A big idea: Hawks should take Augusta’s Siler in Round 2

I stand before you a weary man. I’m tired of hearing that Al Horford isn’t a center (because he is) and that the Hawks won’t amount to anything until they find a center. But being my dogged self, I wasn’t willing to sit idly by as the conversation raged on the ol’ blog. I actually went out — at the prodding of reader JSS, who put a bug in my tin ear — and found the Hawks a center.

Actually, Rick Sund and his crew beat me to it. They had Garret Siler of Augusta (Ga.) State in for a workout last week. But I’m not just giving him a look. I’m saying: Take him in Round 2! Make him the draft’s 49th pick! And then hire Tree Rollins, who helped groom Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando, as a special assistant and let him spend two years tutoring the big man.

Garret Siler is, as we say in the trade, a great story. He attended a fine arts school — he was a singer and played in the band — until moving to Richmond Academy as a senior. That’s where Dip Metress, the coach of Augusta State, saw him, and there was a lot to see. Siler was 7-foot, 370 pounds. And, according to Metress, he “scored less than 50 points” that entire season.

Siler was, in sum, raw. When he arrived at ASU, he could, Metress says, do two things: “Catch the ball — he’s got great hands — and make a layup.” Everything else was a mystery. Metress again: “He hadn’t ever played [until that senior year of high school]. It was like I was his middle school coach.”

Siler redshirted his first year at ASU. As a freshman he averaged 5.3 points and 2.3 rebounds. As a fifth-year senior, he averaged 16.2 and 7.7 and led the Jaguars to a 30-5 season and NCAA Division II semifinals. “It’s indescribable how far he’s come,” Metress says. And then: “Every month he’d do something he couldn’t do the month before.”

Taking Garret Siler in Round 2 would be:

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The big man is still raw — he fouled out of 25 college games — but no longer as big. He’s down to 278 pounds — “He’s lost almost a human being,” Metress says — and that reflects a steep recent decline. Siler weighed 298 when he made all-tournament at the Portsmouth Invitational, a postseason camp for NBA hopefuls. (Metress: “I tell people that Jerry West logo [the official NBA brand] is greater motivation to lose weight than any coach.”)

Siler averaged 16 points and eight rebounds at Portsmouth, catching more than a few eyes. Metress says the Miami Heat, which has the 60th and final pick in Thursday’s draft, has flown Siler down twice for workouts. “If you’re going to take a risk,” Metress says, “you take it on size. He’s not going to shrink … If you’re willing to work with him, he’s got so much upside … And he’s a true low-post player. He doesn’t try to be a guard or a forward.”

At No. 49 there are no sure things, only varying shades of gambles. Garret Siler would be a massive gamble, literally and figuratively. But better him in Round 2 than Priest Lauderdale, who hadn’t a prayer, in Round 1.

And what, you’re asking ever happened to the 7-foot-4 Lauderdale, who was the Hawks No. 1 pick (28th overall) in 1996? He wound up playing basketball in Bulgaria and became, according to the Sofia Echo, the tallest Bulgarian citizen. And now you know … the rest of the story.

For your viewing pleasure: Here’s a clip from Chris Kane of Augusta’s WJBF-TV of Garret Siler after his return from the Portsmouth Invitational.

97 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

June 23rd, 2009
2:45 pm

Twelfth!

Bobby Cox must go!

Herschel Talker

June 23rd, 2009
2:46 pm

MB – you took my idea about Danny Bautista and then posted it down lower. That is only one of many. I don’t know why you were focusing on Charlie Leibrandt. That wasn’t even that big a deal.

Marcus

June 23rd, 2009
2:55 pm

hey, worth a shot, esp. if we get a PG for the future at pick 19. Then Sund is really up-against-it when it comes to FA.

Mark Bradley

June 23rd, 2009
2:59 pm

If you’re going to take a down-the-road guy, down-the-draft is the place. (And actually, Siler is a down-Interstate-20 guy.)

Joe's place Joe speaking

June 23rd, 2009
3:18 pm

Hey mark I can’t get the video. Is it me? Or is it a error on the video?

Meidzo in Decatur

June 23rd, 2009
3:25 pm

Andrew Bynum was not a superstar in High School, he was a late bloomer. The Lakers took him and basically “redshirted” him in the NBA (working with Kareem). Before his injury, he was one of the most promising Bigs in the league. I always wished we could get a “Project” and develop him!

Astro Joe

June 23rd, 2009
3:26 pm

Mark, Tree Rollins? Fine, anyone but Tyrone Hill. And whatever happened to Antoine Carr? Now there’s a guy who could teach Siler, Horford, Smith and every other Hawk how to play well on both ends of the floor. Again, anyone but Tyrone Hill (or Alton Lister). Our young bigs need a quality big man coach to tutor them.

Astro Joe

June 23rd, 2009
3:27 pm

And did I mention that Antoine Carr would be a really, really, really good big man coach because he actually played both ends of the court very well (superb turn-around jumper as a Hawk and great low-post defender in his Utah/San Antonio days).

BoricuaHawkFan

June 23rd, 2009
3:28 pm

NoleRick

June 23rd, 2009
3:31 pm

Sounds good to me. Although I agree Mark, Horfy is a center, it would be nice to see him play the 4 with a bigger body clogging up the lane.

Melvin

June 23rd, 2009
3:34 pm

I say pick him if he’s on the boad in the 2nd round. If he can’t play at least he will scare a few people walking on to the court….

Astro Joe

June 23rd, 2009
3:34 pm

ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH! Come on, say it with me… ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH!

Matty Ice-man

June 23rd, 2009
3:40 pm

Mark,

I have two words for you: Priest Lauderdale

I got a better idea

June 23rd, 2009
3:42 pm

what about alade aminu from ga tech instead? he actually played against real competition in college and is a legit 6′11. i’d take him and hope that siler goes undrafted so the hawks could pick him up then

Ron Roberts

June 23rd, 2009
3:45 pm

I like this idea for three reasons; 1. He is physically capable and has shown the ability to get exponentially better each year. 2. I grew up in Augusta, and it’s good to see an Augusta State guy get some attention at the NBA level – just shows how far that program’s come in the last 5-10 years, and, 3. Augusta’s sort of an untapped market for the Hawks to draw from. Having lived most of my life there, I can tell you, there’s hardly a blip on the local radar whether the Hawks are doing well or not, and in a time when money’s tight, drawing from a larger fan-base can’t hurt.

O'Brien

June 23rd, 2009
3:46 pm

AJ,

Woody needs a better coaching staff. I wish he had at least one assistant who was a former NBA head coach. But I wish they had a better big man coach. Dwight Howard has Patrick Ewing, Bynum has Kareem, the Hawks have Tyrone Hill. Nothing against Hill (who averaged 9.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 0.5 blocks), but the Hawks need somebody better. Maybe Hakeem wants a job.

Mark,

I would prefer the Hawks take Siler at #49, instead of Mullens at #19.

cp

June 23rd, 2009
3:53 pm

Ehhh I would probably take alade aminu over him too. I think this guy goes undrafted so just sign him as a free agent. I dont like his rebounding numbers. A guy that size playing in that weak division should be better on the boards. Add in the fact that I have no confidence in the coaching staff developing the kid. I still prefer guys like Meeks or Danny Green in the second round. I think we can get this kid as a free agent.

81Dog

June 23rd, 2009
3:55 pm

Mark, dont forget what I consider the ultimate waste of a draft pick by the Hawks (and that is really, REALLY saying something): big Jorge Gonzales, who never played a second in the NBA, but made it (somewhat) as a wrestler named El Gigante. Big Jorge was about 7′2″ and about 800 (ok, that’s hyperbole, but not by a lot) pounds. He had the mobility of your average glacier (pre-global warming melt, which may add a tick or two of speed).

When you talk bad Hawks draft picks, you cover a lot of ground, the late 80s Hawks were notorious for wasting picks on foreign players they knew little or nothing about, but El Gigante was a bust among busts, if you ask me.

niremetal

June 23rd, 2009
3:58 pm

I like this idea a hell of a lot more than trading Marvin for Caron.

niremetal

June 23rd, 2009
3:59 pm

O’Brien,

Just because you can play doesn’t mean you can coach or teach. Just sayin’.

Terrell

June 23rd, 2009
4:01 pm

At pick 19 we need a pure shooter like Ellington and then we can take this kid in the 2nd round. Our PG of the future is on the roster already. Law does everything right a PG is suppose to but Woodson didn’t take the time to play him. This year is his time to show he belongs and he will.

Astro Joe

June 23rd, 2009
4:03 pm

81Dog, our current GM knows a thing or two about chasing after big men in the draft. Dude used 2 lottery picks while hunting for Big Foot. Heck, Sund may choose Siler at #19 (he’s probably better than Sene or Swift).

But if we bring in a quality big man coach, well, that may turn that pick into a dominant center for the next 12 years. What? Do I have a big man coach in mind you ask?

ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH! ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH!

(Or Antonio Davis, he’s already doing some coaching at the high school level I believe and lives in Atlanta).

Ted Striker

June 23rd, 2009
4:05 pm

I say just skip taking a pick after the 1st round and maybe a few other teams will go along with the idea too. The NBA could have 1 round, let everyone else be free agents and not much would change.

Dewayne

June 23rd, 2009
4:05 pm

Hell, how about Patrick Ewing or Moses Malone? I believe they were pretty good big men in their playing days!! Tree could teach the low post guys some moves and position on the boards!!! Hell ask Dennis Rodman hahahah

GTSteve

June 23rd, 2009
4:09 pm

Hey how about Antione Carr to tutor the bigs, he was pretty good

jdewayneatl

June 23rd, 2009
4:23 pm

This would be a good move. I like this. The second round pick won’t see the court much anyway. Why not have a project in the locker room. It would be like drafting a Euro player that will never step foot on American soil to play an NBA game… What’s that big time Center’s name from Australia the Hawks drafted like 8 years ago? Where is he? Why did he sign up for the draft if he didn’t wanna play in the NBA?

BrittishAnger

June 23rd, 2009
4:27 pm

Modifiable depth…it’s what having the legit big man provides us and what we really need…He may be no seven footer, but he could be a major sleeper pick for whoever grabs him, and I think somebody will, so don’t hesitate and think he’ll go undrafted; we aren’t the only team trying to build bigger….

STRETCH

June 23rd, 2009
4:29 pm

The Spurs just traded Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Oberto to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson. Gonna be a busy NBA off-season!

dap01

June 23rd, 2009
4:29 pm

Terrell: I agree. Sounds like a good plan.

BrittishAnger

June 23rd, 2009
4:30 pm

@jdewayneatl

David Andersen…plays with Barcelona now…

shresee2

June 23rd, 2009
4:40 pm

I am so glad Mark you said that. I was impressed with him after reading how he did in the predraft workout, plus his background. Very intelligent young man good character. It has been said he may not be drafted at all. I was hoping he would be a consideration as a pick-up after the draft by the Hawks. I think he has all the skills to be a very good big man, I hope if he is drafted the Hawks will give him a chance to grow, both he and Al could use a really good post move. Al is doing very well playing out of position, but playing center is a tough job. I would not mind him being the 49th pick at all.

gram

June 23rd, 2009
4:46 pm

niremetal- if the Hawks are fortunate enough for the Wiz to choke and send us Caron for Marvin, we would be idiots not to take it. (I’ve been wishing this would happen ever since Mark wrote it last week)

I also think this guy should be available as free agent eventhough Miami has shown interest. If he goes undrafted it would be a sinch to get him due to his homestate connection.

Sund should threaten Woody that he will be fired if he doesn’t get a better bigs coach. Any idea of a project is a wash with Tyrone Hill coaching

gram

June 23rd, 2009
4:54 pm

Mark,
am I the only one who thinks the hawks should try to get rondo. the celts are rumored to be shopping him everyday, which i dont understand since he is one of the top 4 or 5 pgs in the league. marvin and speedy’s contract? sign and trade with bibby? what are your thoughts?

Matty Ice-man

June 23rd, 2009
4:59 pm

Mark, two words: “Priest” and “Lauderdale”

Dr. Mark Martinez

June 23rd, 2009
5:01 pm

ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH! ANTOINE CARR! BIG MAN COACH!

Um, how about Antoine Carr…enigma! Always hurt, never fulfilled potential, always outhustled by Cliff Levingston.

JM

June 23rd, 2009
5:02 pm

I’ll admit I’m highly biased being an ASU student, but I think this would be a great pick for the Hawks. In the second round, especially late in the second round, you’re almost always drafting a project with long-term potential. Siler would certainly be a project, but he’s also got upside that you’re not going to find with most players in the second round. He was the only D2 player at the Portsmouth Invitational, and not only did he hold his own with highly-regarded D1 players, he excelled. The fact that he’s even being considered a potential draft pick despite playing D2 ball speaks to how highly scouts are intrigued with him.

jdewayneatl

June 23rd, 2009
5:10 pm

I checked out a link to a Lakers blog. The Lakers are looking to unload some draft picks. The Hawks could trade for their First round 29th pick or Second round 42nd pick (depending on how high the team wants to move up) for a future Second round pick. In this scenerio, the Hawks will have the 19th, 29th or 42nd, and 48th pick. At 19 grab Wayne Ellington. At 29 Patty Mills or Toney Douglas should be available. Douglas may fall to 42 but there’s no guarantee. And at 48 select Siler.

The Hawks get a sharp shooting SG, a defensive PG, and a Big man project.

jdewayneatl

June 23rd, 2009
5:13 pm

Dave

June 23rd, 2009
5:20 pm

Good idea if they aren’t going to resign Solomon Jones. We do not need two projects on the bench. Still say Josh Smith for Chris Bosh is the deal and trade the 19th pick for a rising point guard. Sign Gortat from Orlando to handle the bigs for now and resign Murray. Sign and trade Marvin for a shooter or keep him. Do not sign Bibby and you have the money for Bosh. Line up front line rotation Bosh, Horford, Gortat, Williams, and Siler. 2-3 rotation Williams, Johnson, Murray. new PG, Evans, Law, and West. Pretty good team with defensive stoppers and good shooters. By the way if Rondo is available or Rafer Alston jump on it! Very fast team with those guys, wouldn’t miss Josh at all!

ILL-logical

June 23rd, 2009
5:23 pm

As some of the commenters have pointed out , picking this kid would require the team to hire a big man coach to develop him. Everyone who believes Woodson is going to go for that ,raise their hand.

And Mr. Bradley, therein lies the rub: all decisions regarding personal must meet the Woodson test because as of this date he is still the head coach( with no staff as of July 1).So go fiqure.

But I like your thinking here. A lot.

Nookah

June 23rd, 2009
5:26 pm

Mark, very good suggestion. I really like the idea and I think we should take the gamble.

However, you are ignoring one glaring fact…….WOODY IS OUR HC!!!! (I’ll borrow a line from Big Ray on Sekou’s blog….) He will become a menmber of the YMBA (Young Men’s Bench Association).

Woody has no clue how to develop players, not even to employ the right coach for them (Tyrone Hill is the perfect reason why I say that).

Go Hawks anyway!!!

Mark Bradley

June 23rd, 2009
5:28 pm

To answer Joe’s question from a while back: The video is working for me. Just played it again.

I agree, O’Brien. Mullens is a project at No. 19, which in my view is too high to take such a guy.

And JDwayne, thanks for the links. I can tell you from a previous conversation with Rick Sund that the economy is the great variable in free agency this year. Even teams that traditionally spend might not spend this time around.

tony

June 23rd, 2009
5:29 pm

I said 3 months ago that we should draft Siler. Before we draft Siler lets see if we can trade Acie Law to Sacramento for 1 of their 1st round picks or their 2nd rd pick so we can use that pick on Josh Heytvelt-6′11 and draft Eric Maynor in the 1st round. If Maynor is off the board, then we should take Jrue Holiday(pg) or Jeff Teague(pg) and take Siler if Josh Heyvelt is gone. We finally have a chance to draft a pretty good pg.

jdewayneatl

June 23rd, 2009
5:31 pm

BrittishAnger,

Thx. Now what is Barcelona doing for Atlanta… nothing. Siler will be able to provide a big body on the practice squad if nothing else.

Mark Bradley

June 23rd, 2009
5:44 pm

Tony, if this draft is deep in anything, it’s point guards. There’ll be a good one available at No. 19.

GA Faithful

June 23rd, 2009
5:45 pm

the hawks management will make stupid picks as they do most of the time…Siler looks legit even if he is a “project” but if he’s there in the first round i’ll bet you a bag of beans the hawks will pass…

GA Faithful

June 23rd, 2009
5:46 pm

****sorry i meant second round not first

The Man Amongst Men

June 23rd, 2009
5:47 pm

As a former teammate of Garret’s and a lifelong Hawks fan, i would love to see him with the Hawks..He has gotten alot better, and still has the potential and the work ethic to be even better. I say lets do it!

The Truth

June 23rd, 2009
5:59 pm

STRETCH

That move by the Bucks, may have taken Charlie V and/or Sessions off the table. They picked-up 3 expiring contracts in 2010 giving them some badly needed cap relief next year and got a salary relief of about 3M for this year. Nice move for them, but it maybe bad news for teams who had their sights on these RFA players. Dam!!

BrittishAnger

June 23rd, 2009
6:00 pm

I’m still interested what Sund is planning on doing with Randolph Morris this summer, much less what he has been up to since the season ended. He was our first attempt at cleaning up our front court, and turned out to be as much a bust at his height as poor ol’ Shelden. I know he’s still under contract through at least this year, though it remains to be seen what he is beyond a 1 rebound, 4 foul and 2 turnover average this season. Don’t the Trailblazer’s have 6 picks in this draft, at least 4 in the 2nd round and a couple in the first if I remember right, send Morris along with Claxton and a Snow-cone for one of those picks and get them out of Atlanta….Heck, make it a snow-cone and a 6 month subscription to Entertainment Weekly….that oughta even things out….