Hawks fans, don’t expect the moon and stars at No. 19

The 19th player taken in the 2008 NBA draft was J.J. Hickson. If you’ve heard of him, it’s doubtless because he played at Wheeler High in Marietta and spent a season at North Carolina State. It isn’t because he did much of anything as a professional rookie.

Hickson was the 11th man on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won more regular-season games than any other. Come the playoffs, Hickson got to sit and cheer as LeBron James and the other nine guys did their work. This isn’t to derogate Hickson, who’s 20 and who could yet develop into a fine pro. This is to offer a sobering glimpse of NBA reality.

The Hawks hold the 19th pick in Round 1, and if they find someone capable of offering immediate assistance that late they’ll consider themselves outrageously fortunate. The 19th player drafted in 2007 was Javaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, who’s already on his third NBA team and who has started a total of 10 games. The 19th player taken in 2006 was the legendary Quincy Douby, who hasn’t yet graced a starting lineup.

Being a pragmatist, Rick Sund knows all this. Being curious, the Hawks’ general manager went back over the past six drafts to see if the guys drafted 18th, 19th and 20th had made much of a splash. What he found: In that 18-man sample, only one — J.R. Smith, drafted by the Hornets in 2004 — was a double-figure scorer as a rookie. (And then only just, at 10.3.)

“You’re going to get a good player [at 19 or thereabouts],” Sund said Monday, but you have to be patient. The post-lottery guys aren’t brand names, aren’t LeBrons or the D-Wades. They’re the slow growers. If you’re lucky, they’re the Hakim Warricks.

Examples: David West [No. 18 to New Orleans in 2003] is now an All-Star, but he averaged 3.9 points as a rookie. Orlando’s Jameer Nelson [No. 20 in 2004] just made the All-Star team, and he averaged 8.7 points as a rookie.

If the Hawks’ No. 1 pick cracks the eight-man rotation next season, that will be a victory. If he winds up starting, that will mean Sund has failed on the second half of his summer mission — to hold together a core that includes four free agents among its top eight.

What's a realistic rookie goal for the No. 19 pick?

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“If [the draftee] makes the rotation, that will mean he’s really good,” Sund said. “He’ll have beaten out someone on a 47-win club … or it will mean we didn’t get all our free agents.

You’ll be shocked to learn Sund, who hasn’t yet made a pick as Hawks GM, won’t declare a target, or even a targeted position. He says they’re looking at guards, yes, but also at forwards and centers. “Let’s say Zaza [Pachulia] doesn’t re-sign with us and Al Horford gets hurt next year,” Sund said. “In hindsight, I’ll be wishing I’d drafted a center.”

The guess here is that the Hawks will take a point guard — Eric Maynor of VCU or Ty Lawson of North Carolina — but in no way should the 19th pick be viewed as a savior. Acie Law was picked 11th in 2007, and whatever happened to him?

This first-round pick is a key to the Hawks’ future, but not the immediate future. “You have to look at it as short term against long term,” Sund said. Long term, Maynor or Lawson might look mighty nice in red, white and blue. Short term, let’s just hope for somebody who can play.

For further reading: Here was the Monday morning all-NBA draft edition of Bradley’s Buzz. You should know NBAdraft.net has since updated its mock again and has Jeff Teague of Wake Forest going to the Hawks at No. 19. For those keeping score, that’s three different guards — Wayne Ellington of North Carolina, Jrue Holiday of UCLA and now Teague — in 24 hours.

97 comments Add your comment

Dr. Warren

June 22nd, 2009
4:26 pm

Aren’t the Hawks more blue and white, now? (With a touch of red).

Let’s package Acie and the rights to Childress for a lottery pick…

LEA

June 22nd, 2009
4:35 pm

Why are we looking at forwards, when we have 40 of them on our team already??? Rick Sund is just another Billy Knight, his record in Seattle sucks just as much as Billy does.. I wouldnt’ be surprised if we picked a player, we have never heard of lol..

JMar

June 22nd, 2009
4:40 pm

If you’re not in the top 5 picks of the draft, you’re not going to start for Woodson. If you’re not in the top 10, you’re probably not good enough to be a sub.

JSS

June 22nd, 2009
4:51 pm

Sorry to repost but…

Mr. Bradley, Any news on Garret Siler, the 6-11 305 kid who was so impressive in last year’s D-II Elite 8? Could the Hawks take a flier on him in Rd 2… I know he went to the Portsmouth Camp…

Mac

June 22nd, 2009
4:57 pm

Yeah, it’s funny to read people mentioning players the Hawks can get in the second round. If there’s draft that should be one round, it’s the NBA draft.

gcsu12

June 22nd, 2009
5:02 pm

I like Maynor and Lawson, but what if Ellington is available? He would be the best available player at 19 and has the best chance out of anyone left on the board to help the Hawks with scoring next year.

Admiral Benbow

June 22nd, 2009
5:03 pm

I figure the Hawks will draft another 6′6″ to 6′8″ small forward/power forward who isn’t really either one. Why change the status quo when just getting to the playoffs is as good to your ownership as winning a ring is to other clubs? Here comes another undersized 4 or a 3 who can’t dribble or shoot outside of 12 feet.

The Grinch

June 22nd, 2009
5:08 pm

We’ve already got a PG. We need a coach who will play him.

O'Brien

June 22nd, 2009
5:13 pm

Mark,

I think we will draft a guard too. We dont know if Bibby or Flip will resign, and dont think Sund and Woody are sold on Acie. Therefore, I think they take a PG.

Nobody is expecting an all star at 19. We just want a guy who will get a chance (and will be able) to contribute. Solo was picked in the second round, and whenever he’s gotten PT, he’s contributed. Paul Milsap was picked in the second round. Josh was picked 17. Players are out there.

The key here is talent evaluation, and luck. The Hawks need to be great evaluators of talent (and I’m not sure if they are good at that). Lest we forget, Woody didnt like Chris Paul or Deron Williams, and Sund picked Sene, Swift and Petro. And the Hawks also need to get lucky.

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
5:40 pm

JSS, here’s NBAdraft.net’s report on Garrett Siler. Apparently he’s big but not mobile and doesn’t have an offensive game “outside 5 feet.”

For what it’s worth, NBAdraft.net doesn’t having him going in Round 1 or 2.

Sorry to be distant this afternoon, but the young basketball genius Elizabeth Bradley and I went downtown to interview Rick Sund. She asked all the good questions. Rick seemed to like her. Nobody likes me.
.

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
5:43 pm

The reason I think the Hawks will draft a point guard is I think they’re looking for cover if Bibby leaves and a young guy to groom if he stays. But then Flip Murray enters the equation. If the Hawks re-sign him, too — and as I’ve said, Sund loves Flip — does Murray take the minutes away from the rookie point guard the same way he took minutes from Law?

JSS

June 22nd, 2009
5:56 pm

Thanks Mr. Bradley, If he goes undrafted, Rick Sund run, don’t walk and sign him… Once the hectic part goes away, go to the NCAA site and watch him in the 2008 D2 title game, he ’s only been playing 5 years, and he was plenty mobile… He’s no Bryant Reeves or Kevin Duckworth… Enjoy the little one

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:09 pm

That could happen, JSS. The Hawks have no great love for Randolph Morris, and Zaza Pachulia could leave just as easily — perhaps more easily — than he stays. And I don’t think there’s a center to be found at No. 19 or No. 49.

JM

June 22nd, 2009
6:17 pm

JSS, I’m a student at Augusta State and have watched every one of Siler’s games the last couple of years. He’s a physical beast that didn’t even start playing basketball until his senior year of high school. He came to college at about 370 pounds and redshirted his first year to get in shape. Conditioning remains his biggest issue, but from what I hear he’s gotten his weight down to about 280. He’s the all-time leader in field goal percentage at any level in college basketball and a big-time shot blocker. The downside, as Bradley said, is that he has very little offensive game outside the basket, but if he continues to improve his conditioning he’s an intriguing prospect at the end of the draft. He’s been slipping in and out of the mocks I’ve seen.

Ted Striker

June 22nd, 2009
6:23 pm

Does anyone else think the Sixers are having second thoughts? The Sixers could have gone after Josh Smith in free agency. Instead they hitched their wagon to Elton Brand. Brand — who’s missed 130 games over the last two seasons — is owed $65 million over the next 4 years. (And folks thought that Paul Hewitt contract was an anvil around the neck in deep water). What if the Sixers had gone after Smith…and THEN Childress had bolted for mad money in Greece? The Hawks would be drafting a little higher than #19.

Mac: Good point and oddly true. There seem to be very few Tom Brady/Kurt Warner/James Harrison types in the NFL. Any theorems as to why the NFL has so many undetected gems and the NBA has so few?

Mark: Hello, my friend. It’s been several days since I’ve seen any regrets for not drafting Ziggy Hood. Have you lost that loving feeling?

Okay, I have to go. Time to book a flight to Jax for the 2009 UGA beatdown of the previously-mighty Gators.

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:36 pm

Ted, at the time Brand seemed a big deal. Hasn’t worked out yet, but it might still. And the Hawks, having already lost one Josh, were almost certainly going to match any reasonable offer for J. Smith. (Brand was unrestricted — no matching possible.)

As for Ellington … I can’t tell you what Sund and the Hawks are going to do, but I can tell you they’ve been impressed by Ellington, Lawson and Hansbrough. Do not discount the latter name as a viable possibility at No. 19. Do not, I say.

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:38 pm

….Patrick Mills????? Best PG in the draft???? Hello????….well he’s right there. Worked over Team USA(olympics) and Steph Curry in the NIT. Dragged his team to the NCAA tourney as a freashman(07-08). Was the vocal/points leader at age 19 on an Austrilan mens national team(Beijing) with guy’s mostly in their 30’s…..and that nobody Bogut……Arguably Australias most Popular player….right now…..how about a whole other country as a fan base……more retail money for the Hawks…..Austraila is a fairly untapped market…..

BHayley

June 22nd, 2009
6:40 pm

I have no confidence in Rick Suck. he can’t draft at all (Sene, Petro, Robert Swift are his latest 3 picks I believe…These 3 guys combined are about as good as Solomon Jones is right now).

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:40 pm

Certainly Peter Moylan would pay for season tickets if the Hawks took Patty Mills.

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:40 pm

…..fastest guard in the draft…..that’s right mark….I said it…

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:41 pm

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:42 pm

I should also report that the Hawks’ draft will be more of a collective effort than it was, say, when Billy Knight essentially did what he pleased. (Ergo, Shelden at No. 5.) Dave Pendergraph, Sund’s assistant, is the big draft man. Sund goes and scouts and will make the final calls, but Pendergraph has done the draft 24-7.

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:43 pm

Mark, That Makes two. Me and peter, courtside lol.

jake

June 22nd, 2009
6:46 pm

They need to take a point guard at 19-lawson or maynor. Then take a guy like Danny Green at 49.

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:47 pm

Mark, hopefully those guys can turn over a new leaf and startb a new draft culture here with the Hawks. Lord knows, we don’t need that decision making that went on in Seattle lol…..aside from Ray Ray, Flip and drafting Ridnour….

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:48 pm

FWIW, Ariose, DraftExpress has Mills going No. 2 in Round 2.

JustaThought

June 22nd, 2009
6:50 pm

Meathead…………dead from the neck up! That what I’m sensing from the Hawks. This organization only have themselves to blame for this “muck and mire” mess that they are in. They have wasted 2 (Sheldon and Chills and it should be 3 if you include AC) high picks on guys they are getting absolutley nothing from and we should have confidence that these “arse” clowns will do what? If they draft “anybody” it won’t matter because at spot 19 he WON’T develope and be buried on the bench. Be ready to be disappointed everybody, if not on Thursday I’ll check back in a year.

Hey Ted! I hear ya about Philly, but guess what……..they still made the playoffs without Brand. I my book they look brighter than the Hawks.

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
6:52 pm

I like the three big Carolina guys, Jake, but I can’t say I’m a big fan of Danny Green’s.

There’s a chance Jodie Meeks could be available when the Hawks go at No. 49. Even if he is, I don’t think they’d take him.

Ariose

June 22nd, 2009
6:54 pm

Well, at least I can sleep knowing he’s getting a little love from the scouts. He’s going to be a bigtime sleeper IMHO.

Honestly, though. I want Ellington in Rd.1 and Danny Green in Rd.2. We ALL remeber what happend when marvin went doen in the playoffs….ugh. LBJ had a feild-day. And JJ almost got seriously injutred w/that ankle. You can never have too many backups/insurance policies. Besides the Dann/Wayne combo can give JJ some relife during the long 82-game season.

They come from a good pedigree so I have no doubt they will win woodson over for PT……and we must bring back Flip…..regardless of what Bibby does. Flip IS the bench lol.

JM

June 22nd, 2009
6:55 pm

I’d love to see us take Meeks if he’s available at 49. He’s a natural scorer who would provide insurance if Flip leaves.

I don’t understand what the knock is on Meeks. He may not have the upside of some other guys in the Draft, but he’s pretty close to a finished product.

Tony from Stone Mountain

June 22nd, 2009
6:57 pm

If everyone thinks that Marvin Williams is an average small forward, why would any other team try to outbid the Hawks for his services?

jake

June 22nd, 2009
7:01 pm

Who would be a pick at 49 who has a good chance to make the team,and contribute to the team later on: Toney Douglas, Jack McClinton, A.J. Price, or Paul Harris. Any good ideas for 49?

Tony from Stone Mountain

June 22nd, 2009
7:03 pm

Sorry for the off topic post, but it had been bugging me.

ccrider

June 22nd, 2009
7:13 pm

Mark: I want to go on the record that the Hawks should take Ellington at No. 19 and Move into the 20 to 25 range of the first round and pick Toney Douglas. Douglas is going to make a lot of GM’s look myoptic: He shoots, defends and could be a scoring point guard that defends the opposite point guard to distraction.

Billy

June 22nd, 2009
8:25 pm

Maybe the Hawks can make a great pick late in the 1st round. They’ve done very little (other than Horford) at the top of the 1st round.

Clint

June 22nd, 2009
8:28 pm

Hey Mark,
I believe that the Hawks should trade this years first round draft pick and second round pick to move further back in the first round to select Toney Douglas and to aquire a first rounder next year from whomever makes the trade with us. Toney gives immediate floor leadership and instant scoring off the bench. This would give us the chance next year to trade both first round picks to move up and select a player that can make a difference. I just don’t see a player around the 19 that would give us the value we need without making this trade. If the Hawks can stay competitive this upcoming year, then hopefully some big name free agents next year will want to play here.

Your thoughts?

Sautee

June 22nd, 2009
8:39 pm

Jake,

How about Goran Suton from Michigan St.? (sorry Sekou, if you’re reading Mark’s blog!)

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
8:46 pm

Toney Douglas is an intriguing option. I thought he was a really good college player who could do almost everything. But he’s got that tweener size that scares off a lot of pro execs. Is he a PG? Is he a SG? The correct answer, I believe, is that he’s just an old-fashioned guard. Trading down for him wouldn’t be the worst draft move this franchise has ever made.

And Goran Suton doesn’t do much for me, I’m afraid. He’s a big man who shoots jumpers. If I’m taking a big man, it’s one who plays big.

reedeak

June 22nd, 2009
8:52 pm

What about Patrick Beverly as a 49th pick or even a free agent signing if he doesn’t get drafted?

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
8:56 pm

According to ESPN.com, Beverley has had some impressive camps and seems a lock to get drafted — maybe in Round 1.

[...] For further reading: Here’s a later post containing the fruits, such as they were, of my Monday interview with Hawks GM Rick Sund. [...]

macky

June 22nd, 2009
9:01 pm

Ty Lawson can be a star in Atlanta IMO. This guy is the real deal.

Bangkapi Ajarn

June 22nd, 2009
9:02 pm

I started this process thinking that Mullins would be best, you can’t teach big. Then, I was drawn into the discussions regarding a point guard, but an over-hyped 6th or 7th best PG doesn’t seem to be much of a step up when trying to get passed the talent gap that was so obvious in the 2nd round of the playoffs, especially when you have resources avalable that can do the job.

I am now leaning, from what I have been reading, Hansbrough. He would be an upgrade in that spot off the bench, AND, looking at the process that may be in place within the Hawks org on who to draft, he may be a safe consensus pick for the braintrust based on his impression in his workout (personal demeanor, work ethic, motor, smarts, pedigreed program, loyalty, etc.). Mullins second choice if Hansborugh is gone (unlikely based on several mocks I visited) as insurance if they can’t sign Bibby and Zaza both.

Forgetting what WE think would be the best pick IF we were making the selection, and recognizing the realities of the process (free agency AFTER the draft), what does the group think a consensus pick from Sund, Woodson, and Pendergraph be at 19?

jdewayneatl

June 22nd, 2009
9:03 pm

Honestly I am ready for the draft, but I’m not looking for whoever is drafted at 19 to be an instant hit. The only reason I am looking forward to the draft is because this will show what direction the Hawks are headed towards in free agency and possibly trades. Playoff teams don’t usually improve with their draft picks. Playoff teams, especially elite playoff teams, draft guys to be role players at best their first season and develop their talents while continuing to win.

The Hawks are now a Playoff team and to expect anything less would be a step back. Tyler Hansbrough is the best player in the draft that could feel a role player position immediately. He is energy, tenacity, and has great basketball instincts. Wayne Ellington would be next with his sharp shooting and scoring ability. Finding a playmaker that can make an instant impact at 19 is not gonna happen.

I have to be honest, I have drunk the Mock Draft kool-aid. Most mock drafts and blogs say that the Hawks should take the best available pg (Teague, Lawson, or Maynor) and I believed it. I do think that a decent pg at 19 wouldn’t be a failure but for a Playoff team adding a player that can be successful with a specific and not overbearing role would help this team more now and in the long run.

Playoff teams get better via free agency and/or trades. (The Hawks had no draft picks in 2008 but improved because of key free agent additions. The Hawks made the playoffs for the first time in a decade in 2008 because of a key mid-season trade)

sidslid

June 22nd, 2009
9:06 pm

Arias,

You are reading box scores. Curry was by far best player onfloor in the NIT matchup. Mills just had a better supporting cast and if I am not mistaken Curry went a wee bit deeper (Elite 8) in his tournament run.

Astro Joe

June 22nd, 2009
9:09 pm

When playing alongside Joe, the PG just needs to catch and shoot and stop dribble penetration… sounds like Douglas to me.

Did Pendergraph work with Sund during the drafting of the 3 Seattle failures? None of those first round picks has been as good as Solomon Jones. I’m glad you AJC guys are enjoying a GM who actually talks to the media… but at some point, you may want to ask the basketball professor what “phase” he was in when he drafted Swift, Petro and Sene in consecutive years. (You know, how he loves to wax poetic about the various phases on a player’s maturation, WTF phase was he in when he came up with those 3 winners?)

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
9:15 pm

As far as I’m concerned, what happened in Seattle stays in Seattle.

Astro Joe

June 22nd, 2009
9:22 pm

Mark, except when Robert “Second-Coming of John Edwards” Swift becomes an early free agent acquisition of Dr. Sund (NBA PhD).

Ted Striker

June 22nd, 2009
9:25 pm

Mark — You have the monopoly on the phrase “what happened in Seattle stays in Seattle.”

I kinda like it. That said, don’t make any plans for early retirement for royalties from said literary inspiration.

Mark Bradley

June 22nd, 2009
9:31 pm

Actually, I think Dr. Frasier Crane said it first. Or perhaps Dr. Niles Crane. Or Roz. Always liked Roz, I did.