Our line has been that until he proves otherwise, Jalen Johnson’s middle name is Risk. After the Hawks picked him at #20 in Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called him a gamble but same idea, really.
Here’s what Hawks GM Travis Schlenck had to say about the pick: “Listen, he is an extremely talented player. Great size, great raw skills. Rebounds. Defends. Obviously, had some issues at Duke, in high school as well. When you are picking at 20 and that sort of talent (is there), you certainly feel good about it. … We’re excited to add a player of his talent level to the roster.”
Interestingly, the Hawks had 90 players in for pre-draft workouts but not Johnson. Presumably they thought he wouldn’t be available at 20 or perhaps were concerned about the issues Schlenck mentioned.
As for Duke’s other two draft candidates, Matthew Hurt and DJ Steward who both went undrafted, Steward has a training camp deal with Sacramento and if he can dazzle them he might get a two-way contract. With De’Aron Fox, Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell, there’s not much room at the inn.
No word yet on any move by Hurt but his size and shot should get him a few offers.