Night Before the Draft Thoughts


There is a lot of buzz going on in the NBA world right now as it is the night before the draft.  A lot of what is being put out is likely misinformation, but a lot of the information coming out could also be true.  As to how this relates to the Hawks, it is always good to keep a pulse on the rest of the league just to see what may happen with the Hawks.  At this point in time, I feel like the Hawks have their five guys they will debate about as the next 24 hours pass by.  While they may be focusing on that select five, I hope they are preparing for someone to unexpectedly fall into their laps.  My friends over at Peachtree Hoops have a thread discussing what is important for the Hawks in this draft.  My answer to this would be to know exactly what you want but be prepared for the unexpected.  I would hate to see them zero in on a prospect to the point that they end up passing on a better player who just happens to fall to them.

more after the jump

You can look at different Hawks sites and find a different five guys the Hawks may be looking at.  I mentioned the five that Michael Cunningham blogged about last night, and I have a feeling he is probably pretty close to the actual five.  Overall, I think it is obvious that the Hawks would like to take a guard with this pick, perferably one that can help with perimeter defense and shoot.  They may make an exception with the shooting part if the player is a gifted scorer that plays good defense.  Based on this, I have to believe that Jordan Crawford, Dominique Jones, and Terrico White are probably the main players they will focus on with the 24th pick with perhaps Gani Lawal and Trevor Booker as fall back options.  I would caution them to not take the guard just because they feel they need one though.  If they think Lawal or Booker is the better player, then take that player.  Of course, I’m going with Cunnigham’s five with that list.  You can look at other opinions and think the Hawks are going to come out of this draft with a big man, and that’s certainly a strong possibility given Rick Sund’s and Dave Pendergraft’s history in the draft.  If a big man is the best player, then they shouldn’t let Joe Johnson’s possible departure effect this pick.

I’ve been reading through a lot of media sources tonight in an attempt to get a guage on what other NBA teams are looking to do, particularly with the picks right before the Hawks.  If everything is to be believed, then the draft is starting to take shape.  The ambiguity of this draft appears to start around the 15th pick, and at that point, I think anything can go.  Because of this, there are a few players that I believe the Hawks need to be prepared to take if they happen to fall to the 24th pick.

1.  James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State – The Hawks want a shooter, and you would be hard pressed to find a better shooter in this draft than James Anderson.  James Anderson is a player that apparently hasn’t shown well in workouts thus far, but he’s one of those guys that won’t look great in a workout setting.  He’s a team oriented guy that looks great when the numbers are 5 on 5, not 1 on 1.  The thing I like about James Anderson is that while he is very much a perimeter oriented player, he gets to the free throw line at a very high rate.  Many consider him a small forward in this draft, and among all the small forwards available, he is the best at getting to the free throw line.  Defensively, he has the athleticism to play it and just has to put forth the maximum effort on that end.  Overall, I think it is unlikely he gets by the Bulls at the 17th pick, but I do hope he is a player the Hawks have their eyes on.

2.  Damion James, SF, Texas – Damion James is a different style of player than James Anderson in that he is more of an inside and mid range guy than a perimeter oriented player.  He’s a very athletic wing though that is known for his tough defense and his ability to finish on the fast break.  I have stated time and time again that the Hawks biggest problem overall is their perimeter defense, and Damion James is a guy who has the athleticism and the length to really help the Hawks out in this aspect.  He can give the team minutes at the small forward position while being able to defend this position, unlike Mo Evans from the last two years.  This would allow them to play Mo Evans more at the shooting guard position, giving the team more depth especially if they lose Joe Johnson to free agency.

3.  Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington – Much like Damion James, Pondexter is more of a inside and mid range guy than a perimeter oriented guy.  He’s also a terrific defender on the floor.  Quincy scored the ball at a high rate this past season and did so in an efficient manner.  He’s very good at moving without the ball and getting himself open, and he’s very good at creating his own shot along the baseline.  His three point shot is not great at this time but it has improved.  Overall, he is a guy that I would have no problem bringing off the bench at the small foward position as a high energy guy and defensive replacement for Marvin Williams.

4.  Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall – Honestly, I have mixed feelings on this guy.  On the one hand, he has amazing potential with his length, athleticism, and shot blocking ability.  On the other hand, he’s clueless as to what type of basketball player he needs to be.  Hassan Whiteside and Josh Smith share many of the same traits mentally in that they believe they are perimeter players.  He’s got tremendous shot blocking ability and could be another Marcus Camby type of player in the making.  He has maturity issues, and that will have to weigh on the minds of the Hawks brass.

Overall, I doubt any of these players are actually available when they pick, and they will likely choose one from their list of five players.  The possibility exists though, so the Hawks should be prepared for the unexpected.