The Hawks should not use John Collins’ rookie season as evidence for how they should handle the draft this year. Collins is in the precarious position of being an offensive five, but too small and inadequate defensively to handle that position on the other end. It means he’s a movable piece if there is potential to acquire a talent like Williams.
Williams makes good sense as the middle of the Hawks’ defense with the surrounding talent they’ve put together. He would allow Collins to develop as a switchable rim protector, a role in which he could be much more valuable, while giving De’Andre Bembry and Taurean Prince a line of defensive support. Williams would also help the Hawks’ offense around the rim, which finished 24th in the NBA finishing in close (via Cleaning the Glass). Bad teams are almost below average at the rim, but that doesn’t mean leaving Collins on an island in the paint is a good idea.
If Williams is supplanted by Jontay Porter and/or Mitchell Robinson on big-hungry teams’ boards, I can’t imagine he falls much further than the Hawks, who are in talent-acquisition mode and can’t pass on a talent like Williams. Considering secondly how he could help the development of the Hawks’ core, taking Williams is a no-brainer if the draft breaks this way.