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 available were rated above Selby and those players also better fit the team’s needs.
  • Pendergraft said Benson’s strengths include his athleticism, shot-blocking ability and scoring touch. His weaknesses are his strength, though Pendergraft said Benson is “wiry strong” and could put on some more weight. “I don’t think he will ever be 250 or 260 but he could be 235 or maybe a little bit more,” Pendergraft said. “The trend in the league is is more long, wiry athletic types.”
  • Pendergraft said he’s not concerned with the level of competition Benson faced because Oakland played a tough non-conference schedule. “It’s not like he’s just going to be overwhelmed,” Pendergraft said.
  • Hawks coach Larry Drew said Benson can play power forward and center.

KEITH BENSON

(questions about strength)

“I’ve been out in Vegas working out with the weight trainer there and getting stronger. I’ve put on about five pounds since the Chicago event. I’ve been working out three times a week, working every day to get stronger.”

(potential to add weight)

“I think I have the frame to put on a lot of weight. My game will really increase once I put on that weight and some strength. I think I can put on 20 or more pounds.”

(what he knows about the Hawks, why he thinks he’s a good fit and which Hawks does he look forward to playing with)

“I’m looking forward to playing with Al Horford. He’s developed into the really good ‘bigs’ in this league. I like watching Joe Johnson. They are an athletic team and I think I can contribute to that. They have some youth and like to get up and down. I watched them a lot this year.”

(how much did he weight when he got to Oakland, and what does he weigh now)

“I was 190 when got to Oakland, and 6-9. I grew a couple inches. And I’m about 224 now.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

967 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

June 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

Wow. 6′11 and 217 pounds center. Interesting. He is a good shot blocker though. At Oakland university? Interesting.

SteveW

June 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

Give’um a 2nd pick next season for E’twaun, Sund

J.J.M.

June 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

how much does JaVale McGee weigh?

ryan

June 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

I guess i spoke to soon they blew another pick what a shock thank god this draft is over good night everyone .

Luke Cage

June 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

LOL@you guys, no matter who the Hawks took you guys would bash it LOL, live to Hate LOL!!

BigTimeTECHFan

June 23rd, 2011
11:25 pm

6′11 with 7′4″ wing span

hawks_4_life

June 23rd, 2011
11:25 pm

Four hrs later the chicken eating ends and we pick someone that looks like he lost his share of chicken. Time to bulk this kid up.

Section 303

June 23rd, 2011
11:25 pm

ryan, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Benson can play.

I’ve seen Benson play in person twice, both times against Michigan State. He is good. Willing to bet he sticks. He is a player. Good pick.

CONservative Johnson

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

J.J.M., he has about 40-50 lbs on Screenbean

iCharlieBoy

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

One thing’s for sure, Benson cant be any WORSE of a post player than Josh Smith and Al Horford. Big guys that want to be SFs. What a joke.

hawksfancents95

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

benson is a definite upgrade from powell or collins(besides when we play dwight) he should be able to get us 10 mins a game for smooth at 4 or maybe later in the season some mins at 5. he will be good this year and very dependable the next few years. im so happy with the hawks pick. good draft. ill give the hawks a B. no one else would really help us this upcoming year. we didnt even have to trade up or nothing.

Luke Cage

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

JaVale is only 237lbs

Big Ray

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

Oh well, here’s the plan for this pick to be a success:

1) Put him on the diet Jason Collins was on when we first signed him. You know, the cheeseburger diet.

2) Don’t let him out of the weight room. Put a bed and a refrigerator in there, then lock the door.

3) Slip 2 Ambien into L Drew’s coffee every morning before practice. If that doesn’t work, try Lunesta.

Will

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

If Drew doesn’t screw it up, this kid is a very nice pick. Very polished, just thin.

jim

June 23rd, 2011
11:26 pm

there is a university in oakland?

Big Ray

June 23rd, 2011
11:27 pm

tc

June 23rd, 2011
11:27 pm

Weak pick, never going to see anything out of him……pfffffffffft

Sawyer

June 23rd, 2011
11:28 pm

Oakland is in Detroit. Kid can play, Sund made the correct big man choice. Surprised

SteveW

June 23rd, 2011
11:28 pm

Turns 23 in August.

Lacks lower body strength and passion

I thought we already had Hilton and Rolle

What is LD’s fascination with skinny weak players?

iCharlieBoy

June 23rd, 2011
11:28 pm

That’s Oakland in Oakland County, Michigan in suburban Detroit. Not Oakland, Cali.

Grandad

June 23rd, 2011
11:28 pm

Benson is not a [4], he’s just skinny.
A pore man’s Camby.
He may be a defender one day.
Think Soloman Jones.
The Hawks need to hire him a nutritionist.

Oh yeah, it’s doubtful he helps next year.

Luke Cage

June 23rd, 2011
11:29 pm

He has the potential to be like JaVale McGhee people, all he has to do is add 15-20lbs and thats not hard to do

jim

June 23rd, 2011
11:29 pm

i think there is an oakland in iowa

tc

June 23rd, 2011
11:29 pm

Im Sure some team in europe will take after we are done with him in our d-league

CONservative Johnson

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

Dwight Howard might break Screenbean in half next season (if Screenbean ever sees the court) . . .

SteveW

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

All criticism aside – here’s hoping Benson becomes the next Kevin McHale!

O'Brien

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

Props to techfan and hawksfancents95 who wanted benson.

But isn’t he just Solomon Jones with better shot blocking potential?

I guess that means sund will avoid the FA market when looking for bigs

BigTimeTECHFan

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

Overview: Nickname is Kito …Two-time Summit League Player of the Year (2010, ‘11) … Summit League Defensive Player of the Year (2011) … Named Associated Press All-America honorable mention in final two seasons (2010, ‘11) … Ranked as the nation’s No. 5 center by Rivals.com … Summit League record holder in blocked shots (371) … Three-time All-Summit League first team honoree (2009-11) … All-time school record holder in defensive rebounds (772) … Became just the second player in Summit League and school history to surpass 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds … Ranks second all-time in the league with 1,103 rebounds and 13th in scoring with 1,903 … Is second all-time in school history in games started (126) and games played (135) … Posted a school record 49 double-doubles in his career, 38 over the last two seasons … Invited as 1 of 14 collegiate players (5 mid-major players) to Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy in summer 2009 … Named as the Lou Henson Award winner, given to the nation’s top mid-major player (2010) … Is part of the winningest senior class in program history with 91 wins.

2010-11 HIGHLIGHTS
▪ Named The Summit League Player and Defensive Player of the Year
▪ Named Summit League Tournament MVP after leading OU to second straight title
▪ Posted 21.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game at the league tournament
▪ Garnered All-American honors by CollegeInsider.com and Associated Press (honorable mention)
▪ Selected to the CollegeInsider.com Defensive All-American Team
▪ Led The Summit League with a school record 20 double-doubles, finishing seventh in the NCAA
▪ Led the league for the second straight season and finished second in the country with 3.8 blocks per game
▪ Broke single-season school record with 127 blocked shots
▪ Surpassed his own single-season school record with 261 defensive rebounds
▪ Shot 55 percent from the floor, No. 31 in the NCAA
▪ Three-time Summit League Player of the Week (Nov. 28, Dec. 20, Jan. 24)
▪ Named Summit League Athlete of the Month for December
▪ Averaged a double-double for the season with 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game
▪ Recorded season’s first double-double with a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds at West Virginia (11/12), blocking two shots and went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe; Took a career-high 21 shots in the game, making nine of them
▪ Tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds in the second half at WVU
▪ In a premier matchup against preseason All-American JaJaun Johnson, posted his second double-double with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds (11/21)
▪ Had one of the greatest games in school history versus Austin Peay (11/27), coming close to a quadruple-double with 22 points, career-high 22 rebounds and career-high seven assists to go with six blocks
▪ His 17 defensive rebounds broke a single-game school record and the 22 boards is the fifth-most in Summit League history and the most by any player at OU in the Division I era
▪ Finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots versus No. 7/8 Michigan State (12/11) for his seventh double-double
▪ Showcased his talents at No. 7 Tennessee (12/14) with another double-double, finishing with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds, including two 3-pointers
▪ Blocked Oral Roberts’ Dominique Morrison’s game-tying layup attempt off the backboard that led to a fast break layup and helped OU defeat ORU (12/30) as he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots
▪ Posted his 11th double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, adding five blocks versus Western Illinois (1/8)
▪ Broke all-time league record in career blocked shots (320), swatting three at South Dakota State (1/20) and finished with 28 points and 11 boards
▪ Tallied a game-high 21 and 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double at North Dakota State (1/22), blocking five shots and had a career-high tying three steals
▪ Scored a season-high 30 points and season-high tying seven blocks versus Centenary (1/29), making a career-best 13 field goals on 17 attempts
▪ In his last game inside the O’rena, tallied a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds versus South Dakota State (2/19)
▪ Collected his 18th double-double with 26 points and 14 boards at UMKC (2/24)
▪ Tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots in 30 minutes in regular-season finale at Southern Utah (2/26), going 2-for-2 from three

Luke Cage

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

instead of bashing the pick let me hear at 48 with no trades who you guys woulda taken???

jim

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

we should have picked selby

tyger

June 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

Sund got it right, this kid protects the rim. Camby and Chandler were bean poles, look at em now. Chandler won that series with his length, effort and multiple offensive rebounds. We need that kind of bench help. We weren’t going to get a starter at 48 no matter what, so get longer and tougher. Keep Collins, Pachulia for girth.

Grandad

June 23rd, 2011
11:31 pm

About Benson:

I left out one thing; he’s a pure [5].
[just skinny]

CONservative Johnson

June 23rd, 2011
11:31 pm

He’s supposed to be JaVale McGee who was taken 30 picks earlier in a much stronger draft? I am not believing that one until I see it . . .

iCharlieBoy

June 23rd, 2011
11:31 pm

Horrible Pick

DC Hawk

June 23rd, 2011
11:32 pm

I guess thats the best we could have done with that pick. I think Sund, Drew, and ASG all need to go. We have owners that dont care, have a GM that is happy with a mediocre team, and a coach that cant coach. I cant believe we are going into next season with the same team.

jason

June 23rd, 2011
11:32 pm

He needs to add some muscle

Luke Cage

June 23rd, 2011
11:32 pm

Tyson Chandler came into the league as a bean pole with NO GAME and anchored took a soft team to a Championship, Camby is still in high demand after all these years, and McGhee is a defensive presence in the middle, so a bean pole has a chance, way to welcome him to the Hawks fellas.

M

June 23rd, 2011
11:32 pm

Who said the fans in the ATL don’t support the Hawks…stayed up way past my bed time…to see freaking 48th pick…Hey, I like the pick…it was in a area of need.

However, I have to admit I don’t know swatch about the guy we drafted…at lease he a shot blocker…but 210…we gon have to put a couple of rocks in his pocket.lol

iCharlieBoy

June 23rd, 2011
11:33 pm

Thrashers to Winnipeg
Hawks to Las Vegas

tc

June 23rd, 2011
11:33 pm

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT….thats all I have to say, over and out….

kwooden

June 23rd, 2011
11:33 pm

He’s the guy I was hoping for. Nice pick!

Najeh Davenpoop

June 23rd, 2011
11:34 pm

“So you don’t think we could start Tyler next year?”

I don’t think anyone in this second round can start for a good team next year.

Mike is back

June 23rd, 2011
11:34 pm

Hey that last blog should have said Mike is Back…not M.

jason

June 23rd, 2011
11:34 pm

next season if he’s given atleast 15 mins per game…. 7 ppg 7-8 rpg

O'Brien

June 23rd, 2011
11:35 pm

Nothing against Benson, but I will be surprised if drew plays Benson over rolle and Armstrong.

Its awesome to see teams buying draft picks. The hawks only sell picks (and hockey teams).

BigTimeTECHFan

June 23rd, 2011
11:35 pm

Section 303

June 23rd, 2011
11:36 pm

Benson can play. The first time I saw him, in December of ‘09, he almost led Oakland to a victory of Michigan State in Breslin. That was an MSU team that won the Big Ten and went to a Final Four, by the way.

He has good post moves and plays good D. He is undersized right now, but that can be changed. He would not be the first skinny center to have a good NBA career. He can play. Too bad there will not be a Summer League for him to show some of you what he has.

CONservative Johnson

June 23rd, 2011
11:36 pm

Luckily the Hawks can’t really be moved from Atlanta until 2028, because the ASG would sell them to another city in a NY minute . . .

SteveW

June 23rd, 2011
11:37 pm

MC- I wish you hadn’t linked to NBADraft.net – depressed me about our pick

No strength

No leadership

Not NBA ready

MC, why’d you do it!!!

CONservative Johnson

June 23rd, 2011
11:38 pm

Screenbean Benson looks like he barely gets off the ground (even for a big man) . . .