The 2010 NBA draft: Will the Hawks get bigger in a hurry?

It’s usually the biggest night of the NBA offseason, but for the Hawks this isn’t the usual offseason. They have to hire a coach, and they have to try and keep their leading scorer from leaving. And they have only the draft’s 24th pick, which is five spots lower than they took Jeff Teague, who hardly played as a rookie.

That said, the draft can never be ignored. And it is possible to find a  pretty fair player that late. Here we offer examples, all taken this decade with the 24th pick or afterward of their respective draft: Gerald Wallace, Samuel Dalembert, Jamaal Tinsley (taken by the Hawks’ Pete Babcock and traded to Indiana in 2001), Tony Parker, John Salmons, Kendrick Perkins, Josh Howard (on whom Billy Knight passed in 2004 to take Boris Diaw), Delonte West, Kevin Martin, Beno Udrih, David Lee (30th pick in 2005 — major Knick coup), Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Aaron Brooks, George Hill and Taj Gibson.

You’ll notice that most are guards or small forwards. Most, but not all. Perkins and Dalembert are centers; Lee and Gibson are power forwards. We keep hearing the Hawks lack heft. Might heft be forthcoming June 24th?

Not according to NBAdraft.net. Its latest mock has the Hawks taking Terrico White, a combo guard from Ole Miss. But if we turn to Chad Ford of ESPN.com’s Insiders, heft becomes a possibility.

In Ford’s latest mock (link requires registration), he has the Hawks taking Hassan Whiteside, a 7-footer who played one season at Marshall. By way of contrast, NBAdraft.net has Whiteside going 15 spots earlier. And there, as Ford notes, is the tangle: NBA watchers  aren’t sure what to make of the Marshall man. He writes:

How can a guy who just measured with a freakish 7-foot-7 wingspan slip this far? The word out of Chicago was that the interviews didn’t go so well … I had the chance to sit down with Whiteside and I can understand why.

Whiteside isn’t a bad kid, but he’s very naive at this point, in a way that reminded me a bit of Tyrus Thomas [taken No. 4 overall by Chicago in 2006 and traded to Charlotte this year]. Eventually some team will decide the talent is too much to pass on. But I think he did some damage to his stock last week. He can certainly make up for that in workouts … but he’s just created a bigger mountain to climb.

So what, you’re asking, did Whiteside say to hoist a red flag? Ford describes it thusly:

He projected a confidence that bordered on naïve arrogance. He compared himself to everyone from Dwight Howard to Hakeem Olajuwon (with whom he spent a week training), complained about where I had him on my mock draft (No. 14 to the Rockets) and was insulted that our scouting report didn’t have more on his 3-point shooting ability.

Now, do I really see Whiteside slipping to 24th because he’s cocky? No, and Ford indicated above that he really doesn’t, either. Ford himself rates Whiteside as the 14th-best player available, and it’s hard to imagine any 7-footer of such promise talking his way into the lower third of Round 1. But all is not yet lost, at least theoretically.

According to Ford’s mock, these first-round talents will also be available when the Hawks pick: Larry Sanders, a 6-11 forward from VCU; Craig Brackins, a 6-10 forward from Iowa State; Keith (Tiny) Gallon, a 6-10 forward from Oklahoma, and Jarvis Varnardo, the 6-10 shot-blocker from Mississippi State. (Plus Gani Lawal of Georgia Tech, whom Ford doesn’t rate as a Round 1 pick.)

(For comparative purposes, we should note that NBAdraft.net doesn’t list Brackins, Gallon or Varnardo as a first-rounder. It has Lawal being taken with the final selection of Round 1. It has Sanders going seven picks before the Hawks draft.)

So, if you’re among those who insist the Hawks need a dominant center above all else, you probably won’t be pleased with this draft. (No dominant centers are taken 24th overall.) But if you’re in the market for another 6-10 or 6-11 type, there’s hope. But there’s also this to consider:

The Hawks could well lose Joe Johnson in July. (That’s the backward nature of the NBA: The draft comes before free agency, so a team really isn’t sure what its immediate needs will be.) If that seems a real possibility come June 24th, wouldn’t the Hawks want to take a swingman just to serve as cover? Someone like, say, Damion James of Texas?

69 comments Add your comment

Ted M

May 27th, 2010
11:02 am

get the Soloman from FSU

Ted M

May 27th, 2010
11:09 am

Solomon Alabi is well worth the 24th pick

Just wondering . . .

May 27th, 2010
11:11 am

Don’t we already have a 7-footer who doesn’t get to play?

renegade#1

May 27th, 2010
11:14 am

How tall is Sonny Clusters and can he play basketball?

Rufus1

May 27th, 2010
11:16 am

Kevin Serphin

Ted M

May 27th, 2010
11:18 am

Whiteside will not be available.

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2010
11:21 am

There’s a chance Alabi could be there at 24. There’s also a chance he won’t. NBA people aren’t sure what to think of him, either.

Ted M

May 27th, 2010
11:21 am

Mark I’m curious. Do you think Teague was good enough to have played 12 to 14 minutes a game?

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2010
11:22 am

Yes, Ted M. And I’m fairly certain Rick Sund thinks the same.

Rufus1

May 27th, 2010
11:25 am

Rebounding and shot blocking

The Hawks needs a center who can shot block and rebound(AKA Kendrick Perkins), we have enough of scoring..Dexter Pittman, Kevin Serphin or Jerome Jordan will all be available at 24. We can draft a swing man in the 2nd round, because the are a dime a dozen.

If Joe leaves..we need to sign Wesley Mathews(Jazz)..He might Joe 5 years ago.

Chief Nock A Homa

May 27th, 2010
11:31 am

So what you’re saying, mark, is that we’ll get Joe Johnson’s replacement with the 24th pick?? Just in case he leaves???

That’s genius! Why didn’t everyone think of that??

Let Joe walk! We have his replacement with the 24th pick….

JK Mark – I know what you really mean….

Stan

May 27th, 2010
11:34 am

Mark….did you really include Slammin Sammy Dalembert in this list? I am an Atlanta native who has lived in Philly for 6 years….Dalembert absolutely stinks….the fans here absolutely think he is over-rated…other than that…interesting posting…nice work

UGA

May 27th, 2010
11:35 am

Larry Sanders or Damion James would be a very good pick. With the 2nd round pick I’d get De’Sean Butler from WVU and wait until he recovers from his knee injury.

Dikembe Mutombo

May 27th, 2010
11:36 am

Hawks must take a big man that can stand in lane block shots, wave finger to crowd and flail elbows!

F-105 Thunderchief

May 27th, 2010
11:37 am

Doesn’t Al Horford block shots and rebound pretty well? Didn’t Wes Unseld, who won two NBA titles as a 6-fpoot-7 center? Height isn’t’ everything. Strength and smarts counts for more.

The Human Highlight Film

May 27th, 2010
11:39 am

I am thinking about making my comeback at 50 to help the Hawks get that championship they want!!!!!

pete

May 27th, 2010
11:40 am

F-105, how did Al do against Howard?

Charles Barkley

May 27th, 2010
11:41 am

The way the Hawks season ended was just “TURRIBLE”! The ROUND MOUND OF REBOUND can still play!

BobLee

May 27th, 2010
11:47 am

Mark is there any team that will definetly go are Joe?

DC Jacket

May 27th, 2010
11:49 am

I think we would have already had a replacement for Joe Johnson if we would have taken Branden Roy or Rudy Gay instead of Shelden Williams in 2006 Draft. We are still paying for Billy Knight Babcock’s studidity.

Bill Laimbeer

May 27th, 2010
11:51 am

Hire me as a coach, forget the squeaky little midget AJ and that no name assistant you’ve been looking at Sund. What this teams needs is toughness and I will bring that in spades. I’ll turn Zaza, Al and Josh into the most feared intimidators in the league.

THE TONE

May 27th, 2010
11:51 am

take the best defender left when you pick Doc will want defense when he joins the sidelines in a couple of years.

Gani Lawal

May 27th, 2010
11:51 am

Draft me and all your wildest dreams will come true…assuming your wildest dreams consist of watching me sit on the bench or try to shoot over double teams instead of kicking it out to a wide open man.

Dickiedo

May 27th, 2010
11:53 am

Small quick guards run circles around the Hawks. We don’t seem to have one. I would take either of the Brewer’s guards over Joe Johnson. He’s a one on one type player and gets stuffed a lot trying to drive to the basket.

Luke M

May 27th, 2010
11:56 am

Obviously a lot depends on what happens with Joe, and whether he re-signs, walks, or the team makes a sign-and-trade. Also important will be how well the organization thinks Teague is coming along, but I really hope the emphasis is on front court this off-season. We need an athletic, shot-blocking and/or scoring big who can reduce our reliance on Pachulia. Zaza, while being a fan favorite (as well as one of my favorites), is nothing more than a banger, more equipped to be the second or third front-court player off the bench rather than the first. We need a more serious defensive presence on our 2nd unit so that Zaza can play the reduced/niche role he’s more suited for.

gcs

May 27th, 2010
12:00 pm

You can’t get anything at #24. The last couple of 24s:
2009 Byron Mullens
2008 Serge Ibaka
2007 Rudy Fernández
2006 Kyle Lowry
2005 Luther Head

Ugh.

Bob in SF

May 27th, 2010
12:11 pm

Jamaal Tinsley? An OK player when he’s not hurt, actually wants to play and isn’t being a locker room cancer. Didn’t Indiana pay him to stay home and the heck away from the team?

JC

May 27th, 2010
12:16 pm

There’s a greater opportunity for Solomon or Whiteside to be available at #24 because of the recent busts of Thabeet and Oden.

Hassan Whiteside

May 27th, 2010
12:22 pm

Im a basketball player, not a scientist. Half of the current league can’t even string a damn sentence together.

Vdunkndunk

May 27th, 2010
12:26 pm

I’d like to do a draft night trade of something like Josh Smith, Mike Bibby, and the #24 pick to Golden State for Monta Ellis and the #4 pick, then select DeMarcus Cousins, the Center from Kentucky, then resign Joe and let him handle the ball as a combo guard along with Ellis.

G: Ellis
G: Joe
F: Marvin
F: Horford
C: Cousins

K-Dogg

May 27th, 2010
12:27 pm

Yeah we have to get a big but the thing is in the NBA if a big is good or has upside like they are saying about Whiteside he will go. I dont care what they saying about this draft if a cat 6′10 on up and has upside he will not fall to 24!!! Jordan from Tulsa maybe their but i would only take him if he the best avilable but looking at how deep this draft is thats unlikely!

Whopper Dawg

May 27th, 2010
12:30 pm

You can bet the ranch that it will be a 6-6 to 6-9 swing man, whose shot is not good enough to play the 2, is not a particularly good rebounder and can’t create his own shot. He can jump however. He will bear a striking resemblance to Marvin Williams. There will be at least two point guards taken after him that will become legitimate starters in the NBA. It is our fate, our karma, you cannot escape it, just embrace it.

coachx

May 27th, 2010
12:33 pm

I like Solomon Alabi IF we keep JJ.

If JJ leaves then I have fingers crossed for James Anderson at #24.

John

May 27th, 2010
12:42 pm

Why don’t the hawks just try to trade up and see if they can get the player they really want.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 27th, 2010
12:44 pm

Alabi and Whiteside may be available when the Hawks pick, but both are projects who will take time to develop. If you want a guy who seems like he could come in and immediately throw his body around and defend the Dwight Howards of the world physically, don’t sleep on Daniel Orton. His ceiling is not as high as some of the other players available at that point, but his floor is not as low either.

That said, since first round picks get guaranteed money, I’d rather see the Hawks take the best player available regardless of position and try to fill needs in the 2nd round and in free agency. If the best available at that point in the draft is a combo guard, so be it.

Marcus (aka decatur g)

May 27th, 2010
12:44 pm

MB,
I think rufus1 hit on it …. some other mock draft (DraftExpress?) has us looking at a Frenchhie PF/C type. I had never heard of him, but I guess they look at it as a hit/miss with the other athletic types to come from over there.

Also, somebody (Peachtree Hoops?) had a link to a recent interview by Horford on the Univision TV website. It was all in Spanish, but the short translation (by P’tree Hoops, accuracy dubious) was that Horford would like to see a true ‘5′ come to ATL so he can move to the ‘4′.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 27th, 2010
12:47 pm

“You can’t get anything at #24. The last couple of 24s:
2009 Byron Mullens
2008 Serge Ibaka
2007 Rudy Fernández
2006 Kyle Lowry”

Ibaka, Fernandez, and Lowry are all solid role players on good teams. You’re not going to get a superstar at #24 most likely, but you can still find plenty of solid contributors, like the ones Bradley has mentioned in his article.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 27th, 2010
12:49 pm

“I think rufus1 hit on it …. some other mock draft (DraftExpress?) has us looking at a Frenchhie PF/C type. I had never heard of him, but I guess they look at it as a hit/miss with the other athletic types to come from over there.”

From what little of him there is on Youtube, Kevin Seraphin looks more like a PF than a C.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 27th, 2010
12:57 pm

“So, if you’re among those who insist the Hawks need a dominant center above all else, you probably won’t be pleased with this draft. (No dominant centers are taken 24th overall.) But if you’re in the market for another 6-10 or 6-11 type, there’s hope. ”

Yahoo Sports lists Howard at 6′11″, 265.

Lower body strength and wingspan are at least as important as height when it comes to playing center defensively. What Horford lacks in comparison to many centers is lower body strength, not wingspan or height.

Bill Campbell

May 27th, 2010
1:11 pm

HawkKingBibby

May 27th, 2010
1:29 pm

JORAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD JORDAN CRAWFORD. Either JJ, Jamaal Crawford or both will be gone after next year. Get a man who can score form the 2 guard spot who can take over a game.

HawkKingBibby

May 27th, 2010
1:40 pm

Trade Smoove for Cousins or Favors. Draft Jordan Crawford at 24 because JJ amy leave and if he stays JCraw will leave after next season.

Dr. Warren

May 27th, 2010
1:57 pm

Don’t ever discount the potential value of Pick #24. Some Hawks history:

One of the best Hawk guards of all-time, “Fast Eddie” Johnson (EJ) was drafted in the 3rd round. Two-time all-star–even started in the 1980 game and scored 22 points. Bipolar and drugs ended it for him, and now he’s spending his life in prison. Charlie Criss, another electric player, came in from the CBA. Spud Webb, drafted in the 4th round by Chicago. Doc Rivers? 2nd round pick, 31st overall. Dan Roundfield? 28th overall by the Pacers. Need I go on?

L. Young

May 27th, 2010
2:01 pm

Trade Horford for Gortat – Orlando needs a 4, we need a 5, make it happen. Re-sign JJ and develop Teague – use a mid level exception for more beef off the bench. Folks – you gotta trade something to get something, Gortat has skills and would give us the Center we need – we have lot’s of Forwards – we need size.

Ted M

May 27th, 2010
2:02 pm

Lets hope so JC.

clay

May 27th, 2010
2:04 pm

SOLOMAN, SOLOMAN, SOLOMAN. Please take him sund if he is still there we have been needing someone 7 foot or bigger that can actually play and wanna play not named morris or collins. He has tremendous upside.

Jerry West

May 27th, 2010
2:08 pm

Wait, Damion James as cover for losing Joe? Really? Not that I wouldn’t want him as somebody to take over the 3 eventually (and maybe spur Marvin to play hard), but he’s probably best served as a 3/4 tweener to trot out with the second unit.

nique

May 27th, 2010
2:27 pm

No more swingmen needed! Even without JJ.

marcus

May 27th, 2010
2:39 pm

for the record; just having spent the season in the richmond area, i can tell you that sanders will not be around when the hawks pick. he would have been a great frontline addition, but scouts were there all year round. varnado is limited offensively, but he puts you in the mind on dalembert of philly, which ain’t all bad.

jg

May 27th, 2010
2:39 pm

horford for gortat???? hahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahhahahaha!