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!