Archives For June 2013

Well, that was somewhat unexpected.

According to the AJC, the Hawks have extended the qualifying offer to Jeff Teague, but not to Ivan Johnson. This move makes Ivan an unrestricted free agent.

My take on the move is that the Hawks no longer see Ivan as someone who fits in with the culture of the team. Sure, they could still bring him back, but Ivan’s attitude at times means that this move isn’t a huge surprise; just a little unexpected.

Ivan averaged almost 16 points and nine rebounds per 36 minutes last season. He did this while getting playing time at all three frontcourt positions and playing above-average defense at all of them. If this move does signal the end of Ivan’s time in Atlanta, it will be the departure of an ATL fan favorite.

At one point, the Hawks possessed the 44, 47, and 50 picks in the draft. They ended up only using one. With the 44th pick they acquired from Dallas, Atlanta took Mike Muscala out of Bucknell.

Muscala wasn’t expected to fall this far. Chad Ford had him going 31st in his last mock draft and many people had him going in the latter part of the first round. The Hawks getting him at 44 is a steal.

Muscala is a 6’11” forward-center with great skills. He was extremely efficient in college and showed that he can play inside and out. He was a great rebounder at Bucknell, but he will likely need to add a bit of muscle for that to translate; he weighs in at 230 pounds and doesn’t have the athleticism to make up for lack of strength.

The other two picks the Hawks made, Raul Neto and James Ennis, were traded. The two trades aren’t completely official, but it was confirmed by the Hawks that the two are not going to be part of the team.

The Atlanta Hawks have selected Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schroeder with the 16th and 17th picks in the 2013 NBA Draft, the former of the two being acquired from Dallas along with Jared Cunningham and a second-round pick in exchange for the 18th pick.

Nogueira and Schroeder are both imports from overseas, Lucas a center from Brazil and Schroeder a point guard from Germany.

Nogueira’s 7’6″ wingspan tops off an impressive 7-foot frame, and is a renowned rebounder and shot-blocker in the ACB league, averaging 10 boards and 3 blocks per 40 minutes of action. Nogueira also shot over 66% from the field during this past season.

I spoke to Nogueira (with help from his agent who was kind enough to translate the quick back-and-forth) after the Draft to hear some of his thoughts surrounding heading to Atlanta. I first asked how excited he was to play with a talented big such as Al Horford:

“He’s a very, very good player and a player well known around the world. It’s going to be a great experience and (Nogueira) has a lot to learn from him.”

I then asked Nogueira how quickly he could make a defensive impact in the NBA:

“The league in Spain is like the second-best league in the world, and (Nogueira) was able to do well there. (Nogueira) will do as much as he can to make an impact right away and help his team.”

Schroeder’s wingspan also shows promise for his perimeter defense, standing at 6’2″ with a 6’7″ wingspan. Schroeder is a terrific pick-and-roll player and we should anticipate seeing a lot of this from him playing alongside Al Horford.

Nogueira could potentially be the Hawks’ starting center as a defensive anchor alongside Horford, moving the All-Star to the power forward position. Schroeder’s future is unknown, as what the Hawks will do with current point guard Jeff Teague is still a question mark.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a 6’6″ gunslinger at the two-guard, and a highly touted prospect in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft out of Georgia. It’s highly unlikely Caldwell-Pope will drop all the way down to Atlanta’s 17th and 18th first-round picks, but if he did the Hawks would be striking gold by selecting him so late. I got to ask KCP a few questions at a pre-Draft media availability session the day before the actual Draft is scheduled to take place, which you can take a look at below:

HawksHoop: How well do you think you can thrive in a system that requires players to make quick, decisive passes as soon as they catch the ball?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: I mean I think I can, I think I can handle that. I’m not a selfish player. If I’m not open or if I have an open player, I’m gonna get rid of the ball.

HH: Would you be comfortable limiting your offense, if your team asked, to being a spot-up shooter running off-the-ball?

KCP: Yeah, whatever my team needs for me to do, I’ll do it. I’m coachable, I just, I love to win. Whatever my team needs for me to do, I’ll do it.

HH: Where do you think you can help the team most that drafts you?

KCP: I can help them on both ends. I’m a great defender. I have quick hands. I can rebound the ball. I bring an offensive game, I can shoot the ball, create my own shot, I bring a lot to a team that whoever drafts me.

HH: How would you feel if you, it’s not looking like a real possibility, but how would you feel if you fell down to your home state, to the Atlanta Hawks at 17th or 18th?

KCP: Whatever team takes me, I’m good with that. I would feel comfortable because it’s my hometown, but right now I just don’t see myself falling that far.

HH: What are you going to put the most emphasis on working on this summer as far as your game?

KCP: Probably mainly my ball handling. I really need to work on that. That’s really what most of the GMs and teams, not really drilling me on it but, that’s what I know my weakness is. I really need to work on that, and just get it to where I need it to be.

HH: What edge do you think you have over other possible draftees?

KCP: I don’t think I have any edge. In this Draft there’s a lot of great players. I played against two of them, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller and they’re great players. So I don’t think I have any edge over them. I don’t think no one has an edge over anyone.

HawksHoop Mock Draft

Bo Churney —  June 25, 2013


Continue Reading…

hh-logo-DRAFTKelly Olynyk is a prospect that is already polarizing to draft followers. The stats loved Olynyk, but that comes with the notion he played in a weaker conference than some of the other prospects. He measured 7 feet tall, but that came with a wingspan that didn’t even reach 6′ 10″. For every Olynyk argument, there seems to be a counter argument, which is what makes him such an unknown quality. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Olynyk played at a decently high level and carved out a career for himself, but it wouldn’t be astronomically shocking if he never finds a sticking point in the NBA. Kelly seems like a guy – to me –  that doesn’t have a high ceiling, nor is a safe bet of being an NBA player. Some (myself included) are not sold on him compared to others (Dieng, Nogueira), and really don’t think he is a fit to play with Horford.

Measurements: As stated in the previous paragraph, Olynyk is 7 feet but has a 6’9.75″ wing span. There is many concerns that his lack of length can lead to his shots being blocked from the post by NBA length constantly, even though he was an effective player there in college. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Rewind: Josh Smith

Bo Churney —  June 24, 2013

smoove2

Josh Smith nearly averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in the 2011-12 season. He was already known as a great defender and with Al Horford and an array of three-pointer shooters, it appeared as if he’d be able to play to his strengths more than he had ever had in his career.

Smoove was also in a contract year and still had the stigma of being snubbed from previous All-Star games. Those things seemed to be coming together in a perfect storm to create what should’ve been a great year from a rising player…

But it crashed and burned.

It all started at media day. In Joe Johnson’s place were Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, and John Jenkins. Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, and Al Horford could all play on the perimeter and let Josh dominate on the block.

Instead, Smoove nicknamed himself “mid-range shawty”. Oops.

What we got was 674 jumpers, which accounts for more than half of Smith’s field goal attempts. Smith took a career-high 201 three-point attempts and barely broke the 30% shooting mark from that range. To top it all off, Josh apparently forgot how to shoot free-throws, putting up a career-worst 52% from the stripe. So much for all of that money he was hoping for…

Josh Smith

There’s still some good stuff in that stat sheet. As he’s always been, Continue Reading…

The HawksHoop staff, along with the help of some friends of the family, went 5-on-5 about the best prospects in the draft and who the Hawks should and shouldn’t take.

1. Who will be the best player from this draft in 5 years?
Bo Churney: Victor Oladipo. He’s extremely athletic and has the motor to match, which likely gives him the best odds of anyone from this draft of being an All-Star in the future. He may be a little short at 6’4″, but his 6’9″ wingspan and 215-pound frame help make up for that. In the NBA, his game could be very similar to Dwyane Wade, though obviously not at that high of a level.
Chris Barnewall: Nerlens Noel, yes it might be the cop out answer but it’s really hard to go against a defensive minded big man these days. Especially in a draft widely considered weak by many. The guy has a 7’4″ wingspan which means he’s as wide as Roy Hibbert is tall. With his explosiveness and length I could see him being great in the PnR on offense and a great rim defender on defense for years to come.
5-on-5Cole Patty: Nerlens Noel is the one guy who can be a consistent impact player yearly in this draft. Sure there are the ACL questions, but even Alex Len – who is the other rumored number one – has fused ankles. So long as there is a bounce back from injury, Noel will be just fine.
Jameson Draper: There will be varying opinions on this question, but it’s going to be Victor Oladipo. He’s crazy athletic, a great rebounder and defender, explosive and one of the biggest competitors in the game (I actually heard from a friend at Indiana that Oladipo would sit in class watching his game tape). He’s a hair small for a shooting guard, but makes up for it with tremendous athleticism. In five years, it’s reasonable to think he can be the best player of a playoff team.
Blake Potash: Nerlens Noel. He is pretty clearly the best prospect in this class with size, athleticism and a knack for defense. His numbers at Kentucky rivaled Anthony Davis, who had a terrific rookie season. If Noel fully recovers from the ACL injury he should become an all-star caliber player averaging something around 17-10-3 with blocks.
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hh-logo-DRAFTThe point guard situation in Atlanta is far from being a known quality. Sure, the Hawks could play it safe and just re-sign Jeff Teague, but it would be hard to believe Danny Ferry will just look off an option like Chris Paul without at least considering using the cap room for a more impact player. If the Hawks grab use their cap on guys like Iguodala or Pekovic, they could be looking for a point guard in the draft. That being said, the team needs a point guard, and Teague is likely the best one available after CP3. It seems like a long shot that they’d go through the draft to get a point, but if they do, Shane Larkin may be the best one available at the Hawks’ picks.

Measurements: Larkin is a 20 year old prospect, whose birthday comes in early October. Being 21 on what will potentially be open night means Shane is likely stuck right next to the mean age for players in the upcoming draft. Larkin is only 5′ 11.5″ in shoes, and his short 5′ 10.75″ wingspan doesn’t make up any ground. Size is definitely the big issue in Shane’s scouting report Continue Reading…

Hawks Workout Gobert

Bo Churney —  June 18, 2013

The Hawks decided to not make their draft workouts open to the media this year, but that doesn’t stop the potential prospects from taking to Twitter to let us know what’s going on.

Gobert’s draft stock has been up and down over the past several weeks, but you still can’t teach height. The 7’2″ Frenchman has a 9’7″ standing reach, which is one of the highest ever for an NBA player. It’s rumored that even if he’s drafted, Gobert will spend at least another season in Europe to improve on his offensive skills, which are extremely raw for the time being.

In other draft news, Chad Ford released the fifth version of his mock draft today. He projects the Hawks to take Duke’s Mason Plumlee at 17 and Giannis Antetokounmpo at 18. Ford also mentions that the Hawks would be interested in Kelly Olynyk, Jamaal Franklin, and Tim Hardaway Jr. Gobert and Gorgui Dieng are also still available at those two picks in Ford’s mock.