2017 NBA Draft, Jarrett Allen
Feb 25, 2017; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jarrett Allen (31) shoots over Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) and center Landen Lucas (33) at the Frank Erwin Center. USA TODAY Sports / Erich Schlegel

The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly targeting Texas freshman Jarrett Allen with the 19th pick in the forthcoming NBA Draft. Allen, a terrific rebounder and shot-blocker, averaged 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during his one-and-done season with the Texas Longhorns.

The new Hawks front office, led by general manager Travis Schlenk, will have its work cut out this offseason as Paul Millsap, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries become unrestricted free agents on July 1. While Millsap remains Atlanta's No. 1 priority, the team will also try to re-sign stretch 4 forward Ilyasova. Dwight Howard, who signed a three-year, US$70.5 million (AU$95 million) deal with his hometown franchise last summer, remains the only big man under contract for the Hawks next season. Howard is signed through the 2018-19 season with no Player or Team Option on his contract.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks front office will select a big man with the No. 19 pick due to the risk of losing Millsap in free agency. Though the Hawks are in position to offer Millsap the most lucrative possible contract, the veteran forward could take his talents elsewhere in pursuit of a championship, the way Al Horford bolted from Atlanta last offseason.

2017 NBA Draft: Hawks eye a big man in first round

"The Hawks appear to be focused on selecting a big man with the first-round pick. I spoke to several players who came in for workouts last week and several related that feedback from front office personnel. North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, who may not be around when the Hawks select in the first round, said as much," Vivlamore wrote in a report published Monday.

In his latest Mock Draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford has Hawks selecting Allen. "For them it’s kind of strategic. It’s whatever their team needs at this point. They said right now at that 19 spot, their first priority is a big right now. It’s also who falls to that spot. They said they are extremely interested in me and we’ll see how it goes,” Justin Jackson, a promising young forward out of North Carolina, told the AJC.

Besides Allen, the Hawks are expected to consider the likes of Lauri Markkanen (Arizona), Zach Collins (Gonzaga), John Collins (Wake Forest), Justin Patton (Creighton), Ike Anigbogu (UCLA), Harry Giles (Duke), T.J. Leaf (UCLA) and Ivan Rabb (California) from a deep draft class. The Hawks will also select No. 31 and No. 60 and haven't ruled out the possibility of moving up or down in the draft.

According to most mock drafts, Markkanen, Collins, Giles and Leaf are expected to go to lottery teams. If available, Jarrett Allen could prove to be the best available option for Atlanta. The 2017 NBA draft will be held on June 22, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.