Those darned folks at NBAdraft.net are killing me. When I went to bed last night, they had the Hawks taking Wayne Ellington, the elegant North Carolina shooter, with the 19th pick in Thursday’s draft. At 3:02 a.m., they updated their mock, and now they have the Hawks choosing Jrue Holiday, a point guard from UCLA. And I’m doing some rewriting because …
I like Ellington a lot.
I don’t like Holiday at all.
He averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 assists in his one season at UCLA. True, he was playing alongside/behind Darren Collison, a more seasoned point guard, but the consensus across college basketball was that Holiday had underwhelmed. (He actually seemed a better defender than an offensive player.)
Holiday has been projected to go in the upper half of Round 1 but could be sliding. Me, I think there’s good reason. Me, I think he’s way too raw. Me, I’d much rather see the Hawks take Eric Maynor of VCU or Ty Lawson of North Carolina, both of whom NBAdraft.net projects as being available at No. 19. But maybe that’s just me.
More projections: Chad Ford of ESPN.com has the Hawks taking Jeff Teague, the Wake Forest point guard, in his mock. (Link requires registration.) DraftExpress also tabs Teague as a Hawk. But Ian Thomsen of SI.com has Teague going 14th to Phoenix and has the Hawks taking Earl Clark, a 6-foot-10 forward from Louisville.
True confessions: I don’t much like Teague much. I like Clark’s talent but not his disinclination to dominate. (I’ve seen enough of that with Marvin Williams.) But I’m seeing Hawks GM Rick Sund this afternoon, and I’m sure he’ll tell me exactly who the Hawks plan on drafting.
The Atlantan John Hollinger, who does love his numbers, has Lawson, who’s 6-foot, ranked No. 1 among prospects (requires registration) on ESPN.com. He has Blake Griffin, who’ll be the No. 1 pick, No. 2. He has Nick Calathes of Florida, who might or might not go in Round 1, No. 6. He has Danny Green, who might have been the sixth-best player on North Carolina’s roster, rated No. 8 in this draft.
And Hollinger has Toney Douglas of Florida State (and Jonesboro High), who was voted the ACC’s best defender and who led the league in scoring, ranked 62nd. (Note: Only 60 players get drafted.)
This is one of those statistical rundowns I don’t fully buy, especially when measuring potential. But Hollinger claims his Draft Tracker, whatever its methodology, sniffed out Carlos Boozer, Josh Howard and Danny Granger. So there.
The hard-working folks at NBAdraft.net have compiled a divisional rundown, complete with salary numbers and expiring contracts and suchlike, and they have a particularly keen take on what the Hawks must do not just with the draft but with the summer.
To wit: “ Re-signing both [Mike] Bibby and [Marvin] Williams may be tough for the Hawks this summer. They may have to decide between Bibby’s leadership and Williams’ potential. Bibby has proven his worth in Atlanta and will not cost the Hawks as much as signing the younger Williams. Williams has proven only that he wasn’t worth the No. 2 overall pick in 2005.
“The Hawks will be better served signing Bibby to a reasonable 3 year contract and drafting a wing player with the 19th pick for insurance in case Williams gets a large contract offer from an outside team like expected. The Hawks already have at least 20 million coming off the books for the big 2010 free agent class, and if they let Williams go elsewhere then they could be even bigger players in the summer of 2010.”
Given that I wrote a little something last week about the need to part with Williams, I’d like to applaud the sagacity of this appraisal. And while I’m applauding, here’s what NBAdraft.net sees as the Hawks’ draft options:
“They could get a quality guy to replace Williams’ role. Wake Forest’s James Johnson would be a steal at No. 19. North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington should be able to come in right away and score points. Louisville’s Terrence Williams or Xavier’s Derrick Brown could also be good fits.”
I’ve already said I like Ellington. I don’t like Johnson at all. Brown I like some. As for T-Will of the ‘Ville: Loved him as a collegian, but how many pro teams need a point forward?
And in Round 2 …
And you know who NBAdraft.net has going 55th? Jodie Meeks of Norcross High.
Tell me again. Why’d he decide to leave Kentucky with a year’s eligibility remaining? Had he not heard about the Wildcats firing Billy Gillispie? Who leaves school to go 55th (of 60)?
For further reading: Here’s a later post containing the fruits, such as they were, of my Monday interview with Hawks GM Rick Sund.