Bradley’s Buzz: “With the 19th pick, the Hawks take …”

To go big or go small?

The first real wave of NBA mock drafts hit this week, and there’s no consensus regarding the Hawks’ Round 1 selection. Chad Ford of ESPN.com has them taking point guard Jeff Teague of Wake Forest at No. 19. Sean Deveney of Sporting News Today opts for Jonny Flynn, a point guard from Syracuse. Ian Thomsen of SI.com goes with yet another point guard — Eric Maynor of VCU. And NBAdraft.net, which last week had the Hawks taking Teague, has changed its mind and now has them choosing center B.J. Mullens of Ohio State.

For those keeping score, that’s three point guards against one center. In yesterday’s lengthy Q&A with GM Rick Sund, he said: “I pretty much lean, when you’re picking 19th, to take the best player with the most potential.” Of the four, Mullens might well have the most potential. He’s a skinny big man — he’s 7-foot, 275 pounds — with good hands, and he was considered one of the top five prospects for 2009 five months ago. But he had a tepid freshman season at Ohio State, averaging 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds.

Of the point guards, I don’t much like Teague, but I like Maynor and Flynn very much. If I were drafting at No. 19 and I had the choice of those four, I’d take Maynor. But there’s no guarantee that any of these, particularly Flynn and Maynor, will be around when the Hawks pick.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On Ford’s overall ranking of prospects, he has Maynor No. 14, Flynn No. 15, Teague No. 18 and Mullens No. 21. And who, just for the heck of it, does Ford rate as the 19th-best prospect? Terrence Williams of Louisville, whom I like a lot. But I don’t know where he’d play. Is he a point forward? A shooting guard? Or just a basketball player? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

What about Gani?

Gani Lawal of Georgia Tech can still remove his name from the 2009 draft, but the guess here is that he won’t. All four mocks have him going in Round 1, if barely: Ford has him at No. 25, Deveney at No. 30, Thomsen at No. 22 and NBAdraft.net at No. 21.

Ford ranks Lawal the 28th-best prospect on the board, and ESPN.com says this in its player file (link requires registration): “Lawal has had the biggest stock swing of anyone in the draft. He started the season as a second rounder, got off to a red hot start and moved all the way into the late lottery and then fell off in ACC play to the point that he slipped back into the second round … He’s probably better off returning to Georgia Tech for his junior season.”

This just in! The Braves got schooled!

Writing about the ascendant Rangers, Tom Verducci of SI.com mentions not one, not two, not three, but all four players the Braves sent to Texas for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay in July 2007. (Their names: Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.) The Rangers are leading their division. The Braves are not. Folks, this one just gets worse and worse.

A little more about Michael Vick

Pretty much everybody has said pretty much everything about the former No. 7 by now — here was my take — and you can read eighty dozen stories about him if you’re so inclined. But I’ll mostly leave that to you and Google. What I will pass along are Peter King’s list on SI.com of five possible NFL homes for Vick and Chris Chase’s similar list on Yahoo! Sports.

Meanwhile, Clark Judge of CBSsports.com believes Vick won’t play in the NFL in 2009 but will suit up in the start-up UFL instead. Me, I’m more inclined to go along with what an unnamed league official told Thomas George of NFL.com: That Vick won’t be on an NFL roster at the start of the season but will before the end.

One thing more: Writing for Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Sullivan — once the White House communications director under George W. Bush — outlines a four-point PR plan for Vick. His bullet points: Be genuine, be humble, be accountable and be generous. And I’m thinking: This is genius public relations? I could write that stuff!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am hereby contemplating a new career in an exciting field where you say nothing new and get paid big bucks for it. (Oh, wait. I do that already. Never mind.)

130 comments Add your comment

James Banks

May 21st, 2009
10:46 am

Taking Mullens makes the most sense because good big men are always harder to find.

However, given Coach Woodson’s reluctance to play rookies combined with Sund’s desire to emulate the 2004 Pistons, wouldn’t it make more sense to package this pick with a player for a veteran who can contribute right now?

Left to Right

May 21st, 2009
10:54 am

You get paid big bucks? Then go out and get a flat screen TV!

Join us in the 21st century.

Left to Right

May 21st, 2009
10:57 am

Honestly, sporting events are the best-looking thing on HD. It’s a lot like high speed internet. Once you have it you can never go back and will never want to.

Rabnnod

May 21st, 2009
11:03 am

Get a PG that can drive the lane. Or well… anyone who can drive the lane and create offense! This team’s offense can go south at any time and has no real creators to revive it. You have to pursue that either by trade or by draft. Best player sounds fun until you get 5 Josh Smith’s all pouting because they are down 101-31 and are 10/72 from behind the 3 point line.

P.S. The Smiths got fouled and made 1/3 FT to get to 31 pts.

GuyanaDawg

May 21st, 2009
11:05 am

Mark, I really enjoyed your coverage on the Hawks recently. You and Sekou have done some nice work. Thank you for feeding our home-town sports hunger so well!

Marcus

May 21st, 2009
11:11 am

Hey, I am down w/Maynor or Villanova’s Scotty Reynolds. Just reading up on BJ Mullens gives me the Sam Bowie/Kwame Brown heebee-jeebees.
man, looking at our past drafts, we have been hit/miss so much. I had forgotten at one time we had Pau Gasol and traded him for Shareef-Adbur-Rahim. With our luck at the time, we might have shipwrecked his potential :(
Mr. Sund, do us proud. Full steam ahead!!

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
11:28 am

Actually, the Hawks never quite had Gasol. They made the trade with the Grizzlies before the draft: They’d get Shareef, but they had to pick Gasol for Memphis.

Get To The Choppa!!

May 21st, 2009
11:42 am

Trading Salty was NEVER a good idea!!

Marcus

May 21st, 2009
11:44 am

MB,
I read somewhere on the net that ovr the last few drafts, NBA teams trend is to draft international players (esp. young players) in 2nd round to get his rights but allow him to develop on the Euro/international clubs dime (kinda like what we did with David Andersen and the SG from Turkey).

Does Mr. Sund’s history as a GM suggest similar strategy or is he looking for a solid collegiate developmental player for down the road?

Marcus

May 21st, 2009
11:45 am

I hated that trade w/ the TEX Rangers. Too much given up, esp. for a guy who was basically a short-term rental for a year or 2. ugh.

braveshater

May 21st, 2009
11:46 am

The Braves organization sucks. As evident by this trade, and where tex is playing now. What a bunch of dumbasses.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 21st, 2009
11:47 am

Gani is gone.

The good news is Paul Phewitt will be too, come Feb. 2010. The only question is if he resigns or gets fired. Ground Hog Day will finally be over.

Let’s just make sure that Greyhound gets a tune up before then. We don’t want any problems.

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
11:50 am

That’s a good question, Marcus. And if you check Sund’s draft history with Seattle, where he was GM from 2001 to 2007, you do note a heavy dose of international picks.

hop

May 21st, 2009
11:54 am

the sad part of the decline the braves have experience and the stupid decisions of the front office,is the total deniel of the braves organization.

the tex trade has set back this organization for many years!

DHD

May 21st, 2009
11:55 am

All teams make good trades and bad trades. How about an article about Renteria for Jurrjens?

TommyP

May 21st, 2009
11:59 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing Teague. The guy is NBA-quick which you can’t say about too many.

I didn’t see enough of the other guys to really warrant an honest evaluation.

Tex trade? The question is has one team been HAD this badly in 2 different trades concerning 1 player? The prospect package for Tex was brutal and getting Kotchman for Tex wasn’t very good, either. I’m not sure one player has done more damage to the Braves organization than Tex (and that’s not blaming him but the deals that netted him and dealt him away).

brewdawg

May 21st, 2009
12:01 pm

It’s unfortunate the Tex trade worked out like it did. However, we kind of had one coming after the steal of Fred McGriff back in 93 didn’t we? I remember Tony Gwynn saying something along the lines of “We didn’t even get any of the guys we had been talking about.” (for McGriff). If i recall correctly, none of the guys we gave up were ever in the majors very long. You make good trades, you make terrible ones. The Braves have been more on the “good” side than most.

Mark

May 21st, 2009
12:03 pm

Mark:

Just personally, I don’t think that Flynn makes it to #19. I like Ty Lawson more than Teague or Maynor and if he’s there at #19 I hope we select him. His shot improved a lot at UNC, he’s lightning-quick (much like Ray Felton) and he’s a good leader. Teague’s attitude and personality are quite red-flag to me.

Mychelfromatl

May 21st, 2009
12:07 pm

Wow Mark, you’re slowly grinding your way to becoming one of AJC’s better writers. Keep up the good work kid!

As for the Hawks, I’d love to see them draft VCU’s Eric Minor, and trade the rights of Josh Childress for a decent Big.

As for the Braves, depressing.

As for Mike Vick, three of the five teams (New Orleans, Buffalo, New England) are very intriguing destinations. Can you imagine the hype of Vick and T.O., Vick and Brady, or Vick and Drew Brees playing the Falcons twice a year! This is going to be very interesting. Ratings galore!!

Khao$

May 21st, 2009
12:08 pm

Looking at the Sonics drafts during Sund’s tenure doesn’t give me much confidence…

RAMMA JAMMA

May 21st, 2009
12:10 pm

Mark who was “THE DADDY” of that brave’s trade?!! Wasn’t it scherholtz?!! That GIVE AWAY er i mean trade was j.s.’s last HOORAH before retirement if i’m not mistaken.IT WAS DUMB,DUMB,DUMB @ THE TIME & STILL IS TODAY!! I also HATED the wainright trade as well!!!

Gary

May 21st, 2009
12:16 pm

Ok, outside of Matt Harrison and Netfali Perez can anyone of you tell me exactly where Elvis Andrus and Jarrod Saltalamacchia would be playing for the Braves? And dont give me 2B and 1B because that has been tried with both and it didnt work out. Would you really put Andrus in front of Escobar and sit McCann in favor of Salty? I didn’t think so.

Also you guys obviously haven’t been paying attention because Kotchman is hitting very well with the Braves this season with gold glove defensive skills and the Marek kid they got as well is pitching nicely in the minors.

Yeah these guys are doing great for Texas, but remember they were blocked in Atlanta and their value was used to make the club better.

Kyle

May 21st, 2009
12:17 pm

DHD, don’t forget that we got Gorkys Hernandez in that deal as well-A top 100 prospect in the league…So I say either one of those for renteria would’ve been a steal

Gary

May 21st, 2009
12:22 pm

Also….to add to my point. Many of you fellow Braves fans are clamoring for Tommy Hanson to get the call up as well as excited as I am for Kris Medlen’s first career start tonight for the Bravos. Would any of you trade either of the potential rotation spots for these two young stud pitchers for Perez and Harrison right now?

Otherwise quit blaming the Braves for making this trade. Tex was supposed to help us and he didn’t. We got something back that is playing well right now. The guys in Texas would not be starting for the Braves and you got more out of them by trading them for a slugger who was supposed to help you.

JBogle

May 21st, 2009
12:22 pm

The Braves did not get schooled. They traded a catcher and a shortstop, two positions where they had a lot of depth. Seriously, would you rather have McCann (BA 0.280 / HR 3 / RBI 13 / OBP 0.382) or Salty (0.261/3/16/0.306), Escobar (0.308/4/21/0.383) or Andrus (0.268/2/8/0.305), or even Kotchman (0.299/2/18/0.361) or Salty (0.261/3/16/0.306) at 1B. Harrison has a 4.71 ERA in 8 starts and the league is hitting .291 against him. The Rangers are in first place because the AL west is mediocre, remember they had room for Andruw on their roster. Tex and Mahay were very good for the Braves in the time that we were here. The Braves’ mistake was in not paying to keep Mahay.

Ted Striker

May 21st, 2009
12:23 pm

Mark — Big or small? 1) Draft a guard. 2) Find and sign Jon Koncak. (2b) If Koncak wants too much money, there’s always Chris Washburn.

I’ve done my thinking for the day, now it’s time for lunch.

The Real Fan

May 21st, 2009
12:27 pm

What we need is a scorer someone who has the ability night in night out to provide consistent points for the Hawks. Sign Bibby and we don’t need a starting point guard for two years. Find a true scoring small forward and move Willimas to another team.

TT44

May 21st, 2009
12:33 pm

Ya know, the way I see, heck, the Falcons all the wiser after the Vick era. The Falcons should get something for Vick if he plays in the nfl. Personally, since Vick doenst call the shots anymore, the Falcons perhaps should consider using him as a slot back or wild cat runner. And, vick should abstain from the dog fighting (hopefully he learned a lesson, ). And, MV should make a plea to us the Atlanta fans to forgive him and let hm redeem himself to the Falcon organization…….Just a thought…..the thing I would hate to see is him comming into to ATl and whipping the Faclons! What you ballers think out there?

Barney Strickland

May 21st, 2009
12:34 pm

I think Atlanta has been doing OK in the trade department lately. Ross as a back up catcher appears to have been a good move. Also this O’flahrety guy is bringing it on… and he was got for nothing … OK?

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
12:35 pm

And let’s not forget the absolute steal that was Corky Miller.

The Real Fan

May 21st, 2009
12:36 pm

Exactly how are the Braves better after the Tex trade? Re-sign him and we’re better but the Braves are penny wise and pound foolish. Year after year we trade our best young players for rental players (see JD Drew) which we either let go to free agency or make a trade by being over a barrel because others teams know we have to make a move. New GM and supposedly new ability to spend but the same .500 Braves.

TUpac Urnhart Junior

May 21st, 2009
12:37 pm

Hey sho think ole TT44 has a good point!

TommyP

May 21st, 2009
12:37 pm

Gary: Teixeira didn’t help us? His OPS was 1.020 during his few months in Atlanta after the trade.

I think he helped a little.

You’re arguing that these players were depth. Quit talking about them like they were Infante or Jerry Royster. They were bargaining chips. Schuerholz went all in for one big hand ’cause he knew he was done after that.

C’mon, man. You have to admit that was a bad trade. And I’m a HUGE Schuerholz supporter.

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
12:38 pm

I don’t think Jonny Flynn or Tywon Lawson will be available at No. 19, and I have my doubts about Eric Maynor. And I think Darren Collison, who will be there, is too small.

On the other hand, this club is historically in the market for a good 6-7 wingman.

Tyger

May 21st, 2009
12:39 pm

BJ Mullens and Terrance Williams make the most sense.

1. Despite what anyone says the Hawks need a true center! Three 6′9 guys will eventually get beaten down over the course of a season and never get those crucial possessions down the stretch to close out a game. see Cleveland.

I wouldnt put much weight on BJ Mullens’ freshman year, HE WAS A FRESHMAN! And as the addage goes, big men develop more slowly. But BJ is a true 7′0 Center that can run the floor and would fit seamlessly in with the young stallions we already have, especially since everyone likes the core.

If they pass on BJ then they have plans for Randolph Morris which is good. You dont lead the SEC in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots at a premier program if you cant play at all. This is BS!

If not BJ, then move up and grab Terrence Williams, I doubt when the chips fall, he’ll be available at 19. Everything is bluster right now. Another versatile wing without a true position?

Absolutely! Williams is top 5 talent. He can do it all, he just makes plays, inside-out, excellent scorer and defender, uses his defense to get easy baskets, very Smoove-like in that regard, AND possesses the leadership intangibles that we lack.

Moreover, JJ expires, Marvin is uncertain, Flip is uncertain, Bibby is gone, Mario is garbage. We need some more uber-talent in the backcourt. Certainly, Williams needs more work especially on his 3 pt. shot, but the key is his intangibles, versatility and winning pedigree. He’s NBA ready and strengthens our bench and fits easily under the cap, which is essential with all the free agents we have.

ND

May 21st, 2009
12:39 pm

Any damage Tex did while in Atl was with no one on base. Escobar is far better than EA and will only continue to get better.

Dan

May 21st, 2009
12:41 pm

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
12:42 pm

We’ve got some great screen names on the ol’ blog — Ted Striker, of course, and Gene Garbage — but Tupac Urnhart Junior is way up there.

TUpac Urnhart Junior

May 21st, 2009
12:42 pm

Yep, saw ole tex hit 3 three homers in one game one sunday…..let me see, there may have been someone on base ……..hmmmmmm, if I had to bet, I would say no , but maybe onnce. It was against the Mariners…on a sunday afternoon in the ATL

HawkDawg

May 21st, 2009
12:45 pm

Teixeira was a joke. Very overrated.

Bubba

May 21st, 2009
12:47 pm

I’m sure this question’s been addressed many times, but I’ve not seen a comprehensive/complete answer, so I’m just gonna ask:

Why isn’t Acie Law playing?

HawkDawg

May 21st, 2009
12:49 pm

Acie Law doesn’t play because “Mr. Coach of the Decade Woodson” doesn’t allow him to play.

The Real Fan

May 21st, 2009
12:50 pm

Matt

May 21st, 2009
12:51 pm

The PG we should take above all others is Ty Lawson, as a veteran college ranks PG he is probably the most NBA ready. Lawson can penetrate and dish, and shoot from long range. More importantly though Lawson is a deamon defensively and will frustrate and hassel opposing teams ball handlers from end to end.

If Lawson is gone I think you have to go with Terrance Williams out of Louisville. He is a SG with a sweet shot, and is not afraid to go low and get dirty. He has a big time NBA body and can grab rebounds as well as some bigs.

Astro Joe

May 21st, 2009
1:03 pm

Other than Acie Law (who played plenty prior to Bibby’s arrival), which 1st round draft pick did Woody refuse to play? Frankly, if Sund does a good job in free agency, we won’t need to worry about playing the #19 pick in his rookie season. As Sekou Smith pointed out, last 3 years that pick (#19) delivered JJ Hickson, Jarvaris Crittenton and Quincy Douby. Sorry but I won’t get bent out of shape if a player of that ilk doesn’t get a ton of time in their rookie season. Because if they do get a lot of time, we’re likely headed back to the lottery.

Gary

May 21st, 2009
1:04 pm

Tommy P, Tex played great in his first couple of weeks and then started to taper off a bit like the rest of the team did. Then last year was just a disaster and he became known as the king of the meaningless HR.

Again someone, anyone tell me where any of these 4 players would be playing at in Atlanta? For it to be a horrible trade, these players have to contribute somehow and right now unless they can play LF or RF I don’t see that happening. So no this trade is nowhere near the disappointment the JD Drew for Adam Wainwright trade was because Wainwright could be alongside Jurrjens, Lowe, and Vasquez in the rotation. Salty and Elvis are nothing more than bench players on this team right now and Harrison would be lucky to even be in the bullpen.

Sorry I just don’t see the argument.

Life Long Braves Fan

May 21st, 2009
1:08 pm

Gary hit the nail on the head. Where are those amazing prospects going to play in Atlanta? Are you going to sit an All-Star Catcher? Are you going to sit the best arm at short-stop in baseball? The answer is no. Tex didn’t work out, but Schuerholz didn’t mortgage our future. Sounds like a good risk/reward to me. The risk was low, and sadly so was the reward. But to say it was a huge mistake might be taking it too far.

Mark Bradley

May 21st, 2009
1:12 pm

I imagine there’d be a place for Elvis. Elvis is, after all, The King.

Life Long Braves Fan

May 21st, 2009
1:13 pm

Gary hit the nail on the head. You can’t sit Esco, and you can’t sit MAC. Neither of the pitchers would be in our rotation, maybe in our pen. The risk was low, but the reward could have been great. Sadly, the reward was just as low as the risk. But that doesn’t make it a bad trade.

Gary

May 21st, 2009
1:16 pm

Even in the midst of a deep discussion, Mr. Bradley can lighten the mood with the occasional quip. :)