In spite of what you may be thinking, I’m not suggesting yet another insane trade or draft proposal of my own. However, the possibility of the Hawks starting the season with three rookies is….well…possible, for lack of a better word. It probably sounds crazy, but hear me out. As I said, it’s possible.
Stash, Trade, or Cash?
As far as we know, the Hawks aren’t looking to trade their first round pick. So, for the time being, let’s assume that they are going to choose from what several experts are claiming is a decently deep draft (there are arguments to the contrary). But what of the second round pick? Here are three scenarios the Hawks could go with:
_ Draft another foreign prospect and leave him stashed away in Europe, as they did with Sergei Gladyr last year.
_ Trade the pick to another team, but for what? Cash? Of course, the pick could be used in combination with an existing Hawks player for another piece altogether. I won’t elaborate, but feel free to do so yourself. The more, the merrier.
_ Get ready to pay out the cash. That’s what happens when you draft a guy who will be reporting for training camp. We’ve talked plenty about who the Hawks should draft, and we’ll talk plenty more. But for the purposes of this conversation, we’re talking about what the Hawks could do with the pick, purely as an asset.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the Hawks draft players to join the roster with both picks. That gives us two rookies, so where am I getting the third?
Thin Line Between Truth and Fiction
It’s hard to know what to believe when you’re cruising through the “latest news” on NBA basketball websites. There is the seemingly absurdly unbelieveable, which sometimes turns out to be exactly true. Then there is the less sensational stuff that sounds downright factual, but turns out to be totally off. Remember when it was all but assured that Celtics assistant coach and defensive guru Tom Thibodeau was headed for New Orleans? Next thing you know, he’s packing his bags for chicago. Maybe it’s better to forgo navigation and just ride the waves. Speaking of which, the latest word is that the Hornets have moved on quickly after being left at the altar.
What has this got to do with the Hawks having a third rookie? Here’s where things could get weird (or not, depending on how you feel about it). As Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham reported a few days back, Mark Jackson is still in the mix, and was anybody taking this seriously until now? Some of the rumors suggest that Jackson is thought of favorably within the Hawks organization. Why else the interview, if the Hawks aren’t considering him seriously? Who within the organization thinks this is a good idea? Is it Sund, or somebody else?
If the Hawks come away convinced and impressed with Jackson, there’s your third rookie, and this one will be stalking the sidelines. Of course, an interview doesn’t guarantee a job, so there’s no need to hit either the panic or the jubilation buttons (again, this depends on how you feel about it). For the sake of discussion however, let’s say the Hawks do it. This raises a few questions, or rather several. But I’ll go with just a few for starters:
1) Can a rookie coach do anything positive with a team that is already a playoff team? Like it or not, Jackson would be starting from the very beginning, “earning his stripes”, “getting his chops”, or whatever you want to call it…on the Hawks dime.
2) How does a guy with no coaching experience get the respect of his players? What can he do to get their attention and keep it? How can he hope to maintain some measure of control? This League chews up and spits out coaches all the time, and that would include those who have significant experience. Jackson would be the “different voice” Rick Sund says is needed, but….is it a voice that will be heard and respected?
3) How long would Jackson have to prove he belongs on the sideline, and what if he fails? His hiring would then prove to be a bad decision, but it won’t end there. Letting Mike Woodson go will then be re-second guessed and Sund’s credibility will take a big hit. Not to mention, any good candidates that might have fit what the Hawks need/want may already have new jobs by then. Worst of all, this could set the franchise back several years, further alienating a fan base that is beginning to wonder if things are about to get better or worse.
Mark Jackson is a complete unknown as a coach, this much we know. Other guys have been, and some of you have mentioned that Doc Rivers went the same route, and may have succeeded with the aid of a capable staff as his support. But that’s like asking if lightning can strike twice in the same place. Can the Hawks afford this right now with Joe possibly leaving, Josh needing discipline, and other issues waiting in the wings? One way to look at it is this: the only person who is guaranteed to get something out of this is Mark Jackson himself. He would get something on his resume, even if it’s not all that favorable. We all know the only way you get experience in something is to do the job. Jackson could fail and go right back to a job that he’s doing now, that he enjoys. The Hawks, however, could pay the cost of failure several times over and have a hard time recovering.
But hey…if you like the idea, don’t let ME rain on your parade with all that could go wrong. Flip the coin. Give a shout out to what could go right. Do the Hawks want three rookies? Hard to say. Do we as fans want three rookies?