep No. 1 overall pick and make selection

Lauren Williams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Basketball

ATLANTA — The big question facing the Hawks as the NBA draft approaches: Will they trade out of the No. 1 spot?

Likely, no.

The team had five weeks to do their homework on how to use the top selection in the upcoming NBA draft. With just a week left, the Hawks are close to finalizing their decision for the pick next Wednesday at the Barclays Center in New York.

As for now, Hawks general manager Landry Fields said the team would stand pat and use the top pick.

Fields met with reporters Monday ahead of the draft. He provided an update on where the team stands and how the process of sifting through prospects has unfolded.

Fields declined to provide the number of players the Hawks have hosted for workouts. Based on a report from HoopsHype, 15 players have visited the Hawks, including Zaccharie Risacher and Donovan Clingan. Center Alexandre Sarr, who draft analysts projected as the early favorite to go No. 1 overall, has reportedly not worked out yet.

“I would say a week ago it was wider than it is now,” Fields told reporters on Monday. “The board is definitely shaping up, tiering itself out. So, in order to be No. 1, just the guy that we see is a great fit for us not just for the next day, but for the future as well.”

Of the players the team has worked out so far, Fields said a few different guys have blown them away. But the team has focused on a common thread in the prospects they have brought in and will continue to look at. The Hawks front office has tried to nail down characteristics that are important to them and have used them as a guiding light in their evaluations.

“They’re just really good guys (and) good people in this draft and that doesn’t mean like it’s always like that,” Fields. “But it really has been neat to kind of see especially the guys that are all projected to be at the top and guys that we’ve had in. Taking them to dinner and speaking with him, whether it’s in Chicago here in the building, on Zoom or elsewhere I mean, like we’ve had so many different mediums to do this. And just to get to know them more and more outside of just the intel that you gather around them. It’s just some really good guys.”

 

While the Hawks have focused on evaluating prospects, they’ve remained flexible and have entertained phone calls regarding the pick. Fields, of course, did not provide details on the nature of the calls but said that the phones have been ringing.

“I got a little time off (Sunday) because it was Father’s Day,” Fields said. “But for the most part, it continuously rings and we make outgoing calls as well just to see what the rest of the landscape is looking like.”

With nine days left until the draft, the Hawks currently don’t have a pick in the second round. That pick will head to Portland as part of the deal that allowed them to acquire Saddiq Bey last February. They also don’t have their first-round picks in 2025 and 2027 and also owe the Spurs a first-round pick swap in 2026 as part of the Dejounte Murray trade.

So with few draft assets attached to the Hawks in upcoming drafts, the Hawks may look to make the most of this year’s draft. Fields, though, has confidence in the work the Hawks have done not just over the last five weeks since the draft lottery landed the surprise No. 1 pick because they have scouted prospects over the last four to five years.

“This process has been a really fun and energizing one,” he said. “And our group has done a terrific job. Not just recently, but they went all the way back to when a lot of these players for the draft had been in high school and not just as seniors, but as juniors. So it’s really cool to see their evolution and how far they’ve come and just the positions that they put themselves in.”

That work has alleviated any pressure Fields may personally have to get the pick right.

“You avoid the pressure by doing your work,” he said. “If you do all the right work beforehand, and you’ve come to the point of decision, you make the decision and you live with it. And part of living with it is trying to enhance player X and based off everything that comes about, using that as an opportunity to reflect on it and find out ways in which you can make even a small gain for the next time.

“So I think when you have that, for me personally, because it ties into that earlier question, when you have that perspective and that paradigm reel into your mind. It really alleviates it, because it’s almost like a ‘can’t lose’ type of deal. Although I understand there’s no results for sure. But if there was an evolution, and even if you had success too, you would do the same process.”


©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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