With the excitement of the NBA Conference Finals getting started and the NBA Draft Lottery last night, Atlanta Hawks fans can be excused for missing major Hawks news.
Head coach Mike Woodson is going to be back on the bench next season. Who is my source? GM Rick Sund gave Woodson the vote of confidence on Atlanta's 680 the Fan in a radio interview Tuesday morning. I wonder if anyone was even listening.
Quick memo to 680 sports talk: You are slowly being left behind by 790 the Zone. The Zone is just more exciting to listen to on a daily basis. And the 790 Web site has improved about 1,000 percent this year. The Anna Kournikova video took them to another level.
I like the move and Woodson deserves at least another year extension. Sund should look at bringing in a veteran assistant coach with an offensive background. First, the veteran Hawks players need a new voice in offensive individual instruction and in offensive set-play execution.
Al Horford and Josh Smith need someone that can convince them to come up with a package of offensive moves—moves that these guys can go to in crunch-time and in the playoffs when the defensive intensity is ratcheted up a couple of notches. Woodson needs an offensive Tom Thibodeaux-type guy.
Saturday morning I just happened to be in the Atlanta airport and I saw Mike Bibby getting on a flight for some tropical paradise.
First, I wanted to yell out to him and thank him for taking this Atlanta Hawks team to the best year in a decade. Secondly, I wanted to have him bless my son’s hands with a little bit of his shooting touch.
Instead, I just walked out the doors to the parking garage feeling like Bibby has played his last game for the Hawks.
Okay, Coach Woodson is back. That means we can start talking about what the Hawks need to do with the 19th pick. I already am on record as saying that they need to draft a point guard and trade Acie Law. This draft seems to be loaded with point guards, but I am not sure I like any of the ones that will be on the board when the Hawks are on the clock.
Here in the ATL, we know that the NBA Draft can make or break a franchise. Ask former GM Billy Knight. If he had drafted Chris Paul, I would be renewing my season tickets for the third straight season.
You only need to look at Adam Morrison in a bad moustache and great suit sitting on the L.A. Lakers bench to see what a roll of the dice some of these picks are. Morrison was being called the next Larry Bird, but he is not even the next Craig Ehlo.
The NBA Draft Lottery was last night and I will complete a mock draft in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here is one player the Hawks should take a hard look at on draft night and one player they should avoid like the Swine Flu:
Take a hard look at Sam Young from Pittsburgh. I know the Hawks need a point guard with this pick. I know Young is older and played a lot off the bench in his career. I also know that he was more dominant on the offensive end of the floor than any other player in this year’s NCAA tournament.
He carried Pitt at times. I also think his perimeter skills are somewhat underrated. He finishes with authority at the rim and he brings a toughness that the Hawks lack. Young will out-work other guys in this draft to improve his game. In my opinion, Sam Young is the toughest wing defender and most NBA-ready player in this draft.
Avoid Austin Daye of Gonzaga like the Swine Flu. I know his father played professionally. I know he supposedly has ridiculous upside and potential.
Granted, I didn't see him play that much this year, but the write-ups about him on a lot of mock draft boards are coded with words that to me scream out, “This guy is soft. He will not bang inside. He will not rebound.”
Daye will come to Atlanta and get lost in the glittering lights of Midtown. There are a lot of distractions in this city.
I still think the Hawks can sign a big-name free agent for one or two years. Jason Kidd might want to go to Cleveland or San Antonio (to play off the ball), but he could come to Atlanta on a two-year deal and give the Hawks a chance to close the gap with the Big Three in the Eastern Conference.
Ron Artest is making statements indicating he might want out of Houston if they do not offer him more than a one-year deal. I mean, Artest only made about $9 million last year. The Hawks could offer him two years and $20 million—to me that is a bargain.
The NBA is in full-throttle this time of year and Hawks fans should enjoy the next five weeks of draft talk. God, I wish Knight would have just taken Chris Paul!