The Hawks plan to sign a center and it almost certainly will be a guy on a 10-day contract rather than a permanent addition. They’ve discussed Kyrylo Fesenko, Erick Dampier and Dan Gadzuric but, as far as I know, they haven’t inquired with those guys yet to gauge their interest in a short-term gig in Atlanta.
I’ve always thought Fesenko, the massive 7-foot Ukranian, is probably the best item in the Big Man Bargain Bin (excluding Joel Przybilla, who has eyes for the Heat or Bulls). But you figured something was up when the Warriors reportedly had an agreement with Fesenko in December but balked at signing him and then passed on him again after Kwame Brown went down last month. Word is the knee injury Fesenko suffered playing for the Ukraine last summer remains a concern; his conditioning and work ethic were suspect before he got hurt and so you have to wonder how much he can give.
But it might be worth it for the Hawks to find out on a 10-day because if Fesenko can give them 8-10 minutes a night he’s a good fit (and he’s only 24-years old, too, so Hawks could get a jump on looking ahead). Fesenko recorded amazing on-court, off-court defensive numbers in Utah: The Jazz allowed 11.91 fewer points per 100 possessions in 2010-11 with Fesenko and 8.68 points fewer in 2009-10 according to basketballvalue.com. Synergy Sports Technology ranked Fesenko ninth in the league in 2010-11 with .71 points per possession allowed (on just 93 possessions used in 53 games, but still). And 82games. com had Fesenko’s opposing PER at 10.4 last season and 12.9 in 2009-10.
In other words, Fesenko has provided an even better Twin Effect than Jason Collins with better rebound and blocks rates (and, to be sure, lots and lots of fouls). Fesenko offers next to nothing offensively but he’s got Twin beat there, too, in large part because he can score on putbacks–1 point per possession on offensive rebounds last season, according to Synergy.
Finally, from my selfish perspective, bringing in Fesenko would at least add some intrigue for the Hawks. Don’t get me wrong: It’s been fun to see Ivan Johnson defying the odds to become a bona fide rotation player. But wouldn’t it be even cooler to see a giant Ukranian taking on Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard this week?
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat