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2010 NBA Draft: Atlanta Hawks Play It Safe

With the 24th pick in the draft, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Damion James, an athletic wing from Texas with nice finishing ability. However, a couple minutes after this pick went down, David Stern announced that the Hawks traded their pick to the Nets for rights to the 27th pick, Jordan Crawford, and the 31st pick.

Crawford is probably most famous for his ridiculously over-hyped dunk that just so happened to take place near a distracted LeBron James.

The bottom line is Crawford can score. Last season he averaged 20.5 points per contest while playing for Xavier. In the NCAA tournament he increased his out-put to 29 ppg. He knows how to get the rack, is a solid jump shooter and he also meets one of the other Hawks preferences; his name is almost the same as one of his teammates.

Does this pick say anything about the new direction (if any) the team will head in under the newly hired head coach Larry Drew? Not really. Crawford skill set is not far off from what other Hawks bring to the table. As a matter of fact, if you had to compare his game to anybody in the league it would probably be Jamal Crawford.

Will Crawford make an immediate impact? He definitely has the potential to put up points in the NBA. But until next week it’s almost impossible to try to guesstimate how often the Hawks will call on him. If Joe Johnson leaves he will probably get his chance to shine but if Johnson stays he will probably be used sparingly.

With the 31st pick the Hawks picked up Tibor Pleiss from Germany. Pleiss is a 7-footer and the Hawks may have benefited from his size, but they traded him to last night’s busiest team, the Oklahoma Thunder, for cash considerations. The Hawks could definitely use a big but they are looking for someone with more polish than Pleiss brings to the table. Don’t be surprised if they make a trade or pick up a free agent.

With the 53rd pick in the draft the Hawks picked up Pape Sy from France. Not much is known about Sy. Supposedly an amazing work-out was enough to get him drafted though. Considering that he brought his whole family, I’m guessing he knew something.

In conclusion, the Hawks did what most teams did. They played it safe. They didn’t orchestrate any wild trades. They didn’t draft the future of the NBA. They didn’t trade half the team away in hopes of landing a big name when the free agent bonanza kicks off next week but given the circumstances there isn’t much they could have done.

At the very least they got a guy that might help them survive if Joe Johnson does decide to pack his bags while saving some money by sending Tibor Pleiss to OKC.

The 2010 draft was just a warm up for next week and like many teams, the Hawks’ future is still very uncertain.



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