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

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 has the size teams want.

Solomon Alabi has the size teams want.

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.”

Whiteside already is a good shot-blocker.

Whiteside already is a good shot-blocker.

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.

MC

272 comments Add your comment

Woodson II (the sequel)

June 24th, 2010
5:41 pm

Northside I ship Horford because we know that Josh is one of the better powerforwards in the league. Has a long term contract and has better numbers than horford, is one of the best defenders in the pro game. and is growing and growing.

Al has peaked. We dont know what he can do at powerforward but if his defense there is anything like his defense in the post….well…Yuk! Al’s in the last year of a contract and will want a lot more for 12pt career and 9 rbs. His numbers are less than Smooves and hes a florida native as opposed to Josh who is a home town product. .

ReddJonn68

June 24th, 2010
5:42 pm

Hey northcyde there is a big out there on the blocks Al Jefferson. I say dump Childress in no man’s land and trade our 1st rounder.

ReddJonn68

June 24th, 2010
5:47 pm

??? Do the yrs Childress played overseas count toward a veteran’s minimum ????

Sautee

June 24th, 2010
5:48 pm

Chills in a S&T to Wash, for Foye, Oberto and the #30?

Woodson II (the sequel)

June 24th, 2010
5:48 pm

By the way the Al or Josh debate as 1 must go to get a center is a given. But its a sacrifice that worth it. I hate that either has to go, they both bring different things to the table. but hay, it may be that NJ or whom ever may get to pick which one they want and we are left with the other one. I think from that stand point again Al would be the choice because he was a All star add on and he can get a better contract for himself.

Woodson II (the sequel)

June 24th, 2010
5:49 pm

Does Jefferson play defense?

drmaryb

June 24th, 2010
5:49 pm

The Atlanta Hawks are on the Clock!

And, with the 24th Pick of the 2010 NBA Draft,
The Atlanta Hawks select …..(Drum Roll) …… OMG! I can’t believe we passed on – ……OMG!

ReddJonn68

June 24th, 2010
5:51 pm

Does anyone on our roster besides J-smoove play defense ???

Sautee

June 24th, 2010
5:57 pm

“Al has peaked.”

Yeah, at 24 he’s already as good as he’ll ever get? Laughable, truly.

Well, if you have to peak early, at LEAST peak at an All-Star level, LOL! If peaking now means that he’s an All-Star every year, I’ll take it.

Only someone who HATED Al Horford could think such nonsense. Or is this some more “objective criticism”?

How “objective” is it to think a 24 year old with a great work ethic will STOP improving?

Really, is that “objective”?

Or is it more hater-ade?

Sautee

June 24th, 2010
5:59 pm

And if Sund traded an All-Star still on his rookie contract, he’d be TOAST.

There is no worse asset management than that. None.

Rufus1

June 24th, 2010
6:05 pm

Wow..6mil for Chillz. A brother with no Jump shot or upside…WOW

drmaryb

June 24th, 2010
6:07 pm

Peak – Performance!

Sautee: Co – sign that. The Boss has no where near peaked! He just added a nice jumper to his game this
season.

That man has only just begun! – Like Helen Ready

RaJaH

June 24th, 2010
6:13 pm

New Blog up!

northcyde

June 24th, 2010
6:16 pm

drmaryb . . . that’s the dilemma.

You say “what if he’s the next Marvin?”

OK . . well, what if he’s Baby Shaq ( and no, I’m not talking about Gary Trent from back in the day, when they used to call him “The Shaq of the MAC ( conference )”

It’s a HUGE RISK, I won’t deny that at all. But everybody keeps talking about “getting a center”

From where? What NBA team is willing to trade one of their good centers? The other guy dogs Horford to death, but he never mentions a legit replacement for him.

I’m not necessarily an advocate of trading one or the other. I just wanted to toss out what the reality of the situation is.

- NBA teams aren’t willing to give up decent centers

- The centers we may currently be looking at now, are ALL considered to be “projects”

- Horford has expressed his desire to play PF

- Smoove, at times, isn’t physical enough at PF ( even though that’s his best position )

- Horford has trouble scoring against bigger centers in the halfcourt set.

- Moving Smoove to SF exposes every single one of his weaknesses as a player, and would do more harm than good to the team.

- Keeping Horford at C limits what he could potentially be as a PF

Like I said . . I’m not necessarily advocating trading any guy. But if people believe we’re a legit center away from being a title contender, does that mean that we can’t go any further with A as our center, and Smoove as our PF?

As we’ve both have said in the past, Al and Josh MUST PLAY TOUGHER. If they are the frontline, they have to be ready and willing to battle every night. And when the playoff comes, they hsve to work even harder. They need to FIGHT, not get worn down.

If those 2 don’t show more fight in them, I don’t know how long we can go with them as a frontline duo, if we have championship aspirations.

Big Ray

June 24th, 2010
6:25 pm

Northcyde ,

Great question. I like the challenge.

Tough call, but I say trade Josh Smith. I know I probably will sound crazy to some on this. But there is a reason behind it. A few, actually. Okay, maybe several, LOL. Here goes….

Cousins is full of potential and measures out great, physically. He has offensive capability and defensive capability. So did Michael Olowakandi. I’m not saying Cousins could be a bust, but if he’s going to be a bust, he’ll be a huge one. So if he is, and you traded Al Horford, all you have is Josh Smith, and you’re out there looking for a center…. again . Josh is a good, though not yet completely accomplished PF. But he CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT play the 5 for you unless you’re playing against Golden State when they’ve playing 4 guards and a forward.

Most teams are looking for a good center, or at worse, a decent/serviceable one. Those that have one are in good shape. Those that aren’t are merely trying to survive at the position. That includes the Hawks. But Horford is one of the best “survivors” out there. He survived to the tune of being named an all-star and averaging nearly a double double. It doesn’t get much better than that when you lack a “true center.”

On top of that, I have no doubts that Al can be a very good power forward. Will he be a better one than Josh? In the traditional sense, yes he can. He’s got the size, strength, length. Josh is more athletic and a more natural shot blocker, but he lacks the defensive fundamentals (blocking out, using his body to defend by moving opponents off of their preferred spot) and strength that Al has. Josh is an elite weak side defender who is capable of manning the PF spot.

Al has a better jumper. Both guys can pass. The question isn’t so much which guy is a better PF, as much as it is “Are you losing anything of significance at the PF spot by trading either one?”

In my opinion, the answer is no. Al provides the versatility of giving you minutes at the 4 or 5 at any time, even against bigger opponents if necessary (even if it’s not the optimal situation) ….and you can survive like this. Josh gives you all the minutes at the 4 you can stand, but can’t play the 5, and will be limited at the 3, particularly on offense.

That’s my answer….

If Cousins were to work out just fine, it would be a big frontcourt with Al as the PF. It would work well with Smith as well, you just lose the versatility and security blanket if things don’t work out…

drmaryb

June 24th, 2010
6:28 pm

NorthCyde

I know man! I just don’t trust this ASG to make the right Draft Pick! We need to make some kind of pre-Draft trade man. Do something! Make some Noise!

Even, sorry arse Eric Dampieer has a job. They’ll let anybody play Center, in the NBA,

Woodson II (the sequel)

June 24th, 2010
6:40 pm

I did not mean for you to show your emotional side, Sautee. I sorry you interpret my evaluation of Al as “hate”

My assessment of Al “peaking” is that His career ave is 12pts. he came into the season with an 11pt average (some where in that neighborhood) and was severely criticized for his lack of offensive tools. So severely that Woodson took the blame, being the player coach that he is and said I will work with Al and tweak him to help him get better offensively. Every time I mentioned that Al was mediocre offensively you cried and quote Woodson’s statement repeatly. OK as a result he went from 11.6 to 14.2 pts that equates to a basket increase per game. His career average is 12pts and his best college year was 13 point so I cant see where he can get up to the 17 18 19 or 20 pts level that would indicate some serious growth.

True he might have a 15 pt year but then again he might have a 11 pt year. The bottom line is he is what he is . Hes playing the best he can, which aint bad. But hes just about scoring as high as he can score. Hes not a Dirk with shooting or a strong slasher like Josh. What he does is work hard every night as a blue collar working who doesnt have the skills as much as he has the work ethics. Having said that, he is about as good as he gets. The upside is he will barring injury be able to be a hard worker for a long time.

Its ok to accept criticism of your hero, your god. Please try and control your emotions

MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS

2006-2007 FLA 27.8 13.2 9.5 2.2 1.8 1.21 .7 1.8 2.5 .608 .644 .000 1.64

Career Totals: 229 225 33.3 .527 .143 .753 2.7 6.9 9.6 2.1 0.8 1.1 362 682 12.0

J.Paul. Getty

June 24th, 2010
6:41 pm

LMAO al is a better jumper than josh

Darryl Dawkins

June 24th, 2010
6:45 pm

That man has only just begun! – Like Helen Ready

Yeah that true, Al does kinda of remind you of Helen Reddy. Didnt she do that I am woman thingy?

Darryl Dawkins

June 24th, 2010
6:50 pm

Ken Strickland

June 24th, 2010
7:20 pm

The Hawks will automatically match any offer made to Childress, otherwise why hold onto his rights. If the offer is too rich for our blood, we’d do a sign and trade with him. To be honest, a starting lineup with JChildress-SF, AHorford-C, JSmith-PF, JCrawford-SG and JTeague-PG in LDrew’s OFF system would definitely get the job done.

Michael Cunningham

June 24th, 2010
7:28 pm

@everyone on Chills: this issue is confusing because the original report was on a Greek Web site that was in turn citing another newspaper i’ve never heard of. the Greek story, when translated, doesn’t say anything about a sign-and-trade, which of course is the only way it can happen because the Hawks would have to give Chills and the Wiz permission to talk. if they are talking without Atlanta’s permission, it would be tampering.

Mike Jones, a Washington media guy, shot the story down on Twitter. stay tuned. . . .