As the Hawks prep, in at least some scenarios, to draft with the #19 and #49 picks in this year's draft, one question has me deeply worried about Thursday night: We all know Rick Sund is running the Hawks draft, right?
What's the cause for concern, you say? This is the same Rick Sund who built a spunky Mavericks team in the 1980's, and kept the Supersonics hanging around the playoffs back before they were named for the weather in a tiny Midwestern media market.
Yet his drafts of the past decade with the Sonics were the biggest collective dud we've seen this decade — and that's taking into account our dearly departed Billy Knight, Isiah Thomas and Billy King.
And his record indicates we might be in for a doozy come Thursday night.
Let's look at his picks, first and foremost (after the jump):
— 49th pick Peter Fehse
— 10th pick Saer Sene, 40th pick Denham Brown, 53rd pick Yotam Halperin
The results are pretty ugly, when you look at who's left in the NBA, much less still playing for the Sonics/Thunder
Collison, Ridnour, Simmons, Radmanovic and Watson are the only consistent contributors in the league, though none of them would be considered stars by any stretch of the imagination.
Swift, while he'd be first team for the NBA's Awkward White Guys with Lots of Tats squad, isn't much else.
His 3.3 ppg and 13 minutes per game this year weren't even in Zaza Pachulia
territory, though he did shoot a career best 52 percent from the field. That should at least make Solomon Jones
and Randolph Morris
Swift and Sene would have to be considered the biggests busts, given a relatively high draft placing with absolutely nothing to show for it in the NBA.
Looking over this draft record, you begin to see why that Sonics team built around Ray Allen
(and admittedly a good trade on Sund's part, dumping Payton for Allen, but only because George Karl and Ray Allen couldn't stand each other in Milwaukee anymore) always seemed to be stuck in mediocrity hell.
A starting five of those picks alone would be Ridnour/Watson/Collison/Swift/Bobby Simmons. That team might win 12 games.
Sund could never really put the pieces around Allen through the draft to take the next step until his ouster with the new ownership group.
What's particularly troubling about his Seattle drafts is those teams had two gaping holes that needed to be filled: Bruising post players to suck up rebounds and defend, and legitimate wing/backcourt players to complement Allen.
Did Sund find any of those players in any draft?
Not even close.
After Collison, he failed to draft a serviceable big man, particularly the rebounding/shot blocking center the Sonics needed at the time. Watson is a decent back-up in the league (actually a really nice find at the 40th pick, same with Willie Green at 41, but nothing you would ever build a team around), while Ridnour fills the same role in Milwaukee.
Only he was picked at 14.
Its as if Sund has a giant blind spot for post players, and point guards, particularly those who need to fill large holes for the team, which just happens to be what the Hawks need. And he happens to have a knack for picking precisely the wrong foreign big man at just the wrong time. Vitaly Potapenko
as a free agent re-signing after the Vin Baker trade ring any bells?
And its not as if those drafts were full of stiffs.
At least Billy Knight stumbled into Josh Smith in the mid-to-late first round, the proverbial broken clock being right twice a day, and found a solid player in Josh Childress
. And the jury is still out on Marvin Williams
, and he seems to have found a real player in Al Horford
I can't believe I'm defending Billy Knight, but his draft record looks better than Sund.
Constrained by the cap, this team will largely need to build via the draft from a relatively difficult position in the mid to late first round, barring any trades.
In his defense, Sund has a pretty good track record making deals. The aforementioned Gary Payton for Ray Allen move has been widely lauded, and deservedly so.
But the Hawks look to be in a situation similar to those Sonics teams, with the draft being the primary vehicle for improvement. The team has relatively little room to maneuver in the trade market or sign outside free agents without disrupting what's widely considered the team's core, thanks to a miserly, or cash-strapped, ownership group.
Throw in the weakest draft class in a very long time, and it all seems to be lining up that Thursday night will be a disappointing one for Hawks fans, barring some boffo trade involving some Josh action (either Childress or Smith), picks and a pu-pu platter of other players.
If Sund does pick at #19 or #49, I'm just hoping its not Petro/Sene/Swift all over again.