Atlanta Hawks Draft History:
|My initial 'take' on Atlanta
Hawks draft history was not good. As an avid Hawk fan for
over 30 years and a draftnik for the past fiveteen I knew the facts. Nobody of 'star'
potential came from a Hawks draft, at least not in the past 15 years. Remember, Dominique
was drafted by the Jazz and traded to the Hawks. I started this analysis prepared to give
Atlanta drafts a 'D' Grade, Below Average. But strike that grade. Lets look at the Hawks
draft history to greater detail.
reviewed the rosters of the NBA. Six #1 Hawk choices play in the league. Stacey Augmon, Adam Keefe, Kevin Willis, Ed Gray, Roshown McLeod and Alan
Henderson. Six players from the last 12 drafts. Not good.
Quality of players? Henderson is
the only player with marketable value as we read. But, take into consideration the trades
involving Atlanta draft picks or the previously noted former #1 choices. Steve Smith and Grant
Long were acquired for Atlanta's 1996 #1 pick and Willis. Now Steve
Smith becomes a result of a Atlanta's draft. Grant Long was traded along with Augmon for
two Detroit #1's and two #2's. Grant Long has since returned to the team via free agency. Don't forget how Mookie Blaylock was aquired - former #1 Hawk
choice Rumeal Robinson. Good
moves! Bottom line: Steve Smith, Mookie Blaylock, Roshown
McLeod, Grant Long, Alan Henderson, Ed Gray plus this years
20th pick (via Detroit) and Detroits future #1 and #2 (believe in 2001) were aquired
through the draft. Look at those names. All but Dikemebe
Mutumbo is considered the nucleous of next years team. In a
round about way, the team was built by this past decades draft.
So, whats my draft history analysis? Sorry Mr. Babcock
(Hawk GM). Draft Grade: D- (Way Below Average). Your picks speak for themselves. Chris Washburn, Douglas Edwards, Rumeal Robinson, Adam Keefe, Gaylon
Nickerson, Shammond Williams, Preist Lauderdale, dare I say Ed Gray. A sorry bunch. But you've made a
couple of dandy trades. Mr. Babcock, I suggest you look at history. Trade your picks
wisely. Atlanta Hawks Draft History:
Hawks Team Needs:
|This past playoffs revealed the weakness of the Hawks.
It was depth and another scorer besides Steve Smith. Atlanta needs another create your own
shot scorer, perferably a small forward. Atlanta also needs more athletisium at the 6 thru
9 spots. One of those spots should be owned by a bouncer-type strong forward/center. BUT,
the most valuable player the Hawks could acquire and/or develop would be a Mookie Blaylock
skilled point guard. Someone with Mookie's quickness, defense and offensive abilitites but
dishes more than shoots. Blaylock's team play came into question by management and fans
during this past playoffs. It seems a point quard is viewed by management as the #1 need
for the Hawks.
Steve Smith - Off Guard
Smith's creaky knees hinder his chances of ever playing a full 81 game schedule again.
Prove being the considerable number of games he missed this past season. His bad knees
have robbed him of quickness prohibiting Steve from playing quality 'D'. Smith now plays
funnel defense - force his man towards Deke. He is an adept ballhandler and can make the
good, smart pass enabling the offense to work as one. Remember, Smith was a point guard
early in his career with Miami. But now to where he shines, Mr. Smith can light it up. He
is known throughout the NBA as one of the finest outside shooters around. Atlanta, which
sorely lacks scoring punch, depends on Smith to be thier number one go to guy. At 6-8
Smith often get clear looks over smaller off-guards for his shot. Off-season talk has him
moving to the 3 position for the upcoming season. This would mask his loss of quickness
though put him in a postion where muscle type small forwards would eat him up. 1998-99
Mookie Blaylock - Point
Guard Mookie is a tough guy to figure. He has everything you'd want in a point guard
except, what? Maybe what is needed is a point guards mentality. Pass first. Shoot second.
But in a way you can't blame him since Atlanta's offense had but one guy (Smith) who could
create his own shot. Mookie tryed to step up and provide some offense. Results were not up
to everyones expectations. This is not to say Mookie can't dish it though, he can. He's a
great ballhandler and driver. It just seemed that he was firing up the threes a bit to
much, a little to quickly before the offense could set. Defensivly Blaylock is one of the
better tough D point guards around. Much of Atlanta defense revolves around his
ball-hawking style of play. My inclination is that once the Hawks acquire another 'go-to'
guy on offense Blaylock will become the point guard people are hounding him to be. 1998-99
Dikembe Mutumbo - Center One
of the best moves Atlanta has ever made was to sign Deke as a free-agent. Quality centers
do not grow on trees. And yes, he is a quality center. Deke's a 7'2" shot blocking,
defender and rebounder deluxe. The kind of guy you can win it all with as your starting
center. Defense and rebounding is what you'll get. Expect nothing else. Trying to make
Deke your number 2 or 3 go-to guy is not a good option. Unfortunatly he has not always
accepted this fact. Also Mutumbo ballhandling is poor but from what I hear his sense of
humor about it, is not. 1998-99 Grade: B
Alan Henderson - Power
Forward Henderson concerns me. What I saw of him in 97-98' was good. He was a live-wire.
The bouncy, stringy strong type that seemed to excell at being 'in the right place at the
right time'. Basically he made things happen, an enigizer. But, and I mean But. What
happened in 99'? Injuries. Sure. But he didn't seem to have the knack that he had from the
previous season. The question I have is he really the power forward that a team can go all
the way with? Hmmm. He seems to be a bit of a tweener. Is he big enough to muscle with the
Malones and Davises? Offensivly. Looks like an inside, effort, putback points type.
Outside shot? Natta. Defense. Quicker then most 4's. Plays good defense with effort and
heart. Bottom line on this guy is you gotta like his upside. But when will we see the real
Alan Henderson? 1998-99 Grade: C-
Roshown MacLeod - Small
Forward I pencil MacLeod in as a starter at this time due to his raw talent and since
thiers no other candidate, at least until after the draft. I consider the return of any
other previous small-forward starter to next years starting lineup as a decline in the
teams potiential. Roshown could be the starting 3. Duke grad. Seems to have an basketball
smarts about him. I remember him hitting some long jumpers in his college days, so he can
shoot. Nice size for a small forward, 6-8.
Lenny Wilkens. Head Coach.
How ya doing Lenny? I'm a Seattle native since day 1. Remember you leading us to the '79
championship. Read an article about you just returning from a May vacation in Seattle. It
said something like 'you looked relaxed and tanned'!!?! Tanned? In Seattle? Anyway, Lenny
does the job. Record speaks for itself.
Ted Turner. Man it don't get
any better than having Ted Turner buy your childhood 'Team'. Owns the Hawks and Braves
(guess he's not much of a football fan). Definitely more hands-off with the Hawks than the
Pete Babcock. It would be a
very interesting job being a GM. Babcock I know natta about except Hawk fans seem to be on
him a bit. Isn't Pete involved with the Braves also? Review of Hawk team history leaves me
pondering? Money = Players + Coaches = Winning. Hawks management seemed to be a bit
complicent shortly after Round 2 Playoff disaster.
Summary: I like the nucleous
of this team. It's got possibilities. The team is one quality player short of being a
contender. Hawks needs another scorer type who would also have to play tough D. Due to
last years disappointment Blaylock is getting fingered as the employee who needs to be
'looked-at'. But, realistically the Hawks squad of last year didn't have the pieces.
Draft Needs: The Atlanta Hawks needs are:
- Another creative scorer
- Championship ball handling play at point guard
- Bench depth at all positions
Bottom line, Hawks need to acquire a player(s), through
the draft by trading picks that will improve team needs. Rumor has Hawks trading existing
picks to move down. That sounds encouraging. But use the pick wisely. I'm hearing
rumblings about a tradeup for Andre Miller, but who knows?
|Lamar Odom Whats going on with him? Wants to re-enter college ball again. Doubts
lingered about what this guy can really do for a NBA team. Doubt count has not been going
down lately. Talk has him being able to play 3 positions. Can anybody say Magic Johnson. I
don't think so. But you know he can play. I remember last years projected draft having
Odom going to the Hawks in the mid-1st round. Thiers a story thier - draft those young
guys a year early.
Steve Francis The next
Alan Iverson. Interesting. I haven't seen anybody as quick as Iverson in over tens years.
Francis is that quick? If he's a nano second slower then Iverson then he might not be
worth the number one choice. Toronto eying Francis for McGrady, #5 and #12. Chicago best
Andre Miller Rumours has Hawks interested in Miller. Seems to be the steady, smart
type. A Lenny type of player. Andre is not quick as point guards go. He's a Mark Jackson
type. Hard to believe him going around picks 3 to 6, but?
Baron Davis Saw him play last year. He's got game. Don't know why teams would be
scared of him except for a 'bad-knee'. I'd take the chance. His gears are set up for the
NBA. Quick, strong leaper. Seems to be team oriented player. Capable of tough defensive
pressure. Hits alot of jumpers from long distances so his shooting is better than one may
think. Projecting Baron in a Hawk uniform dosn't leap out at me; or does it? Say, take
Baron Davis over Andre Miller? Ya. Baron is a 'special' type of player.
Evan Eschmeyer 6-11, 250. Power-Forward/Center. Didn't see him play. Best rated center
in a weak center position draft. Word is positive about skills. Could go higher than 16.
Has that career backup look, but?
James Posey I'm hearing alot of good things said about Posey. 6-7 215, quick, strong.
D'ed other teams point guards in college? Shooting ability is encouraging. Would be
surprised to see Posey available at 17. In my draft I flipped-a-coin, Marion over Posey.
Chris Herren 6-2, 205. Pleasant words are coming from the press that this guy can play
point-guard in the NBA. Put on a good display of 3 point shooting during a Hawk workout.
Considered quick enough to play the point. No burner though. Hawks have interest in him at
27 or low 2nd round. I was ready to snag him at 27 if Ketner was not available.
|Lari Ketner 6-10, 260. Every team needs beef. Hawk players are a thin, wirey bunch.
Lari might be the 'bouncer' type of guy every team needs. Reports have Ketner working on
the mental aspects of the game. Supposed to have the abilitites and skills to provide a
'presence' on the floor.
|The Atlanta Hawks are in a very, very good situation
this year. The Hawks are $4.4 million under the salary cap. Thus they are one of two teams (Chicago the other) whom has the
financial mobility to sign free agents. Plus, they have four 1st round draft choices and 2
second round choices in 1999 to work with. Unfortunatly the '99 draft is considered weak
for 'star' players. It's a given that Hawk management will trim down the number of draft
choices. Smart move; If it is done wisely? One has to wonder will the right moves be made.
Recommendations seems endless. Penny? I don't hear Penny's name associated with Atlanta on trade talks. Why? Mitch Richmond. Mitch seems like the kind of
guy we need. Finally, should the Hawks trade for a veteren point guard? or trade up in the
draft for a rookie point guard? or stay with Mookie? Can't tell you. Thats not my job. But
as for you Mr Babcock, this is a very big offseason.