Given my conclusion, based on some elementary statistical analysis and a whole lot of subjective observation from section 317, that the Hawks' primary problem last year was not their poor point guard play, but rather an inability to play defense, especially in the form of allowing other teams to get to the rim too easily, I'd be quite happy with Shelden Williams in a Hawks uniform. The AJC lists five prospects for the pick and I can say pretty confidently that: (1) Billy Knight isn't going to take Brandon Roy or Marcus Williams (unless some team wows them with a trade such that it makes sense for the Hawks to move down to about #10 to take Marcus Williams); and (2) Andrea Bargnani and LaMarcus Aldridge aren't going to be around when the Hawks take their turn at #5. Williams might be a similar size to a number of different players on the team, but he plays differently than any of them. He would combine rebounding and shotblocking better than anyone else on the roster and the team would likely have fewer disastrous defensive performances in the fourth quarters of games. He's not Elton Brand, which is a facile comparison based on the fact that Brand and Williams are both African-American big men from Duke. Brand had a better offensive game at Duke, so it's not fair to assume that Williams can turn into a 25-point per game guy, but he'll improve the team defensively.
Mark Bradley disagrees and I normally trust his judgment on basketball, but he doesn't spend much time explaining why Williams won't be successful, other than that he needs to develop a face-up game to be a power forward. That seems like a pretty legitimate question, but are there really any better options? Marcus Williams is good, but not outstanding point guard for a team that badly underachieved last year and he comes with the baggage of having stolen laptops at UConn, so do we really want to take a chance on how he'll react to being a multi-millionaire? LaMarcus Aldridge was last seen getting totally dominated by Big Baby Davis in the Georgia Dome. (In contrast, Williams kept Duke in the game against LSU with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks.) Andrea Bargnani does in fact play the same 2/3 position that the Hawks currently have stacked, as do Adam Morrison and Rudy Gay. Tyrus Thomas seems like a carbon-copy of Josh Smith (minus two years of development in perimeter skills). Williams will definitely serve an important role and if he turns out to be another Udonis Haslem, there are worse fates in basketball than that.