Archive for June, 2009

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, …

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Rich McKay, genius? Well, he drafted indispensable Roddy

And here we’d been thinking Thomas Dimitroff was the real brains in Flowery Branch. Silly us. According to Bill Barnwell of the Football Outsiders on ESPN.com, the Falcons own the NFL’s fourth-most indispensable player. (Link requires registration.) And now you’re thinking …

Dimitroff signee Michael Turner? No.

Dimitroff draftee Matt Ryan? Nope.

Roddy White.

Color me surprised. I think of Roddy White as a fine wide receiver, but when I think of wideouts I think first of Larry Fitzgerald or Steve Smith or Randy Moss or even — pardon me for mentioning the name, lest ESPN the network do an hour-long special — Terrell Owens. But here’s Barnwell’s list of indispensables, and it’s an eye-opener:

  • 10. Kris Jenkins, DT, Jets.
  • 9. Michael Roos, OT, Titans.
  • 8. Ed Reed, S, Ravens.
  • 7. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans.
  • 6. Tommie Harris, DT, Bears.
  • 5. Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos.
  • 4. Roddy White, WR, Falcons.
  • 3. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders.
  • 2. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys.
  • 1. Peyton Manning, QB, …

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Survey says: Bobby Cox has supporters. Who knew?

You dared me to pose the question in poll form. Being daring, I did. I asked last week, “Do the Braves need a new manager?” I was sure I knew what the majority would say, but it was a thinner majority than I expected.

Sixty percent of roughly 2,000 respondents said the Braves do in fact need a new manager. I figured it would be 70-30, maybe even 80-20. And why did I think that?

Because I read the comments on the ol’ blog.

And I’ve grown accustomed to the anti-Cox rants. How he blew all those World Series. How he’s 1-14 in the final game of the postseason. (Not, mind you, in the final game of a postseason series — let’s not give him any credit for winning the NLCS five times or an NLDS six times — or even in elimination games.) How he’s a terrible tactician. How he shouldn’t have brought in Leibrandt to face Puckett. (Even though Leibrandt had faced Puckett in that World Series twice already — and had twice struck him out.)

I’ve been called an idiot for my support of Bobby Cox …

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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 …

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Chipper’s toe-tap winds up kicking Braves in the rear

Jeff Francoeur’s excursion to Dallas to work with Rudy Jaramillo, the hitting coach of the Texas Rangers, raised eyebrows and raised Terry Pendleton’s hackles. But how about this? Chipper Jones helps a former Brave with his toe-tap and the former Brave winds up — not to go all Munson on you here — kicking his old team in the gut with a steel-toed work boot.

Nick Green hit a home run off Jeff Bennett to beat the Braves in the ninth inning Sunday. You know that already. But on Saturday Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal described how Green, who came up in the Braves’ farm system and played here in 2004 before being traded to Tampa Bay for Jorge Sosa in 2005, worked out over the winter with Jones and Brian McCann and Francoeur and former Brave Mark DeRosa.

Green noticed three of them — Francoeur being the exception — tapped their front toe before swinging, so as to keep their weight on the back foot. Barbarisi quoted Chipper thusly: “Just think of it as throwing a …

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A special Bradley’s Buzz: Updated all-NBA draft edition!

LATE-BREAKING NEWS!

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 …

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College Basketball Insider: Early Top 10 includes Tech!

Everything changes when the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft arrives. This time a year ago, North Carolina went from being a program in transition to the prohibitive favorite to win the 2009 NCAA title — which it did — when Tywon Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green chose to stay in school. Here’s how the doings (and undoings) shook out this time:

1. Kentucky: The Wildcats lost Jodie Meeks of Norcross to the draft but kept Patrick Patterson, the best big man in the SEC. And they again have a real coach in John Calipari, who promptly delivered recruits John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

2. Kansas: The Jayhawks would’ve been preseason No. 1 if not for Kentucky’s flurry. Sherron Collins, who helped undo Calipari and Memphis in the 2008 NCAA final, is back, as is post player Cole Aldrich. Xavier Henry spurned UK for KU.

3. Michigan State: The Final Four won’t be in Michigan next year — it’ll be in Indianapolis, which is essentially the same thing — but the Spartans could …

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It’s a big year for Hewitt, even if he doesn’t think so

Give Paul Hewitt credit. He sees reality, or at least half of it. “We should have a very, very good team,” he said, and Hewitt’s 2009-2010 Jackets seem, at least in terms of manpower, as strong as any basketball squad in Georgia Tech annals.

But here’s where the coach sails down the river of denial. Asked if 2009-2010 is a big season for the program in general and Paul Hewitt in particular, he said, “No.

Hearing, his questioner — who has, it must be stipulated, been critical of Hewitt — repeated the word: “No?” Then I half-laughed.

And Hewitt half-smiled. “Two years ago we had a very good team that was overscheduled out of a very good year,” he said. “Last year we had a lot of adversity off the court. That might not be the way other people see it, but it’s the way I see it.”

This is what’s frustrating about Paul Hewitt. Nobody expects a coach to say, “If we don’t win every game by 30 points I deserve to be fired.” (In 2000 Jim Donnan stood before a Bulldog Club convocation in …

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Arrested development? It’s the Gators’ turn this year

The talking point — actually the giggling point — of the college football summer is that Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators have been charged with a total of 24 felonies and misdemeanors in the four-plus years of his stewardship. (The Orlando Sentinel provides the handy linked rundown.) And now you’re expecting me to laugh and slap my thigh and advise the Urban Crier, with whom we’ve had some fun over the months, to save his alligator tears for the judge. But I won’t.

Because I have some sympathy for the man.

Last summer Mark Richt met the press on Georgia’s media day, and 16 of the first 20 questions concerned not football — the Bulldogs had been voted preseason No. 1 for the first time in school history — but lawlessness. Eight of Richt’s players had been arrested in 2008. “Embarrassing,” Richt called it. Also “sad.” Also “a distraction.”

When Richt’s massively gifted team finished 116th in penalties among 119 Bowl Subdivision teams, the leap was made — undisciplined off the …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Glavine tells WAGA he won’t pitch in 2009

Tom Glavine informed Buck Lanford of Fox 5 Atlanta on Thursday he won’t pitch in 2009. Via text message, Glavine wrote: “I’m not going to pitch or do anything in baseball until at least next year.” Glavine stopped short, according to Fox 5, of announcing his retirement, saying he plans to be “a full-time dad.”

It was, you’ll recall, only two weeks ago that Glavine ripped the Braves for releasing him and said he believed, contrary to Frank Wren’s bleak evaluation, he could still pitch in the major leagues. But if Glavine has resigned himself to not pitching this year after spending the winter and spring rehabbing from shoulder and elbow surgery, it would seem there were no opportunities. At least none to his liking, anyway.

Glavine will be 44 when the 2010 season begins. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be on a roster then or ever again, and he doesn’t need to be. His legacy is secure. He has won 305 games and is bound for the Hall of Fame, and he’ll be inducted wearing a Braves …

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