They made a promise to Shelden Williams here. Everyone swears it's true.
WHAT THEY SHOULD DO: Here's my question: Why promise a guy with no chance of going in the top four that you'll take him fifth? Are they trying to distract everyone from last year's Chris Paul/Marvin Williams and Boris Diaw debacles with a fresh dose of idiocy? And how could you possibly take Williams over Thomas when Thomas killed him in the NCAAs? It's just common sense.
WHAT THEY WILL DO: Exercise a complete lack of common sense. One mitigating factor for Hawks fans: My dad loves Shelden Williams; he's my dad's favorite player in the draft. He's adamant that Williams will be a 20-10 guy. We'll see.
THE PICK: Williams.
He's right that it makes no sense to make the promise to Williams, but that's a peripheral point. As to Tyrus Thomas "kill[ing]" Williams, here are their stat lines for the game:
Williams: 23 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks
Thomas: 9 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks
I know that Simmons likes to make sweeping generalizations as to the NBA futures for various players based on the one game he sees in the NCAA Tournament, but would it be too much to ask for him to actually get that one game right? And if he's going to overrate the importance of NCAA Tournament games, then how does he ignore Thomas' sterling line in the loss to UCLA in Indianapolis: five points, six rebounds, three blocks?
And isn't Simmons' draft philosophy supposed to be that NBA teams should take proven college production over potential? Wasn't that his reasoning for advocating for Jay Williams over Yao Ming? Or to advocate on behalf of Luke Walton? Can't it be used now to explain why it was a mistake to let Dwyane Wade slide to the 5th pick in the Draft after he took Marquette to a Final Four? With that reasoning, how can he claim that it's a huge mistake to take a player who averaged 19/11/4 as a senior after a similarly productive junior year over a player who redshirted (warning sign, perhaps?) and then averaged 12/9/3? And that's before we get to the fact that Thomas is redundant with Josh Smith, whereas Williams plays a different style than anyone else on the roster. But hey, why make arguments based in logic or fact when you can recycle the same old jokes about Boris Diaw and Chris Paul?