Hawks GM Rick Sund: Picking L.A., pulling for Orlando

Rick Sund picked the Lakers and the Magic to reach the NBA finals before the season began, and the Hawks’ GM is proud of himself. He’s so proud he reminded me, not altogether ungraciously, “You liked Cleveland over Orlando.” And I did. (I love everything about the city of Cleveland, as we know. But I digress.)

I called Sund, who was in Minneapolis at an NBA draft showcase doing his due diligence, because I wanted to know which team he likes now. (I’ve already made my pick.) And he said the Lakers, so I’m hoping he’s wrong.

And so is he. “I’d love to see Orlando win,” Sund said. “I’m rooting for the Eastern Conference. And you always like to have games against the NBA champion [to publicize and market].”

And there’s something else: Sund’s theory, often delineated in this space, is that a team can win the NBA title with two superstars (as was the case with Shaq and Kobe in L.A., or Shaq and D-Wade in Miami) or by having at least three players in the top 10 at their respective positions. (Detroit of 2003-2004 is his model, but the Spurs of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli also qualify.)

Sund: “Orlando’s got one superstar [Dwight Howard], and then they’ve got some guys in that 8, 9, 10, 11 range. That gives us up hope. That’s what we have to do.”

His heart says Orlando. His head does not. And then there’s the matter of consistency. “I already picked the Lakers,” Sund said. “I’ve got to stick with it. I’m on record.”

38 comments Add your comment

Ernest

June 4th, 2009
10:47 am

In fairness, that is probably how most fans in the ATL area feel. We have a connection to ORL through Dwight Howard. As a result, we want to see a ‘local guy’ succeed at the highest level. Add to that, we are in the same division and since we compete with them regularly, we rather see a team like them win.

I am an optimist and will stick with my prediction of ORL in 6. Nothing wrong with dreaming….

[...] Mark Bradley | ajc.com – [...]

Astro Joe

June 4th, 2009
11:28 am

Out of curosity, where does the head coach need to rank amongst his peers for this whole “top 10 in each position” formula to work? Now with that said, I doubt that anyone would put SVG in the top 10 of head coaches in the league. I’d be interested in knowing how the rank of the head coach facor into “Sund’s Fibonacci Numbers for NBA Success”.

Lakers Bandwagon Fan

June 4th, 2009
12:10 pm

I hope Mr. Sund uses his heart and head this post season. Then maybe next Finals we will be talkingabout the Hawks’ in 6.

Big Ray

June 4th, 2009
12:31 pm

Somehow I think that “head coach ranking” isn’t part of Sunds’ formula in that manner of speaking. Right now, I’d settle for a head coach that can get the most out of his team. If you have that, you have a good chance at success. Not only that, but the onus is squarely on the GM to get the coach the amount of talent, etc, that is needed to win.

Who cares about having a “Coach of The Year.” It doesn’t necessarily translate to winning it all, now does it? Ask Mike Brown about that.

Again, all that really matters to me is having a guy who can get the most out of our roster. Leave the Chad Ford/John Hollinger type of rankings for those who care.

Big Ray

June 4th, 2009
12:33 pm

People can say what they want about Woody (whether it’s true or not, exaggeration or not), but Sund has his work cut out for him this summer. Another truly pivotal offseason, and a bit more interesting since we are in the draft…for the moment, anyway.

wxwax

June 4th, 2009
12:48 pm

Mr. Bradley, I have nothing but respect for your prodigious output. I’m also very grateful because you make reading the online version of the AJC bearable by keeping it fresh.

Thank you, sincerely.

Dan

June 4th, 2009
12:48 pm

I actually hope he is right. I want the Lakers to win, but really do not have a problem with Orlando winning.

Biggest offseason for the Hawks in a long time. Could tell us all we need to know about Sund. Hope he is as right about the moves this summer as he was about the NBA Finals teams in October.

wxwax

June 4th, 2009
1:06 pm

I hope Orlando’s shooters stay hot. That’ll make the series interesting. It sounds as if LA is better equipped to defend the perimeter than Cleveland. And they match-up well on Howard, too. I just hope for an interesting series.

Just out of curiosity, what did Woody do that provokes such intense dislike? The man has improved his team’s win total every year and seems to be maximizing their potential. Does anyone think the Hawks were a top 4 team?

I’m just confused that an NBA Finals thread turned into another Woody bash. I don’t get it.

Mark Bradley

June 4th, 2009
1:17 pm

Thanks, WxWax. I’m obliged.

Biggest offseason for the Hawks in at least a decade. Bigger than last summer by far.

Melvin

June 4th, 2009
2:15 pm

And so is he. “I’d love to see Orlando win,” Sund said. “I’m rooting for the Eastern Conference. And you always like to have games against the NBA champion [to publicize and market].” -Rick Sund

Uh, what about being able to market yourself as CHAMPION. In his 30+ years in the NBA has he been able to speak from the standpoint of being the NBA Champion??? If not, then what a resume he has. 30yrs of service, no taste of glory…. BTW, I’m to lazy to research his (Sund) legacy…

newkid

June 4th, 2009
2:24 pm

I love these hackneyed ‘formulae’ for success, and those who live and die by them; but I’ll amuse myself by playing along for a moment. So if we’re to have a reasonable chance to win the O’Brien trophy (that’s what we’re about right?), we’ve gotta have a top 10 at 3 of the 5 slots. Set aside for the moment the offensive and defensive schema we elect to employ and the talent attributes needed to execute them; set aside chemistry issues; set aside the competition that stands between mediocrity and the O’Brien trophy; just give me A top 10 guy in 3 of the 5 positions and let’s get to work. Fair enough.

So, if Joe’s within the top 10 in SGs and we fully expect him to re-sign, where else do we go to upgrade the variables in Mr. Sund’s fool-proof (really?) formula? Who’s the top 10 point we’re after this summer (remember our talent evaluation system goofed in identifying two of them a few years back)? Who’s the top 10 SF we’re on track to ink this summer (Charlie V?)? What about the 5 we just know is right for us, and he’s by the way among the top 10 at his slot? And perhaps, if you’re delusional, you say we’ve already got our top 10 PF; but if you don’t view the world through Sund-tinted glasses, who do you pursue to give you the upgrade to top 10 at the PF slot?

Oh yeah, all I need is that magic formula and I can expeditiously be about the business of producing a champion. Yeah right.

Sorry guys, but it’s always been my nature to question authority.

JerryWest

June 4th, 2009
2:36 pm

Great question Astro Joe.

Mark B. — Please ask Sund on the lowest ranking of a championship coach. I am sure all bloggers are interested to know that.

If Hawks suck without Bibby/Flip/Zaza next year, Woody is in an enviable position to blame Sund for everything.

cdog

June 4th, 2009
2:39 pm

MARK, WHY ARE WE RUNNING ORLANDO MAJIC ARTICLES IN OUR COLUMNS?WHO CARES WHO WINS BETWEEN THE MAJIC AND THE LAKRES.RICK SUND BETTER BE CONCERN WITH BUILDING HAWKS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP. HE NEED TO WATCH WHAT FRANK WREN WITH THE BRAVES DID. THE BRAVES NEEDED ANOTHER BAT. HE DIDN’T SIT AROUND WITH A CELL PHONE STUCK IN HIS EAR AND DO NOTHING LIKE SUND DID. INTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT THE MAJIC AND LAKERS CONCENTRATE ON BRINGING IN A BIG MAN AND POINT GUARD FOR NEXT YEAR.

Mz. Hawkdafied

June 4th, 2009
4:43 pm

I hope Mr. Sund uses his heart and head this post season. Then maybe next Finals we will be talking about the Hawks in 6.

The Truth

June 4th, 2009
4:43 pm

Mark
Is this some sort of publicity stunt for Sund? Or maybe this is just good PR spin to gain future GM access. Nice move :)

Wink from Lithonia

June 4th, 2009
4:48 pm

So Sund is rooting for the Magic to put backsides in the seats next season at home games; how about improving the team to the point fans want to fill them seats to watch a good product; work on that Mr Sund.

REBOUNDER – SIZE IN THE FRONT COURT (CENTER) & ATTACKING POINT GUARD WITH GOOD DECISION MAKING ABILITY…FOCUS ON THAT…MR. SUND

JustaThought

June 4th, 2009
4:49 pm

Oh Melvin! Great comment, but be ready for a GREAT disappointment on Sund’s 30 plus years…………he’s a hold over from that “old boy”
network from the 80’s

Mz. Hawkdafied

June 4th, 2009
4:54 pm

I agree with cdog about the Orlando Magic articles in the Hawks section. But since I’ve joined the Lakers bandwagon, I didn’t think I had a right to criticize. Thanks cdog appreciate that! I’d be more comfortable hearing about Rick Sund and any ideas concerning the NBA draft. Or maybe an article on how the Hawks could possibly make a move to put themselves in the position Orlando’s in.

I HOPE MR SUND USES HIS HEART AND HEAD THIS POST SEASON. THEN MAYBE NEXT FINALS WE WILL DISCUSSING THE ATLANTA HAWKS IN SIX!

JustaThought

June 4th, 2009
4:55 pm

Sorry I forgot to mention ALL his great……..good………piss-poor
accomplishments over those 30 years, but there really are not ANY. Thats why he’s the Hawks GM.

JustaThought

June 4th, 2009
5:00 pm

ANd to be fair to Sund, it’s not his fault he’s the GM…………you can THANK the ASG for another GREAT decision.

O'brien

June 4th, 2009
5:01 pm

newkid, good points. JJ is a top 10 shooting guard, and Horford might already be a top 10 center. Josh is arguably a top 10 PF, or he’ll become one once he learns to play within his limits (and develop a jump shot). However, those 3 guys are not enough to get the Hawks to the conference finals, much less a NBA championship. We need Marvin to elevate his game even more, and be a top 10 SF.

I hope Sund realizes that when a team has 3 top 10 guys, they spread the wealth (in terms of offensive responsibility). But with the Hawks, everything goes through JJ. And JJ cant handle all that load. Al and Marvin need more shots.

Also, even with 3 guys in the top 10, you need a coach who will help them play to their strengths, and let’s face it. Woody (my system is switch everthing on defense, and iso JJ) is not that guy.

JustaThought

June 4th, 2009
5:13 pm

Don’t mind my venting guys, it’s just that not only are we behind Orlando, but Cleveland (only for another year I might add)has pass the Hawks by, not to mention Boston, Miami (down and on the rise again) and Philly are breathing down their back HARD. I see this team as beening in a “wondering stagnant” place. Not going to GET better, but “hoping” to get better. And that my friend is a glaring big difference between this organization and the rest of the teams I mentioned. As dead as the Knicks are, at least they got a hat in the Labron sweepstake, regardless of whether he end up there or not.

dawes

June 4th, 2009
7:30 pm

i hope dennis scott is wrong and i am picking the lakers in six games go lakers

A Tribe Called Quest

June 4th, 2009
7:48 pm

That BS formula for being a winner is a joke. The guy has never been to the Finals. Hell, the freaking CLIPPERS probably meet that formula within the next 2 years. Baron Davis, Thornton, and ZBo are all sick basketball players. Are the CLippers ever going to be good? No.

This guy is a joke

1) He said you don’t trade for [superstars]–you draft them. Um, the Heat traded for SHAQ and won a title a year later. You are a moron

2) He has no goals for this team. Making the playoffs with a winning record? Then he has the nerve to say he wouldn’t have minded if we made the playoffs with a losing record

3) His biggest accomplishment was being the GM of the Mavs. Can anyone here name 1 player on those Mavs team he was the GM of?

4) Can we please get a real GM who will take this team to a Finals, not this idiot who doesn’t want to win and will just resign and retain all our “young, athletic” players?

O'brien

June 4th, 2009
8:19 pm

A Tribe Called Quest

Another example, is Boston. They traded for 2 superstars, and won the championship last year.

Kevin

June 5th, 2009
7:43 am

funny is this the same Lame GM Rick Sund who said cleveland was goin win finals vs La funny.If he be more concerd in gettin players n a better coach we be like orlando in finals…and i shall also give GM more crap by sayin orlando will win NBA finals 4-2 over the lakers…I can’t wait hear rick sund 360 degree turn around now.It also shows people u can’t win in cleveland with that classless fellow who did not shake howards hand at end of his chokin to the magic…

Melvin

June 5th, 2009
9:40 am

Mark,

How do you like Bynum now?????

cdog

June 5th, 2009
11:14 am

a tribe called quest, i totally agree, the milwaukee bucks traded for oscar robertson, result nba title. the lakers traded for kareem abdul jabbar, result,nba championship. what planet is rick sund living on? also, wilt chamberlain traded to 76ers and lakers. same result, nba title. sund, leave the majic alone. the hawks should be your concern. woodson was not the problem, sund didn’t give him the horses to win with.

Sund & Bradley Seperated @ Birth

June 5th, 2009
12:22 pm

SUND AND BRADLEY ARE TWINS THEY HAVE THE SAME MINDSET. BRADLEY TALKS SO NEGATIVE ABOUT SUND BUT IS HIS EQUAL. WORD OF ADVICE DONT THROW STONES WHEN YOU’RE LIVING IN A GLASS HOUSE!

#NFL

Sund & Bradley Seperated @ Birth

June 5th, 2009
12:28 pm

CDOG ITS SUNDS’ PLANET BRADLEY IS JUST LIVING IN IT

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
1:52 am

Mark do you get the feeling the Hawks will amke some kind of move on draft night involving players or picks or do you think they will draft pick 19 and their 2nd rounder and call it a night?

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
1:52 am

Mark do you get the feeling the Hawks will make some kind of move on draft night involving players or picks or do you think they will draft pick 19 and their 2nd rounder and call it a night?

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
1:52 am

Mark do you get the feeling the Hawks will make some kind of move on draft night involving players or picks or do you think they will draft pick 19 and their 2nd rounder and call it a night?

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
1:52 am

Mark do you get the feeling the Hawks will make some kind of move on draft night involving players or picks or do you think they will draft pick 19 and their 2nd rounder and call it a night?

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
1:52 am

Mark do you get the feeling the Hawks will make some kind of move on draft night involving players or picks or do you think they will draft pick 19 and their 2nd rounder and call it a night?

Mark Bradley

June 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

I don’t think the Hawks will be trading up in the draft. They’ve got too many free agents, and you can’t deal those guys until July. (The draft is June 25.)

HawkKingBibby

June 6th, 2009
11:03 pm

OMG Sorry about all those posts. My computer froze and I didnt even think one post got through much less 5. Again Im very sorry guys.