Thursday, March 24, 2005

The first "whom do we pick #1" post

This will be a bigger topic in June and July, but because the sports scene is a little slow right now, let's assume that the Hawks get the #1 pick and have a choice of Chris Paul, Andrew Bogut, or Marvin Williams. (The trigger for this post, by the way, is that I had a dream last night that the Hawks finished with the worst record in the league, but ended up picking fourth and the Lakers were in the top three. Naturally, I threw a tantrum in my dream. Welcome to my subconscious.)

Marvin Williams - I'd take him #1. I know that what little talent the Hawks have his concentrated at the 2-3-4 positions (Childress, Smith, and Harrington), but if there's one major mistake a bad team can make, it's drafting for need. The Hawks are 11-55 for a reason, so they simply need to take the best player and Williams is the most likely of the three to become a star. First of all, Carolina players are like Miami football players: they rarely go bust on the next level. He's starting to dominate at the highest level in college basketball and his game translates perfectly for the NBA. If the Hawks take him, then there are enough minutes to play four guys at the 2-3-4 spots. The competition for minutes will make all four players better. And if the situation doesn't work out, the Hawks could surely acquire a PG or center for Al Harrington, who would be the most likely of the four to be traded.

Chris Paul - I'd be thrilled if the Hawks got him, but I'm a smidge leery of scoring point guards, especially smallish six-foot guys. Plus, the Hawks are miserable on defense now and Paul wouldn't exactly add much to the mix in that department. (Am I making him sound like Jason Terry?) His maturity is a little questionable; he's done a lot of bitchy things this year on the court that makes me think that he doesn't respond especially well to frustration. One other concern: Paul has always had trouble with Jarrett Jack and he's going to see a lot more physical guards in the NBA. That said, he has a terrific first step, he's a good passer, and he can shoot the ball, so he'd be a perfectly good pick.

Andrew Bogut - This is the pick that would really cause me concern. First and foremost, Bogut is slow and isn't a very good shooter. How exactly is he going to score in the NBA? He can pass well and seems to be a decent enough rebounder, but how well will he do outside of a structured college offense? Second, most busts in the NBA Draft result from teams putting an excessive premium on size. There are a few players who are worth it and generally, you know them right off the bat. Otherwise, big men like Bogut who are questionable in many respects and their draft status is justified with "you can't teach height" tend to be disappointing. Third, if the Hawks are going to re-energize their predominantly African-American fan base, is a marquee player from Australia with a moptop really the guy who's going to accomplish that feat? I'd be excited, but what percentage of the Hawks fanbase are short Jewish guys with parents from the British Empire? (Actually, since I'm one of the Hawks' 20 fans, I'd say about 5%.) Bogut could potentially help the Hawks' defensive issues and the thought of his passing skills combined with Josh Smith's finishing skills is tempting, but he would worry me as the first pick. I'll be very interested to see how he does Friday against Randolph Morris and possibly Sunday against Shelden Williams. If Williams can't exploit Bogut's slowness, then Andrew might be a keeper.

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