A sentence seldom written: People really liked what the Hawks did in the draft! Chad Ford of ESPN.com gave them a B-plus, questioning whether Jeff Teague is truly a point guard but also saying this:
“On the other hand, he was ranked in our top five for much of the year, and had his team not crashed in the tournament or had he gone back to school for another year, he would have been a top-10 pick. So the Hawks got great value here.”
Writing for SI.com, Scott Howard-Cooper awarded a straight B and claimed taking big men B.J. Mullens or Taj Gibson “would have been a risk or a reach.” Adi Joseph of NBAdraft.net bestowed another B-plus, calling Teague “a great fit.”
And Joey Whelan of Slam Online handed down a B, saying “Teague has all the physical attributes you love to see in a floor general—athleticism, speed and quickness—but is he going to be a good distributor?” But Whelan also noted: “Eric Maynor, a more NBA-ready point guard, was still on the board.”
Quibbles about Teague led contrarian Ken Berger of CBSsports.com to label the Hawks one of the draft’s losers. But then, curiously, Berger averred: “The ever-wayward Hawks are in capable hands with Rick Sund. Before, there was madness with no plan.” In Sporting News Today, Mike DeCourcy voiced similar qualms, calling Teague “another lottery talent who sold his ability a year early and for short money.”
Me, I’d rather have had Maynor. But I do see Teague as having the greater upside, and if you’re drafting at No. 19 you’re not looking for a guy who’ll start tomorrow. Though I did, I must say, find coach Mike Woodson’s assertion, as quoted in esteemed colleague Sekou Smith’s story, that Teague is a purer point guard than Acie Law rather curious.
How did the Jamal Crawford trade arise? According to Ian Thomsen of SI.com, “the deal was dreamed up by Hawks’ director of pro personnel, Steve Rosenberry, who was assigned to scout rival NBA teams for potential acquisitions. ‘This is the first time I’ve had someone with that title,’ said Hawks GM Rick Sund of the pro-personnel job description. ‘Think of the money we spend scouting to make one NBA pick — the attention and the focus we put on making that one pick. Having someone scout the NBA teams is a new position in the league, and more and more teams are doing it.’ ”
Thomsen’s verdict: “It only makes sense to invest in learning the behind-the-scenes facts of players currently in the NBA. Based on Rosenberry’s recommendation, the Hawks now have one of the best clutch shooters in the league to pair with their All-Star in [Joe] Johnson.”
Are we to believe what we’re hearing? That the ham-handed Atlanta Spirit actually went 2-for-2 in one long weekend of drafting? Well, the analysis of the Thrashers’ draft from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com puts the local hockey team under the heading of “Smooth Sailing.”
Per Burnside/LeBrun: “The Thrashers continued on that slow road back to respectability, and perhaps even relevance, with what one rival GM described as ‘a terrific draft.’ GM Don Waddell told ESPN.com on Saturday that their top three picks — Evander Kane, Carl Klingberg and Jeremy Morin — were all potential first-round picks in the Thrashers’ draft mockup, and they got Klingberg at No. 34 and Morin at 45.”
According to NBAdraft.net’s 2010 projection, two Georgia Tech players will be taken in Round 1: Derrick Favors at No. 6 and Gani Lawal (by the Hawks!) at No. 19. And for those, like Kansas grad Dave O’Brien, who scoffed at me rating Kentucky the No. 1 team headed into 2009-2010, NBAdraft.net has three Wildcats being taken among next year’s first 21 picks, with incoming guard John Wall ranked No. 1 overall. So there.