Hawks likely looking to select big man at No. 19

Justin Patton (23) of the Creighton Bluejays handles the ball against the Rhode Island Rams during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Hawks began their pre-draft workouts in earnest last week with a number of players coming to Atlanta to show off their skills. The Hawks looked at a number of players, including many projected to be second-round picks. I have posted several stories on who had workouts that you can go back and reference.

The Hawks have three picks in the NBA Draft on June 22 at Nos. 19, 31 and 60 and have a need to look at a range of players.

The Hawks appear to be focused on selecting a big man with the first-round pick. I spoke to several players who came in for workouts last week and several related that feedback from front office personnel. North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, who may not be around when the Hawks select in the first round, said as much.

“For them it’s kind of strategic,” Jackson said. “It’s whatever their team needs at this point. They said right now at that 19 spot, their first priority is a big right now. It’s also who falls to that spot. They said they are extremely interested in me and we’ll see how it goes.”

The Hawks’ current roster suggests as much. Paul Millsap, Mike Muscala, Ersan Ilyasova and Kris Humphries are all unrestricted free agents. Dwight Howard is the only true big man under contract next season. There is a real need here.

New general manager Travis Schlenk told me following his introductory press conference the team will look at many options with their multiple selections, including the possibility of trading up.

Schlenk mentioned (without names) the team is looking at nine players at the No. 19 spot. Here are nine players I think the Hawks could be targeting if they indeed go big man with the first selection:

* Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

* Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga

* Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

*  John Collins, PF, Wake Forest

* Justin Patton, C, Creighton

* Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA

* Harry Giles, PF, Duke

* T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA

* Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California

What is your preference? One of these big men? Another? Another position. Discuss.

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