The Hawks selected Vanderbilt sharpshooter John Jenkins and Virginia forward Mike Scott in the draft.
Jenkins was projected to go later in the draft than No. 23 but Larry Drew said the Hawks didn’t think he’d even make it to them.
“When Boston made the No. 22 selection, there was a lot of happiness in the room that John would be there,” Drew said.
That presumably means the Hawks weren’t waiting on Syracuse center Fab Melo. It definitely means they preferred Jenkins, 21, to prospects that might have more potential to improve such as Tony Wroten and Perry Jones.
At first glance, that doesn’t seem to fit with Danny Ferry’s focus on long-term development. But Drew said Jenkins has room to improve while providing an NBA skill now.
“He is a guy that has potential to get into rotational lineup,” Drew said. “But being a young kid, he’s a guy that can grow and provide some youth for us. He is a kid that wants to be the best. We have to think about not just the present but the future”
No doubt Jenkins was an elite shooter at Vandy.
“I like people that can shoot and he can definitely do that,” Ferry said. “He plays hard, hes’ a competitive kid, really tries to play the right way. When he’s on the court he will make shots and make it almost make it a four-on-five games because you can’t leave him. He’s got decent length for his size. We were encouraged he was there when we were picking.”
At Vanderbilt Jenkins wasn’t much of a passer, didn’t get to the free-throw line and didn’t rebound. All of those things will be much more difficult to do in the NBA.
There’s also a question of whether Jenkins is athletic enough to be an effective defender.
“He cares, and if we have a good system where he can play five-man defense, I think he will be a good job,” Ferry said. “He will play smart. I think he will compete every play. Again, you will have to go around to the other and and chase him around. He’s a dangerous weapon.”
Scott is an undersized, over-aged (24 next month) power forward who was awarded a fifth year at Virginia because of a medical hardship. He was a decent rebounder who increased his scoring efficiency during his time at Virginia as he developed a jump shot.
Ferry said Scott is strictly a power forward.
“He’s got the strength to be able to play the four position,” he said. “He’s got the strength. He’s a good 16-foot pick-and-pop player that can also finish around the basket and rebound. I think he’s got a chance to be a good player. He’s going to have to come in and compete both ends of the floor, do what coach Drew wants him to do.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat