While wondering if it's too late to redo the 2005 draft.....
In spite of all of the uncertainty with the Atlanta Hawks as we enter what could be a defining off season for the future of the franchise, the NBA draft always presents hope for said future.
Atlanta will be drafting with the 24th and 53rd pick, and we will take a look at those players that the Hawks should consider selecting should they be available.
The analysis of each player is courtesy of nbadraft.net, followed by our own HHR analysis of how they would fit in with the current Hawks structure:
Sanders is a rare big man who has length, athleticism, hops and quickness. The only thing he's missing is a diverse skill set. He has improved in virtually every aspect of the game since his freshman year, which is a good sign moving forward and with some specialized coaching, plus a few years developing behind veteran players and coaches, Sanders could find a consistent role on a team looking to become more athletic up front.
In a draft with not many surefire contributors, general managers will be looking to take a chance on Sanders in the late first round with the intention of developing him further his first few years.
HHR Analysis: He would definitely fit with Atlanta's current lineup of being long and sinewy. Even if he came off the bench as a backup he wouldn't have to focus on his scoring and can grow into his rebounding. He and Al Horford will make Atlanta a quicker front court to deal with teams like Orlando and Boston. Besides, Sanders is my favorite pick because he's a VCU guy as well. Go Rams!
A legit seven footer with excellent size, strength and potential. He has good agility, hops and tremendous athleticism. Whiteside has the intriguing combination of physical attributes (7-feet and 230 lbs with a 7-6 wingspan) and explosiveness. His imposing defensive presence due to his length and leaping ability make him a force, averaging 4.4bpg in just over 20mpg (through his first seven games).
Not surprisingly, he's excellent on the boards, using his size and strength well on the glass at both ends. Hassan shows an exuberance for the game and should continue to develop as he gains experience. He has some nice tools offensively and is developing post skills and touch on his shot.
He is still in the early stages in his offensive development, so sticking around college 2-3 years would benefit him in the long run.
HHR Analysis: Much like Sanders, Whiteside could be a force inside the paint rebounding while working on his raw skills as a shooter. He could play on the bench alongside Zaza Pachulia or start with Horford if new coach Larry Drew decides to play big.
White is a scorer, but his true skill is his jump shot. “Terrico White eventually is going to be a good enough shooter that the coach is going to run plays to get him open,” Pendergraft said.
DraftExpress knocks White’s aggressiveness: “For a player with such excellent physical tools, you would have liked to see him get to the rim or draw more fouls than he was able to at Ole Miss.”
HHR Analysis: This is a safe bet in case Joe Johnson leaves and they will need a backup off the bench since Jamal Crawford will more than likely be moved to the starting lineup. He is a great scorer and can shoot in the open court, which was one of Atlanta's weaknesses the past few years.
A strong, athletic and lengthy forward, Lawal has been able to use his physical tools to gain the advantage over whoever guards him. He spends the majority of his time in the post, where he is capable of making short turnaround jumpers and finishing strong around the basket.
In regards to his post play, he has the ability to create just enough space for himself to get off a comfortable look. His touch around the rim has seemed to improve, and he has shown signs of being able to use both hands (though limited with the left, he's getting better) in the paint.
His activity level in the interior is very high, as his high motor and athleticism both contribute to his 8.5 rebounds per game. Impressive considering he plays next to another skilled big man in Derrick Favors and he also scores a lot of baskets on put backs.
He has a strong frame, an NBA body, and plays physical on both sides of the ball. He does a good job at drawing contact and getting to the line, and he runs the floor well for his size, making a habit of beating his man down the floor.
Defensively, his physical play and long wingspan help him contest shots, contributing to his effectiveness defending the post.
HHR Analysis: A local product that could boost interest in a lagging fanbase, he will also play strong in the paint, which Atlanta will need to battle the bigger teams of the NBA.
A 19 year old freshman with an NBA-ready body, Stephenson has a rare combination of power and quickness. He completely dominated the New York PSAL, almost single-handedly leading Lincoln HS to four titles (Owns the all time scoring record in the State of New York).
Lance was often the biggest and strongest guy on the court, and took advantage of it, routinely dismantling opponents using brute force. He's relentless attacker of the basket, seeking out contact and getting to the free throw stripe where he converts at a high percentage.
Excellent at penetrating the paint with a quick first step, Stephenson Utilizes change of pace dribbles, cross-overs and spin moves to get into the lane. He's able to slither his way in between small creases. Superior ball handler with a flare for the dramatic (good or bad) with good court vision.
He has an aesthetically pleasing shooting stroke, with Supreme accuracy on pull up J's, especially when dribbling to his left. He can easily drain the three and has shown flashes of lock down on the ball defense with his strength and 6'10 wingspan.
Stephenson should be an instant fast break running the point at Cincinnati, especially with his rebounding ability. "Born Ready" has been hyped since day 1 at Lincoln, playing under tremendous pressure and scrutiny every night, even appearing in a documentary about himself.
HHR Analysis: Stephenson possesses the type of bravado that could make him into a dominant scorer in the league. He could eventually replace Johnson as the starter over Crawford.