Lucas Nogueira, No. 17 (Mock Draft)
The Hawks select a lanky, shot-altering presence from Brazil.
by DeMarco Williams / @demarcowill
Though San Antonio is about a 15-hour drive from Atlanta, the two cities feel even farther apart than that. One has The Alamo, the other has Trinidad James. One’s got real cowboys and the other has Real Housewives. When it comes to pro basketball though, the biggest difference lies in the fact that the Spurs have four NBA titles and the Atlanta Hawks have yet to score a single Finals appearance.
A model organization with sound ownership, steady coaching and Hall of Fame-caliber players, San Antonio is the epitome of class to an identity-less franchise like the Atlanta Hawks. Don’t take my word for it though; just look at what they’re doing with the team. Last offseason, the Hawks hired Danny Ferry, a former executive with the Spurs, to right their wavering front office. This offseason they welcomed Mike Budenholzer, San Antonio’s top assistant coach since ’07, to be the new head coach.
Imitation is the sincerest form of hardwood flattery. Of course, the next step in turning the ATL into San Antonio South is with the roster. That said…
With the 17th pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select…
Lucas Nogueira from Brazil.
With the likes of Tony Parker (France), Manu Ginobili (Argentina) and Tiago Splitter (Brazil) on the payroll, the Spurs are probably more deserving of the “Globetrotters” moniker than that silly crew out of Harlem. The Hawks aren’t totally foreign to the concept of international ballers—Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia has played a decent-sized role in the team’s overall success—but 7-0 Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira from Rio de Janeiro would bring a whole different kind of flavor to the squad. Hella energetic, quick and blessed with a head of hair that has a mind all its own, Nogueira essentially has Marcus Camby’s game and Joakim Noah’s mane.
Yeah, we know that the Hawks already have an All-Star big man in Al Horford, but there’s no denying now incredibly thin the team is beyond Big Al. The 220-pound Bebe is a lanky, shot-alterin’ presence who’ll probably be able to give you 15-20 solid minutes on the court in the next year or two.
While super raw on the offensive end, Nogueira has some professional international experience (Spain’s Liga ACB), and only appears to be getting better against the better overseas talent (2013 adidas Eurocamp). And it says here that the new Hawks head coach worked with a pretty damn good 7-footer during his tenure in San Antonio, so I’m guessing he’ll have a few lessons to share with the young fella when the time is right.
The other reason this pick of a center makes such good sense lies with the Hawks’ current forward situation. Josh Smith, the Hawks’ main man at the 4-hole for the past several years, has probably played his last home game at Philips Arena. In the team’s tunnel-vision pursuit of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard this summer, they’ll likely let the 27-year-old Smith go, creating a major void in the SF/PF hole.
Coach Bud will see that 17 points/8 rebounds missing and may be tempted to slide Al over to the power forward slot full time. With Bebe in tow, the move makes a bit more sense. It wouldn’t be the flashiest of maneuvers, just a smart one. The Spurs organization would certainly approve.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Cavs||Otto Porter||16||Celtics||Mason Plumee|
|2||Magic||Nerlens Noel||17||Hawks||Lucas Nogueira|