The Hawks had traded away their own pick in this draft, the eighth overall, to the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1999 deal that sent another #1 (in 2000, which became Quentin Richardson) as well from the Hawks for Lorenzen Wright.
Wright was already gone from the Hawks, having been a part in the Draft Day 2001 trade that sent Pau Gasol and Brevin Knight to the Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
So, you wouldn't think there would be much to talk about here, eh?
LEADING UP TO THE DRAFT:
The 2001-2002 season wasn't much better than the one before, yielding only 33 wins. A year earlier, Hawks GM Pete Babcock sought a point guard to play along with Jason Terry, who he believed to be more of a shooting guard. Despite that, he passed on taking a PG with the #27 pick that the Grizzlies had sent as part of the the big trade, opting instead to defer and pass that pick to Indiana in return for a future #1 pick.
Throughout the season, the Hawks had a miserable time finding a suitable backcourt mate for Terry. Emanuel Davis, Dion Glover, Ira Newble, Jacque Vaughn all had a turn back there with Jet, to less than even mediocre results.
The 2002 Draft wasn't long on point guards. In fact, only Jason (Jay) Williams from Duke and Gonzaga's Dan Dickau stood out as draftable options in the first round.
The Hawks, as mentioned previously, had only a second round pick, so there wasn't much to think about when it came to draft night. Unlike the previous three years, there was no buzz or large crowds gathering in anticipation of this draft...and it remained that way until the end of the first round, when Sacramento came up to the podium.
The Kings, despite having Mike Bibby at point guard, took Dickau, immediately leading to speculation that he was drafted for another team.
That team was the Hawks.
Babcock, sensing the opportunity to be bold where he wasn't the season before, took the pick he acquired the draft before, and sent it to the Kings for the rights to Dickau. Babcock was convinced he made the right move and had finally got a point guard.
Dickau was received as all Hawks first round picks have had, with a big press conference at the arena. Dickau looked and sounded the part, but struggled at first to be healthy, and then to fit into the team on the floor.
Right around Christmas, the Hawks fired Kruger after the team had lost faith in the coach and had slumped badly. Terry Stotts took over and when Dickau was ready, he sent him out to see what the team had in this first rounder.
Bleached hair in a perm type look, Dickau game was as floppy as his mane. the confidence that defined his offense and scoring at Gonzaga wasn't there for Atlanta. His assist rate was lower than Terry's and it looked like Dickau was less a true point guard and more of the same kind of combo guard the Hawks already had.
Dickau never started a game for the Hawks, being cast off the next season in the house cleaning deal Billy Knight made with Portland which sent Shareef, Theo Ratliff, and Dickau away for Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person. After arriving in Portland with much ado, Dickau started 20 games the rest of the way for the Blazers, shooting a miserable .327 in those games and playing to a 7.7 PER.
Another wasted first round pick for the Hawks, joining Dion Glover and Cal Bowdler, as well as the loss of services from DerMarr Johnson. Babcock went bold a year too late, and spent another first round draft asset on a player that could not even yield replacement level value for the Hawks. Had he taken the plunge on Parker the year before, this sort of desperate trade into the draft wouldn't have been necessary and the Hawks could have waited for the pick to use in the better draft class of 2003.
It would be the last draft for Pete Babcock as Hawks GM.