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. Check us out
throughout the season as we will be posting new material on the Hawks, the NBA,
and maybe a few other subjects as well. 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.


One More Day

The
2006 NBA Draft is just
a day away, and the excitement is starting to ramp up big time. Rumors are all
over the place about which teams will be drafting which players, and which
superstars may be soon taking up new residences in new towns.

To be honest, your humble Web Guy has been following the draft since he was a little
boy, and I can't remember more uncertainty heading into the final days. There
are literally five different players who could hear their name called with the
top pick, and yet any of those five, in the right circumstances, could fall as
far as 9 or 10.

This afternoon Hawks GM Billy Knight (right) met with the local media
to take questions and discuss tomorrow's festivities.

Here are a few snippets of what he had to say:

Knight Press Conference Audio:

  • On this draft being
    unique
  • On if the Hawks
    might move up or down


  • On this draft's lack of a true superstar

    -- The Web Guy | 4:50 p.m. 06/27/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Hawks Begin
    Draft Workouts

    The Hawks

    brought in several players to work out Monday morning
    on the Hawks
    practice court at Philips Arena. Though the media wasn't allowed in to watch,
    players were made available afterwards to talk about the experience. In the
    second group workout, PG prospects Randy Foye, Marcus Williams,
    and Rajon Rondo (right) competed against each other. We caught up to them, as
    well as Hawks coach Mike Woodson, after the workout.

    The team will continue workouts this Friday as well.

    Workout Audio:

  • Randy Foye
    on the best parts of
    the workout process
  • Marcus Williams
    on UConn players
    |
    On his college
    experience
  • Rajon Rondo
    on playing at
    Kentucky
    | On his
    fellow point guards
  • Coach Woodson
    on the morning
    workouts
    |
    On the team's draft plans

    And here are a few pics of the guys
    afterwards...



    Marcus Williams, Rajon Rondo, and Randy Foye


    Williams with the AJC's Steve Wyche


    Foye answers questions for the media

    -- The Web Guy | 12:00 p.m. 06/21/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Number Five Is Alive

    The A-Town Dancer auditions are finally over. Though they are always fun (and
    by all means, you should check out
    all the
    really cool stuff
    we did over the week of the auditions), what's done is
    done and it is now time to turn our attention to the next item on the menu, the
    2006 NBA Draft.

    First of all, a couple friendly reminders. One, you should really think about
    coming down to the
    Hawks
    Draft Party
    , being held from 6-10 p.m. at Philips Arena on June 28th.
    Watch the NBA Draft with your fellow Hawks fans, get the chance to mingle with
    the new dance team, and get interviews from some of your favorite players.

    Also, we will be doing our second annual

    Draft Night Blog
    , which we did last season to launch the start of the
    Hawks BasketBlog. Feel free to chime in with comments and questions leading up
    to and during the evening's festivities as we see how the event unfolds and
    welcome the newest Hawks into the nest, as it were.

    So let's re-start some draft talk by taking a look at the place the Hawks are
    current scheduled to pick, #5. For anyone who watched Game Three of the NBA
    Finals last night, you might have noticed a couple things:

    - With Dallas trailing by two with less than 40 seconds remaining, Mavs G
    Devin Harris drove the lane and scooped in a lay-up to tie the game at
    95-95.

    - Now trailing by two with 1.0 seconds remaining, Dirk Nowitzki lobbed a pass
    to Josh Howard at the rim to try to tie the game, but Heat G Dwyane Wade
    tipped the ball away, preserving a 97-95 series-saving win for Miami.

    What do these two plays have in common, you may be asking? I'll tell you: in
    each situation, a former #5 overall selection played a crucial role in the
    result - Harris in the former, Wade in the latter.

    Looking at the history of the NBA Draft, and you will see a long list of #5
    picks who turned out to be tremendous players in the league. Let's take a look
    at the last 15 drafts, with a comment for each:

    2005 - Raymond Felton - finished fourth in Rookie of the Year
    voting, appears to be PG of the future for Charlotte

    2004 - Devin Harris - A whirling dervish, has had a coming out
    party in this year's playoffs for Dallas
    2003 - Dwyane Wade -
    Perhaps the heir to Air Jordan's throne, one
    of the top 5 players in the entire league
    2002 - Nikoloz Tskitishvili -
    Has yet to develop into a rotation
    player in four seasons so far
    2001 - Jason Richardson -
    One of the top young scorers in the
    league, should have several All-Star games in his future.
    2000 - Mike Miller -
    Rookie of the Year, also recently named NBA's
    Sixth Man of the Year for 05-06 season
    1999 - Jonathan Bender -
    Career never really got on track due to
    injuries which caused him to retire this past season

    1998 - Vince Carter - One of the games most popular and dominant players,
    also a Rookie of the Year winner
    1997 - Tony Battie -
    Never materialized into a starter, but still
    a rotation player nearly a decade later.
    1996 - Ray Allen -
    One of the best shooters in league history,
    recently set NBA record for 3-pointers in a season.
    1995 - Kevin Garnett -
    Spurred the trend of prep-to-pros, MVP in 2003-04
    and perennial All-League performer
    1994 - Juwan Howard -
    Though on downside of career now, has been a
    consistent performer for a dozen years and was an All-Star in 1996
    1993 - Isaiah Rider -
    A gifted but troubled player, still averaged 16.7
    ppg in a nine-year career
    1992 - LaPhonso Ellis -
    Injuries cut short a potentially brilliant
    career; averaged 21.9 ppg in 55 games for Denver in 1996-97
    1991 - Steve Smith -
    Current Hawks broadcaster and one of
    franchise's best players of the past few decades - surprisingly only played in
    one All-Star game

    Not a bad list, is it? Of the 15, several are All-Stars and future Hall-of-Famers
    while only one is so far an out-and-out miss. While it is true that the
    successes of previous Number Fives will have no bearing whatsoever on the
    performance of this year's selection, it's nevertheless comforting to know that
    history shows there is tremendous value for the Hawks come draft night at their
    current spot on the board.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 06/14/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Chill Goes To China

    During the summer the NBA puts on several clinics all around the world as
    part of the Basketball Without Borders
    program. Recently, a group of players and coaches went to China, and the Hawks'
    Josh Childress was along for the trip. In addition, Zaza Pachulia
    is getting set to participate in another BWB clinic in Lithuania, starting June
    30th.



    Basketball Without Borders - Shanghai Edition


    Chill, Jerome Williams, and Samuel Dalembert look on during the camp's All-Star
    game


    Chill gives instruction during the camp

    -- The Web Guy | 3:00 p.m. 06/13/06 |
    Have a comment?


    NBA Action, It's Fantastic!

    It's nice to be able to say that again, isn't it? If these playoffs have
    shown us one thing, it's that the days of clutch and grab basketball and nightly
    78-72 finishes are going the way of the dinosaur. Seriously, how great have
    these playoffs been?

    Tonight begins the finals, and for the first time in awhile, I think the
    general public is sad the show is almost over. Dallas vs. Miami, may the best
    team win. Both overcame tons of doubters to get this far, and both knocked off
    teams that were chalk picks to still be playing as we hit mid-June.

    Dennis "3-D" Scott, the Hawks radio color commentator, spent 52 games
    with Dallas during the 1997-98 NBA season. We caught up to him to get his take
    on the upcoming finals, which begin tonight with Game 1 in Dallas (8 p.m. ET on
    ABC).

    Hawks.com: What is going to define this series?

    Dennis Scott: The tempo. Each of these teams plays a style that
    conflicts with what their opponent needs to do to be successful. If Dallas can
    force the game into a faster pace, with Jason Terry and Devin Harris
    running up and down the floor, then I think the Mavericks will win. But if Miami
    can turn it into a halfcourt battle, then I give the Heat the advantage.

    Hawks.com: Which players, aside from the obvious answers (Dirk, D-Wade,
    Shaq) need to step up for their team to win the title?

    3D: I will choose a couple from each team. For Dallas, I think Josh
    Howard has to step up, especially since he will most likely get the assignment
    of guarding Wade. I also think the combination of Erick Dampier/DeSagana Diop
    will be important for them - you can't stop Shaq, and they shouldn't try to.
    They just need to play good, fundamental basketball, and if they can do that, it
    will help offset the big fella for Miami.

    As far as the Heat, I think Antoine Walker is the biggest guy for
    them. He really has to step up against Dirk Nowitzki. He has been really good
    about playing within their team concept so far, and if he continues to do that,
    he can be a big help to them. Also, Jason Williams could be a sleeper for
    them. I don't know if he can keep up with Terry and Harris, but if he can make
    them work on the defensive end, that will help to slow them down.

    Hawks.com: So, let's lay it on the line. Who is going to win this thing?

    3D: I'm going to give you two predictions (laughs). I say if
    the Mavericks control tempo and make it an up-and-down affair, then Dallas will
    win in seven. If Miami slows it down, then I like Miami in five. But for Miami
    to win, they have to win one of the first two games on the road. People forget
    the finals are played in a 2-3-2 format, not like the 2-2-1-1-1 in the earlier
    rounds. So if Miami steals one of the first two in Dallas, I think they will
    come home and win all three at home to take home the title.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 06/08/06 |
    Have a comment?


    First Look
    At The Top Of The Draft

    Well, once again the Hawks numbers failed to come up lucky in the NBA
    lottery, as the team failed to win the top pick for the tenth time since it's
    inception in 1985. The Hawks had the fourth-most combinations, but it was the
    Raptors moving up from the fifth spot to nab the #1 pick in the end.

    My opinion? No real loss here. Unlike other years where there is a clear-cut
    player or two, the Hawks are not missing out on anyone by sliding down to fifth.
    While it's nice, of course, to have the opportunity to have your pick of the
    litter, I don't think anyone feels there will be much difference between the
    guys available at the five spot and at the one. In fact, if the draft were
    shuffled and mixed a million different times, I would argue the guy who gets
    picked by the Hawks at #5 would have a decent chance at going #1 in other
    iterations (that's right, I just used the word iterations), depending on who was
    drafting where.

    Meanwhile, what is the point of writing a blog if you can't come up with a
    mock draft? Therefore, your humble Web Guy presents you with a knee-jerk top
    five picks for the upcoming draft (I probably don't need to say this, but I will
    anyway - these are MY opinions. Just because I suggest who the Hawks might pick
    at #5 doesn't mean we will, and it definitely doesn't mean this is what Billy
    Knight is thinking of doing. Got that? Good).

    1. Toronto Raptors - Andrea Bargnani, Italy. It's hard to see an unknown go
    this high, but word on the street has this kid rated similar to Dirk Nowitzki
    when he came over from Germany. Bargnani supposedly projects to a small forward
    despite his seven-foot frame, and if he is as good as they say he is, would help
    create quite an imposing frontcourt in Toronto with Chris Bosh and Charlie
    Villanueva. Plus, Bryan Colangelo has shown in his time with the Suns to be
    unafraid of acquiring international talent.

    2. Chicago Bulls (by way of New York) - LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas. Man, it is
    positively scary to think how good the Bulls might be in the next few years.
    After nearly pushing Miami to the limit in the first round this postseason, the
    Bulls are set to add a great piece in this draft (and the next, with New York's
    top pick next year as well) to their already immensely talented young roster.
    Aldridge would be a great fit in Chicago, as a low-post scoring threat is really
    the only thing this team appears to be missing. There is no reason to take Tyrus
    Thomas here, as they already have someone who fills his role in Tyson Chandler.

    3. Charlotte Bobcats - Adam Morrison, Gonzaga. Morrison would be a terrific
    fit in Charlotte, a team sorely lacking in perimeter scorers. With Sean May, Emeka Okafor, and Primoz Brezec in the fold, there is no reason to draft a big
    man. The team does have Gerald Wallace at the three, but he is still more of a
    slasher and less a perimeter scorer than Morrison, who would finally provide the
    perimeter threat the Bobcats have sorely lacked in their two years of existence
    (sorry Matt Carroll).

    4. Portland Trail Blazers - Tyrus Thomas, LSU. Portland needs a lot of
    everything, and with Joel Pryzbilla possibly leaving via free agency, an inside
    presence could be one of those items. The Blazers may end up being the one team
    who really lost out in this particular lottery, as Adam Morrison would have been
    a huge get for them as a close-to-hometown draw. The Blazers can allow Thomas to
    do what he does best - rebound and defend - while he adjusts to the NBA's
    offensive game, as Zach Randolph will dominate most of the touches on the low
    block.

    5. Atlanta Hawks - Brandon Roy, Washington. Some are comparing Roy to
    Dwyane Wade, a jack-of-all trades guard who can shuttle comfortably between the
    point and shooting guard. Roy would give the Hawks even more versatility in the
    backcourt, as Coach Woodson could shuffle he and Joe Johnson back and forth
    between running the offense and looking more for their shot. Roy is a guy who,
    like Wade, has seen his stock rise considerably late in the game, and though may
    not have all the hype coming into the draft, could be a significant player in
    the NBA.

    Who else might the Hawks look at with #5? There are still several players
    available (if the draft goes as I have predicted) there who would interest the
    Hawks as well:

    Marcus Williams, UConn. Williams, widely acknowledged as the top point guard
    prospect out there, is maybe not a guy who a team would take as high as #2, but
    at #5, the value is there. Anyone who saw the NCAA Tournament can attest to
    Williams' ability to lead a team - he was basically the only guy who showed up
    in their win over Washington and loss to George Mason. Williams compares
    favorably to Utah's Deron Williams, who was an all-rookie selection this past
    season and was rumored to be Billy Knight's second choice last season had he not
    taken Marvin Williams.

    Rudy Gay, UConn. Williams' teammate is another player rated very
    highly, and has been mentioned as a possible top pick in this draft since before
    the season even began. Gay is another player with a very well-rounded game, and
    could probably contribute right away for the Hawks after just a couple seasons
    in college.

    Shelden Williams, Duke. The Hawks need some help in the defensive
    interior, and Williams fits that bill to a tee. A talented shot blocker and
    rebounder, Williams would give Atlanta someone who could alter shots and make
    players think twice about coming into the lane. May not be a great scorer, but
    with the offensive options already on board, the Hawks wouldn't need him to do
    that as much.

    What do you think? Agree or disagree?
    Email in your best guesses at how the
    top of the draft will go down and we may post your thoughts here!

    -- The Web Guy | 3:00 p.m. 05/24/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Peskowitz Uses Basketball To Break Down
    Barriers

    The offseason is a time for many in the NBA to work on other projects. Some
    players work on acting or music careers, some go back to school to finish up
    degree tracks, and just about everyone works on their game. However, for Ed
    Peskowitz, one of the Hawks owners, he is using the start of the offseason to
    work on a unique project he hopes to grow into something special.

    This past Tuesday
    Peskowitz flew to Tel Aviv, Israel, to help facilitate a brainchild of his
    called the Friendship Games, which will take place in
    Tel Aviv from May 21-24. Teams from Northern
    Ireland, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Jordan, and Angola, as well as a team from
    Jericho in the Palestinian West Bank and teams from around Israel are set to
    take place in the games
    , which will feature a round-robin style
    tournament with every team playing five games apiece. Overall, about 150
    college-age players will take part.

    "There is so much out there to remind these kids of what makes them different,
    but we want to use basketball as a thread to celebrate their similarities," said
    Peskowitz (right), who got to meet with Israeli President Moshe Katsav after arriving in
    Israel this week. "There will be a big focus on basketball of course, but we
    also plan to do other activities while we are there to bring the kids together."

    Peskowitz is working with Arie Rosenzeiw, the Athletic Director of Tel Aviv
    University, and Illan Kowalsky, AD at The Inderdisciplinary Center in Herzliya,
    to put the event together, which will feature tours of important sites as well
    as several cultural activities in and around Tel Aviv in addition to the games.

    The project is very similar to the basketball-as-ambassador programs the NBA
    runs, including Basketball Without Borders,
    which several Hawks are participating in this summer.

    To top off the endeavor, the jet-setting Peskowitz will be flying back from Tel
    Aviv early on Tuesday morning to New Jersey, where he will represent the Hawks
    at the NBA Lottery proceedings later that night.

    -- The Web Guy | 5:15 p.m. 05/19/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Ping Pong Balls Being Procured

    The NBA has released the odds for the
    2006 NBA Lottery.
    Out of 1000
    possible combinations
    that would result in the #1 overall pick, the Hawks
    have 137 combinations (a 13.7% chance at the top spot, for you non-math majors
    out there). Though Atlanta finished with the same record as Charlotte, the
    Bobcats won a coin-flip and therefore are currently in the third spot with 138
    chances. Obviously that one extra combination will most likely not make a
    difference, but it does give the Bobcats the 3rd spot in the draft if form
    holds, dropping the Hawks to fourth.

    What does this all mean? Basically, it means the Hawks have a good chance to
    move up to the top pick, while being assured that the furthest down they could
    fall would be the 7th spot. For complete odds,
    click here.

    The announcement of the lottery order will be broadcast live on ESPN on Tuesday,
    May 23, most likely during halftime of a game during the Eastern Conference
    Finals. Last season the Hawks had the best chance at getting the top selection,
    but Milwaukee moved up from the 6th spot to nab it.

    For those interested in the draft process, here is a list of the
    current early-entry
    candidates
    . They have until June 18 to decide if they will remain in the
    draft. Something tells me

    this guy is going to return to school
    for more seasoning.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 05/11/06 |
    Have a comment?


    NBA Playoffs Into Second Round

    The second round of the playoffs began on Sunday. We hope to have some analysis
    from some people with infinitely more knowledge of NBA basketball than The Web
    Guy's, but for what it's worth, here are my picks:

    Clippers vs Suns - This series could be very interesting. The Suns are
    basically the Villanova of the NBA, with no real front court, only a collection
    of guards and guard-type forwards. That was ok in Round One when their low-post
    opposition was Kwame Brown, but with Elton Brand and Chris
    Kaman up next, I don't know if the Suns have enough. They will have to shoot
    really, REALLY well in my opinion to win this series. It's a shame the Suns
    can't stay healthy, because at full strength they really could win a title. I
    still say last year's series against the Spurs might have gone differently had
    Joe Johnson been healthy. The Clippers, meanwhile, though it's hard to
    fathom, may be the deepest team left in the playoffs. They have everything you
    could want on offense - ballhandlers, shooters, low-post scorers, etc. The issue
    for them is defense - as in, can they play enough of it to move on. Because of
    the Suns lack of frontcourt depth, I say they will move on. I'm not guaranteeing
    it by any stretch of the imagination, but I will just plant the seed - this
    Clippers team is actually good enough to win the whole thing.

    Clips in
    six.

    Heat vs Nets - Neither team looked particularly impressive in the first
    round, to be honest. But if the Shaq who played in Game 6 against Chicago (30
    pts, 20 rebounds) shows up, the combination of him and Dwyane Wade should
    be enough to push them through. New Jersey has talent for sure, but two things
    in particularly make me nervous. One, they let Anthony Johnson score 40
    on them. If AJ can drop 40, what can Wade do? Second, they barely beat the
    Pacers, who played without Peja Stojakovic for most of the series.
    Something about that doesn't sit well with me. On the plus side for them,
    Nedad Krstic has been good for a few things in these playoffs - he is
    establishing himself as a potential All-Star big man, and his first name has
    been pronounced at least eleven different ways by his teammates and coaches.


    Heat in six
    .

    Spurs vs Mavericks - Clearly the marquee match-up of this round, and
    presumably the favorite to make the NBA Finals from the Western Conference. Game
    1 went to San Antonio by an 87-85 count, with Bruce Bowen applying his
    trademark sticky defense to Dirk Nowitzki and holding him to just two
    points in the final quarter. This series should be fantastic the rest of the way
    as well, with a ton of great players on each side. The Spurs are the champs
    until proven otherwise, but Dallas definitely has the firepower and personnel to
    knock them off. Can they do it? I say it all depends on Josh Howard. Not
    to pin it all on one guy, but if the Spurs are concentrating on Nowitzki the
    whole series (and they will be), Dallas has to have someone else there to pick
    up the slack. Howard is my choice to be that person for the Mavs. However, the
    champs are still the champs, and for that reason alone, I just can't pick
    against them.

    Spurs in seven.

    Pistons vs Cavaliers - It'd be nice to think that Sunday's Game 1 blowout
    for Detroit can be written off to Cleveland's fatigue from a hard-fought series
    win over the Wizards in Round One, but I am afraid that's simply not the case.
    Cleveland is not in Detroit's league, and neither is anyone else in the Eastern
    Conference. LeBron will put up at least one stunning performance in this series
    to remind everyone of what is to come, but in the end he will fall well short.

    Pistons in five.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 05/08/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Marvin Named
    2nd-Team All-Rookie

    Some
    props on a Thursday afternoon to Hawks rookie (is he still a rookie now that the
    season is over?)

    Marvin Williams
    , who made the

    NBA's second team All-Rookie squad
    . That makes three rookies in two
    seasons to gain that honor, after Josh Childress and Josh Smith both made the
    same team last year.

    The recognition is deserved, though this blogger admits he is slightly
    surprised given the relative lack of attention the team has gotten this season
    (remember when none of the Hawks youngsters were invited to the Rookie-Sophomore
    game?). Over the course of the year, Marvin's game improved by leaps and (re)bounds.

    Look at his stats, separated by month, from his inaugural season:

    G MPG OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
    November 14 22.2 1.3 2.7 4.0 .7 .4 .50 5.5
    December 14 21.7 .9 3.7 4.6 .7 .9 .14 6.2
    January 15 23.3 1.2 3.6 4.8 .7 .6 .27 8.5
    February 11 27.1 1.5 3.1 4.6 1.2 .6 .55 9.3
    March 15 25.3 2.1 3.2 5.3 .5 .5 .13 10.4
    April 10 31.0 2.6 3.5 6.1 1.2 .6 .30 12.3

    Notice his rebounding and scoring, each of which increased every single month
    (aside from a slight dip in rebounds in February). Williams was not thrown into
    the fire by Mike Woodson and his staff, and as such was given time to grow into
    his role on the team. Williams is a team player, and whereas other players might
    have chafed at not being given a starring role, he readily accepted the
    responsibilities the coaching staff assigned him and played his part well - much
    like he did at North Carolina, where he came off the bench to help lead the Tar
    Heels to a national title.

    Congrats to Marvin - and to Salim Stoudamire as well, who might have made
    this team as well had his season not ended prematurely. He was amongst the group
    also receiving votes as well though.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 05/04/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Blog Archive #7

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    Click here to read the 2005 Draft Blog!

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