Horford’s already a leader in the clubhouse

There’s a problem with combines and scouting reports. There’s a problem when teams are swayed by 40 times and vertical leaps and resumes that read, “Four-time All-Global,” and they’re moved to scream on draft day: “We’ve found our savior! Get me marketing!”

Nothing can tell you what’s in a kid’s cranium.

The 199th selection turns into Tom Brady. The No. 1 pick mutates into Kwame Brown. The best general managers have to be lucky.

The Hawks are fortunate. They guessed right two years ago with the third pick in the NBA draft. It turned out to be Al Horford.


Who imagined Al Horford could be a centerpiece -- and a leader -- so quickly?

Who imagined Al Horford could be a centerpiece -- and a leader -- so quickly?

“Only a very small percentage of young guys can come into this league and lead,” Joe Johnson said. “The ones who do usually are the focal point of their team. Al’s different.”


Horford is different because he’s leading and he’s not the Hawks’ offensive centerpiece, like Chris Paul in New Orleans or LeBron James in Cleveland. He’s different because he’s 23 years old, and not nearly acting his age.

He’s different because he’s a second-year pro and leading this team — often by example, sometimes by his words, even in the face of a veteran teammate.

Yes, that has happened.

How many second-year pros do that?

“I did it at Florida when I felt I had to,” Horford said Thursday. “I did it in high school. Here, I’ve done it a couple of times.”

Anticipating the next question, he quickly veered left: “I’m not going to name names. But if I see that somebody is not necessarily putting in the effort or is slacking off and it’s noticeable, I’m going to say something. Usually I’m very mellow. But sometimes I think something needs to be said, even if I put it out there in front of the whole team, even to the point where the guys might be mad at me for a day or two. I think it’s for the best.”

It’s dangerous to make such proclamations so early in a player’s career. But in terms of having the whole package — maturity, leadership and athletic ability at such a young age — Horford is for the Hawks what Matt Ryan is for the Falcons. The franchises will go as they go.

After extended mid-season hiccups, the Hawks are rolling again. They won their seventh straight Thursday night, 95-87 over Dallas at Philips Arena.  They are on pace for 49 wins, their most in 11 seasons.

Horford is only the team’s fifth leading scorer at 11.9 points per game. But he has stepped up his offensive game in the post, averaging 16 points in the past 13 games (four times over 20 in that stretch). He also leads the team in rebounding.

Strange. But on a team with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby, Horford has evolved into arguably the Hawks’ most indispensable player. They are 35-19 with him in the lineup, but only 6-9 in games he has missed entirely or played limited minutes because of injury.

“It’s pretty much up to him what he wants to do in this league,” said Bibby, who’s in his 11th season.

Among the team’s young core, there is lingering debate about who Smith is and what Marvin Williams can be. But there is no debate about Horford. He transitioned to the NBA better than most rookies last season, or any season. He credits that to staying at Florida a year longer than he had to.

“I didn’t feel I was mentally ready for the NBA grind,” he said. “Then being part of a championship team, I know what it felt like to be chased all the time. It was good for me.”

Unfortunately in sports, the answers about an athlete don’t come until after direct deposit. With Horford, the answers came early.

75 comments Add your comment


March 19th, 2009
8:27 pm

Since day One, AL is the real deal.
Instead of HOPING to win, Horford EXPECTS to win!
Big difference in ATL…


March 19th, 2009
9:09 pm



March 19th, 2009
9:39 pm

Um, Duane, I don’t think so.

Horford is the kind of player that leads teams to championships. It’s funny how the media loves to praise Durant and Oden, yet it’s Horford who will consistently be in the playoffs. He was the biggest reason that the culture in Atlanta has changed.

As a matter of fact, I think between Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford the Hawks have a nucleus that the team can build around to win in the future.


March 19th, 2009
9:41 pm

brilliant analysis from Duane. (yes I am being sarcastic)
Horford has what no other hawk does and that is a pedigree of winning. One of the most impressive young guys in the game. Glad to have him on the team even though he was a gator! Once was lost but now is found…

Baracked the vote!

March 19th, 2009
9:59 pm

Schultz, thanks for stating the obvious and chiming in on what Sekou has been telling us for most of the season..that pulitzer or putzer in your case, is right around the corner.


March 19th, 2009
10:22 pm

Doesn’t surprise me a bit because Al was a model citizen here at Florida and was the quiet leader on a 2 time National Championship team. Al always played with intensity and tenacity but with a big smile on his face. You could just tell how much he loved the game and his team. EVERYONE here is proud of the person he has become, we really enjoy seeing him when he has that rare chance to come back and we will always love big AL!


March 19th, 2009
10:23 pm

Like I’ve said before, if the Hawks had drafted Chris Paul they would not have been able to draft Al Horford. Not drafting Paul was a blessing in disguise. Unintended consequences!!!

Ted Striker

March 19th, 2009
10:23 pm

I wouldn’t pull for UF if they lost an engine on their team plane — but I do appreciate Al Horford and Erin Andrews.


March 19th, 2009
10:37 pm

You are the most divisive writer I know. That quarterback who hands off to Norwood and Turner is not in the same league, sport or celebrity as Hartford. The fal… Cons could easily win without him. There are dozens of quarterbacks that can hand off or throw a four yard out to Norwood. You make a poor choice in analogy, Shultz. Oh course I understand why you do it. You are still trying to build some camaraderie for the fal…cons, to recover from the loss of fan base attributed to how they persecuted Michael Vick. Of course you fanned the fire as much as you could and are very much responsible, for the lynch mob that followed.
The Hawks are good and work, play, and socialize well together. They really don’t need a divisive article pitting Harford against the team. They don’t need a king of the hill or an enforcer in the locker room because the play well together and Woodson is great and keeping order and leadership…
Why do you continue trying to divide the Hawks? Are you jealous because your bulldogs with Mark-Glamorboy-Richt can’t win the big games and the fal…cons have loss support since you and the Bubba posse Lynched Vick?
You’ve hated on Woodson so much that he publicly commented about the negative press, now you want to test the testosterone of the young players in the locker room by trying to instigate some king bull attitude.
Does it hurt to hate so much?
Give it a rest.
Here s an excellent article with a positive unifying spirit. See if you can t emulate this and learn to build up. You’ve already proven you can tear down!!

Focused Hawks look to extend win streak
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, March 18, 2009


March 19th, 2009
10:53 pm

Hawks Dont need an enforcer in the locker room Shultz, they work hard, not because of being intimidated by Horford, but because Woodson pushes them.They believe in each other and themselves. They want to win, so they work hard for it.

Just that simple.

They do however need a low post enforcer. Did you count the number of turnovers ZAZA made in the Dallas game.Shultz once wrote that time in the league equated to players getting better. What happen to Pachulia? He is just a turnover waiting to happen.
Can we trade him for Marcus Camby?
Can we get SEKOU SMITH exclusive rights to cover the Hawks?


March 19th, 2009
10:55 pm


What NBA player would you compare Al Horford to?


March 19th, 2009
10:55 pm

Enter your comments here


March 19th, 2009
11:23 pm

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle – “[Hawks coach Mike Woodson] has done a great job,” Carlisle said before the Hawks-Mavericks game Thursday night at Philips Arena. “To have come into this at the very beginning of this, when these guys were a completely young group and to still be here four and a half years later and have the team making an improvement on the record every year is a great accomplishment.

“They are a team that’s come of age. They’ve matured. They’ve grown together. They’ve learned about sacrifice and learned what it means to win and how to win. Those things aren’t easy. Mike certainly deserves a lot of credit for it. But the players have stuck together through difficult periods as well. And that’s one of the reasons you do make progress the way they have.”

My point exactly, Jeff Shultz!

Ted Striker

March 19th, 2009
11:26 pm

Mister Truth-Serum: Not sure what else is in your ’serum’ but you may want to ask your doctor to lower the dosage of speed.

Darrin "The Vent King"

March 19th, 2009
11:44 pm

I’m a Gator fan so this is no surprise to me. I saw it in Horf at Florida and felt his spirit for doing what it takes and then some is exactly what this FRANCHISE needs, not just the team. A guy who expects and plays, not hopes, to win. We here in Atlanta have had too much of the latter and we’ve had players AND front office types who were too much worried about their own “shine”. Here with Horf, he is about the “team” shining and he carries himself in that way. So much so, that other players on the team have no choice but to respect that. It was that way in college, probably that way in high school, and now that way here in the pros. He makes the right pass when it needs to be made, he goes after rebounds like his life is on the line, dives after loose balls, and leads by example- not intimidation (whatever that’s about). He is the same cohesive type “glue” to this team he was at UF. While others like Noah, Brewer, and Taurean Green was getting all the pub, he was the one they ALL deferred to when things got hot in the kitchen and they will all tell you that. The Hawks are fortunate to have him and as a Hawks fan I’m glad he’s here!


LL Cool Scott

March 20th, 2009
12:35 am

Hahahaha!!! Truth-serum, are you smoking some crystal meth? That was the most rambling, incoherent, nonsensical, and unintentionally hilarious thing I’ve read in a while. Thank you for providing us all with lots of unintentional comedy, my friend.


March 20th, 2009
12:39 am

Suprise!! The Hawks win 7 straight and Jeff writes something positive about the Hawks. Lest we forget 2 weeks ago it was all doom and gloom, about Josh Smith and Mike Woodson not being best friends. Isn’t it funny how winning cures everything, even nearsighted sports writers.


March 20th, 2009
12:44 am

Truth Serum: While I think that Schultz is a little obvious in his articles, and quick to criticize local teams, how you gonna say Matt Ryan isnt the man. He does have similar intangibles to Horford in terms of leading a team. The Falcs would definitely NOT have won all those games w/o him (did you catch that Bears game where he did ok?) Like I said, criticize the author, but Matty Ice is your ballin friend!

Vincent Vega

March 20th, 2009
1:34 am

Didn’t Sekou Smith already write this article last week?

Anyway, more Hawks:


Dr. Warren

March 20th, 2009
8:09 am

Let’s see Horford score more before we annoint him such a savior. NBA elite players SCORE, usually 20 or more. The Hawks are still fragile offensively, and Woodson’s stale offensive schemes have a lot to do with it.


March 20th, 2009
8:13 am

this was a great article when Sekou wrote it a couple of weeks ago.


March 20th, 2009
9:01 am

Can you please set this blog up so I can ignore “truth-serum”!


March 20th, 2009
9:19 am

Horford is the real deal. Sheldon Williams should pay attention to see what could have been.

Hawks will spend the next 3 years undoing the mistakes of Billy Knight and the Spirit group. Idiots!


March 20th, 2009
9:26 am

The Hawks are an excellent TEAM. Horford is not an enforcer in the locker room. He is a very skilled player and a team player, an excellent power forward. Josh Smith is a great Small forward; JJ, Bibby and Flip Murray give us a formidable back court. THE HAWKS ARE A TEAM EFFORT. They don’t need a bully to make sure everyone is working their hardest in the Gym as Shultz suggested (for those that have limited ability to read between the lines). They have a will to work hard not because they need to be intimidated but because they ALL want to win. Horford, who I think is a great piece, doesn’t want to win anymore that Flip Murray. Joe Johnson wants to win just as much as Josh Smith and Mike Woodson wants to win just as much as Al Horford. What makes this team a winner in addition to talent is the camaraderie. Unity. What would make this team a super team is the addition of a low post presence that could be an enforcer against other teams. Pachulia is a liability as center.

Yes! Sekou has written a slew of inspiring articles about the hawks. I’ve counted two this week. I tell you he writes with wisdom, and inspiration. Clearly he knows basketball and how to unite a city behind a team, Shultz.
March 20th, 2009
12:44 am
I appreciate your view. Some others think that way also. The reality is when you have an inexperienced quarterback with limited talent or ability, you play ball control offense. That means running the ball and quick five yards outs. That insures you will be in just about every game. Did it escape your knowledge that Turner was runner-up to league MVP….Reality is it doesn’t take much talent to hand off to Turner and Norwood and throw the five yard out. Check that guy’s yard per pass completion ratio and perhaps you will see past your emotion. He’s not the talent Michael Vick was or is. As for the Chicago game, even a broke clock is right twice a day….and no, I did not watch the game because like many falcons fans, the persecution of Vick saddened me. Like many fans I feel betrayed by the NFL, who put gage orders on the team as they tried to stand behind Vick. They should have let the players speak their mind. Author Blank prove to me a lack of loyalty and integrity. The press, particularly Shultz, kept fanning the devisive flames of hatred and unforgiveness. There is nothing he can do to make me drop my loyalty and act as if the falcon organization showed class during the situation. No, they did not. I did however enjoy the falcons going BELLY-UP in the first round. No super quarterback there!!
But the Hawks are a very good team that the city is behind; they have no skeletons in their closet. They have a class staff and team, great announcers and in Sekou a great writer.

LL Cool Scott March 20th, 2009
12:35 am
Ted Striker
March 19th, 2009
11:26 pm

I wanted to comment on your references but I could not find any substance to what you were saying. I understand your perspective; you find it difficult to communicate with limited education and resources. You have so much hatred bottled up in a dysfunctional mind; my prayers go out to you. If I don’t respond to you futuristically I am not ignoring you, I’m just holding out a moment of silence in hopes that you might be healed.

Have a nice day.

Jeff Schultz

March 20th, 2009
10:12 am

Baracked: Sorry, next time I’ll try to state the non-obvious. Maybe that will get me closer to the Pulitzer.

Just Call Me Champ: Al is a great guy. Regarding Florida, it was kind of funny in the locker room yesterday when he was telling me how upset he is about the NCAA tournament because Florida’s not in it and he can’t talk smack.

Brad: I’m not sure I would want to go down that Chris Paul road. But I get your point.

Ted: Sorry, I’m not posting any pictures of Erin Andrews.

Truth: You have a nice day.

Reggie: Good question: The thing about Horford is that his game is still evolving. His offensive game is at another level this year compared to last year and you’d think it’s only going to improve. The only problem trying to find a comparable is he’s really playing out of position at center. I know somebody the other day compared him to Buck Williams, who had a great career at New Jersey (after Maryland). I like that one. Buck actually was greater scoring threat early in his career, but he ended up average 12.8 pts and 10 rebs and he was a solid guy.

Wes: I didn’t write doom-and-gloom. I wrote that if Mike Woodson and Josh Smith kept feuding, it was going to hold this team back. Do you dispute that? Both obviously have put their differences aside since the last blowup and the team has moved forward. They haven’t had a blowup since. The team has won. That’s not just a coincidence. You have something else you want to say now, big guy?

Truth: You still have a nice day.


Jeff Schultz

March 20th, 2009
11:07 am

*** Repeating Posting Standards To All Readers *** I’ve had to delete a comment because of profanity and/or innuendo that won’t be tolerated. All comments, whether they’re positive or negative, whether they’re attacking me or each other, will stand. This is an open forum. Debate is good and healthy, even if you disagree with somebody. But there is a line and I’m pretty sure you know where that line is. Profane comments will be deleted, and if they persist, a reader can be blocked from posting. Thanks. Jeff


March 20th, 2009
11:33 am

Only an individual with a very low level of intelligence would try to use an article about Al Horford as an excuse to berate the Falcons for drafting a QB since their previous QB was incarcerated on felony charges. Nice job, genius.


March 20th, 2009
11:56 am

I’ll be the first to admit that I wanted Noah instead of Horford two years ago. What in the world was I thinking???? Since Al’s first few games last year I knew I was very wrong. Horford plays ball the way I like it—fundamentals, fundamentals and more fundamentals. The only thing that makes him happy is a win–he rebounds like a mad-man, makes the right pass virtually every time, can get a rebound and dribble to the middle on a break as good as any big man I’ve ever seen, his 10 to 12 foot jumper is getting better every game and he is always encouraging his teammates while he’s in or out of a game. I would say he’s the best basketball player (MVP) on this team hands down. He has a tremendous basketball IQ and rarely makes the same mistake twice.

I do think he is playing out of position like many of you–but for playing out of position he;s playing center better than most true centers in the east. Other than Howard in Orlando and maybe a couple of others–I would take an out of position Horford any day.

Our team is so freaking good at home that I know we can beat anyone in Philips. But Saturday’s game with the Cavs will be tough. I hope the Hawks don;t sweat a loss too much if it happens–but if they some how find a way to win this game it could really springboard them into something really big. Never the less, this seven game home win streak was great to watch–I’ve been watching them since the early 80’s and seen some good stuff–but this streak at home ranks up there with just about any other moment in Hawk history for me…they beat some really good teams and showed to me that they probably won;t get to the Finals this year–but they’ve got a lot heart and fight in them and they’ll truly be a tough out in the Eastern Conference.

First the Falcons, now the Hawks playing really good–can the Braves carry over a great spring into April? I hope so….GO HAWKS.



March 20th, 2009
12:13 pm

I don’t know why the conclusion has to be that the Hawks were lucky. Maybe this time they should get some credit for doing a good job. At the time, they certainly took stick from some quarters for taking Horford–why were they taking yet another power forward? why weren’t they taking a point guard? why didn’t they pick Conley? Maybe on this occasion management actually did better than all those “experts”.


March 20th, 2009
12:14 pm

Mr Shultz,

Horford was a very solid pick. No doubt about that. I think the Hawks are the last team in professional sports that should get a pat on the back for one good pick out of the last 24 years. When I think of Hawks’ first round picks, it’s like the who’s who of what the heck were they thinking. Let me see some names of first round picks since around 86. Dallys Comegys, Roy Marble, Ed Gray, Adam Keefe, Priest Lauderdale, Rashown Mccleod, Rumeal Robinson, Douglass Edwards, Sheldon Williams. Those are just the names I can think of off the the top of my head. Of course you have Marvin Williams instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams and the Sheldon Williams instead of Brandon Roy. After the early 80s picks of Doc Rivers, Kevin Willis and Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks franchise went through a quarter century of ridiculously horrible picks. I grant them that for much of the time between the mid 80s to late 90s, the Hawks had decent to good teams and were usually picking mid to late first round or had no picks due to trades. But still.
I can really only look at three picks that were solid picks over the last 25 years. One was Jason Terry, Josh Smith and Horford. Well, I’d probably put Josh Childress as a decent pick as well.

The Hawks drafting isn’t their only problem. They get dominated in every trade they make recently. In the 90s they actually did a decent job. Rumeal Robinson for Mookie Blaylock was a steal, Kevin Willis for Steve Smith and Grant Long was great deal for the Hawks. Those two deals gave the Hawks one of the best backcourts of the 90s.

Their recent deals have been so lop sided it is folly. The Shariff Abdur Rahimm deal has to be one of the worst ever. They give up their first round pick (Pau Gasol), Lorenzen Wright, who they gave up a first rounder to get and another guard who I can’t think of the name but was first rounder they Hawks had picked up. So, three first round picks for Shariff Abdur Rahimm. Really bad. Now, I really like Joe Johnson, but how many 1st round picks did they give away to sign a guy who was a restricted free agent? Two or three? The Suns were not going to re-sign him for the huge salary the Hawks were paying. That would have made him the highest paid player on the Suns over Stoudamire and Marrion and their PG. If you thought they still might match the offer, go up even more and put it out of their mind. The Suns played the Hawks and got first round draft picks for a player they were going to have to let go.

I guess I am raining on the parade here about the Hawks pick. Horford was a solid pick but, in my opinion, the obvious one for the draft position they were at. I’m not going to pat a franchise on the back for one great 1st round pick out of 25.

Mr Shultz simply put, if you wrote one good to great article out of every 25 and the rest were below average to completely horrible, do you think you’d be a sports writer for very long?…:)


March 20th, 2009
12:27 pm

You are such a coward, never willing to stand behind what you have written… Delete that… Block that…


March 20th, 2009
12:32 pm

JSS, I got your Oscar Mayer weiner right here. Bite it.

Rock on, Schultzie. Al is the real deal and thank goodness they got him. I agree that he is their MVP (they also need Bibby and heaven help them next year if they lose Bibby this off-season).


March 20th, 2009
12:51 pm

Im a very knowledge Hawks fan and I know a ton more than the average Hawk fan out there. Ive been following the team since the days of PISTOL PETE MARAVICH. I know this may come as a shock to some, but if it happens you can say you heard it from me first, I BELIEVE THE HAWKS WILL WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR. They came real close last year but couldnt close the deal because of lack of focus in game 7 against Boston. This year, the Hawks are sprinting through the last phase of the NBA schedule. They just breezed through their homestand at 7-0. Of course, they will be thoroughly tested in the last few weeks of the regular season as they will have to face Boston twice, Orlando, Lakers, and Cavaliers surely the cream of the crop of the NBA. Now watch the Hawks as they (the cream) will rise to the top. I believe that the Hawks will show the NBA starting this Saturday at 1:00 against Cleveland at the Q, which team (Atlanta) has been lurking in the shadows ready to strike quickly, early and often as they send shockwaves through the league. Here they come, the Atlanta Hawks are ready to make their move on the league and on the Larry O’Brien trophy. See you at the Highlight Factory!


March 20th, 2009
1:13 pm

March 20th, 2009
11:33 am
I appreciate you for….Voicing your opinion. Perhaps you should read the article and see that Shultz drew a reference to the Quarterback position with the falcons and the success of Horford and the Hawks. I know its easy to not read, respond with your emotions and be adamant with your view. Let me encourage you to read.

I do however agree with you that Vick was incarcerated for a felony, although the crime was a misdemeanor 2 months before Vick was arrested and the laws measure had changed. Most people, agree that the punishment did not fit the crime. It was his first conviction. I think Vick has served whatever punishment levied against him and deserves a shot at his job back. I believe he is now 28 or 29 and a better talent than that guy that hands off to Turner and Norwood. Vick still has a very strong fan and support base here and could easily sell out the stadium unlike what’s his name. That is if the haters don’t flame the fire of hatred, and condemnation, mercilessly.
Vick is loved and deserves a second chance. I hope you are not offended. If you are…I understand why.
The Hawk sucess is based on a class organization, contrary to the falcon’s.

Go Hawks!!

Shultz thanks for the shout out. You are right I don’t agree with your politics or your version of morality, but I do respect you as a person. I commend you for your civility. You have a nice day as well. JSS is right. You dont stand behind what you write. You wrote divisively about Woodson and the Hawks but your point proved to be false. Now you try to save face.
Prov 14:34
Righteousness exalted a nation KJV


March 20th, 2009
1:30 pm

He was a beast in college, and I felt good about picking him right away. I’m glad it’s working out. Marvin remains a good pick too, considering most picks don’t pan out into solid starters. Even if a couple picks close to him have been superstars, he could be a longer term impact player than the others too.


March 20th, 2009
2:27 pm

I think the Marvin pick hurts because the Hawks had such a huge need for a PG and missed on possibly the best one in the league now in Chris Paul. Yea William is a solid player, but they already had plenty of bodies like him. Mind-boggling drafts by the former GM.


March 20th, 2009
2:45 pm

J.S. you STINK !!! You have been appealing to your fellow racist bubba fans for a long time now. Writing your hateful thoughts about the Hawks and Thrashers due to your personal hate for the owners is unprofessional and wrong – SHAME ON YOU!!!!
Now the Hawks catch the sports world attention and you jump on the bandwagon. Give me a break you self indulgent jerk. I know you, I know the owners and the players – you have zero street cred.
I am a professional and work with many of these people through my job, and they are all good folks who want to win.
YOU COMMENTS ON WOODY AND JOSH ARE BS – they get along fine and have since Josh came to the team. In fact they are very close. The blow up as you call it on the court was two professionals and friends having a heated moment and nothing to do with their relationship, professional or personal. I have talked to both men and seen them together on and off the court and your crap is just that.
As far as the owners, “ATLANTA SPIRIT”, during a very public law suit these guys have still managed to support and build the best NBA team this town has had in a long long time. These self-made, generous, charitable men want to win and are proving it despite your efforts and others. ” HATS OFF TO THE SPIRIT AND THANKS FOR THIS WONDERFUL – WINNING -TEAM” So for those jealous haters including you J.S. – time to realize what this ownership, managers, coaches and players have given this town in the past two years.
The economy is hitting all pro sports very hard. I am proud of this ownership and team for putting a quality product on the court during such hard times for all.

I work very hard, and even harder now due to the economy. Being able to watch this Hawks team grow and improve has been a great help in dealing with the stress of the times.


virgil leonard

March 20th, 2009
4:13 pm


March 19th, 2009
9:09 pm


Marvin williams is only good for trade bait. I wish all our fans would get this right. Williams is too slow to be a 3 and too small to play a 4. he needs to go so we can bring in a legitimate big man so we can slide Al to the 4 and J-smoove to the 3. then we can contend. and coach woodson does need to go he has no concept on how to use his bench. Championship teams have always had a dependable bench.

chip woodson

March 20th, 2009
4:45 pm

michael vick would be second team qb on the falcons. he has a lot of ability, but he should be a running back or wide receiver. i’m glad he is gone. i’m sorry the way it went down. but he made some bad choices of friends and cohorts. he has paid the price and now should be able to play in the nfl. but thank goodness, not with the falcons.

chip woodson

chip woodson

March 20th, 2009
4:51 pm

al, is a great player with great work habits. if you have watch professional sports as long as i have you would of seen his type of player on every championship team there has ever been. steve young, joe montana, johnny untias, etc. al, will join them on a championship team in the future.



March 20th, 2009
4:54 pm

Welp!!!! Looks like ESPN has decided to join the bandwagon.

Heres the link: http://espn.go.com/nba/


March 20th, 2009
5:05 pm

Could you imagine the type of player Josh Smith would be if he played with Big Al’s Heart and Desire? Now that’s scary.

Jeff Schultz

March 20th, 2009
5:28 pm

NICK: It was a great pick and great decision. The point is that there’s always luck involved with any draft but it’s a guessing game. Any GM in any sport will tell you that. You try to minimize the guessing as much as you can, obviously, but you never know how kids grow up, what happens when they make money, etc.

JSS: What don’t I stand behind? And I’m sure you can keep it clean if you try hard. There’s lots of words in the Engish language. You should try a few new ones.

BATTLESTAR: You’re first in the clubhouse with the championship prediction, and if they do it you’ll get full credit in my book.

TRUTH: For what it’s worth, and I’ve stated this several times before, MV has served his time and has every right to resume his career. How that career goes, I’m not sure. He’s got a lot to overcome and he’s going to have to be mentally tough – tougher than any of us can possibly imagine – to endure what’s going to be thrown at him. … On Woodson-Smith: I said what I said and nothing has changed. If they’re together, everything’s fine. But 10 days ago (or whenever it was) they were not together and everything on the team was not fine. I know what happened in the locker room but sometimes certain things are said off the record and/or in private. It’s not worth going into. But for anybody to suggest that the coach and player have had a healthy relationship for five would be ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary. The good news for the team is that they apparently have put their differences aside now, as evidenced by the team’s play.

ALPHARETTA: The Hawks have an interesting call to make on Marvin after this season, with his contract up. He actually was playing his best basketball of the season just before he got hurt.

TRUTH AGAIN: Bubba squad? That’s funny. Dude, I’m from West L.A. (Los Angeles, not Louisiana). I’m so non-Bubba, you wouldn’t believe it. And Scott, much like you or Battlestart or JSS or any other nicknames above, I have no idea who most of you people are, other than through your posts.

I’ll try to check back again. Have a good weekend, folks.



March 20th, 2009
6:18 pm

Dr. Warren,

You ever heard of Bill Russell? He didn’t score 20 points a game and he dominated.


You are a crack head if you think that Vick is a better quarterback than Matt Ryan. Vick could run the ball that’s it. And he fumbled all the time when he did that. Vick’s hype is so high because he would go off and have these insane days. Like he did in that overtime game against the Vikings and like he did against the Packers in the playoffs. But then he would come back down to earth like he did both times in the playoffs against the Eagles. Matt Ryan just had the best rookie year for a quarterback in the history of the modern day NFL. Quarterbacks like Ryan win super bowls. Quarterbacks like Vick don’t. They end up in prison for a year because they killed dogs and for betting on dog fighting even though they are multi millionaires. You can take the kid out of the ghetto but not the ghetto out of the kid, right? His brother is another one that has just thrown his life in the garbage can. Good job. Their parents must have been awesome. But the good thing for Michael Vick is that he was born black so the fine black population of Atlanta will always worship him. Must be nice. If you are white and get in trouble with the law they just throw you under the bus and try and forget about you.

Jeff Schultz

March 20th, 2009
6:43 pm

SUBMARINER: Missed your post early. I don’t think anybody’s suggesting Horford compensates for all the years of bad Hawks draft picks. But they deserved to be praised for the pick they made.

Which leads me to this for anybody who wants to jump in. When’s the last time the Hawks had a better draft pick, in your opinion? Was Josh Smith a better pick? Or do we have to go back to Kevin Willis? Doc Rivers? (Don’t shout “Nique!” The Hawks didn’t draft him.)

If you’ve got some time, I’ve copied and pasted Hawks drafts. Look it over and weigh in.

2008 DRAFT
(no pick)
2007 DRAFT
1 Al Horford Florida 3
1 Acie Law IV Texas A&M 11
2006 DRAFT
1 SheldenWilliams Duke 5
2 Solomon Jones South Florida 33
2005 DRAFT
1 Marvin Williams North Carolina 2
2 Salim Stoudamire Arizona 31
2 Cenk Akyol Turkey (Efes Pilsen) 59
2004 DRAFT
1 Josh Childress Stanford 6
1 Josh Smith Oak Hill Academy (HS) 17
2 Donta Smith SE Illinois JC 34
2 Royal Ivey Texas 37
2 Viktor Sanikidze * SAOS JDA Dijon (Georgia) 42
* On draft night,Sanikidze was traded to the San Antonio Spurs
for a 2005 second-round pick and cash considerations.
2003 DRAFT
1 Boris Diaw Pau Orthez (France) 21
2 Travis Hansen Brigham Young 37
2002 DRAFT
2 David Andersen Kinder Bologna (Italy) 37
On draft night,the Hawks acquired the draft rights toDan Dickau (selected in the
first round,28th overall by Sacramento) in exchange for a future first-round pick.
2001 DRAFT
1 Pau Gasol * Spain 3
1 Jamaal Tinsley ** Iowa State 27
2 Terence Morris Maryland 34
*On draft night,Gasol was traded to the Grizzlies,along with Brevin Knight
and Lorenzen Wright,in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and the 27th pick
in the draft.
*On draft night,Tinsley was traded to the Indiana Pacers for a future first-
round pick.
2000 DRAFT
1 DerMarr Johnson Cincinnati 6
2 Hanno Möttölä Utah 40
2 James “Scoonie”Penn Ohio State 57
1999 DRAFT
1 Jason Terry Arizona 10
1 Cal Bowdler Old Dominion 17
1 Dion Glover Georgia Tech 20
1 Jumaine Jones * Georgia 27
2 Roberto Bergersen ** Boise State 52
*On draft night,Jones’ rights were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers
for a future first-round draft choice (via Toronto).
**On draft night,Bergersen’s rights were traded to Portland for
cash considerations.
1998 DRAFT
1 Roshown McLeod Duke 22
2 Cory Carr * Texas Tech 49
*On draft night,Carr’s rights were traded to Chicago,along with two
future second-round draft picks,for the rights to Shammond Williams.
1997 DRAFT
1 Ed Gray California 22
2 Alain Digbeu Villerbaune,France 50
2 Chris Crawford Marquette 51
1996 DRAFT
1 Priest Lauderdale Central State (OH) 28
1995 DRAFT
1 Alan Henderson Indiana 16
2 Donnie Boyce Colorado 42
3 Troy Brown Providence 45
4 Cuonzo Martin Purdue 57
1994 DRAFT
2 Gaylon Nickerson NW Oklahoma State 34
(Atlanta’s first-round position belonged to the LA Clippers as a result
of the Dominique Wilkins/Danny Manning trade).
1993 DRAFT
1 Doug Edwards Florida State 15
2 Richard Manning Washington 40
1992 DRAFT
1 Adam Keefe Stanford 10
2 Elmer Bennett Notre Dame 38
1991 DRAFT
1 Stacey Augmon UNLV 9
1 Anthony Avent * Seton Hall 15
2 Rodney Monroe N.C.State 30
* Avent’s rights were traded to Denver on 6/26/91.
1990 DRAFT
1 Rumeal Robinson Michigan 10
2 Trevor Wilson UCLA 36
1989 DRAFT
1 Roy Marble Iowa 23
2 Haywoode Workman Oral Roberts 49
1988 DRAFT
2 Anthony Taylor Oregon 44
3 Jorge Gonzalez Argentina 54
3 Darryl Middleton Baylor 68
First round pick and Randy Wittman to Sacramento for Reggie Theus 6/27/88.
1987 DRAFT
1 Dallas Comegys DePaul 21
2 Terrance Bailey Wagner 42
2 Terry Coner Alabama 44
3 Song Tao China 67
4 Theo Christodoulou Greece 90
5 Jose-Antonio Montero Spain 113
6 Ricardo Morandoti Italy 136
7 Franjo Arapovic Yugoslavia 159
1986 DRAFT
1 Billy Thompson * Louisville 19
2 Cedric Henderson Georgia 32
2 Augusto Binelli Italian Nat’l. 40
3 Dave Hoppen Nebraska 65
3 Jim Les Bradley 70
4 Efram Winters Illinois 88
5 Nicky Jones Virginia Commonwealth 111
6 Alexander Volkov USSR 134
7 Valery Tikhonenko USSR 157
* Thompson was traded to L.A.Lakers for Ken Barlow 6/17/86.
1985 DRAFT
1 Jon Koncak SMU 5
2 Lorenzo Charles N.C.State 41
3 Sedric Toney Dayton 59
4 Arvydas Sabonis USSR 77
4 John Battle Rutgers 84
5 Larry Hampton F.D.U. 100
6 Tony Duckett Lafayette 123
7 Bob Ferry Harvard 146
1984 DRAFT
1 Kevin Willis Michigan State 11
3 Bobby Parks Memphis State 58
4 Dicky Beal Kentucky 81
5 Terry Martin NE Louisiana 104
6 Jim Master Kentucky 127
7 Vince Martello Florida State 150
8 Robert Brown Long Island 173
9 Fred Brown Georgetown 185
10 Doug Mills Hofstra 217
Second round pick (#35) to Golden State for Rickey Brown on 2/15/83.
1983 DRAFT
1 Randy Wittman * Indiana 22
2 Glenn Rivers Marquette 31
3 John Pinone Villanova 58
4 Harry Kelly Texas Southern 81
5 Charles Jones Oklahoma 104
6 Tom Bethea Richmond 127
7 Lex Drum UAB 150
8 George Thomas Georgia Tech 173
9 Will Cotchery Livingston 195
10 Ronnie Carr W.Carolina 216
*Wittman acquired from Bullets for Tom McMillen and future pick 7/5/83.

1982 DRAFT
1 Keith Edmonson Purdue 10
3 Joe Kopicki Detroit 56
5 Mark Hall Minnesota 102
6 Jay Bruchak Mt.St.Mary’s 126
7 Horace Wyatt Clemson 148
8 James Ratiff Howard 172
9 Pierre Bland Elizabeth City 194
10 Ronnie McAdoo Old Dominion 216
Second round pick to New York for Mike Glenn 10/24/81.
Fourth round pick to New Jersey for Rory Sparrow 8/11/81.
1981 DRAFT
1 Al Wood North Carolina 4
2 Clyde Bradshaw DePaul 38
3 Durand Macklin LSU 52
4 Kevin Figaro SW Louisiana 75
5 Steve Krafscisin Iowa 98
6 Darryl Warwick Hampton 121
7 Kevin Vesey Iona 144
8 Gilbert Salinas Notre Dame 167
9 Howard Thompkins Wagner 189
10 Mike Frazier Georgetown 209
1980 DRAFT
1 Don Collins Washington State 18
2 Craig Shelton Georgetown 28
5 Mike Doyle South Carolina 110
6 Mike Zagardo G.Washington 133
7 Charles Hightower Dillard 156
9 Stan Lamb Steubenville 195
Third round pick to Utah.
Fourth round pick to Los Angeles.
Selected ineligible player in eighth and tenth rounds.
1979 DRAFT
2 James Bradley Memphis State 35
2 Larry Wilson Nicholls State 38
3 Don Marsh Franklin & Marshall 57
5 Tiny Pinder N.C.State 101
6 Dwight Williams Gardner-Webb 121
7 Tim Waterman St.Bonavent. 141
8 John Goedeke Maryland (Balt.) 160
9 Cedric Oliver Hamilton 178
10 Chad Newlson Drake 196
First round pick to Pacers as compensation for signing of free agent
Dan Roundfield.
1978 DRAFT
1 Butch Lee Marquette 10
1 Jack Givens Kentucky 16
2 Rick Wilson Louisville 25
3 Steve Grant Manhattan 54
5 Chris Potter Holy Cross 98
6 Gerald Glover Howard 120
7 Jim DeWeese Gonzaga 141
8 Ed Murphy Merrimack 160
9 Maurice Robinson W.Virginia 177
10 Marshall Lester Florida Southern 192
Fourth round pick to Buffalo.
1977 DRAFT
1 Wayne Rollins Clemson 14
3 Sam Smith UNLV 48
3 Eddie Johnson Auburn 49
4 Dave Bormann Gardner-Webb 70
5 Bill Gordon UTC 92
6 Calvin Crews Northwestern 114
7 James Holliman Arizona State 135
8 Vern Thompson Brigham Young 155
Second round pick to New York for Tom McMillen.
1976 DRAFT
1 Armond Hill Princeton 9
2 Bob Carrington Boston College 28
3 Larry Cooke VPI 46
4 Tom Barker Hawaii 53
5 Ron Davis Washington State 70
6 Pete Padgett Nevada-Reno 88
7 Carl Gerlach Kansas State 106
8 Doug Terry Utah 124
9 Bob Kovach San Diego State 142
10 Mike Dickerson S.Florida 160
1975 DRAFT
1 David Thompson N.C.State 1
1 Marvin Webster Morgan State 3
2 Bill Willoughby Morrow (NJ)High 19
4 Monte Towe N.C.State 57
5 Wilbur Holland New Orleans 75
6 Danny Williams Mississippi 93
7 Gus Johnson Winona State 111
8 Oscar Jackson Duquesne 129
9 Dave Schlesser Morningside 146
10 Vic Kelly Hawaii 162
1974 DRAFT
1 Tom Henderson Hawaii 7
1 Mike Sojourner Utah 10
2 John Drew Gardner-Webb 25
3 Darrell Elston North Carolina 43
4 Ed Palubinskas Louisiana State 61
5 Tyrone Medley Utah 79
6 Sammy Hervey So.Methodist 97
7 Greg Lee UCLA 115
8 Bill Butler Louisville 133
9 Lon Kruger Kansas State 151
10 Brendy Lee Nebraska 168
1973 DRAFT
1 Dwight Jones Houston 9
1 John Brown Missouri 10
2 Tom Inglesby Villanova 27
3 Ted Manakas Princeton 36
3 Leonard Gray Long Beach State 45
4 James Brown Harvard 62
5 Dave Winfield Minnesota 79
6 John Williamson New Mexico State 96
7 Pete Harris Stephen F.Austin 113
8 Tim Dominey Valdosta State 130
1972 DRAFT
2 Steve Bracey Tulsa 21
4 Reggie Bird Princeton 55
5 Bob Lackey Marquette 71
6 Randy Knoll Marshall 88
7 Billy Pleas Detroit 105
8 Oscar Evans Butler 121
9 Larry Strozier Morehouse 136
10 Jim Clesson Tulsa 149
11 Charles Allen Texas Southern 160
12 James Green Paine College 169
1971 DRAFT
1 George Trapp Long Beach State 5
2 Ted McClain Tennessee State 22
3 Jeff Halliburton Drake 39
4 Jim Welch Houston 56
6 Willie Humes Idaho State 90
7 Mike Jordan Savannah State 107
8 Jim Smith Kentucky Wesleyan 124
9 Ernie Fleming Jacksonville 140
10 Ron Rippicoe Lipscomb 156
11 Levi Wyatt Alcorn 172
12 Roger Moore Columbus 186
13 Ed Jenkins Michigan Lutheran 198
1970 DRAFT
1 Pete Maravich Louisiana State 3
1 John Vallely UCLA 14
2 Dan Hester Louisiana State 31
4 Fred Davis Howard Payne 65
5 Bob Riley Mt.St.Mary’s 82
6 Dave Parker Windham 99
7 John Shinall Jackson State 116
8 Herb White Georgia 133
9 Larry Jackson Sul Ross 150
11 Dino Meneghin Italy 182
1969 DRAFT
1 Butch Beard Louisville 10
2 Wally Andrezunas Creighton 25
4 Billy Hann Tennessee 53
5 Mike Mitchell West Texas State 67
6 Guy Mackner South Dakota 81
7 Bob Bundy Vanderbilt 95
8 Bob Christian Grambling 109
9 Pete Gayeska Massachusetts 123
10 Dick Stewart Rutgers 137
11 Loran Bracci SF Valley State 151
12 Dave Jones LaVerne 164
13 Dick Barton Riverside 176
14 Mike Dahl Oglethorpe 185
15 Norm Carmichael Virginia 193
16 Buddy Cornelius Jacksonville (Ala.) 199
17 John Tolmie Navy 205
18 Cliff Parsons Air Force 210
19 Grady O’Malley Manhattan 214
20 Carl Rodwell California-Riverside 217
1968 DRAFT
1 Skip Harlicka South Carolina 13
4 Bob Warren Vanderbilt 47
5 Rusty Parker Miami 61
6 Phil Wagner Georgia Tech 75
7 Oscar Smith Elizabeth City 89
8 Martin Baietti Manhattan 103
9 Mack Daughtry Albany State 117
10 Dwight Waller Tennessee State 131
11 Henry Watkins Tennessee State 144
12 Bill Harris Texas Western 157
12 Frank Standard South Carolina 169
13 George Hicker Syracuse 180
14 Bernie Foster Pasadena 188
15 Terry Allerton Baldwin-Wallace 196


March 20th, 2009
7:35 pm


March 20th, 2009
6:18 pm
I appreciate your views. I definite don’t think the current starting qb for the falcons is better than Vick. Vick has exceptional talent that does also include being very fast. He also has a strong arm and posse’s problems for defensive co-coordinators.
The best thing that could happened to unify the city, (I agree with you that it’s torn among racial lines for the most part, but there are also many whites who support Vick), would be for a fair competition during training camp and let the best talent win. Along as Vick had a fair chance most blacks would accept that.
You are right Vick has had a ghetto upbringing and has not been as fortunate as you and I. I disagree with you on people’s ability to change, however. I don’t consider myself better. He has a right to seek God just like I do, by the grace of God go I.

Jeff Schultz
March 20th, 2009
5:28 pm
You have stated many things and there are a lot of people, (even here on this site) that think your word is mud. You do change your position with the wind. You misinterpreted Josh and Woodson by not understanding a fatherly coach and a young man’s maturing. Woodson has done an excellent job with the team. Woodson himself also referred to the negative divisive press. I copied and paste that to you, but you went into denial. It seems many people agree that you were very negative and unfair toward Woodson, yet continue to deny responsibility. The Hawks growth refuted your position and showed that Woodson took the right approach in pushing Josh to play the game with in his and the teams limits. He was right also to bench him, and they are better for it. You and the Bubba squad were calling for his head. The coach’s chastening wasn’t the problem with the Hawks slump. It was Josh shooting threes and bricking, Josh shooting air balls at the top of the key. That’s what the problem was. Josh’s game is going to the hole, blocking shots, and dunking!! Not going coast to coast. That was the problem. Not the fact that the coach stood up to him. That’s why you and the Bubba crew were wrong!
I do find myself in agreement with you that if Vick is given a second chance, he would have to overcome immeasurable odds. What a story that would be. I agree that he does deserve a chance to try. I’m sure if he was given the chance you’d write stories to encourage unity and hope.
I know you are from LA. I know LA very well myself. Your mentality, based on your writing, appears to me to be southern redneck. That’s why you have so many redneck supporters. I’m glad you got a laugh from the Bubba squad. They are very funny, mental slapstick comedy. The only problem is they are serious and thinking to the maximum of their ability. The article from Scott made me laugh too.

March 20th, 2009
2:45 pm
Shout out to Whammer you are a true fan of the Hawks and the Game.


March 20th, 2009
10:17 pm

Hello “Truth -serum” (an ironic moniker, that): I was born and raised so far north of the Mason-Dixon line that half my lineage is in fact of French-Canadien (spelled with an “e”) extraction, so if you are gonna place me in the league of the so-called “Bubba Squad” please spell it with a french accent (”le bubbah squad-ah”, perhaps?). Vick sucks. Ryan rules. And yes I did type that just to piss you off. And the fact that it’s true.

Schultzie, reading that list of past Hawks draft picks made me weep just a little bit inside. Then I considered gouging out my eyeballs to make me forget what I had just read, until I remembered that this weekend is the best weekend of college basketball all year! So perhaps come Sunday night I will have forgotten reading that sad list of pathetic picks and thus save my eyes for a brighter day (OMG where is Sheldon Williams now? I have already wiped his memory from my synapses. And did you have to remind me that we drafted Gasol only to trade him for Shareef an hour later?)


March 21st, 2009
10:31 am


March 20th, 2009
10:17 pm

El capitone’ le bubbah squad-ah – A pig with lipstick is still a hog.


March 21st, 2009
2:53 pm

The game is in the third quarter but the out come is pretty evident. They have a bona fide center that alters shots and finish in the low post. Our center ZaZa “Mr. Turnover” Paschulia is on the bench. Shultz and the journal constitution are concentrating on Woodson and Josh. Neither is the problem with us advancing in the playoffs. The lack of a center is. I don’t recall us beating any time this year with a bona fide center. If we did I’ll bet we can’t do it twice. I’ve said this for a while and I’ll say it again and again. You can’t compete at the next level without a center. Period. Don’t beat up on Woodson…. Get him the tools necessary to take to the next level.

Jeff Schultz

March 22nd, 2009
11:01 am

Good Sunday morning: Since the Woodson-Smith relationship still is generating interest (even on an Al Horford column), I thought you’d be interested: Sekou wrote a great piece in Sunday’s paper summarizing things. Here’s the link: http://www.ajc.com/hawks/content/sports/hawks/stories/2009/03/20/josh_smith_woodson.html …. A few things we already knew about the two men were made clear in the story: Both want to win, both are stubborn, both are thin-skinned. But Sekou wove the story very well and I thought the final comment from Josh was pretty telling: “These past few games,” Smith said, “if you notice, a lot of that hard stuff hasn’t been said, and you see the results. That’s all I ask for. I know you’re going to get on me when you need to, because I’ve still got a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do. But if you leave me alone a little bit … it’s just easier to do your job that way.”

I was out with family yesterday and didn’t get a chance to see the Cleveland game. Was it as bad as advertised (40-16 at one point?). Ouch.

And now for something completely different: I need to write a column on Andruw Jones.