2005 Draft Blog Archive

Welcome to the Hawks BasketBlog! This is where you can come to read analysis and commentary on the Hawks as well as topics around the league. We tipped it off with our Draft Night Blog, with running commentary of all of the night's events, including draft analysis, interviews with Hawks brass, and opinions. Check us out throughout the summer as we will be posting new material as the team build towards the 2005-06 season. Want to participate? Submit questions and comments to us at hawks.mailbag@atlantaspirit.com and we will try to answer as many as we can!

Note: the opinions expressed here are not those of the Atlanta Hawks organization or of the NBA.

Signing Off
OK, that's it for tonight from the BasketBlog. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. Most likely, the Hawks will welcome their newest draft picks to Atlanta tomorrow with a press conference at Philips Arena in the late afternoon (PR guys say it will be around 4). So check back on Hawks.com tomorrow for live streaming audio of the press conference. Good night!

- The Web Guy | 12:47 a.m. 6/29/05

So What Did We Learn Tonight?

  • We learned the Hawks added two things they definitely needed - 1) a potential superstar in Marvin Williams, a player with both post and perimeter skills who will have a chance to contribute to the Hawks right away, and 2) a tremendous shooter in Salim Stoudamire, who walks into training camp as the best perimeter shooter on the squad.

  • We learned that once again, there are too many good players for not enough spots. Several big name college players spent the night in agony awaiting the call from an NBA team that would never come. Does that mean it's over for them? Not necessarily -- undrafted players like the Pistons' Ben Wallace and the Mavericks' Marquis Daniels come in and make an impact every year, so you never know...

  • We learned that North Carolina had a pretty good basketball team last year -- four of their players went in the lottery, a draft record (we think).

  • We learned that the second round has become the time to take chances on international players. Eleven international prospects were taken in the second round, including three of the final four picks. NBA teams have seen the success teams like the Spurs and Jazz have had by taking European talents, letting them hone their skills overseas, and then bringing them to the NBA when their games have matured.

  • We learned that writing a blog can be a lot of fun, but also very tiring. Thanks for checking us out tonight Hawks fans, we will be back with more throughout the summer as we lead up to the 2005-06 season!

    - The Web Guy | 12:40 a.m. 6/29/05

    Hawks Draft Party Photos
    Like we said down below, the Draft Party was a huge success and thanks again to all the great fans who turned out. Here's some photos of the party. (Photo Credit: Colby Kidd)

    Mike Woodson chats with Hawks announcer
    Bob Rathbun after the Marvin Williams pick.

    Two Hawks fans celebrate after the
    Marvin Williams pick is announced.

    - The Web Guy | 12:34 a.m. 6/29/05

    More On Akyol
    Boy, you would be impressed if I could tell you something about this guy, eh? Well, check this out:

    The kid just turned 18, and was born and raised in Turkey. He has been on the Turkish Jr. National Team that went to the finals of the European Junior National championships, and was recently added to the senior national team where he is playing 15-20 minutes a night. He has been described as a good all-around player: good handle, decent shooter, can defend several positions.

    This pick may seem a surprise given the lack of name recognition, but there have been hints all along that the Hawks would use this pick on a player who could help the team down the road.

    Impressed? Hey, that's what we are here for...

    Update: Well, Hawks GM Billy Knight just stopped by. Here's Billy's thoughts on Akyol:

    "We think he is a good basketball player. He can play a bunch of different positions. He is a young kid with a bunch of upside. We think he can play some one, some two, and some three. He will be playing in the European championships this summer as well as Boris Diaw, so we will get a chance when we are over there to talk to him and watch him work and develop."

    "He will probably stay in Europe for the coming year, this is definitely a pick we are looking at getting some long-term return on."

    - The Web Guy | 12:01 a.m. 6/29/05

    Hawks Take Cenk Akyol At No. 59
    With the third pick of the night, the Hawks took Cenk Akyol from club team Efes Pilsen in Turkey. NBADraft.net lists him as a 6-5 point guard.

    - The Web Guy | 11:58 p.m. 6/28/05

    This just came across the wire. The top two picks, Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams. Should be a fun rivalry between these two.

    - The Web Guy | 11:50 p.m. 6/28/05

    Q&A With Dominique Wilkins
    The Hawks VP of Basketball stopped by for his thoughts on the draft.

    What do you think about the Hawks draft so far?

    Dominique Wilkins: Well, everyone knows what we got in Marvin Williams, that's no secret. I think the guy we got at 31 is a hired gun. He can make shots. He is very quick, and he is one of these lefties who is very tough to defend. He's a guy who is going to be good for us, no doubt.

    Why is it so tough to defend a left-hander?

    DW: You aren't used to seeing them. You don't expect to see them shoot the way they do. This kid may end up being a well-kept secret, and so far I definitely think we have gotten the players we wanted to get.

    What has it been like for you being involved in your role with the team here on draft night?

    DW: It's been great. I love being involved with the draft. I have been coming to the draft for years, even when I was a player I came to a lot of the NBA Drafts. It's always interesting to see how the talent stacks up and who people think will help their teams out. It's a lot of fun for me.

    What is your biggest memory from when you were selected in the NBA Draft (Nique was picked 3rd by the Utah Jazz in 1983, then subsequently traded to the Hawks)?

    DW: Honestly, I remember being scared as hell (laughing). I knew I was going to go in the top three, but I had no idea where. There was talk I would go to the Lakers at #1, but there were a lot of things that happened that got me to Atlanta. It was a wonderful experience though.

    Watching the draft tonight, is there any one pick that you felt like wow, that team was lucky to get that guy where they did?

    DW: Well, teams are always going to get lucky when some guys fall. But I would say I thought Isiah got pretty lucky getting his guy (Channing Frye from Arizona at #8) where he did. There is always going to be some wheeling and dealing that goes on that puts teams in good positions, so there will always be surprises.

    - The Web Guy | 11:25 p.m. 6/28/05

    "Steal Of The Draft"
    That's what Dick Vitale just said on ESPN on the newest Hawk, Salim Stoudamire. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

    - The Web Guy | 11:11 p.m. 6/28/05

    Spurs Show Why They Are The Champs
    As we get into the second round, lets look at a player taken by the San Antonio Spurs:

    Ian Mahinmi, PF, 6-10, France

    This pick is intriguing, if for no other reason than because perhaps more than any other team the Spurs have succeeded in fishing the international waters for top players. Their starting PG, Tony Parker, was the 28th and final pick of the first round in 2001. Their starting two guard (though he did come off the bench some in the playoffs) was Manu Ginobili, who they took with the next to last pick in the draft in 1999 Draft. Next year they will add Luis Scola (third to last pick in 2002), a teammate of Ginobili's on the Olympic gold-medal winning Argentinan (Argentinian?) basketball team, a guy who is considered by some to be the best power forward on the planet not currently earning an NBA paycheck.

    Now, in preparing for the NBA Draft for the Hawks and being a basketball fan in general, there are very few players who escape my knowledge, and certainly never first rounders. Having said that, I have never heard of Mahinmi, but since he was taken by the reigning champs, something makes me think we will be hearing something from him at some point...

    - The Web Guy | 11:01 p.m. 6/28/05

    Stoudamire a Shooting Star
    Salim Stoudamire is the pick for Atlanta at 31! All you need to know about Salim getting picked is that the Hawks ranked last in the league last year in 3-pt FG percentage, while Stoudamire led the nation (that's over 300 teams playing Division I basketball) in that category. Stoudamire, who made 3.3 three-pointers a game for the Wildcats last season (good enough for 9th nationally), shot an incredible 50% from three point range. That is an amazing statistic at any level, let alone for a major college player. Stoudamire figures to drastically improve the Hawks perimeter game next season....

    By the way, Dominique Wilkins just stopped by. We'll have 'Nique's thoughts in just a bit. Stay tuned.

    - The Web Guy | 10:48 p.m. 6/28/05

    Quotes From Marvin Williams
    Marvin Williams, the newest member of the Hawks, took some questions from the press via conference call at Madison Square Garden -- here is some of what he had to say:

    (On going #2 overall): "There are some guys at my position who are good, but I wasn't surprised. I was excited to be drafted at #2."

    (On playing similar positions to Al Harrington and Josh Smith) "At North Carolina it was very competitive, going up against Jawad Williams and Sean May every day. competing in practices is how you are going to get better in the game"

    (On how he became a good shooter) "I work a lot on my jump shot. There was a time when I was shooting 500 shots a day, making 500 shots a day, so I definitely am trying to improve that part of my game."

    (On his image of being a nice guy) "I'm glad. I don't want to walk around like a jerk - everybody says the NBA is a tough league, an aggressive league - but this has nothing to do with on the court. I am not that way when I am on the court, but I am not going to change who I am off the court."

    (On his Hawks workout) "I wanted to go in there and work as hard as I can and show my skills, and I am just happy I was able to stand out from the other guys, those are all really good players."

    (On what he needs to improve) "I need to get my body in the best shape possible, I think I definitely have to put on weight, I want to be able to guard smaller guys and bigger guys."

    -- The Web Guy | 10:18 p.m. 6/28/05

    Boris Diaw On Marvin Williams
    Boris Diaw stopped by and gave us his thoughts on the Hawks pick of Marvin Williams.

    What do you think of Marvin?

    Boris Diaw: I think it was a great pick. He is versatile and can do a lot of things for us.

    What have you been doing since the season ended?

    BD: I have been doing a lot of things. I was in France for a little while, took a little vacation, and have been practicing a lot too. I am going to play in the summer league, and also for the French national team later this summer in the European Championships, so I have a lot of basketball going.

    What are you feeling watching the draft?

    BD: It's great, it's such a relief to have already been drafted. But it's nice to see the smiles on the guys' faces when they get picked.

    What was draft night like for you?

    BD: It was crazy. I was in France at the time, and with the time change it was like 3:00 in the morning! I was so happy though, it was a dream come true. I was so excited, but I couldn't go out and celebrate because we (Diaw played for Pau Orthez in the French professional league) were in the middle of the playoffs! We were trying to prepare for a game two days later and I had practice the next morning.

    How'd you do in that game?

    BD: Good, good (laughing). I was still so excited, I guess it carried over.

    -- The Web Guy | 10:08 p.m. 6/28/05

    Hakim The Dream
    Another national champion is gone, as Hakim Warrick was just taken with the 19th pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. Warrick will always be remembered by Syracuse fans for blocking the shot by Kansas' Michael Lee shot in the waning seconds to preserve the victory for the Orangemen. Why do I mention that? Because I think it is so aggravating when other columnists feel the need to name-drop big games they've been to. Oooooh, aren't you special!

    On a completely unrelated note, I was at that national title game, and I remember seeing Warrick come out of nowhere to make that play. I believe he was standing in line to get a hot dog at the concession stand when Lee started his motion to shoot, and yet he still got over there in time to knock the shot out of bounds. Still one of the most incredibly athletic plays I've ever seen.

    Warrick is considered a "tweener" by many scouts, but in today's NBA positions seem much less important than they used to. 20 years ago Kevin Garnett would be a center, as would Dirk Nowitski, but in the modern league they are both considered either small or power forwards. My point? If you can play, you can play. And "The Logo" just drafted him, so that's gotta say something for him as well.

    -- The Web Guy | 9:37 p.m. 6/28/05

    -- players were taken from the National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels in the lottery. I don't have time to research this yet, but I will bet it's the most players taken from one team in a single lottery ever. Anyone care to look that up and prove me wrong?

    3 -- international players were taken, including Australia's Andrew Bogut as the first overall pick. Here is another interesting fact I don't have time to confirm right now but believe to be true - Utah just became the first college to have a player selected #1 in the NFL Draft (QB Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers) and in the NBA Draft in the same year, which begs the question - what is wrong with their baseball program?

    2 -- high school players were taken, a far cry from last year when six preps went in the first 17 picks (including our own Josh Smith). Interestingly enough, the one high school player people thought for sure would go early was Gerald Green from Houston, who is still on the board as we reach the draft's mid-way point.

    1 -- four-year college player went, Channing Frye of Arizona to the New York Knicks.

    -- The Web Guy | 9:12 p.m. 6/28/05

    Josh Childress On His Newest Teammate
    Hawks forward Josh Childress was hanging out at the Draft Party and stopped by to say hello to the fans and talk about Marvin Williams.

    What do you think about Marvin Williams?

    Josh Childress: I'm really excited to have him - he is a really good player with a great attitude. He is a team first guy, and we are glad to have him.

    You went through this process last year - how nice is it to be able to sit on the other side and watch it?

    JC: It's a lot more relaxing this year. Its great to get to sit back and analyze as opposed to actually worrying about where you are going to go. It's also great to get to sit back and watch some of the guys you know and played against get picked. Ike Diogu just got taken by the Golden State Warriors, and I am so happy for him.

    When you got picked by the Hawks, is that where you expected to go?

    JC: I had no idea at all, I mean none. It was tough, there were so many trade rumors going around, and after the first three or four picks it was all so much up in the air. But then the Hawks took me, and it's been great ever since.

    You came out a year early, and it was a tough decision for you. How hard is it to make that decision, even if you know you could be a potential lottery pick?

    JC: It's a tough choice. Nothing is guaranteed. I'm glad I made the decision I made, but for a lot of guys it could be the wrong decision. You can always think "what if?", but the window of opportunity is so small, most guys have to jump at it while they have the chance.

    -- The Web Guy | 9:02 p.m. 6/28/05

    High Five Sweepstakes Winner Selected!
    We have the contest winner for the Hawks High 5 Sweepstakes...Barry Wynn from Rex, GA! Barry was chosen in a random drawing from amongst all the people who correctly selected the five draft picks in order.

    1. Andrew Bogut - Milwaukee
    2. Marvin Williams - Atlanta
    3. Deron Williams - Utah
    4. Chris Paul - New Orleans
    5. Raymond Felton - New Orleans

    Just to show you how hard it was, out of over 585 entries, only four people got them all right! The key pick appeared to be the fifth, where only 35 people chose Raymond Felton to be selected.

    Congrats to Barry, and thanks to everyone who participated!

    -- The Web Guy | 9:00 p.m. 6/28/05

    Billy Knight & Mike Woodson Meet The Media
    The Hawks' GM and Head Coach had some great comments on the newest Hawk, Marvin Williams, when they spoke with the media at Philips Arena.

    Head Coach Mike Woodson

    -- The Web Guy | 8:56 p.m. 6/28/05

    The Newest Hawk
    Marvin, Commissioner Stern. Commissioner Stern, Marvin.

    -- The Web Guy | 8:28 p.m. 6/28/05

    Hawks Draft Party
    This is the part of the blog where we give a shout-out to all the great fans who came out to Philips Arena and to the Hawks special events staffers (that means you Connie & Emily) who as always, put on a great event. LOTS of fans here tonight. Marvin was a popular pick with the crowd. Big cheer when the pick was made.

    -- The Web Guy | 8:25 p.m. 6/28/05

    Why UNC Won It All
    Having four guys not only go in the draft, but for all of them to be invited to the actual green room in New York, is pretty cool. Left to Right: Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May & Rashad McCants.

    -- The Web Guy | 8:01 p.m. 6/28/05

    Marvelous Marvin
    So there you have it, we took Marvin at #2. Certainly the pick everyone was pegging us for without a doubt. Don't be fooled by the fact that he didn't start as a freshman - anyone who averages double-figure scoring on a national championship team, especially as a non-starter, is doing something right on the basketball court. Jay Bilas just said on ESPN, "In six years, we may look back on Marvin Williams as being the best player from this draft." Not bad, eh?

    -- The Web Guy | 7:42 p.m. 6/28/05

    No Surprise...
    Well, the Bucks did what everyone thought, taking Andrew Bogut at #1. Bogut has proven himself at every level so far, including holding his own against the United States in last year's Olympics. One thing Milwaukee fans will definitely enjoy about Bogut is his candor - he is certainly not afraid of speaking his mind, as we found out when he met with the media after working out for the Hawks last Friday...

    -- The Web Guy | 7:36 p.m. 6/28/05

    Live From Hawks Draft Central

    Live from Hawks Draft Central. Above: Dominique Wilkins,
    Hawks co-owner and governor Steve Belkin, CEO & President Bernie Mullin
    and Board of Managers Felix Riccio.

    Above: Head Coach Mike Woodson, Hawks co-owner
    Bruce Levenson, Bernie Mullin and EVP & GM Billy Knight.

    Above: Hawks EVP & GM Billy Knight

    Hawks Draft Central

    -- The Web Guy | 7:29 p.m. 6/28/05

    Lottery History
    Interesting nugget on Sportscenter as they left to go to the pre-draft special...since the lottery was introduced in 1985, the school with the most lottery picks has been...the Duke Blue Devils. It makes sense when you think about all the success the Dookies have had over the years, but its also interesting considering the widely-held perception that Duke players have underperformed in the NBA. Either way, Duke will not be represented in the lottery this year, as the only two players eligible (Daniel Ewing and Shavlik Randolph) are considered second-round prospects. But next year they should be back in the mix as both Sheldon Williams and JJ Redick will be finishing up their college careers. Incidentally, the school with the second most lottery picks is their archrival North Carolina, which has four potential lottery selections (Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May, and Rashad McCants) this year...

    -- The Web Guy | 7:12 p.m. 6/28/05

    Hawks High 5 Challenge
    As the top five picks get announced, we will be checking in with the Hawks High 5 Sweepstakes, where you the fans had a chance to submit your guesses as to the Draft's top five selections. We will be looking at the results during the selections to see how you performed, and soon after we will announce the contest winner! With the draft day trade between the Blazers and the Jazz, it will be interesting to see how many fans saw something like this coming and adjusted their picks accordingly...

    -- The Web Guy | 6:59 p.m. 6/28/05

    On The Clock
    I suppose the folks in Milwaukee are getting restless about now, no? We're less than an hour away and pretty soon Commissioner Stern will walk to the podium at Madison Square Garden to announce the Bucks' pick, followed thereafter by Atlanta. Bogut? M. Williams? D. Williams? Chris Paul?

    Back here in Atlanta, folks are starting to stream into Philips Arena for the team draft party, which promises to be a pretty cool event. A red carpet welcomes fans into the Hawk Walk concourse, and upstairs in the Philips Experience part of the arena, fans can mingle with Hawks team officials, the owners and Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Royal Ivey, and Boris Diaw. Rumor has it that Billy Knight might make an appearance either right before, or right after the Hawks make their pick. In the meantime, I'll be live-blogging all night, so keep checking back. Cool links: Hawks Draft Central | NBA.com Draft Home. And for some good comedy, don't miss Bill Simmon's ESPN top 60 draft moments.

    -- The Web Guy | 6:54 p.m. 6/28/05

    Jazz Move Up
    Well, we are just a few hours away from the 2005 NBA Draft, and finally we have seen the first trade:

    The Jazz have traded their two first-round picks, #6 and #27, plus a first-rounder next year to Portland for the #3 pick. What does this mean? Based on what happened to the Jazz last season, it's fair to assume they are moving up to get a point guard if one is available (ok, clearly someone will be available - but I mean one of the top two prospects), and most are speculating it will either be Illinois' Deron Williams or Wake Forest's Chris Paul.

    Three first-round picks may seem like a lot to give up to move only three spots, but remember, the Jazz were only a game out of the playoffs two seasons ago and can blame injuries for a lot of their problems last season.

    If they get a good point guard at #3 and their players get healthy (never a certainty with any team), then Utah could be right back in it in the West and that first-rounder for next season might not be such a big loss.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:25 p.m. 6/28/05