Michael Cunningham over at the AJC is reporting that when the Hawks made the commitment to sign Joe Johnson, they committed to building a team around him that can contend for a championship soon. Here, it is stated that the Hawks would like to sign a big man for the MLE. Looking at the list of centers that could possibly be had for the MLE, the one that stands out is Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Why does Big Z stand out among the others. The Hawks were reportedly interested in him after the trade deadline last year. If the Hawks are still interested in Big Z, then they can probably get him for the MLE. There is no question that Big Z is clearly on the downside of his career. Last season, he posted career worsts in PER, TS%, WS, and WS/48. A good question to ask here is why are the Hawks interested in this guy if he is clearly on his last legs as a player in the NBA? That’s a good question, because at this point in time, I don’t think Big Z gets very many minutes on this team. His value may be as nothing more than a situational player. He’s got the kind of size the Hawks want to face some of the league’s bigger centers, so the Hawks can match him up for a few minutes per contest against the likes of Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bogut, and Brook Lopez.
The thing that stands out is that despite his dip in numbers, Big Z is still a relatively good shooter. He would give the Hawks an option as a high post presence and a pick and pop big man. His shooting did decline, but he still shot 35% from the 16-23 feet range, which is a little below the average for NBA big men.