ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks selected Vanderbilt shooting guard John Jenkins with the 23rd pick in newly named general manager Danny Ferry's first NBA draft with the team Thursday night.
Jenkins (6-4, 212) led the Southeastern Conference in scoring two straight seasons, including his average of 19.9 points as a junior in the 2011-12 season. He made at least one 3-pointer in in his last 60 games.
"He is if not the best shooter in the draft, he's top two," said Hawks coach Larry Drew.
"This kid was off the radar. You talk about making shots, you talk about someone who in the game you have to defend at all times. This kid is certainly a guy who fits that profile."
Ferry was named the Hawks' president of basketball operations and general manager on Monday. He scouted draft prospects in his former role as vice president of basketball operations for the Spurs.
Atlanta selected Jenkins one pick after Boston drafted Syracuse center Fab Melo, who had been seen as a possible Hawks pick.
Jenkins was a prominent prospect in the Hawks' draft plans. He was invited to the Hawks for two pre-draft workouts, a sign of obvious high-level interest.
"Both times he absolutely shot lights out," Drew said. "You can never have enough shooters. We're very happy he was available."
Jenkins will give the Hawks a much-needed 3-point threat. He will play behind All-Star Joe Johnson but also could join Johnson and point guard Jeff Teague in three-guard lineups.
The Hawks expect Jenkins to fill the high-scoring role off the bench, much like former sixth man Jamal Crawford.
Drew said Jenkins doesn't slash to the basket like Crawford but is more of a pure shooter.
"This kid can go off the dribble but he can really (shoot) off screens," Drew said. "It's just a matter of him getting just a little daylight to get the shot off. He has range."
Atlanta hoped veteran forward Vladimir Radmanovic would provide a 3-point threat off the bench last season, but Radmanovic averaged only 4.5 points while making only 50 3-pointers. His playing time decreased through the season.
This is an important draft for Ferry and the Hawks, who have only six players under contract: Johnson, Teague, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and backup center Zaza Pachulia.
The Hawks also have the No. 43 overall pick in the second round.