The parade of reporters prematurely leaking picks to their Twitter followers made for an especially entertaining sideshow during this year’s NBA draft. But remarkably enough, one team was actually able to benefit from all the hoopla.
In an appearance Friday on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk revealed that the Hawks were about to trade up for a Milwaukee Bucks’ pick to ensure that they got at least one of their two preferred prospects. However, when news leaked that the Bucks would not be taking either player with their pick, Atlanta was able to pull out of the deal.
“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” said Schlenk. “There’s were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously [Maryland guard] Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.
“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us,” Schlenk added. “So that was beneficial to us last night.”
The Bucks wound up taking Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17 in a pick that was indeed revealed to Twitter by Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports minutes before it was formally announced on the podium by commissioner Adam Silver. The San Antonio Spurs then drafted Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV at No. 18, clearing the way for the Hawks to take Huerter at No. 19.
We definitely enjoyed some good laughs as a result of the picks getting leaked early during Thursday’s draft. It is quite interesting though that the leaks had a very real impact on the leverage of some of the involved parties as well.