Archive for June, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Danny Ferry hired as GM

Update: The Hawks today hired Danny Ferry to be the team’s president of basketball operations and general manager.

The Hawks signed Ferry to a six-year contract.

“My family and I are thrilled to join the Hawks organization and Atlanta community,” Ferry said in a statement. “There were many components that made this the right fit for me but clearly my confidence in the ownership group and their dedication to building a championship-caliber franchise was most important. They are committed to building with the right people and investing in critical areas for development; both essential elements if we want to create sustained success. “

Ferry succeeds Rick Sund, Atlanta’s GM since 2008. Ferry said he would work alongside Sund over the next month, after which Sund could remain with the organization in a some role. Sund has expressed an interest in remaining with the Hawks as a consultant.

Ferry said he would collaborate with Sund and the rest of the basketball staff in preparation …

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Atlanta Hawks: New bench same as the old bench?

The Hawks liked their bench players so much last season they are hoping they can lure them back for 2012-13.

“When we go forward I would anticipate–because our bench was so good for us last year [and] in our exit meetings with our veterans to a man said, ‘Can we get our same bench back?’–we are definitely going to make an effort to do that,” Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said. “Because, as you know, that was one of the deeper benches I’ve been involved with. It helped us sustain the injuries. I think they enjoyed the experience.

“I feel like the guys who came off the bench felt they had an identity. I think they felt appreciated by the starters. I think we would be their first choice. Now, I think a lot of things play into that but we talked to all of them and they had a good experience. ”

All of the 2011-12 reserves except for Ivan Johnson (the Hawks plan to extend him a qualifying offer to retain salary-matching rights) will be unrestricted free agents next month: …

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Atlanta Hawks: Prospect focus: Michigan State’s Draymond Green

The book on Draymond Green says he’s a high-energy, high-character banger with a long wingspan and soft hands. He’s a good passer, solid shooter and strong rebounder.

“I like him a lot,” Larry Drew said. “All of his intangibles he brings to the table, he is going to make someone a fine player. I don’t think there are enough players like him, that bring a little bit of everything to the table. He is certainly that type player, that caliber [of] player.”

Still, Green is 6-7, not very athletic and 22-years old. That means he’s probably too small to be a banger in the NBA, may not suited to play on the wing and probably isn’t going to get a whole lot better.

Green makes the case that being a four-year college player gives him an edge in maturity, both mentally and physically. He said that’s how he managed to be one of the best post players in D1 basketball in spite of his limitations.

“Every year I’ve learned to use my body more against guys with more length,” he said. “Just …

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Atlanta Hawks: Prospect focus: Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins

The first time Larry Drew saw John Jenkins play live, during a workout in Santa Barbara, the Vanderbilt guard didn’t shoot well. The second time Drew saw him, at the Chicago pre-draft camp, Jenkins was “just OK” shooting it.

That changed during Jenkins’ workout at Philips Arena.

“He came here and he shot the hell out of it,” Drew said. “He has an NBA skill. He’s a guy that, watching him play and the way teams play him, it’s kind of that J.J. Redick feel. If he’s on the court, you better be with him at all times. It would be great to have a guy like that.”

Jenkins’ shooting display during his Hawks workout was no fluke. He was an elite shooter in college, posting the best effective field-goal percentage among D1 perimeter players.

Jenkins will have to prove he can do enough other things well enough to help offensively once defenders crowd his jump shot–presumably John Hollinger’s draft rater doesn’t like Jenkins (Insider) because of concerns about his ability to do so. His

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Atlanta Hawks: Prospect focus: Baylor’s Quincy Miller

Baylor forward Quincy Miller is the highest-rated draft prospect who’s scheduled to work out for the Hawks, according to DraftExpress.com. He’d probably be ranked higher if not for the torn left ACL he suffered in December 2010.

David Aldridge reports the knee is a major concern for teams. He quoted an anonymous Central Division executive as saying: “He needs to spend these couple of months actually working out and rehabbing, and he never did it. He clearly never rehabbed. The atrophy in his leg was incredible. If he gets his leg strength back, he’s Durant-like in his ability to get a shot off. He’s 6-10 and he can snap his shot off with no trouble.”

The Hawks’ medical and basketball people have yet to meet to scrutinize Miller’s medical history in detail. But Miller was said to be moving better during his workout over the weekend than he did during his one season at Baylor.

The Hawks always covet versatile players and they aren’t sure if Miller could play power forward in …

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Atlanta Hawks: Assistant GM Dave Pendergraft on the draft

Hawks general manager Rick Sund gives much of the responsibility for the NBA draft to assistant GM Dave Pendergraft and director of basketball operations Mike McNieve.

Some excerpts from Pendergraft’s chat with reporters:

On having lots of open roster spots:

“That’s what I tell the [draft-eligible] players. Come July 1 we will have only six guys under contract. In a perfect world our 23rd pick becomes a rotational player and our 43rd pick will be talented enough to join our roster. That’s the best-case scenario. We feel like we will be able to get a good player at both positions.”

On chances of getting rotational-quality player with 23rd pick:

“That’s our hope. At 23 there are some guys that have potential and you have to wait on it and then there are several guys that might not have as much potential but you can put them in the game the first two or three years, whether it is four-year players or physically they are more mature. It’s just going to depend on who’s there. We …

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Atlanta Hawks: Rick Sund likely to stay but future role uncertain

Hawks general manager Rick Sund is likely to remain with the franchise after his contract expires at the end of this month but his future role in the front office still isn’t clear.

Sund said he’s still in discussions with Hawks co-owners Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. about continuing to work for the Hawks in some capacity beyond the draft.

“All I’m going to say is Bruce and I are kicking around a few ideas and when something gets totally resolved we will let you know,” Sund said today after the team worked out draft prospects.

Sund wouldn’t elaborate beyond that statement. He has continued in his GM role as the Hawks prepare for the draft.

It’s believed Sund has expressed interest in an advisory role with the Hawks. He also has considered retirement so he can spend more time in the Seattle area, where he still owns a home.

The Hawks reportedly denied the Trail Blazers permission to interview Sund after Atlanta’s season ended; Portland eventually hired former Clippers …

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Atlanta Hawks: Draft prospects scheduled for workouts

The Hawks released a list of prospects scheduled to participate in workouts at Philips Arena from June 16-26 in preparation for the June 28 NBA draft. The Hawks own the No. 23 and 43 overall picks.

Below is the schedule, along with links to the players’ DraftExpress.com profiles. The sessions are closed to media but the Hawks said they would make players available for interviews following their workouts.

The Hawks have already evaluated prospects at pre-draft camps in New Jersey, Minnesota and Chicago.

June 16

Kris Joseph, F, Syracuse, Sr.

Doron Lamb, G, Kentucky, So.

Quincy Miller, F, Baylor, Fr.

June 17

Jared Cunningham, G, Oregon State, Jr.

John Jenkins, G, Vanderbilt, Jr.

June 19

Draymond Green, F, Michigan State, Sr.

Darius Miller, F, Kentucky, Sr.

June 20

Will Barton, G, Memphis, So.

William Buford, G, Ohio State, Sr.

Eric Griffin, F, Campbell, Sr.

Khris Middleton, F, Texas A & M, Jr.

Jeffery Taylor, F, Vanderbilt, Sr.

Hollis Thompson, F, Georgetown, Jr.

June 21

Miles …

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Atlanta Hawks: Elite talent, not ‘Detroit model,’ still best path to title

Assuming the favored Heat beat the Celtics tomorrow and advance to the Finals, it will add to the mountain of evidence suggesting the best way to build a championship team is to acquire elite players.

Yeah, I know: radical statement. But before you lump me with Captain Obvious, remember it’s at odds with the “Detroit model” currently favored by the Hawks.

My view is that there are two kinds of NBA teams–those with top 10 players, and those without–and everything an organization does should be in an attempt to be the former rather than the latter. The Hawks’ view is that they can build a team with three not-quite-elite talents and keep knocking at the door until they become championship contenders.

That’s assuming the Hawks do have aspirations of winning an NBA championship, something that’s not always clear. The franchise often seems more preoccupied with dinging its critics and demanding credit for its successes (and there are many) than raising the bar. That perception is …

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Atlanta Hawks: Season Review: Erick Dampier

Season reviews presented in alphabetical order . . .

When I think back to Erick Dampier’s 2012 season with the Hawks, three memories stand out.

The first is from his introduction at Hawks practice on Feb. 9. Somebody asked Dampier if he thought his career might be finished before he got the call because, well, he was 36-years old.

“I didn’t really think that,” he said flatly. “With all of the injuries at some point some team would need my service.”

You won’t hear many 6-5 guys say that. This was the latest example of how cool it must feel to be 7-feet tall, motor coordinated and skilled at basketball.

Dampier also was asked if he’d been working out back home in Jackson, Miss., during his idle time: “I’ve been working out but I wouldn’t say it’s basketball shape.”

You had to be there to really appreciate it. The “working out” needed air quotes.

The second thing I will always remember about Dampier is that he ended up on the injury report in April in spite of not playing a …

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