Archive for June, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Camp wrap

  • The Hawks broke camp today and now head for the lockout summer.
  • No matter what happens with the new CBA the Hawks are probably going to have to fill some needs by finding some values in free agency. They sure could use the summer league. “It throws a little bit of a wrench into things,” L.D. said. “We will just have to go with what we have as far as evaluating these guys.”
  • We already know the Hawks are looking to add toughness. What else? “Shooters,” L.D. said. “We need knock-down shooters. Not the guys that are capable of making shots. We need guys that they are open, they get that ball, the opposition is saying, ‘Uh-oh.’ Those type guys. Whether we will find them with these [camp] guys. . . . We had some guys that are pretty good shooters here.”
  • L.D. said the he suspects the camp was “very, very competitive” because the Hawks have so many open spots. He was set to meet with management today to compare notes on the players. “I will let Rick and them know who I like, they …

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Atlanta Hawks: Minicamp Day 1

Notes and quotes from League (Pre) Lockout . . .

Lighty is a live one. (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

Lighty is a live one. (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

  • Before you ask: I didn’t get to see much live action. Media types got to see about 15 minutes of scrimmage at the end of the morning practice. So please hold your “How did [overlooked gem] look?” questions.
  • I didn’t get to see Keith Benson scrimmage at all. When practice was opened, he was with a group that was off lifting weights. He does indeed look thin.
  • The Hawks won’t be able to sign any players out of this camp because they have no open roster spots after signing Magnum Rolle. Their free agents technically don’t become free agents until Friday, but we know why that’s not going to happen.
  • Whenever the Hawks can sign players, it sounds as if they will make a run at David Lighty. The Hawks worked him out before the draft.
  • L.D.: “Lighty is a gutsy defender. He can defend maybe three positions. That is what we are looking for as we move into next summer. I want guys that …

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Atlanta Hawks: Camp candidates (Update: Full roster)

The Hawks are among the teams squeezing in a minicamp for draft picks and “street” free agents before the pending lockout. They haven’t released the full roster of names because they want to make sure the players invited show up but the following guys are expected to attend in addition to second-round draft pick Keith Benson:

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Atlanta Hawks: NBA draft live blog (Update: Hawks select Oakland U. center Keith Benson)

The Hawks are not on the verge of being sold. Josh Smith has not been traded yet, unless Rick Sund made a deal right before I just saw him get some chicken here in the team’s offices.

This is the place to talk about these things and any other developments throughout the night.

Oh, yeah, there’s also the draft. The Hawks have the No. 48 pick.

UPDATE: The Hawks selected Oakland (Mich.) University center Keith Benson.

Here’s his NBADraft.net profile. DraftExpress has an interview with Benson.

Below are some excerpts from Benson’s teleconference with reporters. I’ll update the blog after Sund comes out to talk.

UPDATE II:

  • Sund said the Hawks explored trading into the first round but didn’t want to get into specifics about those discussions, including the reports about Smith and the Timberwolves.
  • Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said the team had Benson rated as early second round. He said there wasn’t much temptation to draft Josh Selby because several other players who were …

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Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith says he’s not eager for trade

Josh Smith is aware of the trade speculation swirling around him. He knows much of that speculation is fueled by the belief that he desperately wants out of Atlanta.

But Smith said today he’s not eager to be traded, though he’s bracing for the possibility.

“I’m not saying I want [a trade] to happen but if it does I will just have to deal with it,” he said.

Smith said the Hawks haven’t told him anything about a trade. But he noted that players aren’t usually privy to the team’s internal deliberations until a deal is going down.

“Right now I’m with the Hawks,” he said. “I think we have a special group. I just want to win.”

There’s no doubt Smith is frustrated about the flak he took from fans, media and Larry Drew over his shot selection. But it still doesn’t seem as if he’s pushing the Hawks to get him out of town.

Meanwhile, the latest rumors have the Magic acquiring Andre Miller and his non-guaranteed 2011-12 deal from Portland and then using that as part of a bigger deal. …

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Atlanta Hawks: Second-round sleepers

The reality is that the Hawks face long odds of drafting a player who ends up being a solid bench player, much less a difference-maker, if they stay at No. 48.

Of course that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“We get guys that go undrafted and become starters,” said Ryan Blake, the NBA’s co-director or scouting. “[J.J.] Barea, Wes Matthews, Landry Fields–it happens a lot. There is a different philosophy in the second round. You know, maybe a guy can come in and be that shooter. You never know what is going to happen.

“Regardless of what you get, you want to give them the opportunity to make that team. Plus, I think there will be some surprises of guys left going into the second round that might fall into their lap. The old international pick can always be a good thing, too, like Ginobili.”

Blake identified some “under the radar guys” that might fit what the Hawks are looking for:

Vernon Macklin
Diante Garrett
Andrew Goudelock
Ben Hansbrough
Nolan Smith
Josh Harrellson
Brad …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: The draft and the ‘core’

I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Room for prospects

To hear Rick Sund and Dave Pendergraft talk today, the Hawks have changed their thinking when it comes to second-round draft picks.

Don’t expect the Hawks to draft another international project and either leave him playing overseas (Sergey Gladyr) or banish him to the far end of the bench/D-League (Pape Sy). More likely they will target a collegiate senior and, Pendergraft says, they expect to buck the odds and find a useful player at No. 48.

“We are not approaching this like there is luck involved,” he said. “We are approaching it like, ‘This is our pick and somebody we expect to make our team.’ And hopefully, if there is an injury, you can plug [the rookie] in there and they will be able to help.”

Perhaps more significantly, the Hawks might finally be to the point where there doesn’t have to be an injury to to the rotation guys for young guys to play. Sure, that might happen by necessity with just seven players under (guaranteed) contract next season and no financial …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘Detroit model’ still a lemon

So if you are trying to be a championship contender, would you rather be GM of the Knicks or the Hawks right about now?

In Atlanta, you have a roster that’s been built on the Detroit model, which is historically flawed because a superstar player has almost always been necessary to win a title. But you do have two All-Stars, an All-Star (if enigmatic) talent, a promising young point guard and a solid veteran point guard.

In New York, you have the opposite problem. The Knicks have two superstar talents and not enough around them. Howard Beck of the New York Times breaks down the dilemma face by the Knicks:

As [Donnie] Walsh noted last week in announcing his decision to step down, “we have the stars” required to be respectable. “They will do what they do, and we’re lucky to have them,” he said. But, he noted, “You need more than that” to contend for championships.

The proof is in the playoffs, where each conference finalist had invaluable supporting players: Joakim …

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