Yesterday I highlighted some draft prospects the Hawks believe have “NBA skills” that could be useful to them next season. Today, I’m looking at some long-term prospects the Hawks might draft at No. 24.
Understand that these lists aren’t meant to be complete, nor should they be considered endorsements. These are players I know the Hawks have considered from each pool. If you don’t see the player you want on these lists, it doesn’t mean the Hawks won’t draft them and it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I’m just trying to share what I know with my blog people, narrow the Hawks’ draft possibilities down a bit, and then let you explain why they have it ALL WRONG!!!
In the next post I will collect all of the final mock drafts in one spot. That way you can find those smart people who predict the Hawks will draft the guy you like.
Solomon Alabi, C, 7-1, Florida State
I think Alabi will be gone by the time the Hawks pick, and here’s why: He looks the part, and scouts and GMs tend to fall in love with those kind of guys even when they are as raw as Alabi. He weighed in at 237 pounds at the draft combine and he looked even bigger than that at the Hawks workout. The fact that he’s not expected to be taken in the lottery tells you how far he has to go.
“He’s a young kid [turned 22 in March],” said Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft. “You like the fact that he shoots [well] from the free-throw line. But you can tell he’s raw. He”ll be drafted in the first round, and in a perfect world he lasts a long time [in the league].”
One person who saw Alabi’s Haws workout described him as “mechanical” in his movements. So he’s not a fluid athlete but he’s certainly physically impressive.
“He’s huge and he’s a great guy,” Pendergraft said. “If you are looking for someone two or three years down the road to help you, he’s a candidate.”
NBADraft.net describes Alabi, a native of Nigeria, as a player who could potentially be the defensive-minded 7-footer the Hawks (and all teams) covet:
“[Alabi's] physical tools make him an excellent shot blocker on and off the ball, and a likely candidate for offensive tips and putbacks off misses. . . . There’s no arguing that he has the potential to become a defensive centerpiece for a team that lacks a presence in the paint.”
Kevin Seraphin, F/C, 6-9, France
A knee injury nearly caused Seraphin to pull out of the draft because he couldn’t participate on the workout circuit. He decided to stay in, probably a good decision since it looks like he’s pretty certain to be drafted in the first round. Seraphin met with the Hawks for several hours on Monday.
David Aldridge has an excellent draft preview series at NBA.com. Aldridge projects Seraphin as a power forward and, surprisingly, places him ahead of Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson in rankings that reflect “how ready players are to play the position which they are assigned.”
Aldridge quotes an unnamed Atlantic Division scout on Seraphin: “It’s a 100 percent fair comparison to Nene. He’s strong, he’s got big hands, got that athletic ability. Slightly mechacical. You know how Nene is. You can almost tell what he’s going to do. Seraphin might turn out to be a better rebounder. He tracks the ball. It’s going to take a while for this kid to get there [offensively]. Nene’s pretty good and this kid is going to turn out like that.”
Hassan Whiteside, C, 7-0, Marshall
Whiteside, who turned 21 earlier this month, played just one season at Marshall. Like Alabi, he’s a true 7-footer with potential so some team is going to take him and develop him. Whiteside led the NCAA with 5.3 blocks per game.
Whiteside worked out this week for the Bucks, who own the No. 15 pick. After the session, Milwaukee’s director of scouting, Billy McKinney, said it’d be a “stretch” for his team to draft Whiteside:
“A good shot-blocker, he’s still very raw. He’s pretty new to the game, but a guy that blocks a lot of shots, rebounds, there’s a lot of room for improvement and growth in his game.”
In an interview with NBADraft.net back in May, Whiteside said he worked with Hakeem to improve his defense, footwork and strength on the block.
Daniel Orton, C, 6-10, Kentucky
Just five days ago the Indy Star reported the Pacers might take Orton with the No. 10 overall pick. Then yesterday Yahoo! Sports suggested Orton might slide out of the first round because of a bad knee, poor conditioning and his reputation as a malcontent during one season at Kentucky.
I’m assuming the Hawks are still considering Orton. He canceled several workouts over the last couple weeks, leading to speculation he had a proverbial “promise” from a team, but the Hawks didn’t believe that’s the case. Nor did they seem too displeased that Orton didn’t make a stop in Atlanta (he finally ended up working out this week for the Pacers).
Orton turns 20 in August and played just 13 minutes a game at Kentucky. There’s also the aforementioned weight and attitude issues, which raises the twin red flags of work ethic and “coachability.” But he’s a big, strong dude with potential. He defends at the rim and actually has a nice jump shot. Some team will roll the dice on him.
Orton wrote a draft diary for the The Oklahoman and addressed his knee and his expectations but shed no light on the missed workouts.