The Atlanta Hawks selected Duke F Jalen Johnson with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
The Hawks finished 5th in the Eastern Conference last season with a 41-31 record, marking their best finish in the last four years. They haven’t finished higher than 12th since the 2016-17 season when they also finished 5th in the conference. Though they made a good run and looked dangerous in the playoffs, they ended up getting eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 in the conference finals — their first appearance in the conference finals since 2014-15.
They made a handful of signings in the 2020 offseason that helped a lot over the course of the season, including Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari who both missed 20+ games throughout the season. They were healthy for most of the second half though, and that combined with a big trade and a coaching change led to a big turnaround for the Hawks throughout the second half of the season. Trae Young led the team in scoring with 25.3 points per game and will look to help make a deep run in the playoffs again next year.
Atlanta Hawks 2021 NBA Draft picks
No. 20, first round: Jalen Johnson, F, Duke
No. 48, second round: Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn
Fantasy basketball outlook
Jalen Johnson — The Hawks did well to pick Johnson with the 20th pick, the young forward averaged 11.2 points in his freshman season at Duke with 6.1 rebounds in addition. He’ll add some depth at the forward position, and could be a solid backup plan for John Collins should he find himself with another team next season. Johnson is a solid shooter, putting up 52.3% in field goals last season with Duke, and will bring some much-needed talent and depth to the Hawks frontcourt.
Sharife Cooper — The Auburn guard fell all the way to the late second round for reasons not yet known, but can be a dynamic distributor for Atlanta’s second unit while also growing into a secondary ball-handler alongside Trae Young. His upside is tremendous, but don’t expect much fantasy value this season. He could offer good production late in the year for DFS purposes, but not someone worth looking into early in the season.