Players the Atlanta Hawks Must Avoid in the 2013 Draft
The Atlanta Hawks will find themselves with the No. 17 and No. 18 picks in the upcoming draft. In recent years, the Hawks have had solid draft picks like Al Horford and Jeff Teague, but they have had their fair share of busts like Acie Law and Shelden Williams.
Combined with the immense amount of cap space and two first-round picks, the Hawks have a tremendous opportunity to vault themselves into the elite of the Eastern Conference.
Every year there are a number of "can't miss" prospects, but at the Hawks' position in the first round, they could easily be baited into taking a risk on an unproven player.
To succeed in the NBA, a player needs great talent and a tremendous work ethic. The latter is hard to measure and is why there are no sure things when it comes to any draft.
With a solid, young nucleus, these selections could be another piece to the puzzle or another mistake.
Shabazz Muhammad was one of the top recruits in this past year's recruiting class. While his talent cannot be questioned, his attitude certainly can.
Muhammad averaged 17.9 points per game and was UCLA's No. 1 weapon on offense, but sometimes his antics received more press than his play on the court.
At the end of UCLA's game against Washington, point guard Larry Drew hit a game-winning shot and, instead of celebrating with his teammates, Muhammad sulked about not getting the ball and walked off the court as if his team had lost.
This type of immaturity is only going to manifest itself more in the NBA, and while the Hawks could use Muhammad's talent, they do not need the headaches he will bring.
While one of the main needs the Hawks have to address this offseason is another big man to complement Al Horford, they should not look to Mason Plumlee to satisfy that need.
The Hawks should look to players like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum through free agency instead of addressing that need through the draft.
A player like Plumlee will take too long to develop and does not have the athleticism to be a consistent contributor in the NBA.
Like any player from Duke, Plumlee is well-coached, fundamentally sound and has a high basketball IQ. He would be a great option if he falls to the Hawks in the second round, but he would be a reach in the middle of the first round.
The junior forward out of Canada had been the catalyst for Gonzaga’s success this season. The 7-footer averaged 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game and was a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Kelly Olynyk also knows when to pick his shots. His 65 percent shooting percentage is an indication that he takes quality shots and does not force production. He is also a versatile scorer. Olynyk can back an opponent down just as easily as he can spot up from the perimeter.
Although he only averaged two blocks per game, Olynyk affected many more shots than the statistics would indicate. His presence in the paint makes guards think twice before driving, and he has altered countless shots.
All that being said, Gonzaga was exposed as a fraud during the NCAA tournament and most of Olynyk's good numbers were put up against subpar competition in the West Coast Conference.
Like Plumlee, Olynyk could very well have a successful NBA career, but the Hawks could get better value at their draft position.
Gorgui Dieng is a player with tremendous potential, but he is not quite ready to contribute if he were drafted by the Hawks.
While Dieng has height, he needs to put on more weight and muscle if he is going to have an impact in the NBA.
Dieng was known for his defensive prowess throughout his time at Louisville, but he also developed an offensive game in the second half of last season.
While he did make great strides offensively, he is not ready to be a force in the NBA. The Hawks need a big man, but they do not have the time to invest in a project like Dieng. In time, Dieng will be a good player, but his development will take time, and the Hawks need frontcourt help immediately.