A rare Hawks’ draft highlight: Jordan Crawford falls to them

Jordan Crawford averaged 29 points in three NCAA tournament games for Xavier.

Jordan Crawford averaged 29 points in three NCAA tournament games for Xavier.

Did this just happen?

A Hawks’ highlight … on draft night?

This is the franchise of Cal Bowdler. This is the franchise of Doug Edwards, Shelden Williams, Roshown McLeod, Ed Gray and Priest Lauderdale.

It doesn’t end there. But if I mention more names, I believe it becomes felony verbal abuse.

Last year, Hawks general manager Rick Sund acquired Jamal Crawford from Golden State for Acie Law (another past draft mistake) and Speedy Claxton (a significant free-agent mistake). When the press release came out, we all figured it was some belated April Fool’s joke. Instead, it turned out to be the trade of millennium. Crawford was the biggest — possibly the only — reason the Hawks won six more games last season.

What happened Thursday night may not equal the Crawford trade in impact. But given the Hawks’ largely inglorious draft history — notwithstanding the grand slam of Al Horford and the wonder (though maddening) of Josh Smith — this draft qualifies as a significant highlight. Actually, it qualifies as a reason for a parade.

After a post-draft trade with New Jersey, the Hawks will end up with the one player, Xavier’s Jordan Crawford, who was still available in the draft who could significantly help them.

Jordan’s name had come up quite a bit over the past week. He can score. He can jump. He can hit jumpers with defenders in his face. The shooting guard — no relation to the Hawks’ other shooting guard named Crawford — averaged 20.5 points for Xavier last season. He averaged 29 points in three NCAA tournament games.

You may also remember him for YouTube “VideoGate”: He dunked on LeBron James in a summer camp last year. Nike officials immediately tried to confiscate everybody’s video. Fortunately, it lives on in Google. (Google is Kryptonite for spin artists. See video below.)

How high were the Hawks on Crawford? When I asked Hawks assistant general manager Dave Pendergraft about him the other day, he said: “I like him a lot. He’s a guy we’ve talked about quite a bit. But I’m afraid he might be gone before we pick.”

Surprisingly, he wasn’t gone.

Actually, Crawford lasted longer than the Hawks’ pick. At 24th overall, with Crawford on the board, Sund selected Texas forward Damion James. But reports immediately surfaced that the Hawks had worked a trade with New Jersey for the Nets’ 27th overall pick. That was pretty much confirmed when the Nets took Crawford. In the process, the Hawks were expected to pick up an extra draft pick.

It’s also an Atlanta Spirit-friendly transaction: The Hawks will save about $90,000 in salary by signing the 27th overall pick instead of the 24th. They also received the Nets’ 31st overall pick, center Tibor Pleiss of Germany, in the deal, then turned around and sold Pleiss to Oklahoma City for close to the league maximum of $3 million. The team’s preference is to use that salary spot for a veteran player.

Sund was elated to get Crawford. He and Pendergraft both were surprised the player was still there.

So why pass on him at 24? Sund admitted it was a calculated risk, but said: “We felt pretty comfortable he would still be there [for New Jersey at 27th].”

The Hawks also had two other players they liked if Crawford wasn’t there.

In the best-case scenario, Crawford gives the Hawks scoring depth. In the worst-case scenario, it gives them some help if they lose Joe Johnson in free agency and/or can’t re-sign Josh Childress, who is expected to return to the NBA from Greece.

The Hawks can’t afford to stand pat this offseason. Getting swept out of the second round for the second consecutive season.

“We finished the season as a really good basketball team,” Sund said before the draft. “We didn’t play as well in the second round against Orlando as obviously we thought we could. But we’re in a situation now where everybody obviously got a little taste of that and we’re hopefully more focused.”

And next?

“Hopefully we sign Joe. Hopefully we’ll add to this roster and look at some things that will make us better. We’ll see how it plays out.”

It’s a good start to the summer.

Once again, with feeling:  Crawford dunks on LeBron

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

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119 comments Add your comment

moorman

June 24th, 2010
11:36 pm

like he said, insurance in case joe johnson leaves.

jMeg

June 24th, 2010
11:38 pm

welcome to the hawks crawford! now you’ll be dunking on lebron all the time! FIRST!

Landon Donovan

June 24th, 2010
11:38 pm

Ted

June 24th, 2010
11:39 pm

Pape Sy? Oopsy!

Bobby

June 24th, 2010
11:39 pm

Good stuff! Now let’s hope we can sign Joe..

Steve

June 24th, 2010
11:40 pm

Jerry West

June 24th, 2010
11:40 pm

Was Doug Edwards so bad that you had to list him twice?

P. Bull Terrier

June 24th, 2010
11:41 pm

The fact that the Hawks would take a “calculated risk” just to save $90,000 on the player they really wanted speaks volumes about the sorry state of the organization. I hope Crawford works out well for the team, but it looks like he’s boarding a sinking ship.

Steve

June 24th, 2010
11:42 pm

I guess if we can’t get Lebron the next best thing is to get a guy that dunked on him????

Herschel Talker

June 24th, 2010
11:45 pm

Pape Sy is the man.

PUBLIX

June 24th, 2010
11:46 pm

HELLLL YESSSS!!!! FINALLY WE DRAFTED RIGHT. I WATCHED THIS GUY FOR A WHILE AND HE IS VERY GOOD. NOW SIGN AND TRADE JOE, CHILDRESS AND ZAZA TO MEMPHIS FOR GASOL, GAY AND 2ND ROUND PICK OF NEXT YEAR. TRADE BIBBY AND WILLIAMS TO CHARLOTTE FOR CHANDLER.

PG- CRAWFORD
SG- GAY
SF- SMITH
PF- HORFORD
C- GASOL

PG- TEAGUE
SG- CRAWFORD (NEW)
SF- WILLIAMS
PF- RANDMO
C- CHANDLER

WHAT A GREAT TEAM.

Reid Adair

June 24th, 2010
11:46 pm

It saves a little money the way they did it. Where/when is the other draft pick involved?

As for the alleged “dunk on” LeBron, I guess that depends on your definition of “on.” If being the opposing team member closest to the dunker, “on” would apply.

I hope Jordan’s ready for some minutes. They’ll be available once Joe Johnson is gone.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 24th, 2010
11:47 pm

I’m happy that the Hawks added J. Crawford part 2. He seems like a nice player, although I’d be surprised if he makes a huge impact this year. But the f-ckery with the #31 pick still leaves a hell of a bitter taste in my mouth.

Bishop

June 24th, 2010
11:50 pm

WE NEED A BIG MAN! Jesus I hate the ASG

Smooth

June 24th, 2010
11:50 pm

I thought Jordan was the little brother of Jamal, during the tournament that was said.

LEA

June 24th, 2010
11:51 pm

why do u still have a job

Remarkable

June 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

Jeff, whwn and if Joe jumps ship, who can we afford to sign with what little salary cap room we will have. Won’t all the other teams get all the even decent players with their abundance of money and won’t that inflate the value of players?

Boycott Hawks

June 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

Still need a big man!!! Bye Joe Johnson thanks for the memories!!

Bishop

June 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

Cant wait to see Crawford try to guard Dwight Howard.

Joey M

June 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

If we don’t at least sign/trade Joe Johnson than the Hawks are going to be awful for several years to come. Ideally I would love to see the Hawks resign Johnson, than package him in a trade with some other players for Labron James. Or just sign the guy and enjoy the sales generated from his merchandise. If not, Dirk Nowitzki would look great in a Hawk’s uni. Preferably next to Joe Johnson. Dirk is the most underrated player in the NBA.

Another Crawford

June 24th, 2010
11:54 pm

Did we get the Nets 31st pick?? He looks like a 7-footer, which we need badly.

StateHawks46

June 24th, 2010
11:57 pm

Great pick. However, the next 2 picks are what??? Tibor Pliess for close to 3 millions. And Pape Sy or Derrick Caracter or Stanley Robinson. (Really?)

O-M-G

June 24th, 2010
11:58 pm

I was happy with the Crawford pick. I was super happy when Whiteside was available @ the 31 pick. I am disgusted we cheaped out the pick for cash or whatever. Cheap @ss ASG.

brandon

June 24th, 2010
11:58 pm

watch damion james go on to be one of the great forwards in the league.

Rufus1

June 24th, 2010
11:59 pm

I wanted James…..

Rufus1

June 25th, 2010
12:04 am

The Hawks need toughness and size…I wanted Damion James, his is TOUGH.

bilbo

June 25th, 2010
12:07 am

As long as I don’t have to watch Joe shoot 5-18 in a playoff game after doing four quarters of iso/one-on-one stuff, I’ll be happy.

moorman

June 25th, 2010
12:10 am

lets be honest, how many of us CRINGED, when the hawks selected a FORWARD initially?? lol

newkid

June 25th, 2010
12:12 am

What a crock.

MsDee

June 25th, 2010
12:15 am

Say what u really feel, newkid.

StateHawks46

June 25th, 2010
12:19 am

Selling the pick= ASG ownership…..

Atlanta Spirit Group…please sell Hawks. Y’all are worst than the Smith owner who owned the Falcons before the amazing Mr. Blank came to the rescue. You have no business in the NBA when you make cheap decisions.

Avery

June 25th, 2010
12:23 am

I was elated with the way the first round panned out. Utterly disgusted with how the 2nd round unfolded. I can’t believe we cheaped out and sold the pick when good centers were available. What a travesty.

Oh well, they already got my money for next year. I guess I’m a bigger sucker than ASG.

i_am_soulstar

June 25th, 2010
12:23 am

Damion James was #2 on my list of players available at #24. :( Oh well. But good move trading the #31 pick for cash if the intent is to go after a veteran big. I’m wit it.

nes

June 25th, 2010
12:25 am

Well, it could have been a flop of a draft. i am happy they got Crawford, just wish they had drafted center Whiteside instead of selling the 31st pick for 3 million. Cash won’t win championships, players do. lets face it, Joe Johnson wants to play with either Lebron or D. Wade as a twosome without having to shoulder a franchise like in Atlanta, he is good as gone, we should sign and trade JJ fast as possible. i say plug Morris in as back up center behind ZAZA and develop him into a steady banger and scorer in the middle. just my opinion, go hawks

i_am_soulstar

June 25th, 2010
12:25 am

The Hawks just worked New Jersey and OKC over for 3 million. That’s awesome.

True 5

June 25th, 2010
12:25 am

Trading a pick really shows that the Douche spirit group is just trying to save a buck. sell our team please to someone who cares about the hawks!!!!

True 5

June 25th, 2010
12:26 am

*selling the pick

LETS GO ATL

June 25th, 2010
12:27 am

Ok Good Pick, Now Lets Get JaJaJa Joe Back

i_am_soulstar

June 25th, 2010
12:28 am

Are you guys serious?

You’d rather draft a PROJECT center than use that 3 million to help sign an established NBA big?

Listen to what you’re saying. A big at #31 is not going to contribute immediately or even in the near future.

Jon

June 25th, 2010
12:29 am

Selling the #31 is quite telling about the ASG.

2nd rounders are not guaranteed a contract. There’s no financial commitment. Draft a guy, cut him by Nov. 1, pay him nothing (other than the minimum given to summer/training camp fillers.)

If you’re attempting to run an NBA team, you shouldn’t be so financially stretched that you need to sell assets in order to gain a small amount (in NBA financial terms) to use for another player. Selling the #31 didn’t create cap space. $3 million doesn’t even buy a legit NBA big…

Remarkable

June 25th, 2010
12:33 am

What center are you going to get. Everyone else out there in NBA land has tons more money than we do to throw at these guys. Who would want to play for these guys (ASG)?

True 5

June 25th, 2010
12:33 am

Get real this is the ASG not mikhail prokorov. we would be lucky for them to go out of their way to sign someone half as good as zaza. the german guy was growing on me

newkid

June 25th, 2010
12:37 am

I wish the ASG had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the expression “…if you can’t run with the big dawgs, stay on the porch”. The fiasco at 31 yells the truism that a ‘for sale’ sign is long past due.

Avery

June 25th, 2010
12:41 am

soulstar……..you could have done both. Second round contracts are not guaranteed. Draft the guy and then let him try to make the team.

James Adams

June 25th, 2010
12:47 am

Ask Keith Askins about Doug Edwards. I’ll bet he NEVER says anything bad about Doug Edwards, lest he be busted upside the head, again.

i_am_soulstar

June 25th, 2010
12:52 am

Interesting arguments.

But you’re trying to retain Joe Johnnson and Josh Childress who’s about to sign an offer sheet for the Wizards. Cash for a 2nd round draft pick helps with that. It’s all about asset management. And I’m not saying 3 million for a big, I’m saying that it could go toward acquiring a big. It could go toward a number of things, as long as it gets us someone productive on the roster.

Do some research folks, you don’t get too many productive bigs in the 2nd round. If you think otherwise, you’re just showing your lack of basketball knowledge.

If that guy ends up being a steady contributor in the league, then great. But there’s a reason he wasn’t taken in the first round.

i_am_soulstar

June 25th, 2010
12:53 am

Some of y’all are kiddie-blogging.. all passion, no logic. I’m going to bed.

StateHawks46

June 25th, 2010
12:55 am

Atlanta Hawks welcome back to the lottery.

ken

June 25th, 2010
1:01 am

no point in tradin 4 chandler he can opt out if he wants , we should go after raja bell n chandler

Trigger Trigsby, the Third

June 25th, 2010
1:04 am

yes, yes, yes great move hawks…you traded the 31st pick for $ 3 million..now watch the Hawks go use this $3 million to sign some one like JOE SKINNER OR MACEO BASTON or both…Although a smart move I don’t trust the ASG on the usage of this $3 million acquisition..the Hawks will be in SEATTLE by 2014…please Rick Sund dont let the ASG ruin anything..make sure they do the right thing with the $3 million dollars