Where’s the beef?

Is Garret Siler a potential solution to the Hawks' big man issues? The answer could come this week during mini-camp at Philips Arena.

Is Garret Siler (left) a potential solution to the Hawks' big man issue? The answer could come this week during a mini-camp at Philips Arena.

HAWKSVILLE - One by one, the big names have come off the board.

And each time they’ve chosen some place other than the friendly confines of Hawksville to pursue their big man endeavors.

From Rasheed Wallace (Boston) and Marcin Gortat (back to Orlando) to Brandon Bass (also to Southeast Division rival Orlando), Antonio McDyess (San Antonio), Chris Wilcox (Detroit) and just about anyone else you can think of, most all of this summer’s coveted free agent big men have found homes outside of the metro area.

The Hawks have flirted with all of them and more, but outside of the return of Zaza Pachulia, the importance of which should not be ignored, the Hawks have been unable to secure a commitment from another big man, thus far.

With the start of mini-camp today and with guys like Earl Barron, Chris Taft and rookie Garret Siler all set to attend, the Hawks have a chance to evaluate three guys that could possibly help solve their issues in the frontcourt. But none of the three offers the sort of psychological security you get with the aforementioned bigs that have gone elsewhere.

I know you 80s babies remember this commercial.

I know you 80s babies remember this commercial.

We’re not the only ones that have noticed. People everywhere have taken up the cause of asking, “Where’s the beef?” on the Hawks’ roster.

During what I called “Tech-Free” weekend (no blog, no twitter, no computer or blackberry or anything at all for one weekend this year, all done in an effort to keep from getting tossed out of my house by the boss lady) I assumed I could get away from it. But I was wrong.

So I’m sitting down with my cousin Big Chet (in town from D.C. visiting) and his buddy Ted, a local limo driver that’s lived here in Atlanta much longer than I have, and eventually the conversation turns to sports. Now keep in mind, Ted has no idea that I have anything to do with the Hawks. And he just blurt it out.

“Man, the Hawks got to get a big man if they ever want to do anything,” he said. “I’m telling you, they need a big man. You can’t keep [Al] Horford out there every night trying to deal with Dwight Howard and Shaq and all them big dudes. They got to get a big man.”

Chet tries to turn the conversation elsewhere. “You can’t say that about the Hawks, Ted,” Chet told him, hoping to turn the eye on his beloved Wizards, whose problems he went on to run down for us without missing a beat. “This man covers the Hawks. He doesn’t need you telling him what’s wrong with the Hawks.”

But Ted wasn’t hearing it. Like most of us, he had his own ideas about what the Hawks needed to do. “They need a big man and that way they can move Horford to power forward, move Josh Smith to small forward and bring [Marvin] Williams off the bench,” Ted said as he continued his rant. “They could even start Pachulia. He plays within himself when he’s starting and he’s the big body that we’ve got to have out there. Everybody I know can see it. Why can’t the Hawks see that we’ve got to go that route?”

When Ted finished, they both looked at me and asked if he was wrong, and Ted gave me that look I get from most folks around town when they speak their truth about the Hawks. I told them I agreed that another big man was needed, and that indeed, everyone that pays close attention to these Hawks knows that another big man is needed (I even suggested they check out the daily jabs back and forth around here if they needed confirmation). I don’t know that I care how you concoct things in terms of who starts and comes off the bench, it’s just clear that more beef is needed in the Hawks’ rotation.

His name is Earl! And he's in the Hawks' big man mix this week at mini-camp as well.

His name is Earl! And he's in the Hawks' big man mix at mini-camp this week and possibly beyond.

Where that beef comes from remains the only mystery of this summer. There was a time, earlier this summer, when I thought the Hawks might be close to pulling off a trade for a big man like Marcus Camby, who might not have the beef but certainly has the big man game the Hawks currently lack. But that was before the Los Angeles Clippers moved Zach Randolph to Memphis and cleared room for rookie sensation Blake Griffin to go to work this year. In the weeks since then, the focus has shifted from big name free agents to fringe bigs (Channing Frye opted for Phoenix, and he was my sleeper pick for the Hawks) and now to mini-camp and training camp invitees like Barron, Taft and Siler.

That doesn’t mean the Hawks have given up on the idea that Randolph Morris (who is under contract and according to most folks I’ve spoken to, is working harder than he ever has to fight his way out of Mike Woodson’s outhouse and back into contention for playing time) could be a factor. And Solomon Jones is a restricted free agent the Hawks have have for three years. He could also become an option. Still, there’s a need for more. A new body or two, preferably bigger bodies than those two guys, could add the physical edge the Hawks have been missing the past two years. I date it back to the time the Hawks traded for Mike Bibby and had to send both Shelden Williams and Lorenzen Wright to Sacramento in that deal. It wasn’t that Williams and Wright were necessarily the ultimate solutions to the Hawks’ problems, but they certainly provided a frontcourt depth that has been non-existent since they were jettisoned.

Think about it, the frontcourt burden since that trade was shifted to basically three guys – Smith, Horford and Pachulia, in a reserve role. That’s quite a bit to ask of three guys, two of them slightly undersized for the task they’re being asked to perform most nights.

So in the end, it might turn out that Ted was spot on in his evaluation of the Hawks. He and the little old lady from those Wendy’s commercials that use to make me laugh when I was a kid every time she said “Where’s the beef?” had it right.

315 comments Add your comment

Chea

July 20th, 2009
9:14 am

Hawks need to sign Ike Diogu. If they give him a chance he will play really hard, because he’s been treated Acie-Law like at previous stops.

We like Ike!

hawks_4_life

July 20th, 2009
9:16 am

still numero uno

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:17 am

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:18 am

hawks_4_life

July 20th, 2009
9:18 am

Enter your comments here

hawks_4_life

July 20th, 2009
9:19 am

ariose we both got beat lol

Sautee

July 20th, 2009
9:21 am

Thanks Sekou,

Do you have any inkling as to who they may go after, or is it down to the mini-camp folks?

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:22 am

From watching sthe clips from summerleauge, it looks like siller(like his Georgia Buddy Randmo) will be a defensive liability. He just doesn’t have great lateral movement IMHO….

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:23 am

hawks_4_life, yeah lol. I thought it was my time to shine heheheh…

ILL-logical

July 20th, 2009
9:33 am

” has to fight his way out of Mike Woodson’s outhouse ”

When that phrase is no longer the subtext to every story about the Hawks personnel, there will have been a major step forward by the organization.

Great read Sekou. I’mm glad someone has finally printed the obvious: untill the team has it’s system tailored to the talent possesed by all of thestarters and not just the chosen one or two the team cannot achieve its full potential. And a critical part of the issue is why certain personnel decisions appear to be based less on merit or objective reality and more on something else entirely?

Thanks for putting it out there and using dramatic liscense to make the point, deft touch my man.

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:37 am

Of couse i’m just playing the role of pessimist. Siler will be a lot of work(Project Big Man). Maan if wecould actually turn Randolph and Siler ito something, we’d be sick. Siler has a chance though….

Chea

July 20th, 2009
9:37 am

Anybody agree with me on Ike Diogu? I believe he’s an enormously undervalued guy. Brandon Bass doesn’t have Diogu’s post moves and look what he got as a FA.

Melvin

July 20th, 2009
9:38 am

Sekou you pull out a classic. Those Wendy’s commericals was funny as heck….

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
9:46 am

http://www.nba.com/video/index.html

Nice game for Siler, 12pts 6rebs and a couple blocks. I take back wat I said about him. This kid at least plays defense. He can block shots and he runs the floor.

chuckw/deadjournalist

July 20th, 2009
9:56 am

broken record: jamaal magloire

UGA

July 20th, 2009
10:02 am

So who is available? Drew Gooden, Joe Smith, Tim Thomas, the 2 mentioned already, Mikki Moore, Ben Wallace, Johan Petro, Calvin Booth, The Collins brothers, Melvin Ely.

I’d take Gooden or Joe Smith and be very happy.

niremetal

July 20th, 2009
10:03 am

Ted was right about everything except moving Josh to SF. We’re better off with our current configuration than we would be with any system that forces Josh to be even more of a perimeter player. And that’s the rub. If you want to slide Horford to PF, you have to figure out what to do with Josh.

We do need another big man to add to the rotation, though. But since we already have Zaza, I’d say the issue at this point is more getting a backup PF, not backup C. That’s why people are miffed about us not getting Bass or Wilcox or McDyess.

Melvin

July 20th, 2009
10:04 am

Seeing mid-level bigs like Frye (2M, Phx), Wilcox (3M,Det) and Andersen(2.7M,Rockets) sign offers with other teams, makes we wonder how much is left in the budget for the Hawks to sign a big. Those offers the above players signed seem like bargains.

Now only if I can get Anakin Joe to purchase one of those luxury suites. More money in the pot, means more money to offer that Big Man to put on a Hawks uniform and less Wendy’s talk around here. Make sure the Kids stay clear of Anakin Joe when he put his envelop in the bucket…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp4BA0-lYtU

Melvin

July 20th, 2009
10:25 am

Ariose,

Siler look good in those highlights. He may be worth a roster spot. I think he got away with a travel on that dunk…

Myrak43

July 20th, 2009
10:38 am

niremental

Diaw always had talent, but was and is still to passive of a player. Woody tried to play Diaw, but he just flat-out refused to take a shot even when he was wide open……And he only plays hard after he as been traded. just ask a Sun’s fan what they think about Diaw. I am glad he got traded and we got JJ from him…. we made out like theives….. and lets see how Diaw does this year, my money is that he goes back to his passive ways…

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Melvin

July 20th, 2009
10:41 am

MSN reports that the LA clippers are one of sports most at risk teams. Was it a quintessence that they won the #1 pick in this year lottery….

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/the-most-at-risk-sports-teams.aspx?slide-number=9

ILL-logical

July 20th, 2009
10:42 am

To a certain unamed party:

While your professed professional expertise has often been useful the ongoing discussions; your continued attacks on a certain unnamed player causes me to question your knowledge of the game and frankly your abilities beyond repetition of factually unsound opinions.

Case in point: the continued assertion that the unnamed player represents a liability to the club because of his ,in your view, lack certain skills you attribute as being essential to that certain position that several commentors have suggested he be considered for.

First, having witnessed this player’s ability first hand in a recent summer league contest I would differ with your opinion sharply. Second, if you had any historical ,factual reference you would see that the NBA small forward or 3 position has had many types of individual skills featured in the history of the game:
Julius Erving never featured a jump shot in his NBA days; Bernard King ruled the low post in his heyday and Alex English made his bones going to the whole and there is Andrian Dantley, who since high school has done the same damage without dunking or 3-point shooting skills.

I would partially concur that in the current incumbant head coach’s system there are some issues but a closer examination of the facts would reveal that when given the opportunity even in theis system the player ha performed and performed well in a limited role.

Your opinions are of course your opinions; we all have them and some of us hold them sancrosanct. However in the marketplace of ideas, it helps if there is some rational thought and factual underpining if one is to be taken seriously.

ILL-logical

July 20th, 2009
10:45 am

To a certain unamed party:

While your professed professional expertise has often been useful the ongoing discussions; your continued attacks on a certain unnamed player causes me to question your knowledge of the game and frankly your abilities beyond repetition of factually unsound opinions.

Case in point: the continued assertion that the unnamed player represents a liability to the club because of his ,in your view, lack certain skills you attribute as being essential to that certain position that several commentors have suggested he be considered for.

First, having witnessed this player’s ability first hand in a recent summer league contest I would differ with your opinion sharply. Second, if you had any historical ,factual reference you would see that the NBA small forward or 3 position has had many types of individual skills featured in the history of the game:
Julius Erving never featured a jump shot in his NBA days; Bernard King ruled the low post in his heyday and Alex English made his bones going to the hole and then there is Andrian Dantley, who since high school has done the same damage without dunking or 3-point shooting skills.

I would partially concur that in the current incumbant head coach’s system there are some issues but a closer examination of the facts would reveal that when given the opportunity even in this system the player has performed and performed well in a limited role.

Your opinions are of course your opinions; we all have them and some of us hold them sancrosanct. However in the marketplace of ideas, it helps if there is some rational thought and factual underpining if one is to be taken seriously.

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
10:48 am

niremetal

July 20th, 2009
10:51 am

ILL-logical,

I get it, you don’t like me. But I never said Josh was a liability. And my guess is that a majority of people on this blog don’t want to see Josh slid over to SF. So do they all lack “rational thought and factual underpin[n]ing” for their opinions?

But I have to admit, the format of your “letters” is good for a day’s amusement. It’s just sic.

bigdave

July 20th, 2009
10:53 am

Ariose…

definitely a great addition to back up Marvin… i cant stand Mo at the SF…

niremetal

July 20th, 2009
10:55 am

Nice link, Ariose. Cool to see and remember that Zaza used to be a pretty good finesse player. I like him better as a banger, though – like Vlade, he’s at his best when he’s bumping, flopping, and ticking off the opposing big men :)

niremetal

July 20th, 2009
10:57 am

And man…3D really let himself go once he retired, didn’t he? Ha…

bigdave

July 20th, 2009
10:58 am

Nire…

thats what you call enjoying your money… food is a hell of a drug…

RealSquawk

July 20th, 2009
10:59 am

I think if anyone should be moved to the bench as a sixth man it is Josh Smith. This would allow him to come off the bench and instantly change the game because he has to focus in on the time he is in the game. He would not have to worry about foul trouble and his role would be simplified. Change the Game. Challenge every ball and attack the rim and rebound.

Simplified his role maximize his abilities.

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
11:15 am

bigdave, agreeed lol.

mountain_jim

July 20th, 2009
11:19 am

Good column and info Sekou and good thing you are back online… some of the needyest among us were really missing your updates and answers this weekend, ha.

Hope you can find out enough about this weeks oncourt and offcourt activites to keep us somewhat informed.

Blast

July 20th, 2009
11:20 am

Where is the beef indeed. The Hawks did the same thing last off season and ended up with Randolph Morris. Are they repeating themselves again? And Morris better be working hard. He is fighting for his basketball career as it is.

Go Hawks, Go!

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
11:21 am

Nire, yeah, My hope is that he can add those finesse moves o his banging style. A poor mans Euro-Hakeem lol. It’s a stretch, but he’s just 25, he’s still got room to grow.

Melvin

July 20th, 2009
11:22 am

Nire,

Not 3D, more like 3 x D. Look like he triple his playing weight

Ariose

July 20th, 2009
11:24 am

Yeah 3D needs got get in the weight romm with JJ lol and get some abs hehehe…

niremetal

July 20th, 2009
11:27 am

Sekou,

I think we figured out where the beef went…looks like Dennis Scott ate it all.

Sekou Smith

July 20th, 2009
11:28 am

In case you want to take a trip down memory lane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

Mike

July 20th, 2009
11:31 am

Siler ended with 79 % shooting. He has lost twenty pounds down to 278. Stopped the pick and roll had two blocks and two steals. This kid has a hugh upside. A 7′ er that plays defense and will only help against Shaq. He make’s free throws only going to get better. Sign him to a two year contract

Sekou Smith

July 20th, 2009
11:46 am

and lay off my man 3D. Ha. At lest he’s stretched it out over that 6-8 frame. Not all of us are lucky enough to be that tall.

Reggie

July 20th, 2009
11:50 am

Sekou

Whats up with Ben Wallace & Joe Smith? Both guys are Vets & both guys would fit with what the hawks need.

The Truth

July 20th, 2009
11:52 am

Sekou

I applaud your effort in finally speaking THE TRUTH about our frontline. The fact that you had a REAL CONVERSATION with REAL PEOPLE about what they think is a reliable sample in any typical survey. The beautiful part about the survey is that it was RANDOM and not by design. However, we can debate until we are all blue in the face; this product SUND is putting together will not achieve the desired result as it is currently constructed. I had given Sund a 60% batting average for the acquisition of talent based on his success of the Crawford deal. As I had mentioned then, even the 60% indicated that there was much more work to be done. But with these recent miscues, I’m updating his batting average down to 40%. At this point, there should be caused for concern. In fact I am beginning to question his ability to acquire a quality Big Man. Since he has become the GM, the only Big Man under his watch is yours truly, R. Morris. Not sure what the real problem is, but Chill did mentioned in a recent interview that he was turned-off with Sund “Hard-ball” negotiation style. Yes, some of that is necessary as part of the “game”, but at the same time, there should also be a balance. At the end of today, it must be a Win-Win proposition for deals to work. It cannot be uneven and “Heavy Handed”. Let us not fool ourselves, money will always be at the center of most negotiations, but it is the intangible things that make the difference. The other teams are getting FA deals done and we are not (outside of our own FA). That in itself speaks volumes. As fans, we’re not interested in who’s at fault, we just want it DONE.

Regarding the Mini-camp; to guys like Earl Barron, Chris Taft and rookie Garret Siler, I say WELCOME TO ATLANTA. It would be unfair for us fans to thrash any of these players before they have had a chance to compete. Since our expectations will be low with these prospects, any potential useful skills discovered will be welcome. The best that could happen here is that we pick a diamond in the ruff and he becomes useful around play-off time. But he can’t possibly help us now. We need a quality veteran combo PF/Center with size. If there are no more left on the table, then Sund has failed with this task. If one of these prospect players is Sund’s strategy for addressing our frontline needs then perhaps I have truly over-estimated him.

HawkKingBibby

July 20th, 2009
11:57 am

Sekou what happened to those two big men you said the Hawks were talking too the other day? Have they signed elsewhere or are they both still out there?

A Tribe Called Quest

July 20th, 2009
11:59 am

WTF? You give us the name of 3 undrafted scrubs and think they’re going to be the solution to our front court needs? Come on Sekou–you trippin, fam!

Hoops

July 20th, 2009
12:03 pm

niremetal,

We all agree that Josh is not a SF because he cannot consistently score from the perimeter nor play perimeter defense. He is also not big enough to bang inside. He is a great talent (no doubt), but I don’t see the Hawks going to the next level with him as our starting PF. After August 11 Josh will not be a BYC player, do you see any possibility that the Hawks look into moving him, Evans, and Morris to the Suns for Stoudemire? We could sign Barnes to replace Evans if that trade were to occur.

Daniel

July 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

Sekou,
Great to get some feed back. Friday, you mentioned that the Hawks were talking to two free agent bigs. Can you now tell us if one of those was Wilcox?
I like Joe Smith as a nice front court addition over Ben Wallace at this point in his career.
Still I wonder if the Wizards want to keep Blatche and Haywood. Any thoughts there?

Daniel

July 20th, 2009
12:08 pm

Good Grief Hoops- Amare Stoudemire is NOT an upgrade over Josh Smith. He is a soft defender with an attitude, who has had microfracture and eye surgery. Drop it already!

Hoops

July 20th, 2009
12:09 pm

The Hawks can only sign one of these players:
Morris
Solo
Siler

They all can be signed on the cheap, but they will not answer the call for the next big after Josh, Horford, and Zaza. We have got to get another BIG besides one of the three mentioned players!

Mr. GO HAWKS!

July 20th, 2009
12:09 pm

Ike Diogu would be a STEAL!

Daniel

July 20th, 2009
12:10 pm

Tribe- I am totally with you. Siler and Taft are mildly interesting to talk about in July neither will be a factor once big boy basketball gets started. It is just a way to pass the time.