The draft lottery is likely to be one of the last things on the minds of the average Atlanta Hawks fan these days. Then again, there is not a whole lot else going on besides speculating about various coaching candidates. The Hawks will have an even lower pick (#24 overall, I think) than they did last year, wherein they selected former Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague at #19. Yet, might the draft lottery affect the hawks in some other way?
Coming to the Point
What do we as Hawks fans want to see addressed first in regard to the roster? Some call for the rugged big man who can spell Al Horford at center for at least twenty minutes per game. Others look for an upgrade in scoring from the small forward position. Many are calling for some stability at the point guard position, and I’m inclined to lean more in that direction than any other, at this point. Why? Well, we don’t know what will happen with Joe Johnson, but whether he stays or goes, we need a guy to run the team who can let the scorers be what they are – scorers.
It seems that the Hawks have yet to escape the vicious cycle. In need of a steady starter at the point since Billy Knight took over, a flood of names have come through. The results hardly varied. The veterans brought in were all past the point of consistent, meaningful contribution in one way or another. The young guys brought in either weren’t ready and couldn’t develop in time, or were outright unable. Then came a trade for then-Sacramento Kings point guard Mike Bibby, and it was thought that the problem was finally solved. After roughly a year and a half of meaningful play, Bibby’s affect and ability took a steeper decline than was likely expected. Where does that leave the Hawks? Staring at another veteran who really no longer can get the job done, and another young guy (Teague) who may not be ready to do the job. So do the Hawks need to add another guy to the mix? I think so, but what do YOU think?
What does this have to do with the lottery? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. The Washington Wizards ended up winning the lottery, with the Philadelphia Sixers taking second place. Okay, so who gets heralded Kentucky point guard John Wall? Whoever does will likely be looking to move their current starting point guard, while keeping an a least somewhat capable backup/option. Might the Hawks capitalize on this, or should they go another route? Let’s look at a few far-fetched scenarios I’ve cooked up while trying to think of a worthwhile blog topic (yes, I admit it, but this is proof that even non-writers like myself can suffer writer’s block).
The Wizards are not guaranteed to pick John Wall, and the fact is that Ohio State’s Evan Turner will also be on the board. Does he fit better? Is he a safer pick? The Wiz may not even be thinking about that. What they might be thinking is, “How can we repair the image that Agent Zero destroyed, and get a good point guard at the same time?” Wall helps there, but then what of guys like Gilbert Arenas, Randy Foye, and Shaun Livingston? The Wiz may not find any takers on Agent Zero and his Villainous Contract of Utter Doom, and the Hawks would be best off not even looking in his direction. What about Foye? Can he run the point full time, or is he just another journeyman combo guard in the Flip Murray mold? Did I just insult him or praise him? I can’t tell. And what of Shaun Livingston? Is he worth a look, or is he about to enter the Earl Boykins Zone ( the place where all journeymen point guards go to do, though don’t tell Kevin Ollie that). Should the Hawks even look this far north for another point guard option? Slim pickin’, I think. But who cares what I think. What do YOU think?
The Philadelphia 76ers watch the Wizards snatch up Evan Turner, letting Wall fall right into their eager laps. Wait, that might not have sounded right. Nevermind, let’s keep moving along. So the Sixers see Wall and can’t imagine life without him. Wait, don’t they already have Louis Williams and Jrue Holiday? What are they trying to do, be this year’s Minnesota Timberwolves?! Hey, nobody looks a gift horse in the mouth, and the Sixers won’t either, so they take him. Something tells me that Louis Williams goes nowhere….but if he does, would he welcome a return to the Atlanta area? Wait, is this guy really a point guard, and does he fit this team? Maybe the 6′4″ Holiday is a more likely prospect to get the shove. After all, Williams is capable of playing off the ball (even though he’s undersized), and Holiday appears to be all point guard, and nothing else (as if that were a bad thing….it’s not). Would the Hawks be wise to try and pry Holiday away from the Sixers? How could it be done?
Here’s the one you’ve probably already heard, so I’ll be brief. Nets decide that Wall is going to in the top two picks and they either trade up to get him, or something else happens. What would that something else be? I don’t know, but if Larry Brown betrays Michael Jordan (which might be a good thing for Michael) and manages to latch onto the Sixers once again, who knows. But let’s not think about that, and say the Nets manage to secure Wall. Do they keep Devin Harris, or is he now a goner? He might make a somewhat effective 2 guard, and with Wall, it would be a fast backcourt. However, something tells me (and Nets management) that this is NOT a good idea. So out with Harris, and maybe the Hawks come calling. This is probably the longest shot, but hey, I did say this stuff was far-fetched, did I not? Is this something the Hawks should pursue?
Well, do any of those scenarios make even the slightest of sense, or pose the smallest ounce of interest? Do you have a scenario of your own to share? There are a number of point guards out there, but which ones are available? Perhaps it’s a little early to be thinking about it, but doesn’t Rick Sund have to at least think about it? After hearing what part owner Michael Gearon had to say about Jeff Teague’s playing time, I’m inclined to think the Hawks would like to see if they can hand him the reins next season. That makes Mike Bibby the backup if he’s not included in some sort of trade (however likely or unlikely that may be). But shouldn’t they grab another guy to push Teague or possibly take the job from him if he proves not to be ready? The Hawks MUST have a steady point guard, whether Joe Johnson stays or goes. Somebody has to run this offense and keep it from doing what it’s done for the last couple of years. Right now, there is little more than question marks, particularly with no head coach in place.
Speaking of which, it’s beginning to look like the interview process might need to move a little quicker than Sund would like. We shall see. Stay tuned….Summer of Sund continues….