When the night was over the Hawks had made a trade, saved some cash, earned some additional cash and drafted Xavier guard Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy, a mysterious prospect from France.
First, the deal on Crawford and the cash. He was one of a handful of players the Hawks liked who were still on the board. They weren’t sure he would be there if they traded down but had three other players in mind if he wasn’t (one of them was Dominique Jones, who was picked at No. 25).
Rick Sund said Atlanta had the “luxury” of deciding on a shooter, wing, guard or a big project center.
“We decided to go with the best available player,” he said.
Moving down three spots in the first round saves the Hawks about $190,000 for the two guaranteed years of Crawford’s contract. They also sold the rights to German center Tibor Pleiss to Oklahoma City for close to $3 million, the maximum amount allowable under salary-cap rules.
While the Hawks could have selected a project center or wing with that pick, Sund suggested the money earned from selling the pick would be used to add proven players to the roster.
“I think we need more veterans,” he said. “We are one of the youngest teams in the league still. I think we need to fill out the rest of the roster with veterans.”
Atlanta selected Texas forward Damion James with the No. 24 pick and traded him to the Nets for the second of their first-round picks (No. 27 overall) and their second-round pick (No. 31). The Nets selected Crawford for the Hawks at No. 27 and Pleiss at No. 31.
Sund said Crawford is a shooter and scorer. He said the Hawks didn’t make the pick with the thought of losing J.J. but acknowledged he could provide a bit of insurance
“The [27th pick] is not going to replace Joe,” Sund said. “[Crawford] does give us some options. But that didn’t enter into our analysis at all.”
Crawford led the Atlantic 10 in scoring but might have gained his most fame for dunking on LeBron James.
“People always bring it up, but I don’t really like talking about it because I don’t like living in the past,” Crawford said by phone.
And now about this Pape Sy dude. When he came in for a Hawks workout, so little info was available about him that no one could come up with a bio or detailed statistics. Not only was he not included in any of the mock drafts, there didn’t seem to be any evaluations of the guy out there. I saw him listed as 6-7 in one place, 6-10 in another.
But Atlanta’s European scouts saw Sy playing for Le Havre in France’s Pro A League. So Sy came in for a workout–paying his own way, according to L.D.
“I’d never heard of him,” Drew said.
Sy was in a workout session with Darington Hobson and Stanley Robinson.
“I thought those guys would eat him up,” Drew said. “But this guy challenged those guys. He didn’t back down.”
Drew liked Sy so much that he was nervous other teams would figure out his potential. The Hawks weren’t sure if Sy had worked out for any other teams.
“I was very impressed with him,” L.D. said.
Drew said he thinks Sy
is long enough to play center as well as power forward can play both the wing and power forward.
– Couple Chills notes: The reports about Washington negotiating with him are false because, as I said, he can’t talk to another team without permission from the Hawks. Also, the Hawks officially extended the qualifying offer of $4.8 million to retain Josh’s rights and the ability to match any offers he receives as a restricted free agent.