How have the Devils drafted during Latham's tenure at GM?
- By Ed Latham, Day 1, 2025
In his first year with Atlanta, GM Ed Latham decided that starting SF Orphius Swayda was probably near his peak performance was he was probably clogging up young Slattery’s growth and progress. As we all know, Swayda was not quite at his peak and really still continued to produce at a better rate up through his recent retirement than anyone Atlanta has drafted since. Obviously, things did not pan out as Latham had hoped when he made this trade four years ago.
In the four years since Latham joined the team the Devils have consistently been right around that 500 mark and has almost always had late lottery picks. As Latham enters the last year of his current contract, it may be a good time to look over his drafting history and how many duds vs studs has he picked.
Since 2021, when Latham joined the team, Atlanta has had 11 picks. Over half (6) of those picks have been in the first round with an average picking position of the 18th pick. His highest first round pick was taken at the 7th pick and his lowest pick was at the 30th pick. Lets evaluate each in order from highest to lowest.
2022 7th pick: Cortez Ellison SG/SF- Status traded to Fireballs and currently still playing. After only two seasons with the team, some would think that the Devils gave up on Ellison too early. Ellison came in scoring over 11 points per game and did experience a sophomore slump. That slump, together with the drafting of Dominique Harmon one year after Ellison was drafted probably encouraged the Atlanta brass to feel less confident in waiting for Ellison to develop. In Ellison’s first year with the Fireballs, he has bounced back from his sophomore slump and continues to slowly grow and is hoped to develop into a 6th man role for his team this year.
Grade on the draft: B
2024 12th pick: Kenny Robertson SF - Status still with the team and starting. Robertson was thrust into the starting role for most of his rookie season. Although he often started, the coaching staff did hold back his minutes a bit so his per game output is nothing to impress. When looking at his per 36 ratings of 8.5 Reb, 5.4 Ast, 1.06 Stl, 1.5 Blk, only 1.48 TO, and 12.7 ppg, it looks like Robertson had a good rookie campaign. Coaches still hope that he can develop more defensive ability as he enters his sophomore campaign.
Grade on the draft: C
2021 Javion Edwards SG: Status bench player for the Barons. There were high hopes for Edwards to offer some scoring to help compliment Slattery’s increasing production in 2021. Sadly, Javion was not a rookie that had a huge impact right out of the gate. He has improved every year he has been in the league and last year with the Barons his per 36 scoring had a massive jump from 13 to 17 points per game. This is probably another case where the Devils may have given up on a youth before he had time to develop. Sources with the Devils share that coaching staff was never a fan of how often Edwards turned the ball over (2.79 TO per 36 last year) and until he improves on that front, he may never progress to be more than a bench player for the Barons or any other team he works with.
Grade on the draft: D+
2023 17th pick: Dominique Harmon SG/SF- Status: still with the team and starting. It was Harmon’s positive rookie year that encouraged the team to give up a bit early on Cortez Ellison. After providing 13+ points per game in his rookie year, Harmon also encountered a sophomore slump this last year dipping down a little in assist, rebounds and scoring. These were all minor dips and it may be more of a function of how the team chose to use him as his per 36 numbers stayed the same in scoring but did dip in the other two categories. For now, Harmon is a solid starter for the team and deserves more minutes this year. It is unclear if he will ever become a league stud yet but the signs are that he will be a solid contributor for any team.
Grade on the draft: B+
2023 27th pick: Deron Jameson PG- Status Starting PG on the team. In typical Atlanta fashion, the team thought about moving on from a very young pick probably a bit too early. Atlanta traded for Kendrick Hill last off season thinking that Hill would be able to take over the developing PG roll. Deron stepped up to the challenge and has been one of the scrappiest players on the team as he continues to fight to hold onto his position. In fact, in his second year with the team, Jameson managed to produce just as many points as Hill in per 36 ratings while providing much better defense (2.17 steals vs 1.48 for Hill) and better assists (9.5 vs 7.7 for Hill). Both stats are a team focus on improvement which has many around the team wondering what role, if any Hill will have with the team should the team choose to resign or match any free agency offers. It may still be too early to determine how Jameson will develop, but the jump from his first year to second year was enough for the team to have much energy and excitement about what he may become.
Grade on the draft: B
2022 30th pick: Connor Maitland C - Status Starting C on the team. Latham was blown away by Maitland’s shooting consistency in college and the team was so excited to be able to pick up Coinnor so late in the 2022 draft. Maitland has done nothing to discourage the team since. In only his second year with the team, Maitland, like Jameson, was faced with fierce competition in his position. James Spencer and Maitland battled extremely hard against each other in 2023 and both players were still very young and developing. The team felt there was not enough room for two developing C stars especially with some coaching desires to move Slats over to C at some point. So Spencer was moved on and Maitland grabbed the starting role. Of course then Guzoh was brought onto the team and, yet again, the Devils had tons of talent at the same position fighting for starting time. When one looks at the per 36 scoring, it is very clear that Maitland better established his dominance on the team over Guzoh this last year (18.5ppg vs 15.1). If Guzoh returns to the team, it will be interesting to see what the coaches do with so many 7'+ talented big men. One thing is for sure, the team remains high on Connor and wants to establish more minutes for the young developing big guy.
Grade on the draft: A
While some may feel that Atlanta has bombed out on it’s picks since the trade of Swayda in Latham’s first year, others may just feel that Atlanta has not been giving it’s young talent enough time to develop. James Spencer might be a the best example of how young talent let go really has started to blossom. As we look to what Atlanta may do with the 12th pick in this year’s draft and two second round picks as well, it is likely that the team will look at whomever is picked to be a project that will have to be developed and nurtured. With the success the team has had with late round picks, perhaps the team may even trade down from 12 to acquire a vet and future 1st round options. Fans hope that the 2022 and 2023 draft pick consistent growth into solid starters is a sign that the team will find success with this year’s picks. Critics wonder if the team will have enough patience to give any young kid picked this year enough time to really develop before shipping him off to some other team.