Cut Day!

 

The Mario West era came to an abrupt end before practice Wednesday. He was one of three players the Hawks cut to trim the roster to 13 players.

The Mario West era came to an abrupt end before practice Wednesday. He was one of three players the Hawks cut to trim the roster to 13 players.

HAWKSVILLE – A group that numbered 20 just a few weeks ago is now down to just 13.

It was cut day at the Hawks’ practice facility Wednesday, and the scene was grim.

Mario West and Courtney Sims got the word that their time was up before practice, so there was already a feeling that something (or more accurately someone) was missing.

But the gut-punch came later when rookie center Garret “Big Glacier” Siler got his pink slip afterwards.

As his teammates filed into the locker room each one glanced at the big fella with one eyebrow raised. He returned fire with a hollow look in his eyes and the peace sign. Even though they all knew this was not only a possibility but most likely a probability, it didn’t make the event any easier to swallow. Othello Hunter is the only free agent camper that remains from the army of eight that showed up with designs on landing one of the (three) open roster spots available.

Second-year forward Othello Hunter is the last man standing. No one should be surprised. He made the team the same way last year. And he’s gotten loads better since then. So he his inclusion was well earned (the Hawks’ roster stands at 13 players heading into the final two preseason games before next week’s regular season opener against Indiana).

Hawks coach Mike Woodson was worn out after having to speak to all three players. He was the one that championed West’s cause two years ago, when the energetic but undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech put on a hustle showcase in training camp to make the team.

“People probably thought I was crazy and didn’t know what I was doing,” Woodson said. “But I wasn’t crazy. This kid is probably the hardest working kid I’ve ever coached as far as coming early, staying late and making every single second of practice competitive. And when we put him in the game, he did some good things for us. And over the time he was here he got better. So this is tough, really tough. Anytime you cut a kid it’s a tough day. But for me, it’s tougher than you can ever imagine because I became so attached to him and his work ethic. That’s what you try and teach young guys. That’s the first part of being a player in this league.”

It wasn’t easy for the regulars to watch guys like West, Sims and Siler leave, either. After all, relationships were formed. Friendships were cultivated. Good times were had by all.

“It’s tough because I’ve been in their shoes before,” Zaza Pachulia said. “So this hurts me in so many ways. You get used to having guys around, especially when they are guys with great personalities like the guys we had here. They brought so much positive energy to this team. They were unselfish. And they listen to you and they’re trying to get better. It would be different if they weren’t such great guys.”

The 13th man on a 12-man team as a young teenager, Pachulia talked about the feelings he had on cut day years ago for the junior national team in his native Georgia. “I had all my bags packed thinking I was making the team and all my friends back home thought I’d made it, too,” he said. “I was only 14 at the time, but it felt like I was already in the big time.”

He was crushed when he learned that he was the odd man out.

“It was such an exciting time for me just being their in the training camp,” Pachulia said. “I thought I was going to Italy. And then when they told me … I will never forget that day. I used that as motivation to get better and work even harder. And that’s how these guys have to take this, as motivation. It has to give them energy and make them want to fight more to make it. And they’re good guys, so you know good things will happen for them. Hard work always pays off at some point. You just have to stay positive.”

Sims was the D-League MVP last season and has NBA experience, so finding another job won’t be hard. West has two years of NBA experience under his belt and could chase his fortunes with another NBA team or explore his options overseas. Siler’s a behemoth with plenty of ceiling. Pro basketball is obviously his future.

However, he was still trying to get over the initial shock of the news when I saw him last. He said he has just spoken to his agent and that he would figure out a plan for his next step.

It wouldn’t surprise me if any of these guys showed up on the Hawks’ radar again, maybe even this season.

“Hopefully,” Siler said with a half smile. “I guess we’ll see what happens down the road.”

481 comments Add your comment

G-Dot

October 21st, 2009
3:28 pm

Man this hurts. I just knew in my heart Rio was going to make it.

G-Dot

October 21st, 2009
3:30 pm

Oh yeah I was first. Sekou do you see the Hawks going after any other veteran who may have been released?

Wes

October 21st, 2009
3:30 pm

Good luck Mario! A lot of teams need someone on their roster that sets the tone and provides a great example of a real professional athlete.

ILL-logical

October 21st, 2009
3:31 pm

Hopefully all of these guys will find work either in the NBA or abroad.
Thanks and good luck to all of you.
A Fan

Melvin

October 21st, 2009
3:33 pm

Dang, I was rooting for Siler. Though he would be worth at least a 1 or 2 yr contract with a team opt for the 2nd yr..

niremetal

October 21st, 2009
3:33 pm

Cosign all 4 of the above posts

jerrywest

October 21st, 2009
3:33 pm

Wolves and Hawks were the only 2 teams interested in Siler. Wolves just picked up a project center from the Mavs for a 2nd round pick. Very bad day for Siler.

Dan

October 21st, 2009
3:40 pm

Sad news….especially sad for Mario. Hope that guy goes overseas and makes a lot of money. He deserves it. Loved watching him play.

I MUS WRITE

October 21st, 2009
3:42 pm

These cut are not a suprise at all….Good luck to Rio,Sims,and Siler finding work.
Hunter made it because we need reserve SF coming off the bench and he improved his game alot in one short summer. The guys that got cut should look to do the same. If rio had any kind of handle or shot he would be a dangerous player the way he goes after it….O well

Sekou- why dont you have a pictue up on the sports page with the rest of the columnist. I mean you have to look all over the page to find your blog. Dam …Do your employers dislike you or something? just curious

blonju

October 21st, 2009
3:42 pm

amen to the previous posts… it’s amazing how upset real hawks fans are about a guy who plays about 100 minutes in a season… but i echo the same sentiment… ‘rio was the best 13th man in nba history! sekou, do you see the hawks bringin in a 14th man in the next week? if so, who is on the radar?

I MUS WRITE

October 21st, 2009
3:45 pm

Nir are you really co signing Melvins post. Siler was’nt drafted and according to you all undrafted players are garbage. Now you think he should have gotten a 1 year deal with a team option for the second year. You making me dizzy dud with all of your flip flopping………… I know what ur thinking and no im not going to let it go.

rich

October 21st, 2009
3:48 pm

I had hope they would use the d league and put Siler down there for playing and experience. Don’t think they use that option well.

niremetal

October 21st, 2009
3:50 pm

Actually, I co-signed the first four posts…Melvin and I put ours up simultaneously. I don’t co-sign his post, although I do wish Siler well. Nice try, though. Also nice try on twisting my views on undrafted players. I ain’t gonna bite.

Sekou Smith

October 21st, 2009
3:51 pm

Don’t see a 14th man on the horizon boys and girls. I think the 13 you see might be it for the time being.

jerrywest

October 21st, 2009
3:56 pm

Someone please tell me the pros and cons of Othello. thanks.

niremetal

October 21st, 2009
3:56 pm

NBA teams aren’t allowed to “assign” players to the D-League without giving them a guaranteed contract. So if we signed Siler and sent him to the D-League, he still would have taken up the 14th roster spot.

I actually was hoping we’d keep both West and Hunter. This summer, my order of preference was Hunter-West-Siler. At some point after the Joe Smith signing, I flipped that to West-Hunter-Siler. After the axe fell on West, I was still hoping we’d keep both Hunter and Siler. But Sund kept his word and kept only 1 of the 8 invitees. I get keeping one roster spot open, but keeping more than that open seems unnecessary unless Sund is convinced that he’s going to either sign someone that another team cuts or else make a mid-year multiplayer trade. I honestly doubt that Siler will pan out, but I’d rather have seen him get that 14th spot than see it go to no one.

Big Ray

October 21st, 2009
3:58 pm

Well that cinches it. Good luck to the “dearly departed.”

reedeak

October 21st, 2009
3:59 pm

Is collins really better than Siller?

rich

October 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

Sekou , What the status on Stackhouse?

reedeak

October 21st, 2009
4:05 pm

This years Hawks team kind of reminds me of the 2004 Pistons team in a way. Two or three really good players and a bunch of guys that know their role and play as a team. If this team gets rolling it could be an awesome year.

cp

October 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

Like I said in another blog, Mario’s game did not improve. He still could not shoot nor dribble. Playing hard is nice but he needed to add some other dimension to his game. I wish all the guys luck. I had been pulling for Hunter the whole summer so I’m happy he made it.

Sautee

October 21st, 2009
4:10 pm

Ken Strickland,

Re: your posts last blog (and the one before)

Do you think Jeff Teague is as good as CP3, Williams, Parker and Nash?

If NOT, then why are you referencing THEIR stats? I’m NOT trying to defend my methodology in using A / TO ratio. I’m talking about THIS team.

Here’s what I replied to you two blogs ago, but apparently you had passed on and never saw it:

Ken,

I’ll agree to disagree. I clearly added IMHO, meaning exactly that. I’m sorry if my opinion makes you doubt your side of the argument or threatens you in some way. Frankly, I’m surprised. You usually allow plenty of give-and-take, but somehow I’ve pushed your hot button.

Before Bibby got here we lost WAY too many games with late turnovers that gave opponents extra chances to score. That was the MOST notable difference when he arrived.

The reason I used A / TO ratio is that it shows a point guards’ efficiency. I TOTALLY agree with you that some of Bibby’s efficiency is because he takes fewer chances. I’d say that up til now that’s EXACTLY what a young team needed.

And Bibby WILL have to rachet it up a notch JUST BECAUSE TEAGUE WILL PUSH HIM.

If Teague shows that he has the talents to play like CP3 and Deron, ok fine start him. But there is a reason that he wasn’t a top 5 pick like they were.

Don’t get me wrong, Ken, I LOVE what I’ve seen of this kid, but I’ll stand by my statement. I don’t care if you think my argument is weak. I can handle that.

By the way, my use of the ratio was not the be-all-end-all of my point (which you made it out to be). I wasn’t defending the use of Bibby relative to ANY PG, just for THIS team, which is all we have to deal with. Therefore, despite the obvious fact that I’d rank Bibby behind at LEAST a dozen other point guards, his ratio shows that on THIS team, he takes care of the ball better than others that we have.

We can disagree. But I’ll err on the side of FEWER turnovers every time.

Melvin

October 21st, 2009
4:12 pm

Ok, I will say it. I’m not a big fan of Hunter but I wish him well. He’s a tweener and they come a dime a dozen. Heck we could have let them all go and sign a true wingman like Stackhouse, Wally Z, Green, Shawnee Williams or heck, I would prefer Rashaun McCants over Hunter….

I MUS WRITE

October 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

Twisting your views …give me a break Perry Mason. I dont have to twist your words less than 2 weeks ago you were bashing undrafted free agents – Put up a list and everything….Its in black and white. I was so hoping you would bite (no homo) I aient got shyt to do today …… O well Guess i’ll go pump sum iron – as soon as my head stops spinning that is. I get really dizzy wathching you jump back and forth over the fence.

Sekou= i’ll just form my own opinions since you didnt answer. maybe they think your contributions are not picture worthy or maybe you’re the lowest man on the toddem pole which explains why i need a manifying galss to find ur blog. dam shame how they do a brother huh? lol stand up for yourself dude ….come on

swatguy

October 21st, 2009
4:20 pm

Well, what’s done is done.All 5 of the last cuts will play this year if it be their will.

We now have a roster of flexability. Surely by February another piece will be added(a wing or point).
Coach can finalize the rotation and see what we have.
clearly the strategy is to make sure we have enough Bigs to battle eith pushing Teague with minutes in the rotation (12-15).

BigTimeTECHFan

October 21st, 2009
4:39 pm

Give the 14 spot to Dennis Rodmen, he’s looking to make a comeback.

Sekou Smith

October 21st, 2009
4:40 pm

I MUS asked:
Sekou- why dont you have a pictue up on the sports page with the rest of the columnist. I mean you have to look all over the page to find your blog. Dam …Do your employers dislike you or something? just curious

I’m not a “columnist” money, that’s why you can’t find my picture on the front with the others. Simple question, simple answer.

Mike N.

October 21st, 2009
4:41 pm

Good luck to all those guys…however it seems that bum Randolph Morris cost West or Siler a spot on our roster. I think I can say for all of us that we are much bigger fans of West and Siler then Morris. Now Morris needs to show us that he has improved this summer cause he will not be in street clothes this season and could get some spot minutes.

cp

October 21st, 2009
4:44 pm

Wally Z has lost a step and plays no defense. The Mavs told Shawnee Williams to not even show up around the team. He stays in trouble to go along with very little game. Rashaun McCants is hurt. The Mavs decided to go with youth over Stackhouse last year. Gerald Green from what I saw of him last year improved but his bball iq still remains a big question mark. I would have loved to give the kid a shot but we did not. A lot of guys you named bring no more than Hunter and a guy like Shawnee brings baggage and we have done pretty good lately with keeping knuckleheads off this team.

Traceman

October 21st, 2009
4:57 pm

Good luck Rio, you will be missed.

GeeMack

October 21st, 2009
5:13 pm

reedeak

Come on man. You can’t be serious. This team looks nothing like the 04 Pistons. This teams not nearly as good defensively. I think the times were different as well back then. It was easier to compete in the east. During the 04 season there 3 500 or below teams that made the playoffs. The Hawks made some great moves but they are missing that one superstar needed to get to that level.

gwite

October 21st, 2009
5:36 pm

GeeMack, who was that “one superstar(s)” on that Pistons team?

RomeDawg

October 21st, 2009
5:42 pm

Well put GeeMack. Good luck to West! Being a dawg it ain’t easy to pull for a jacket, but he was one class act. Surely a NBA team somewhere needs a spark plug like him on their bench and as CMW said, “to make every minute of practice count”.

Ramon

October 21st, 2009
6:02 pm

Seriously, THIS Hawks team has a chance to be better than that 04 Pistons team. That Detroit team would finish with a 4th seed in THIS eastern division. The thing that Hawks team had that the Hawks didn’t have last season was all in the swag and attitude. They knew they were going to beat you because they had nothing to lose. As crazy as Rasheed was, Billups was just as crazy, but on a quiet tip. I see that same type swag in Horford, Smoove, Crawford, and Teague. Now how long will it translate to defense, we will see.

vava74

October 21st, 2009
6:07 pm

I agree with nire when he says that we are short in the SG/SF spots and that if anyone goes down it will be difficult to keep the rotation balanced.

However, West’s game was very limited and his progress apparently null.

I always liked Othello and contrary to West he seems to be progressing significantly. If he develops(ed) a shot from 15/17 feet and some kind of handle/driving game he will be quite useful as a combo F. If not, he will be a taller version of West.

Siler was way too raw to merit the 13th spot. The 14th? Maybe, but in it’s absence, we could not keep him.

JSS

October 21st, 2009
6:07 pm

Well, the Hawks have rolled the dice… I want to thank them for taking a chance and inviting Garret to camp and giving him the “opportunity.” As for Garret, Sekou, when Utah’s coach (D-League) was here, did they make overtures to Siler at all? Moreover, I hope Mario takes a chance on Europe and really work on his shot… He doesn’t need to linger stateside pigeonholing his game. Oh, Randolph is a very lucky man…

vava74

October 21st, 2009
6:13 pm

Since we now have a body of English Language Caretakers, here are the corrections (I hope I get it right): “…at the SG/SF…” and “…its absence…”.

This second error was the courtesy of the iPhone.

Ras Kass

October 21st, 2009
6:29 pm

“So he his inclusion was well earned (the Hawks’ roster stands at 13 players heading into the final two preseason games before next week’s regular season opener against Indiana).”

Tribe

October 21st, 2009
6:32 pm

Thanks for pointing out “georgia”, nire. I didn’t write that though

Good job

J

October 21st, 2009
6:47 pm

Sekou,
As an avid NBA/Hawks fan, I just want to say us Hawks fans are blessed to have you covering the Hawks. I read many NBA beat Writers and you are honestly my favorite.

Mario West really was an asset to our team and his contributions will be missed. Given the additions this Summer coupled with the quite unHawks like retention of our Free Agents, I thought he might be a loss. Did think ASG would come up with the money to keep Siler though.

With the departure of Mr. Bisher, perhaps it is time for you to be Columnist. I realize that Newspapers in general are in a perilous state, but your work covering the Hawks truly stands out.
Time for that “Columnist Money”. Hopefully.
Cheers,
J

TheHawksFan

October 21st, 2009
7:01 pm

The Hawks are FULL of CRAP!!!! They could have carried 15 players. The guys invited to camp had un guaranteed deals to Jan. Mario and Sims played well last week while Smith Evans and Crawford were out with injuries. Why not give them until Jan to prove thier worth in those 30 plus games? Along with the option of cutting them at anytime. Thats what Mario has done the past 2 years anyway. Dont want to hear that money CRAP either. Why bring 20 guys into camp FOR ONE WEEK knowing only 13 will make it? Thats a HUGE waste of money. It tells you that are some SERIOUS POWER STRUGGLES going on within. Thats some Miami Heat Crap right there. The Hawks lose 10,000 cool points today!!

niremetal

October 21st, 2009
7:09 pm

Melvin

October 21st, 2009
7:28 pm

In case anyone is interested in Preseason ball. Below is live link to Celtics/Cavs game….

http://www.channelsurfing.net/watch-nba-2.html

Melvin

October 21st, 2009
7:40 pm

Like I said before, Celtics are my preseason favorites (excluding Hawks). Stomping a completely health Cavs team in Cleveland without KG and Ray….

Zach

October 21st, 2009
7:57 pm

Sekou,

What do you think about ESPN’s predictions for the hawks this winter? To every hawks fans great surprise no one picked us to win the division. The majority of the picks had us at 4 or 5, but the lovely Chris Sheradin picked us to finish 7th stating:

“Mike Bibby didn’t look like he had a lot left in the tank last season, and I was surprised they re-signed him and thought Andre Miller would have been a better fit. Joe Johnson is entering a contract year, but newcomer Jamal Crawford likes to put up 20 shots a night, too. Hmmm.”

Opinions, are you surprised that we’re not getting too much love from the ocho?

CJ Dawg

October 21st, 2009
8:04 pm

I live in Augusta and watched Siler play alot. This kid has amazing ‘want to’ and he continued to get better. Besides that, he is like a bigger Wes Unseld. He really learned how to throw an outlet pass…and the kid is as big as the side of a mountain. Someone will pick him up and get a great player, even if it takes a few years. He will never be flashy…but he WILL be a constant 10 point, 12 rpg guy. Nobody can move him in the post. Bad move Hawks.

O'Brien

October 21st, 2009
8:16 pm

As the 13th guy, does Hunter even dress? Or will he just keep Speedy’s spot (on the bench and in a suit) warm?

The Hawks dont really need a 14th guy. If there is an injury, they can find somebody in the D-League or an out of work veteran.

I am ready for the season to begin though. I hope the Hawks can get off to a good start like they did last year. That would be “huge for the ballclub”.

cdog

October 21st, 2009
8:34 pm

the hawks must find a way to bring back garret siler and mario west. these players are winners

superbasketballfan

October 21st, 2009
8:34 pm

the hawks should not have let siler go mike woodson and rick sund are idiots collins and j.smith just may not be there after this season. the hawks need a good 7 footer.

Big Ray

October 21st, 2009
9:06 pm

cdog ,

I don’t know about you, but I wonder if Siler would have gotten cut if RandMo wasn’t already under contract? As for ‘Rio, I think he was a victim of two things: his lack of offensive capability, and the economy. If we were keeping 14 guys instead of 13, he’d probably still be here. Same for Siler if we were keeping 15.