Atlanta Hawks: Could these draft prospects help the Hawks now?

Could this be Atlanta's next 'Nique? (Atoyia Deans, St. Pete Times)

Could this be Atlanta's next 'Nique? (Atoyia Deans, St. Pete Times)

Before you can begin to examine the players the Hawks will consider drafting with the No. 24 pick on Thursday, you first must understand the competing philosophies at play.

As they wind down their draft preparations, GM Rick Sund, assistant GM Dave Pendergraft, Hawks scouts and L.D. must decide if they want to draft a player with a skill (or skills) that can help the team now but with limited upside, or take a prospect who likely won’t see minutes early but could develop later into a good NBA player. The Hawks are compiling a list of players in each pool.

“First, we have to decide which way to go,” Pendergraft said. He declined to name names but he and others provided enough clues for me to make some educated guesses. I fully expect to be hated on when the Hawks inevitably don’t draft any of these guys.

Once the Hawks determine their strategy, they then have to figure out which prospects are likely to be there when they pick. Considering the league office had a tough time completing its list of 15 players to invite to the “green room” in New York, you know how much guesswork goes into the Hawks figuring out which players will be there at No. 24.

“Do we figure out who is drafting who?” Pendergraft said. “Or do we try to continue to evaluate the players on tape and do background info on them? You want to know exactly who is taking who, but you are not going to get it [down] to the team anyway.” He said the Hawks have done “a bit of both” as draft day approaches.

Pendergraft was optimistic about the depth of the draft during the college season but grew pessimistic early in the postseason draft process. With the draft a couple days away, he’s somewhere in between.

“I think we will be glad to get a guy we are happy to have,” he said.

A look at the players that could be available at No. 24 that the Hawks might consider, from among the “could help them now” pool. I’ll have stuff on the long-term potential guys in a later blog post.

NBA skill now

Gani Lawal, F, 6-9, Georgia Tech

“One thing I think always translates from the college game to NBA is rebounding,” Pendergraft said, and that explains Atlanta’s interest in Lawal despite his projection to play power forward, where the Hawks have Smoove, Al and Zaza as options.

Lawal ranked 25th in the NCAA in pace-adjusted rebounds, according to Draftexpress.com. Lawal ranks seventh in that stat among sure-fire and possible first rounders, behind DeMarcus Cousins, Cole Aldrich, Larry Sanders, Hassan Whiteside, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Jarvis Varnado.

Trevor Booker, F, 6-7, Clemson

“Booker is a heck of a rebounder,” Pendergraft said. “Both of them [Booker and Lawal] have the physical presence. They are not going to get crushed.” Booker projects as a power forward and is undersized for the position, but according to NBADraft.net he “shows the ability to step out on the perimeter and knock down the jumper, even showing three point range at times” and “can also use his handle and quickness to blow by bigger defenders.”

So perhaps Booker could provide the Hawks more than just rebounding.

Jordan Crawford, G, 6-4, Xavier

Crawford canceled his workout with the Hawks and Pendergraft isn’t confident he will still be available at No. 24. DraftExpress.com has has Crawford going 27th to the Nets, so it’s possible Atlanta will have a shot at him. If he’s there and the Hawks want a scorer, Crawford might be the guy.

“He’s like a miniature version of Jamal [Crawford],” Pendergraft said.

Says DraftExpress: “[H]e is efficient in virtually every situation, and shouldered a heavy load for Xavier, but his inability to get to the foul line prevents him from standing out as much as he probably could. The second most efficient player in our rankings overall (1.014 PPP), Crawford gets fouled on his 5.1% of his shots (3rd last). A highly ranked catch and shoot player with or without a hand in his face, Crawford’s inability to draw fouls renders him as a below average finisher at .993 PPP.”

Dominique Jones, 6-4, G, South Florida

Jones, whose stock reportedly is on the rise, is another scorer: DraftExpress says he’s “both a high usage and high efficiency scorer, which is a rare combination to find.”

Pendergraft said Jones gets his points less by shooting well and more by getting to the basket. “He will find a way to score,” is how Pendergraft put it. “He’s such a great ballhandler. He’s so strong. He can get in the paint, and anytime you can get a guy in the paint [on] the dribble-drive, something good happens.”

Terrico White, 6-3, G, Ole Miss

Whits is a scorer like Jones but a better shooter. “Terrico White eventually is going to be a good enough shooter that the coach is going to run plays to get him open,” Pendergraft said. DraftExpress knocks White’s aggressiveness: “For a player with such excellent physical tools, you would have liked to see him get to the rim or draw more fouls than he was able to at Ole Miss.”

MC

282 comments Add your comment

JC

June 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

NO way, First!

josh

June 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

interesting – wonder what the hawks decide their strategy is gonna be.

Truth-Serum

June 22nd, 2010
5:32 pm

Hey Hawks do something amazing, this it the NBA right? Make a significant trade/FApickup. Move up in the draft. GET A CENTER.

Better sell the team and fire yourselves.

Mike con ham ask Mark Bradley if he can help you or take over as beat writer for the hawks. You are very narrow and as JeJe pointed out your writing… well… Ill bet sells are down at the ajc arent they?

Id appreciate if you could (until the AJC can find a replacement for you) change the negative tone out of your overly opinionated writing. Feature writing is one thing. Forcing this site to align to your ill founded opinion is another. Youd be better suited as a blogger rather than an engine for conversation about the Hawks.

Truth-Serum

June 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

*Better, sell the team and fire yourselves

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2010
5:40 pm

@Truth: actually, i think if i tell my bosses you and JeJe hate my stuff i might get a raise.

Eddie

June 22nd, 2010
5:45 pm

if one of the 7 fotters are there you take them

T-BIGGS

June 22nd, 2010
5:48 pm

It seems to be painfully obvious to everyone except atlanta management that the hawks need a center so that horford can move to his natural 4 spot.That move alone will make the hawks better.

clarkekent

June 22nd, 2010
5:57 pm

we need to trade for rudy gay… sund should make moves as if joe is leaving. do not let a player handcuff the organization. we have assets to aquire him: 1rd pick/ marvin willaims / josh childress.

a front court of rudy, josh and al would be a match-up nightmare. plus all 3 are 5 years from 30. with teague pushing the ball ATL will truly be a hightlight factory.

Ramon

June 22nd, 2010
6:00 pm

MC, in the offensive sets Drew have run during practices, have you seen where these sets could be good against a zone? I am really wondering with Teague at PG, can teams just back up into a zone, and give us fits all game.

idiots can type, too

June 22nd, 2010
6:06 pm

“Hey Hawks do something amazing, this it the NBA right? Make a significant trade/FApickup. Move up in the draft. GET A CENTER.

Better sell the team and fire yourselves.

Mike con ham ask Mark Bradley if he can help you or take over as beat writer for the hawks. You are very narrow and as JeJe pointed out your writing… well… Ill bet sells are down at the ajc arent they?

Id appreciate if you could (until the AJC can find a replacement for you) change the negative tone out of your overly opinionated writing. Feature writing is one thing. Forcing this site to align to your ill founded opinion is another. Youd be better suited as a blogger rather than an engine for conversation about the Hawks.”

SOMEBODY TAKE THE KEYBOARD AWAY FROM DAT CLOWN

northcyde

June 22nd, 2010
6:24 pm

It’s like I’ve been saying for a week or two now. The history of the NBA shows that the value picks late in the 1st round are usually guys who are undersized PFs that can ball, or high scoring guards who people may have an issue with in other areas.

And these are the types of guys that can usually step right in and make an impact.

Centers are coveted more than anything in the NBA. If 20 – 25 teams pass a guy up, he’s probably not going to be as impactful as fans want to believe.

I still say a guy like Jarvis Varnado has to be considered by the Hawks, if he had a good workout on Sunday. He possesses the two things this team could really use:

- another rebounder ( especially on the defensive boards )

- a shot blocker / shot changer ( because Zaza isn’t going to block shots, and Horford doesn’t block / change enough shots )

But his lack of bulk / strength scares the hell out of everybody. It’ll be interesting to see who takes him.

As for the BPA . . . I also said last week that it may be Terrico White. He’s by far the best athlete on that group. Jordan Crawford is a lot like Jamal, in that he’s a good scorer off the dribble. It wouldn’t shock me one bit to see either of these two taken.

charles harris

June 22nd, 2010
6:28 pm

Of the 5 listed, Booker would be the best choice-he has major hops and is very energetic like sean weatherspoon

DrewDawg

June 22nd, 2010
6:36 pm

How bout Alabi 7-1 this team lacks height inside

Truth-Serum

June 22nd, 2010
6:40 pm

Michael Cunningham/ idiots can type, too

June 22nd, 2010
5:40 pm

@Truth: actually, i think if i tell my bosses you and JeJe hate my stuff i might get a raise.

OK for once I smiled at something you had to say.

Yeah, tell them that the number is growing and you will get a raise, right out of the building!

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2010
6:49 pm

@Ramon: “MC, in the offensive sets Drew have run during practices, have you seen where these sets could be good against a zone? I am really wondering with Teague at PG, can teams just back up into a zone, and give us fits all game.”

i have never seen the sets Drew runs in practice. media only get to see the last few minutes, and probably 90 percent of the time the Hawks are just shooting around by that point. the few times i’ve seen scrimmages it was more of an up-and-down session rather than set plays. i know my blog people are anxious to see what Drew is going to run (shoot, i am too) but we will have to wait until at least the minicamp to find out.

drmaryb

June 22nd, 2010
6:50 pm

Eddie

Co-Sign that ISH!

If there is a 7 Footer staring you in the face? You grab his rosie cheeks and you plant a big ole sloppy,
Wet – Kiss right there on the center of his fore-head or back-side! Whichever presents itself first!

Size – Matters!

ILL-logical

June 22nd, 2010
7:05 pm

I am shocked but not surprised that the team doesn’t have their draft stategy TWO days before the draft! If it wasn’t for the Clippers….. .

First the facts: Joe is not coming back. He gone. Now everyone in the NBA knows this so why are the witless wonders still pretending that he is ?
Second: Since the witless wonders second favorite all star,AAA, has stated /or been quoted as saying the team needs both a center and a point guard, why are they pretending that they believe the team only needs to be tweaked? AAA has already thrown Bibby and maybe Teague under the bus and in effect demanded a line up change before he signs any long term deal. Tweak that in the locker room guys.
Last,but not least: maybe the ww’s can persuade Joe to accept a sign and trade so that there is some compensation in the eyes of the fans.Naw, that would be to much like doing things right.

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2010
7:05 pm

@DrewDawg: “How bout Alabi 7-1 this team lacks height inside”

he will be included in the upcoming post about guys with upside whom the Hawks are considering. saw him today and, man, is he physically impressive.

ntrigue

June 22nd, 2010
7:06 pm

Does anybody know the roster for the Hawks summer camp league?

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2010
7:08 pm

@ntrigue: “Does anybody know the roster for the Hawks summer camp league?”

it won’t be finalized until after the draft. that way, the Hawks can invite the undrafted they like.

UGA

June 22nd, 2010
7:12 pm

Were the Hawks impressed with Pondexter any?
Would Damion James be a good choice for us? I think he’d be a great pick to add toughness on the perimeter.

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2010
7:16 pm

@UGA: “Were the Hawks impressed with Pondexter any? Would Damion James be a good choice for us? I think he’d be a great pick to add toughness on the perimeter.”

from what i heard, they liked Pondexter’s toughness and aggression. they think James is even less likely than Crawford to be available at No. 24.

drmaryb

June 22nd, 2010
7:22 pm

TRADES

Corey Magette goes to the Bucks for Charlie Bell (G) & Dan Gadzuric (C).

Timberwolves trading picks 25 & 28 to Memphis for their 16th pick.

UGA

June 22nd, 2010
7:24 pm

Ok, thank you for responding.

Chris

June 22nd, 2010
7:26 pm

Wonder if Solomon Alabi would be around when we pick?

Football Fan

June 22nd, 2010
7:27 pm

Agreed, Hawks are dumb to stand pat. Sign and trade Joe Johnson in a package deal for Chris Paul who is reportedly on the move since the Hornets are over the luxury tax. Then sign a free agent big man.

drmaryb

June 22nd, 2010
7:28 pm

Golden State is the team that traded: Corey Magettee

Melvin

June 22nd, 2010
7:35 pm

Outside of Booker. I’m not impress.

MC, do you know if the Hawks are considering any draft related trades?

darrell starks

June 22nd, 2010
7:40 pm

M.C no disrespect, but if the hawks past up on a center who plays good defense in the paint then i my self will ask for the resignation of rick sund.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

gdg73

June 22nd, 2010
7:43 pm

I live here in Tallahassee and prayed that the Hawks would take Toney Douglas to play point guard. A player that would be ready to run the team in Year 2. Now we have an antique in Bibby, with an unknown commodity in Teague going into next year. But I digress. If the Hawks don’t pick Solomon Alabi (if available) at #24,the ASG, along with Rick Sund need to be run out of Atlanta. Al and ZaZa are not starting centers in the NBA. We need size, length, and height. Alabi gives us all of that,plus defense (shot blocking). This guy is a more athletic Mutombo.

darrell starks

June 22nd, 2010
7:50 pm

I have 2 choice with the 24# pick
1.SOLOMON ALABI 7′1 a strong defender in the paint with hard work ethic that could make him a top defender among center 1 day.
2.BRIAN ZOUBEK 7′1 a hard nose player with a nasty game that plays hard on the boards will be a good fit for the hawks.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

boiler up

June 22nd, 2010
7:51 pm

Draft Chris Kramer in the second round!!! Incredible hustler and defensive freak.. A hell of an athlete as well…. Not a scorer at all.. but his incredible defense leads to his scoring.. He’s a steal and could really give these selfish players something to role after.. Go Hawks and Boiler Up!!

Kenbud

June 22nd, 2010
7:58 pm

Michael …. curious about your take on the Hornets and their ‘impending sale” and financial situation. Historically, when major sales happen it’s pretty much a “start over’ attitude. And the Hornets have Darren Collison who is a heck of lot cheaper than Chris Paul. (and still quite good).

Also, wondering how Childress fits in as trade bait. With the country of Greece and ITS financial woes, I can’t imagine Josh would stay there. And isn’t he a restricted free agent so any team can try to sign him and the Hawks would have to match?

cp

June 22nd, 2010
8:02 pm

Terrico has talent but I don’t want another non aggressive guy on this team Ala Marvin. There are only about 2 names on that list I like. I’m hoping the Hawks get somebody who can contribute.

darrell starks

June 22nd, 2010
8:14 pm

From the last post, for any one 2 say that horford or josh or anybody on the hawks are not touchable, then you need a brain examine specialy when your talking about chris paul a superstar in this league.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

Texas Pete

June 22nd, 2010
8:16 pm

Trade up to get Cousins or punt and trade away this year’s pick(s) for someone’s 1st rounder next year.

darrell starks

June 22nd, 2010
8:19 pm

I would call n.o and ask them what player would it take 2 get paul.
my 3 choices.
1.TEAGUE, JAMAL, FOR PAUL.
2.HORFORD, MARVIN FOR PAUL.
3.JOSH, TEAGUE, FOR PAUL.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!

darrell starks

June 22nd, 2010
8:25 pm

Let say the hawks trade horford and marvin for paul.
STARTER CP3, JOE, CHILL, JOSH, ALABI.
BENCH BIBBY, JAMAL, AL HARRINGTON, ZAZA, MORRIS
RESERVE WEST, MOE
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

June 22nd, 2010
8:31 pm

The notion that our front office has to make a decision between a long-term project and a short-term band-aid 2 days before the draft is truly a nightmarish thought. These guys move like molasses on a snail’s back. Hopefully they will make a decision by Sunday.

WalterEgo

June 22nd, 2010
8:58 pm

Alabi may be 7′ but with only 2.3 BPG he isn’t AS imposing as his physical tools would suggest. 11/6 pts/rbs isn’t much either. I’m a big proponent of drafting bigs but this isn’t the guy IMO.

The Truth

June 22nd, 2010
9:09 pm

This is not rocket science. The Hawks should just pick the best available player regardless of the position. If we can screw-up a 1st round 2nd overall pick, then God only help us picking 23rd. For Sund (and company) to initially be pessimistic with the 23rd pick suggesting it was irrelevant may have been unfair. This review proves that NBA draft steals can be had.

If you still think finding a steal is a freak accident, then look what happen to the Spurs last year with Dejuan Blair. He has been a beast for them this past year.

Sautee

June 22nd, 2010
9:11 pm

darrell starks,

No Horford is not untouchable, but it’s VERY rare to trade a young All-Star still on his rookie contract. It’s poor asset management. If we WERE thinking of trading Horford, we’d be better off extending his contract at a much larger level, so that we could get more back financially, (if we could even do that under the CBA).

Of course Horford could just say “no thanks” to an extension, too, and wait for his RFA status next year.

Ain’t gonna happen. But it’s good blog fodder.

Sautee

June 22nd, 2010
9:29 pm

With the Maggette trade, the Warrior now have 4 centers on their roster:

Biedrens
Turiaf
Gadzuric
Stephen Hunter

Maybe here’s a chance to get Al some help. I believe that all but Hunter would be an upgrade for Zaza.

Marvin and Bibby for Biedrens and Azubuike?

Melvin

June 22nd, 2010
9:40 pm

Look who NBA.net has the Hawks selecting? Yes, can we give David Stern our draft card now to lock in this pick….

http://www.nbadraft.net/2010mock_draft

Melvin

June 22nd, 2010
9:41 pm

Sautee,

Seem like every team have multiple centers except the Hawks…

Astro Joe

June 22nd, 2010
9:47 pm

Generally speaking, you don’t sell your cash cow when reducing operating costs. Look for the Hornets to try to give away guys like Posey and maybe Okafor before they trade away the one player who will generate revenue for the new owner. Seems like the best way to shed payroll is to handcuff Collison to one of those awful contracts are force the other team to offer up some expiring deals.

freshd

June 22nd, 2010
10:05 pm

Id take the big man from FLA. ST if he is there, but if he is gone I would take NIQUE JONES from S. FLA. This guy is a mini version of D. WADE. I aso thought the HAWKS should have taken TONEY DOUGLAS last year. With the second round pick JARVIS VARNARDO would be a steal.

freshd

June 22nd, 2010
10:06 pm

crabapplejoe

June 22nd, 2010
10:19 pm

Hopefully Cole Aldrich will fall to the Hawks at #24 and we can pick up the big center that we need….

Bill Walton

June 22nd, 2010
10:47 pm

Coach Larry WHO?