Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Official 2009 HHB Draft Endoresment

Having the home team picking 19th and endorsing a selection is considerably more difficult than when they pick in the Top 5. It can be so unpredictable in attempting to determine who will be even available at that point much less try to pinpoint a specific player to endorse for the team.

But of course, we will do it anyway.

What we would like to see the Hawks do:

It's what we want them to do every year---pick the best player available. Need only comes into play when the talent levels are the same. You don't pick Shelden Williams because you "need a big man" or pass on Brandon Roy because you already have that same skill set--not when that player is immensely more talented and NBA ready than the player that fits that "need".

You know what every team needs? More talent.

What we don't want to see the Hawks do:

Other than reach for a "need", the HHB doesn't want to see the team take a player that doesn't have a better than even shot at making a rotation in the NBA. This would include taking a project Priest Lauderdale style or the tradition of trying to uncover a diamond in the rough and trying to, as Dave Pendergraft called it "trying to hit a home run".

Of the players who fit the profile, who would we endorse as the next Atlanta Hawk?

Up until Wednesday afternoon, it looked as if the Hawks would be selecting from point guards like Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, UCLA's Darren Collison, VCU's Eric Maynor, and North Carolina's Ty Lawson. Among the big men, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Ohio State's BJ Mullens.

Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Chad Ford made an interesting move on his latest Mock Draft, having 19 year old Brandon Jennings move down to the Hawks' slot on the draft board.

There are projects (Jennings, Teague, Mullens), proven productive players (Lawson, Collison, Maynor), and then NBA question marks (Hansbrough).

Of these types, it seems the players most likely to succeed under Mike Woodson's Hawks teams is the type of player who is ready to contribute today (read: no projects). There is no sense selecting a player with "huge upside" if you don't have the framework in place to develop that project. For those who wish to use Josh Smith as an example to the contrary, the HHB would point out that this is not a (13) win team anymore and the goals of the team (and definitely the coach) have changed and that would preclude a project from garnering the development he would need.

No, the Hawks need to select someone who can help the team next season, someone who can give the team solid minutes while also providing in an area of perceived need. Fortunately, this draft provides one of these, the point guard, in bushels.

Sure, the team could take a look at player like Tyler Hansbrough, but as we've written here already, while you can't debate the hustle and desire the guy has, you can debate whether he will be able to be a productive player in the NBA. Hustle is only a skill in the NBA if you have the athleticism to marry to that. Hansbrough lacks the explosiveness needed to make the rest of his skill sets relevant. He's a below the rim player in an above the rim league.

So that leaves the point guards, and from the list we have been given regarding potential availability, the only non-projects seem to be Collison, Lawson, and Maynor.

Of these, Ty Lawson stands out as the most productive, the fastest, and most complete of the point guards available. The drawback to Lawson on the Hawks is that the team doesn't seem to want its point guard to penetrate and finish, as Lawson's explosiveness enables him to do. But, as a proposed backup to Bibby or Crawford (or both), he would be an excellent change of pace on the court. And when the Hawks would want to crank up the speed of the game, something they should do more often given the advantages the team enjoys with their 4 and 5 (Smith and Horford) being able to outrun the other team down the court, they would have maybe the fastest trigger man in the draft in Lawson to lead the way.

So when the Hawks are on the clock, if Lawson is there, that's whose name the HHB will be hoping to be called.

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