Hawks training camp preview - Draft review
After multiple deals over the past few seasons, the Hawks ended up with five picks in the 2004 NBA Draft - two firsts (6th and 17th) and three seconds (34th, 37th, and 42nd). With GM Billy Knight looking to continue rebuilding the face of the franchise, the Hawks focused on getting players who could not only contribute right away but would be great additions in terms of character. By most accounts, the Hawks acquitted themselves very well, getting four players with a recurring trait amongst them: versatility. Hawks.com takes a look back at the Hawks 2004 Draft.
With the 6th pick, the Hawks selected Josh Childress out of Stanford. Childress (right), a three-year contributor for the Cardinal and the school's first ever Pac-10 Player of the Year, averaged 15.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a game his junior year, earning First-Team All-American status.
The 6-8 Childress' calling card throughout his college career was his versatility, as he ranked amongst the Pac-10 leaders in many offensive and defensive categories. Scouts raved about his range of abilities, as he is a capable ball-handler, scorer, rebounder, and defender. Because of his height and length, Childress may be able to play some minutes at the 2, 3 and 4 for the Hawks. Having played major college ball for three years, Childress should have an easier time transitioning to the pros than many of his colleagues in the draft.
With the 17th pick, the Hawks selected Josh Smith, a high schooler originally from the Atlanta area (McEachern High in Powder Springs) that spent his senior year at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, VA. When scouts talk about players having "upside", an athlete like Smith is exactly who they have in mind.
A tremendous leaper and finisher, his head coach at Oak Hill called the 6-9 Smith the best athlete he ever had (not too shabby considering other famous Oak Hill alums like Jerry Stackhouse, Ron Mercer, and Carmelo Anthony). Smith averaged 25.8 points his senior year and wowed nationwide audiences with a few breathtaking dunks in the McDonald's All-American game in March.
Expectations that Smith (right) can contribute immediately out of high school are tempered, but a stellar performance on the Hawks' summer league team in Salt Lake City (Smith averaged a team-leading 14.7 ppg and led the team in blocked shots) shows perhaps he is further along than previously expected.
In the second round, the Hawks continued to add parts for the present and the future. With the 34th pick, the team selected JC All-American Donta Smith from Southeastern Illinois CC. Smith averaged 25.8 points his sophomore year, leading his team to a 33-4 finish and 4th place in the NJCAA National Tournament.
Smith is also known as a very versatile player, as scouts have compared his game to Indiana's Ron Artest because of his toughness and defense. At 6-7 he is tall enough to play both forward positions, but like Childress has the ball-handling skills to play guard as well.
At 37, the Hawks added to the depth in their backcourt with University of Texas guard Royal Ivey. A four-year starter in college, the 6-3 Ivey is a player in the mold of former Hawks mainstay Stacey Augmon and current Cleveland guard Eric Snow. A two-time Big-12 Conference All-Defensive team choice, Ivey has experience at both guard positions, but his tremendous wingspan allows him to guard much taller players as well.
With the 42nd pick the Hawks took Victor Sanikidze of Georgia, but later traded him to the San Antonio Spurs for a 2005 second-rounder and cash considerations.
All four Hawks draft picks come into the start of training camp with a chance to contribute to the team this season.
Tuesday Hawks.com will take a look at the other offseason moves made by the team in a very busy summer.
Micah Hart is the Assistant Web Editor for the Atlanta Hawks