Sifting through noise and nonsense

There is a lot of it out there, and we all know this is just the beginning. All the rumors, be they about draft picks, free agents, coaches, etc. Speaking of which, has there ever been this many NBA head coach vacancies (or at least uncertainties, such as with Boston’s Doc Rivers) going into the summer?

The New Head Coach

No, we still don’t know who it is, or who it is going to be. But if it makes you feel any better, fans of several other NBA teams are in the same position right now. Only the Sixers fans have the luxury of either extolling or lamenting the choice of their new head coach (Doug Collins). A couple of the latest hot shot assistants seem to be seem to be getting closer to a deal if reports are to be believed. Well, did that make you feel better? Yeah, me neither….

 

Draft – Deft or Daft?

Some of you have already sounded off on assistant general manager david pendergraft’s draft day revelations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about it. As usual prospects are moving up and down the draft boards of most mock drafts, and probably on those of individual NBA teams as well. Take for instance, a one Mr. Kevin Seraphin, the French team center with the NBA body, who originally seemed like he might be available by the time the Hawks are on the clock. However, draftexpress.com has him going sooner than that. As always, things change quickly. Seraphin sustained an injury that will keep him out of NBA workouts for the next two weeks at least. If you’re not a fan of the pick, it won’t matter anyway, and of course there is no such thing as a completely and totally correct mock draft, let alone 20 plus days before the draft actually gets here. But what of other possible prospects?

Some say the Hawks need to be locked in on a player who can contribute in the frontcourt, the type the Hawks passed on last year in DeJuan Blair. Among those mentioned is Mississippi State’s JarvisVarnado, a 6′9″ shot swatter who also rebounds pretty well. His wingspan is impressive (7′3.5″), but at a suspect weight (does he really weigh 230, or is it 210?), he might be little more than another, slightly better Solomon Jones (though that’s not a bad thing when we’re talking role player). Another option would be Iowa State’s Craig Brackins , who is a completely different type. While Varnado is a defender/rebounder who struggles with his offensive approach to the game, Brackins is a power forward with range on his shot (3 point range, at that) with not-so-great rebounding skills and issues defending either the post or the perimeter.

Could Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal be of service? His offensive skills are limited and he needs to become more disciplined on defense, but the energy level and work ethic are there. What of Dexter Pittman, the center from the University of Texas? Pittman’s main challenge has been his weight and body fat percentage, but his overall size is intriguing (6′11″ in shoes, 300 pounds, big hands). But would the Hawks be finding the next Glen “Big Baby” Davis, or even Jahidi White? Or would he just be another guy with intriguing size, but no real substance? Of course, the funny thing is that most of the guys mentioned above are slated in the second round. Should the Hawks pull the trigger early on one of them and not worry about where they are slotted, or should they wait and hope that one of them is around when the Hawks pick again, late in the 2nd round?

If the Hawks decide to wait on a big guy, then what kind of player should they target with their first pick? Not many have suggested a point guard, and probably for good reason. Some prospects that could be available by the time the Hawks pick include Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe, Mississipi’s Terrico White, Kansas’ Sherron Collins, Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez, and California’s Jerome Randle (whom Draftexpress currently has the Hawks taking in the second round of the draft). Some of these guys are combo guards who don’t necessarily show the ability and awareness to be the type of floor leader the Hawks need. Others reportedly have the same problems that current Hawks point guard Jeff Teague was said to have. Either way, another point guard pick would probably raise the ire of most fans, and isn’t a great gamble with a latter first round selection.

That moves us on to the wing players, some of whom are clearly either shooting guards or small forwards, and others who can play both. While the story may not be completely done on Marvin Williams, many players have revealed what they can or simply will be by their fifth year. The Hawks can’t afford to gamble on the idea that Williams will surge back to respectability (and worthy of a starting role) either on his own or under a new head coach. In addition, Maurice Evans may not be around as an able (but undersized) option. So perhaps it would behoove Atlanta to looking into another swingman. The more versatile the better? Maybe, considering Joe Johnson may be gone by summer’s end, leaving Jamal Crawford the only currently credible gunner/scorer in the backcourt guaranteed to be under contract when the 2010-2011 season begins. Not that there won’t be other guys signed if Johnson is gone, or even that Johnson is sure to leave, but options have to be considered, don’t they? Okay, enough rambling, on to the prospects:

James Anderson of Oklahoma State could be available when Atlanta’s turn comes around, but he’s a mixed bag. Apathetic and rather ineffective on defense, Anderson can get it done on the offensive end, including some ability to get to the free throw line. Does Anderson’s potential make him a worthwhile gamble? Maybe, or maybe not. If a guy can’t be convinced to play defense by the time he has completed his junior year of college, it won’t be any easier in the pros. The Hawks need an improved defensive effort from their backcourt, not a regression. And while it’s become more cliche than the average Hawks fan probably likes “if JJ leaves”, then this problem becomes exacerbated. Exponentially. Up next is Stanley Robinson of Connecticut. Robinson has been compared to guys like Gerald Wallace, and that can’t be bad. Among his attributes include his ability to defend several positions, explosive athleticism (don’t we just love the cliches), a budding/decent spot up three pointer, and a tenacity on the boards. Robinson seems to have room to grow everywhere, but no areas that don’t look entirely fixable. Could he be like Corey Brewer of the Minnesota Timberwolves (only better)?

Possibly more intriguing is Washington’s Quincy Pondexter. This kid has potential and substance on both ends of the floor. Lacking good range from deep, Pondexter does well getting to the basket or hitting from midrange. He can also guard a variety of positions (always a plus) and has both the desire and focus to suceed defensively. Let me say that again: DESIRE and FOCUS. We can use more of that, can we not?

Needless to say, these are not all of the guys who might be available when the Hawks pick. However, it seems right now that guys like Xavier Henry (Kansas), Paul George (Fresno State), and Damion James (Texas) maybe be out of reach. But hey, we’re fans so we can hope and dream all we like.

Which positions would we as fans like to see the Hawks address in the first round? How about in the second? Should the Hawks try and pick up a college player in the second round, or another guy to stash overseas so that they don’t have to pay that guaranteed cash? Do you have another draft prospect that you feel should have been mentioned? Let’s hear it!

123 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
12:05 pm

Doc Rivers coaching record in Orlando:

41-41, 43-39, 44-38, 42-40, and 1-10 (although the roster wasn’t so strong, and Grant Hill was injured a lot). But compare that to his record in Boston, especially with the big 3, and it makes you realize that coaches need good players too.

The Hawks have good players. Especially if JJ comes back. They just need the right coach, and a few roster tweaks.

doc

June 6th, 2010
12:31 pm

coaches can make good players better ala phil in l a and chiitown and hubie and karl as they showed when they went to memphis and denver, respectively. some can make lemonaide out of lemons as adelman does among others where they dont let teams become overwhelmed no matter the style of player. yes, as we opined in another blog, it is a players league and coaches that cant keep the rein held are soon found out as well as those that cant keep up against other coaches when the horses are pretty close to the same. dont forget doc’s record before the big three either.

wordsmithtom

June 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

Jackson clearly has the communications skills. He has proven player cred. What he lacks in coaching experience, he makes up for in knowledge of the game due to watching action both east and west. I agree with others that he probably attracts better quality assistants. More that that, I suspect borderline free agent talent would be inclined to sign on for a coach they know as a knowledgable talent.
Don’t have anything against Casey, as I hear his former players think highly of him.

Whomever; getterdone before the assistant pool gets mopped up.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
1:27 pm

Cleveland is still looking to make changes. From si.com;

“According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s, Brian Windhorst, league sources have said the team is trying to determine the trade value for Mo Williams and looking into unloading Delonte West.”

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
4:39 pm

Since the blog is so slow, I have a question.

Would you rather sign JJ to 5 years, $90 mil, or John Salmons for 5 years $45 mil?

Astro Joe

June 6th, 2010
5:55 pm

OB, Joe.

And the Cavs HAVE to get rid of Delonte West… even if those rumors aren’t true.

I head MC on 790TheZone this afternoon (unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they post their weekend interviews)… he didn’t say too much new. Just that Mark Jackson had previously talked to Sund and now he wil talk to Gearon and the owners. He would NOT say that Casey is the leading candidate, he didn’t seem to think there is one at this point. He also said that to his knowledge, Joe has not dismissed returning to the Hawks, although he mentioned how that would be financially stupid to do so).

I’ll say this… and this is strictly my interpretation of MC’s comments and nothing he explicitly said, he doesn’t seem to consider Mark Jackson a legit coaching candidate. Again, it was just something aout the way that he talked about Jackson and this next interview, it left me thinking that at least MC is convinced that Jackson isn’t likely to get the job. I think the host felt that same way, which probably led to the question about Casey being the lead dog in the race.

Astro Joe

June 6th, 2010
6:02 pm

OB, if he opts out, I’d rather have Azubuike for 5/$30M.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
6:39 pm

AJ,

Isn’t Azubuike a SF though? At least Salmons can play the SG position. I do hope JJ resigns, but his price tag gives me pause.

With that being said, if JJ does resign, I think we should trade Crawford to add some depth, because Crawford is an expiring contract. And with JJ’s salary, we probably wouldnt use our exceptions.

As for Mark Jackson, I dont think he is a serious candidate either. i think it will come down to Avery Johnson and Dwayne Casey. And I think the whole NBA will be surprised if Casey does not get the job.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
9:02 pm

AJ,

Lakers have 30 points with 6 minutes left in the second quarter. Does Thibodeau get the credit?

Melvin

June 6th, 2010
9:23 pm

Good thing the Hawks got rid of Shelden. He just gave the Lakers 7 straight pts to closed the 1st half. My goodness.

doc

June 6th, 2010
9:25 pm

shelhead sighting, he still sucks.

nice closing by the lakers before the half.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
9:30 pm

Just when I was bragging about the Celtics D, they allow the Lakers to close the half on a run.

Celtics better be careful in the third quarter, because despite their hot shooting, the lead is down to 6. If the Lakers score the first 2 buckets in the third quarter, Celtics could be in trouble.

After all, the Celtics were outscored by 9 in the third quarter of game 1.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
9:46 pm

SMH at the Celtics. Just what I was talking about….Allowing the Lakers to make a third quarter run.

Refs are not helping though.

Astro Joe

June 6th, 2010
9:49 pm

OB, Azubuike is a younger and better version of Mo Evans. Similar games and work ethic. But he is definitely more of a SG than a SF. And regarding Thibodeau, he accepted the Bulls position, so right now, Lakers can score 90 points in the next half and he’ll still have the big job in the big chair.

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
10:02 pm

These refs have been terrible. A lot of these fouls have been blocks.

Astro Joe

June 6th, 2010
10:11 pm

http://kauffmansports.com/coaches.php

Interesting to see that Mark Jackson and Eric Snow are listed as “Coaching Clients” within their agent’s website. Oh yeah, in the Front Office Clients list is some guy name Billy Knight.

Melvin

June 6th, 2010
10:26 pm

You gotta love Big Babe. He doesnt shy away from the big lights at all…

Melvin

June 6th, 2010
10:33 pm

The NBA need to enfore a Jack Nicholson rule and remove those chairs next to the opposing team bench. Doc need to elbow “the Joker” in his kisser the next time he jumps out his chair to yell in his ears…

Melvin

June 6th, 2010
11:00 pm

The Lakers committed intentional fouls for the last 2 mins and still had a +15 freethrows advantage…

O'Brien

June 6th, 2010
11:20 pm

Melvin,

We could have gone after big baby with the mid-level last offseason.

O'Brien

June 7th, 2010
7:05 am

Good game recognition by Doc Rivers last night. His team was 1 second away from getting an 8 second violation with the game on the line, and he charged onto the court to call a timeout. I didn’t know that was allowed though.

And to think, Boston contemplated trading Ray Allen at the deadline. His free agent contract value just went up.

Anyone hear the rumors that the Cleveland owner (MSU alum) is going to offer the job to Tom Izzo?

Astro Joe

June 7th, 2010
9:15 am

Looks like Drew is being interviewed. And this makes it sound like adecision could happen fairly soon.. if they have decided to stop with the 4 prime candidates (Avery, Casey, Jackson and Drew).

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/06/06/hawks/#ixzz0q8Ldvcq9

O'Brien

June 7th, 2010
10:33 am

Thanks for the link AJ. As an impatient fan, its good to read that a decision will be coming soon, as early as mid-week.

I’m glad Larry Drew got an interview. Given the 4 options, I still think Casey will be the selection. As an outsider, if I had to choose between them, I would go with Avery or Casey.