The Hawks draft a shooter, and now the real work begins

John Jenkins: From Commodore to Hawk. (AP photo)

John Jenkins: From Commodore to Hawk. (AP photo)

It’s an Atlanta tradition, just like lousy weather for the old Peach Bowl was. The NBA draft rolls around, the Hawks make their first pick … and we all say, “Really?”

Yes, there have been exceptions. Namely, Al Horford and … er, Al Horford. But we only have to call the roll of infamy – Keith Edmonson, Dallas Comegys, Roy Marble, Adam Keefe, Priest Lauderdale, Ed Gray, DerMarr Johnson and the Williamses Marvin and Shelden – to feel bad all over again.

Most franchises look on the draft as the quickest way to improve themselves. More often than not, the Hawks’ draft has reminded us why we’ve come to distrust this organization. But this draft, I’m happy to report, had taken on a shiny glow long before Thursday night’s doings commenced. And by that I mean: In the grand scheme, this draft suddenly didn’t seem so important.

The Hawks announced Monday they’d hired Danny Ferry as their general manager. It was such a shrewd move you had to remind yourself that these were the Hawks who’d made it. In a perfect world, a team would like its GM to have more than four days to prepare for the draft, but the Hawks’ world has never been anything close to perfect.

Besides, what was the worst Ferry could do on short notice: Pick some guy from an ACC school named Williams? Been there. Done that. Twice.

Soon Ferry will have to make far bigger decisions that whether to exercise the draft’s 23rd selection on a backup guard or a backup center. (Because that’s usually the best you’ll do at No. 23 – find someone to flesh your bench.) Much more important will be the new GM’s take on the Core Four: Does someone need to go? (Yes, I say.) If so, who? (Start with Marvin Williams. Amnesty him if need be.) And what of Josh Smith?

The Hawks’ most talented player has asked to be traded enough times that the reported requests have run together. The not-exactly-hot rumor before this draft was that the Hawks had shopped him to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. (Who, under the heading of Small World, the Hawks had technically drafted in 2001. But they traded Gasol to Memphis for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.)

At best, this seemed an old rumor. At worst, it was a bad one. It’s hard to imagine a four-days-on-the-job GM trading away his best player. This isn’t to say Ferry won’t choose to trade Smith a month from now, but no basketball man of sound mind moves in such haste.

Instead the Hawks settled for making a fairly safe Round 1 pick: John Jenkins of Vanderbilt. He’s a great shooter, which isn’t the same as being a great player. Given time, Jenkins could become the new Jamal Crawford – an off-the-bench scorer who can change games.

Said Ferry: “He almost makes it a four-on-four game because you can’t leave him … He can space the floor for our core group.”

Nobody should be disappointed by this pick. That said, there was a more tantalizing option available.

Perry Jones III of Baylor is the kind of player – long of limb – that former GM Billy Knight made a habit of taking among the draft’s top 10. To have gotten such a talent at No. 23 would have been a risk worth taking. Does Jones always play to his gifts? Obviously not, or else he’d have been gone in the lottery. (There was also a late report of an unsound knee.) But a team that has Smith and Horford might have nursed Jones for a year or so and used him for cover in case Smith leaves – he’s a free agent at next season’s end – or Horford becomes the Hawk who’s traded.

But that, I should stipulate, is picking nits. There’s not much chance Jenkins will become an All-Star, but he also shouldn’t go the way of Ed Gray. He’s a worthwhile addition. The Hawks are a bit better today than they were yesterday. And now we stand back and watch Danny Ferry go to work and endeavor to make them a lot better soon.

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of things,” Ferry said, “whether it’s a trade or free agency — especially a trade. The roster at the end of the year may look a lot different.”

And that wouldn’t be so bad. This roster, at least at its top end, has looked essentially the same since 2007. This GM will be charged with doing many things, but he must be an agent of change above all.

By Mark Bradley

195 comments Add your comment

NChawksfan

June 28th, 2012
10:29 pm

We need a shooter.

philg

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

Like the pick!

Moobs Johnson

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

sting_em

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

Hawks aren’t going to be able to do much in the way of improving until Joe’s contract is up. We are stuck where we are until then.

shawn

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

Moobs Johnson

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

Two cheaters ahead of me

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
10:30 pm

Rember “4″. He was a first rounder too

shawn

June 28th, 2012
10:31 pm

Wow, I am not even third…

DeWayne

June 28th, 2012
10:31 pm

At least its a lower first round pick so no one can get too mad if he flops unlike the Williams duo of suck.

Mr. G

June 28th, 2012
10:31 pm

Wow….First!!!!

Great read, Mark!!!!! Totally agree on the Perry Jones assessment!!!!

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
10:32 pm

Sorry I think you spell that “IV”

Felix the cat

June 28th, 2012
10:33 pm

First….Uno..Woo HOO

Whopper Dawg

June 28th, 2012
10:33 pm

Ferry is our no 1 pick

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
10:35 pm

Mark you are a little off on the assesment. When our best long range shooter is Marvin Williams, I think we need someone that can put it in the bucket. An athletic big man that doesnt have his head in the game sounds like a road we have already been down.

Guru_32

June 28th, 2012
10:36 pm

I don’t understand how u pass up a talent like jones at 23. If his knee is not falling off ten he’s worth the risk. Nothing against Jenkins but he’s projected as a backup. At worse with jones you have a starter at small forward (hawks still switch on d) and a front court of 6′11, 6′9, & 6′10. If he lives up to his talent then even better, but at 23 I think it’s worth the risk. Let’s see what OKC does with Westbrook, harden, Durant, brooks, and ibaka.

PMC

June 28th, 2012
10:38 pm

just read the list and see why the Hawks ticket office employees have the toughest sell in the city.

If Jenkins can replace Jamal Crawford it would be nice…..

At the very least Jenkins is a good fit because he’ll have a role. Not like drafting 15 forwards for 2 spots.

secFan

June 28th, 2012
10:44 pm

This guy is amazing. Best shooter since Ray Allen. Great pick. Hope this is the beginning of good decisions with Mr. Ferry.

Unc graduate

June 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

Please get rid of Drew II who cannot even control his wife who has caused his son to not only leave UNC but leave two high schools in LA. If a man cannot control
His own house, how would you
expect him to control Josh Smith et al

duronimo

June 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

I lilke the pick. Jenkins is one of the best shooters around.

Paul in NH

June 28th, 2012
10:50 pm

Mark,
In your roll call of infamy you forgot about Jon Koncak. He was drafted ahead of 3 guys who are now in the basketball HOF.

superiorblogman

June 28th, 2012
10:52 pm

Horrible pick there are some all-star games between Moultrie, PJIII, and Wroten. Jenkins is not even better than Willie Green who we could have resigned for cheaper than what we got Jenkins for. Ferry does not get it and this is disappointing. I am through with this team. The Hawks are a curse to the city

Freaknroller

June 28th, 2012
10:52 pm

Its Groundhog day in the Atl … Left Perry Jones on the board and took the third best Vandy player available! Put Jones on the other Hawks draft list, of All Stars these MORONS missed C.Paul, D.Williams, B. Roy Etc.

donte080

June 28th, 2012
10:53 pm

We got about what you should expect at 23…..a situational shooter….and passed on a Top 10 talent with injury concerns who we should have taken a risk on……DaMn…

Eb

June 28th, 2012
10:57 pm

The moment Jenkins was selected by the Hawks, his career ended. That’s just the curse around here.

welldone

June 28th, 2012
11:01 pm

nicely put. any chance we trade this pick, danny ferry and the fat atown male dancer for a new owner of Cuban ancestry?

Moorman

June 28th, 2012
11:03 pm

Willie green can score. Pargo can score. Vlad and tmac can score. The problem with the hawks is NOT scoring off the bench……they replaced jamal crawford with a bench FULL of adequate scorers who cumulatively, gave the hawks one of the best benches. The problem is the starting five. Teague is too young to control josh. Joe cant carry a team and disappears in the playoffs. Josh is well, josh, a athletic bone head. Horford is getting old playing out of position. In other words, nobody in the starting five is untouchable, and joe’s contract makes ANY deal coming or going a hard sell. What i wouldve done is what mark said. Draft the baylor dude to save cash and have a potential replacement up front. Trade josh smith, marvin williams, henrich, for more draft
Picks…….but its too late, the first round is over. The only way out of this mess is to go young. Dump veteran starting salary, keep joe as the only big contract.

Wayne stuck in AL

June 28th, 2012
11:03 pm

A pick typical of this ownership’s malaise (see Waddell, Don)

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
11:10 pm

superior numbnuts. Danny Ferry just signed a six year deal. Willie Green signed a one year deal and you arent going to resign for cheaper. He has been in the league for 7 or 8 years. We went from the youngest roster a couple of years ago to the oldest. If you watch the Hawks on a regular basis you would know there is a problem with scoring and intensity. Change is coming.

Devil's Advocate

June 28th, 2012
11:11 pm

Kinda shocked that the Hawks didn’t take an international player!

Joe 12-Pack

June 28th, 2012
11:11 pm

You forgot Rumeal Robinson! What a flop he was.

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
11:14 pm

Moorman. HMMM We just drafted another scorer to replace your old bench where most of them are already are free agents

gcs

June 28th, 2012
11:15 pm

I was a li’l excited when the Hawks got Ferry.
Now I am back to not caring.

Moorman

June 28th, 2012
11:21 pm

Steeldawg, the hawks could resign most of that bench. If they signed tmac, green, pargo and keep johnson, the bench is straight. Drafting jenkins and letting everybody else go isnt a step foward. Thats a step back to when jamal crawford was the only option off the bench. The hawks are just a butt organization. All they are doingbis keeping the status quo until they find a rich enuf sucker to buy the team. All that talk about hiring danny ferry and being committed is politics, a way to keep people coming to games until they sell…….

Say what

June 28th, 2012
11:21 pm

I would rather have perry jones and Darius miller than John Jenkins and mike Scott.

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
11:24 pm

Did Mark go to bed? Why is everyone down on the draft. We got a shooting guard and a forward that can score. Sounds like a win win. We didnt have to watch Josh fire up a three pointer, Marvin score 5, Joe be Joe, and LD be….. Well one more year with LD.

Enough!

June 28th, 2012
11:24 pm

you guys don’t get it!! The Hawks don’t need a 6′9 PF that wants to play as a 2 guard. Jones rarely plays with his back to the basket and prefers fall away jumpers rather than going to the front of the rim. I believe we already have that in Josh Smith. Jenkins is a good pick that can be counted on to score when Joe doesn’t want anything to do with the ball down the stretch.

SR

June 28th, 2012
11:25 pm

The drafting of Roy Marble generated one of the greatest headlines in AJC, nay, any newspaper’s history: “MARBLE HEADED HAWKS BLOW IT AGAIN”. Only time will tell if they did it yet again.

Kevin willis

June 28th, 2012
11:28 pm

I can still play………

Say what

June 28th, 2012
11:29 pm

Enough, if that explanation helps you sleep at night then so be it. Jones has more potential than Jenkins, can be a security blanket if\when josh leaves, and correction: is 6′11. Jenkins can shoot, but I doubt the way the hawks use him this year would be much different from any sg taken in the second round.

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
11:31 pm

Moorman. I Love me some Ivan and maybe Pargo but the nature of the beast is to dump the old guys and go young. That crew we had earned us a first round loss. We are probably looking up at a young 76ers team next year. People dont go to the games now. Its going to be a slow re-build with them shedding dead weight year by year. There is a reason Danny got a 6 year deal. Go young and when the JOE contract is up get the big guns.

tyger

June 28th, 2012
11:31 pm

To suggest that the Hawks would “amnesty” anyone…
Is further proof that you still do not get it…
Even perhaps, a bit “delusional”…

Sage of Bluesland

June 28th, 2012
11:33 pm

Mark Bradley does nothing but keep embarrassing himself with this pitiful attempt at selling the most wretched organization in the NBA.

This should be an insult to your intelligence–but I see that P.T. Barnum was indeed correct. Stop being such sheep with this ownership group. Wake up.

Bradley has absolutely no shame–and it is disgusting to me.

chem

June 28th, 2012
11:37 pm

Jenkins is a knock down 3-pt shooter. Hawks were missing that element. Jenkins will get some uncontested buckets feeding off Horford double teams. I say it’s a good fit.

steeldawg

June 28th, 2012
11:39 pm

Moorman, Danny Ferry got six years for a reason. It wasnt to keep an old bench that earned a first round loss. Reload with new guys and trade some W’s for L’s for a little while. Then he will trade or wait for the Joe contract to end its reign of misery and you might have a fighters chance down the road.

HawksSuck4Ever`

June 28th, 2012
11:39 pm

The Hawks could have D Wade, LeBron, Kobe and Bosh and still miss the playoffs. It’s Atlanta basketball y’all. That gian sucking sound is fans who’ve had it with this crap. Bad coaching, bad owners and overpriced seats. Bye bye.

HawksSuck4Ever`

June 28th, 2012
11:40 pm

yes it is a GIANT sucking sound

FalconsFan

June 28th, 2012
11:41 pm

What does Joe have left, like 10 years? Seems like it’s gonaa go on forever. We are stuck. First round here we come. 2nd round, there we go…

James Naismith

June 28th, 2012
11:41 pm

John Jenkins is a great pick who can drain 3-pointers all night long.

FalconsFan

June 28th, 2012
11:41 pm

A little harsh but I can’t disagree with HawksSuck

JoeJohnson

June 28th, 2012
11:42 pm

Anyone see my paycheck? I left it on the table at Denny’s after I had my grand slam breakfast. Easy to spot it, has the number $60 million on in.