Draft Night At The Atlanta Hawks Headquarters.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Upon entering the 18th floor offices at the Atlanta Hawks headquarters in downtown Atlanta I got the sense that there was no pressure on the team to make a solid pick tonight with the 23rd overall pick. The Hawks staff and other members of the media were all laid back, eating and shooting the bull. The Hawks are what you might call a “mid-major” program.
They are going to always be good enough to win 45-50 games and make the playoffs but never a serious championship contender. Always the bridesmaid never the bride as they say. Losing in the first round in six games to a very good Boston Celtics squad, this year’s draft-the first draft in a couple of seasons where the Hawks get to make and keep both their first round and second round picks-has to make the team better. Power forward Josh Smith has a year left on his contract and has been pining for a trade since the all-star break, with free-agent signing period starting on July 1, this year’s draft holds a bit more importance for the near future.
The draft was being held in Newark, New Jersey ( league Commissioner David was ceremoniously booed the entire telecast from beginning to end. This might have something to do with the Brooklyn Nets previously being the “New Jersey” Nets. see my column on the team’s move- http://thyblackman.com/2012/06/20/ode-to-brooklyn-brooklyn-nets/) and started at approximately 7:30 p.m. The first pick was Anthony Davis to New Orleans, the no-brainer of the year. My job was to wait around till the 23rd pick and document who the Hawks picked and why? In the meantime I ate chicken breast and macaroni and cheese and drank sweet tea while watching Dion Waters from Syracuse go to Cleveland at the fourth pick (HUGE surprise) and Terrence Ross to Toronto at pick eight (EVEN BIGGER surprise). The chocolate cookies and lemon cake weren’t half bad either.
This year’s draft went along as illogical as any other in league history. Ohio State superstar forward Jared Sullinger fell to the Boston Celtics at the 21st pick and to make things worse the Celtics also picked up former Syracuse center Fab Melo with the very next pick. Those were two players the Hawks would have done well to draft. NOW WHAT?
With the 23rd pick the Atlanta Hawks drafted John Jenkins, a shooting guard out of Vanderbilt. He’s a long range shooter, a bomber, a three-point specialist. Everything the Hawks do not need. Maybe this was a “take the best player available” type of situation but how do you explain getting out drafted the very next pick when Cleveland drafted Oregeon State scoring guard Jared Cunningham. Once again the Atlanta Hawks proved that a throw a first round pick to the wind (see Sheldon Williams, Marvin Williams) due to minimal success. Hawks head coach Larry Drew had a different opinion about the pick, “We should be very happy we were able to get this kid. We were very surprised he was available [at the 23rd spot].” The Hawks were 16th in the league in scoring last season so drafting a shooter can’t hurt, Drew continued, “This guy’s a specialist, the one player that comes to mind is J.J. Reddick.”
General Manager Danny Ferry came down to talk to the media about the pick but this writer’s opinion was already set in stone. As always I enjoy spending time with fellow reporters and eating free food but still feel the Hawks are the league’s worse drafting franchise (okay maybe their a close second to the Portland Trailblazers-Meyers Leonard with the 11th overall pick!!!). At least the food was good.
Staff Writer; Donnell Suggs