Atlanta Hawks select Duke’s AJ Griffin in first round of 2022 NBA draft

Duke forward (and new Atlanta Hawks player) AJ Griffin celebrates after shooting a three-point basket. Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

With the 16th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Duke’s AJ Griffin.

  • This could be a great value pick as Axios’ mock draft had Griffin being selected a few spots higher at 13.

Details: During his lone season at Duke, Griffin averaged 10 points per game while shooting 45% from three-point range.

  • He’s a 6’6″ forward who should give the Hawks — namely Trae Young — even more space to operate when on offense. He will also be a prime target for Young as teams continue to run double teams at the Hawks’ scoring leader.
  • Defensively, Griffin is still a work in progress but he has a lot of potential. With the right coaching, his frame and length should be a nightmare for opponents.

Yes, goal: The Hawks went offense first in this draft. This is surprising given they were one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA last year (even though they were an offensive juggernaut).

The plot: The Hawks picked a player that plays the same position as John Collins. They also selected Jalen Johnson last year, who plays power forward. So, expect there to be competition for playing time.

  • But the Hawks will likely release Danilo Gallinari at some point during this offseason and his offensive skills — specifically his three-point shooting — will need to be replaced.

Our thought bubble: The Hawks still need defensive help. It’s harder to find an immediate impact player in the draft, so expect the team to address that need in free agency which kicks off around June 30.

  • As for Collins, aka John the Baptist, his time in a Hawks uniform may soon be coming to an end (unfortunately).

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