As an Atlanta Hawks’ fan, this past decade beginning in 2001 through 2010, has definitely been a ‘hit or miss’ decade in regard to the my hometown team’s draft choices–in particular first-round picks.
In a span of nearly a decade, the Hawks had three general managers — Pete Babcock, Billy Knight and Rick Sund. Former general manager Billy Knight, probably gets more blame than he really deserves. However, some of his picks didn’t really panned out either.
Ultimately, the Hawks went real young starting in 2004 and paid the price with some tough seasons. However, it paid off when the team was able to find a veteran point guard in Mike Bibby in the spring of 2008. This had been one of Billy Knight’s final big moves as a general manager.
Rick Sund’s draft choices have been Jeff Teague, France’s Pape Sy and Jordan Crawford thus far. However, the talented Crawford was traded at mid-season for Kirk Hinrich.
The following is the Top 5 draft busts of this past decade (2001-2010)
1. Shelden Williams: He is the biggest bust this past decade. After starting 31 games in his first year, it became evident that the Hawks made a mistake in evaluation back in 2006. Williams wasn’t as athletic or effective as a player and this was one of the reasons why the Hawks were back in the lottery the following year.
Williams was chosen at #5– ahead of Portland’s Brandon Roy and Memphis’ Rudy Gay.
In 2007, Al Horford, in essence, replaced Shelden Williams here in Atlanta. I recall a few years back when the New Jersey Nets’ Richard Jefferson dunked on Shelden– it was a little embarrassing.
2. Boris Diaw: Diaw had the skillset to succeed and the player from France was thought to be able to play point guard and have a major impact moving forward. However, things didn’t materialize. Diaw was not a leader, and as a Top 10 first round pick, it forced the Hawks to go back to the drawing board again in search of the next franchise player.
Coincidentally, in 2005, Joe Johnson was traded to Atlanta for Diaw and for a brief time, Johnson was the point guard of the Hawks and tried to fill the role that Diaw really didn’t want.
3. Acie Law: Law just didn’t feel comfortable and the coaching staff probably had a role in this as well. However, Law continued the string of first round busts who just didn’t pan out.
4. Salim Stoudamire: Many people were high on Salim Stoudamire in the 2005-06 season and saw him as a sharpshooter, but his attitude and poor shot selection cost him and he was eventually pushed out of Atlanta after three seasons. Salim was a second-round pick, but at one time seen to be a first-round talent.
5. Solomon Jones: Jones had shot-blocking ability, but was foul prone and was here around the same time Shelden Williams was struggling. However, the 6’11” is still in the league collecting bench time with the Indiana Pacers. Jones was an early second round pick– 33rd overall.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Andersen was drafted in 2002 and never played for the Hawks. He stayed overseas. Why do the Hawks keep drafting overseas players that can’t help this team?
HONORABLE MENTION: Josh Childress did some good things and actually had a larger impact than Marvin Williams, but Childress was picked ahead of Andre Igudola, J.R. Smith and Jameer Nelson. Childress was drafted sixth overall in 2004 NBA Draft.
HONORABLE MENTION: Travis Hensen: BYU kid who played for one year as a bench player and is out of the NBA. However, he did play overseas for Russian teams until 2010.