As it relates to the 2023 NBA Draft, much of the focus for the Atlanta Hawks will be on the 15th overall pick. A pick landing just outside of the lottery, the Hawks have plenty of time to hone-in on a shortlist of draft targets that they can acquire with the selection.
Earlier this week, ClutchPoints explored the possibility of the Hawks adding Indiana Hoosiers point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the No. 15 pick. 6-foot-6 and 213 pounds, Hood-Schifino not only provides Atlanta with the long-awaited primary playmaker for their second unit but a player with enough size for Hawks head coach Quin Snyder to get creative with how he uses him.
Prior to that, ClutchPoints assessed the potential fits of projected lottery pick Cason Wallace (Kentucky), potential first-round pick Dariq Whitehead (Duke), international sleeper Jayson Tchicamboud (Union Tours) and Xavier Musketeers standout Colby Jones at No. 15 as well.
Now eyes will turn to the No. 46 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, which the Hawks acquired in the trade that led to them drafting De’Andre Hunter.
Depending on what position Atlanta prioritizes with the No. 15 pick, the Hawks could still be left with a hole at backup point guard. To that point, with myriad lead guards available in the second-round due to a lack of ideal size, age or consistency, Atlanta may just wait to address that hole.
Especially with the uncertainty regarding John Collins future with the franchise. Nonetheless, with so much frontcourt depth and questions about their starting backcourt, they’re more likely to use the No. 15 pick on an upper echelon playmaker like Hood-Schifino.
Which allows the Hawks to use the No. 46 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft on a sleeper prospect in Washington State Cougars forward Mouhamed Gueye.
1 sleeper prospect Hawks must target in 2023 NBA Draft
The first player that comes to mind when watching Mouhamed Gueye, whether it was the Washington State Cougars or at Prolific Prep, is Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
That’s not just to make the overly simplistic comparisons between international prospects that slither across the desktop screens or social media. It’s because, relatively thin at 6-foot-11 and 210 pounds, the 20-year-old forward is a highly athletic frontcourt player that gets up and down the court with the ease. With the mobility and fluidity of a true perimeter player, made his living at the rim, using his burst and explosiveness to blow by defenders in both the halfcourt and open court.
Gueye averaged 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals in his second and final season with Washington State. He shot 48.8 percent from the field.
Gueye still needs to work on standstill shots after going 18-65 from 3-point range (27.7 percent) and 122-199 from the free-throw line (61.3 percent) his two seasons with the Cougars. Yet, if players like Giannis or Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam are the blueprint for the Dakar, Senegal native, then Gueye’s impressive footwork in the low-post and touch in the midrange will matter more.
Nonetheless, a confident shooter with a fluid shooting motion, Gueye may simply need more reps.
In continuing the theme of comparison, despite his averages, Gueye is a high-level passer from the mid-post that routinely finds his teammates. That could prove to be his swing skill offensively, although he has already displayed the potential to do everything else.
On the defensive end, Gueye is a strong and long multi-positional defender that can guard out in space or on the interior.
Seeing him alter shots from either area is no strange sight and, with his agility and stamina, the Atlanta Hawks could view him as one of their premier defenders in time.
It isn’t hyperbole to say that if the Hawks were to draft Gueye, they could move on from John Collins with little more than a bat of the eye.
The guy is just that good.