Ah, 2007 -- The brief respite from the usual Hawks draft insanity.
I know what you're thinking: WHY WHY WHY???? DO YOU LIKE PAIN?!!
But seriously, when something comes along, like CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman building a scale from which to rank General Manager's by their drafts, you have to retro-fit it so that you can use another tool to analyze further those assumptions you've made by your eyeballs, don't you?
So, to review, the Atlanta Hawks, previous to the current Danny Ferry administration, have had three GMs since 1991: Pete Babcock, Billy Knight and Rick Sund.
The eyeball test would look something like this for the three of them:
Knight: Really Stinky
Sund: Incomplete, but let's be honest, probably somewhat Stinky.
Needing a catharsis as we enter a draft where Hawks fans have (gulp) optimism regarding the options and have compensated for such positive thinking that we're tying ourselves in knots hoping the team doesn't blow the pick (Just me? OK, then.), let's look back at the previous administrations to have a good laugh, a stiff drink and verify the level of maloderousness of our previous 20 or so drafts.
For our opening salvo, I couldn't wait to retro-fit Goodman's scale (clink his link up there to see how the scoring works) to Knight, who famously would cast aside aspersions as to his draft picks by saying things like "guards are guards" and "it's possible -- anything is possible".
So, here's to you, Billy Knight -- your record, according to the Goodman Scale.
|Billy Knight's NBA Draft Record|
|Year||Player||Pick No.||Goodman Designation||Value|
|2003||Boris Diaw||21||Solid Starter||6|
|2004||Josh Childress||6||Rotation Player||-1|
|Josh Smith||17||Occasional All-Star||7.5|
|2004||Donta Smith||34||Out of League||-1|
|Royal Ivey||37||Bench Player||2.5|
|2005||Marvin Williams||2||Quality Reserve||-1|
|Salim Stoudamire||31||Out of League||-1|
|2006||Shelden Williams||5||Bench Player||-4|
|2007||Al Horford||3||Occasional All-Star||5|
|Acie Law||11||Bench Player||-3|
|GRAND TOTAL OF BILLY KNIGHT's DRAFT ACUMEN =||0.75|
I was even generous in calling Boris Diaw a solid starter, Josh Childress a rotational player and Royal Ivey as a Bench Player. I even gave Josh Smith Occasional All-Star status even though he has not made an All-Star team yet.
The result of my kindness lifted Knight's score to a miserable 0.75, which in today's GM market would put him below the maligned Chris Wallace and just above the consistently slain record of David Kahn. This number is also well off the number managed by Danny Ferry, who scored tied for 4th among current GMs with a 2.38 average score.
Bravo, Mr. Knight.
Knight made two correct draft picks during his time for the benefit of the Hawks, Josh Smith at 17 in 2004 and Al Horford at #3 in 2007.
To be fair, he could have blown both of those picks, as JR Smith was widely considered a candidate for that spot at 17 at the time, which would not have been near as good for the ATL as Smoove has been.
As for Horford, there were a number of camps when it came to that third pick. One such camp held that the international draw of Yi Jianlian was too much to pass on when it came to the big man, and others held out for the pure point guard, Mike Conley.
So mild kudos are in order for not completely blowing the draft for the franchise as it rebuilt through the ashes of burning down the Pete Babcock era.
What the Goodman Scale does NOT accommodate for, however, is the opportunity cost of the players Knight didn't pick while he was consistently blowing picks for the Hawks.
In other words, his low score doesn't calculate that, in 2005 he could/should have taken Deron Williams or Chris Paul. Or in 2004, he could/should have taken Andre Iguodala or Luol Deng. Or, in 2006, he could/should have taken Brandon Roy.
Factor those in and the Goodman Scale might come off its hinges, the earth shake and swallow the former Hawks GM and his failed picks into the core of the earth.
David Kahn may be an easy target these days for draft pundits, but for my money nobody beats Billy Knight in draft-foolery.
Is it possible Billy Knight was the worst drafting GM in the past 10-15 years? I would answer that, "It's possible. Anything is possible."
Coming later: The Pete Babcock Years!