How the Atlanta Hawks' Franchise Would've Changed if They Drafted Chris Paul

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 12, 2009

It's been three years since the 2005 NBA Draft, the day when all 30 franchises were changed forever—some for the better: New Orleans, Utah, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hawks' fans may have grown numb, so picking at the scab certainly doesn't help.

With the second overall pick, the Atlanta Hawks selected Marvin Williams and bypassed the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Andre Bynum, Danny Granger, and Monta Ellis.

They selected a forward even though they already had Josh Smith, Al Harrington, and Antoine Walker on their roster, instead of drafting a point guard. 

So, for another painful moment, let's think "What if?" one more time. What if the Atlanta Hawks had taken Chris Paul instead of Marvin Williams?

For starters, the Hawks would have a nucleus of Paul, Johnson, Smith, and Horford and would be in position to either draft a small forward or go after one through free agency. Ron Artest, anyone?

Or the Hawks could used their versatility and properly plug-in Josh Smith at his right position at the three and signed a power forward in the offseason.

If Atlanta would've had Chris Paul, it's a high-tide bet that they would have defeated the Boston Celtics last season instead of going down in gut-wrenching fashion in Game Seven. Though it's more likely they would have never been the eighth seed with the offensive prowess of Johnson and Paul, along with the defensive abilities of Horford and Smith.

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By adding Paul to the mix, Smith's development on offense would be further along; the same can be said for Al Horford—he would be a double-double machine. Paul's current center, Tyson Chandler, had 38 double-doubles last season, despite being extremely limited on the offensive end. The majority of his baskets came from put-backs, tip-ins and alley-oops from Paul. Al Horford had 20 double-doubles this season and is resourceful down low on the blocks. 

You can imagine for yourself how many double-doubles Horford would have notched with CP3 as a teammate. The same goes for Josh Smith, who also had 20 double-doubles and is one of the best talents in the league at his position. 

As Atlanta finished fourth in the Eastern Conference this season, their post-season matchups have been simply asinine. They played, arguably, the greatest collection of NBA Stars in the Boston Celtics last season before being sent home for the summer in seven games. This year, they narrowly escaped a war with one of the best players in the league (Dwyane Wade) and now they're playing the newly crowned MVP, LeBron James.

All of this strain could have been avoided if they simply would have taken Paul. It's fair to say that the Hawks would have been able to challenge Orlando for third in the East and would've been playing a passion-filled Celtics' team, undermanned or not.

Plainly, Paul has the ability to make those around him better, which is what the Hawks need. Too often that task falls into the hands of Joe Johnson, which takes away from his duties as being their main-scoring threat.

Not to mention the obvious fact that Paul would have become the face of the franchise. Positions one, two, three, four, and five would've been capable of making an All-Star team. You've seen the wonders he worked with David West, Chandler, and even James Posey.

That could have been yours, Atlanta.