The Hawks get their wings, and there’s nothing wrong with that

Taurean Prince answers questions during an interview after being selected 12th overall by the Utah Jazz during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Don’t believe the hat: Taurean Prince is a Hawk. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

If the night didn’t yield the windfall Atlanta Hawks fans had hoped, neither was it the calamity they’ve come to fear. The Hawks didn’t move up and land either Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray, but they did find two wings who could prove useful.

Taking Taurean Prince of Baylor with the 12th overall pick might seem a reach, but if you’ve seen him in person – and I have – you can spot a resemblance to DeMarre Carroll. (And not just the distinctive hair.) Prince is tough and strong and can make a jump shot. He has the makings of a 3-and-D guy, as the NBA argot has it, and he provides cover should Kent Bazemore price himself out of town.

DeAndre Bembry of Saint Joseph’s was an excellent college player whose selection at No. 21 frankly surprised me. The Hawks want all their players to be able to shoot. The thing Bembry does worst is shoot. Prince should fit Mike Budenholzer’s pace-and-space system; Bembry might not. But that’s OK, too.

Under Billy Knight, the Hawks were longer on talent – meaning the ability to run fast and jump high – than skill. Under Danny Ferry/Budenholzer/Wes Wilcox, the Hawks have become more skilled than talented. Shooting and passing are grand assets, but a team needs guys who can run fast and jump high as well.

Once Carroll left for Toronto as a free agent, the Hawks’ starters at 2 and 3 were Kyle Korver, who turned 35 in the spring, and Bazemore, who’s 6-foot-5. Korver’s best days are behind him. Bazemore is an unrestricted free agent. There’s a real chance the Hawks will need new starters at both positions come autumn. We can’t yet know if Prince or Bembry is ready for such an assignment that soon if ever, but at least the Hawks have given themselves options.

If you’re critical of these picks – and I imagine some among you will be; the Hawks have conditioned us to be skeptical – I’d ask this: Would you rather Budenholzer/Wilcox had drafted a raw big man on the order of Skal Labissiere, who was overmatched in his one season at Kentucky and who might well be on the final year of his first contract before he’s ready to give an NBA team even 10 minutes a night?

Drafting for need gets a bad rap, but really: Isn’t every pick of every draft made for a need of some sort? No matter what some national voices suggested after the Jeff Teague trade, the Hawks are not embarking on a tear-down. Far from it. They hope to re-sign Al Horford and build on what they have. (And in Dennis Schroder, they have a younger, cheaper and more talented point guard than Teague.) It would be a shock if Prince or Bembry become anything more than complementary players, but both are a darn sight closer to playing serious NBA minutes than some teenage 7-footer.

The Prince pick reminds me of what the Falcons did by drafting Keanu Neal: It’s a system pick, and not every team plays the same system or values the same type of player. Bembry’s selection is a pick against type: He’s not more of what the Hawks already have; he’s the kind of talent they lack. I have no issue with either choice.

I don’t think this draft makes them the new favorite to win the Eastern Conference. (There were no players in this draft, not even Ben Simmons, who’d have done that.) But they’ve fleshed out a roster that needed fleshing out, and they’ve steeled themselves against contingencies. If they didn’t get well with these two picks, maybe they got better. That’s kind of the idea, is it not?

Reader Comments 0

46 comments
BillVol
BillVol

Trade the Hawks.  Get the Flames back.  Build arena in Cobb County.  

Jason Hart
Jason Hart

Are the sports bloggers on strike? I expect new content when I'm paying for it....

OH:IO
OH:IO

Has anyone file a missing person report for Schultz?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Where's Schultz?


Nothing since June 8th?

SaulK
SaulK

ATl will be no better than last year---make the playoffs, beat some hapless team in round 1, then get bounced in round 2 in 4 or 5 games. It never changes around here--i'm tired of this! I may move back to jersey next year if I can find a job.

slydawg
slydawg

To trade Teague for a measly 12th pick, by NBA standards, says something about him. They just wanted to get something for him and get him out of town, even if in the same conference. Until the Hawks either tank or willing to pay the luxury tax, they are going nowhere. The Spurs tanked, drafted Duncan, got Robinson back the same year, and then added all these mid level complimentary players to the mix. Blow this team up and draft a potential star.

jack diamond
jack diamond

Why does this team NEVER have a buzz to it?? NEVER a top drafted rookie, and NEVER in the mix for a top FA. The nost boring team in the league. Nobody cares of they make the playoffs for the nth time in a row becuase they ZERO chance to win a title. A 50 win team that gets bounced by the #1 seed again? No thanks. I'd rather be following the 76ers, at least they have something to keep your interest. The Hawks should wear all white uniforms to indicate what a plain VANILLA team they are.

EWB1
EWB1

Nooooooooooooooooo. We want a top 5 star player in the league to entertain us. The Hawks  are mediocre and boring. These two picks won't change that. No top, exciting free agents will play here. We have to draft a player that can be great and you don't do that winning 50 games a year. We need a high draft pick. We need Danny Ferry back. He should have never left. he knows basketball. Who cares if we make the playoffs? The NBA will not allow the Hawks to make a championship run. They are too boring. It would make for the lowest rated finals in history. Entertain us. Get us a top 5 player. Draft one. I was excited about acquiring the 12th pick because I thought we were making a move, with a package deal, to move up for a higher draft pick with some potential "star" power. This is boring basketball. We have to pay insane money for a Joe Johnson. He made more than Lebron last year if you don't consider Lebron's endorsements. Wow. We haven't been fun to watch since Dominique played. Get a star who excites and plays above the rim. A player that everyone else in the league would love to have. We like excitement. Sanders, Vick, Wilkins,......... Please quit trying to sell us this mediocre product. It's not entertaining. I'd rather lose pretty and be entertained than win 50 games with "Al Horford for two". I'd rather watch paint dry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kensdobs
Kensdobs

The Hawks basically drafted for the future. Korver shouldn't be starting due to his age & him being one dimensional 3pt specialist, which forces our starters to play 4 on 5 when he's not taking &/or making his 3pt shots. 


We got off to a slow start last yr because we had 4 players(Milsap, Hardaway, Sefolosha, & Korver) coming off surgeries &/or injuries. Those players either had their mins limited, no back to backs, or not playing at all until mid season(Hardaway). 



DawgNole
DawgNole

@Kensdobs: "The Hawks basically drafted for the future."

________________

Yeah, kinda like they've been doing since arriving in ATL 48 loooooooong years ago.

BillVol
BillVol

@DawgNole @Kensdobs Exactly.  I've been following the Hawks since '77.  Nothing changes.  Just get rid of them already.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Hope they have better tricks up their sleeves than this and that it will just take a little time to bring them to fruition. How these two choices would change next year's outcomes is a mystery. We already have Bazemore, and another talented point guard is now a dire necessity. 


Schroder is a good sub, especially when his game is on, but often too erratic and makes too many turn overs, and always waits until the shot clock has almost expired to actually try to do anything in panic mode (Teague was like that sometimes too, or he just took a Hail Mary three-point shot or passed it with two seconds left to someone else to take it). 


The Hawks need to step it up in off-season trading. These guys may help, but they are not going to beat teams like Golden State, Oklahoma, and Cleveland.

DawgNole
DawgNole

"It would be a shock if Prince or Bembry become anything more than complementary players . . . ."

________________

So that's the aim of this aimless franchise after 48 years without an appearance in the finals--and only ONE second-round-series victory??? Drafting complementary-at-best players?!

Losersville lives!

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

Not to high on any of these picks being more than just backup bench players.  The real problem here is this draft was very thin.  The Hawks still reached even deeper for a player rated 30 at best.  I am taking a wait and see attitude on the off season.  Can they pull off a big trade or sign a couple high end support players.    I also dont think Horford is a max player, especially for the Hawks.  I would not sign him for that contract if at all.  They need a leader that can take over a game.   I would keep Bazemore if he doesnt price himself out and trade/sign for someone to replace Horford (save his money)



POV1948
POV1948

I wonder what is Plan B if Dennis plays as erratically as the starter as he often did off the bench.  He's great for quickness and fearlessness.  But what about the passes to no one, losing the ball in traffic, and ill advised drives to the basket?  Plus he's not a good finisher and doesn't have much shooting touch. He can be a pest on D, I'll give him that.  But the steadiness needed from a starting PG is totally missing.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@POV1948

As usually is the case with ATL teams, there is no Plan B.

jcarson
jcarson

I thought these were solid picks.  These guys both have a chance to help us, which is all you can ask in a weak draft.

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

As usual Mark you got it. But there is a bigger problem. Simple question - Will the Hawks be better next year than this one? I can't get to an argument that says yes. Could they be worse? I can get to an argument that says yes. I think probably about 5 to 10 losses worse.


With the departure of Ferry, I am afraid the Hawks continue their slide to the no man's land of the NBA, good enough to make the playoffs with an early exit and not bad enough to get to the high end of the lotto to get a player that will make a difference. And without a GM (insert Ferry here) and a coach (Bud can coach but is not a GM), a team can stay in this nether region a long, long time.

moboman
moboman

@tyger This shows a better shooting touch than advertised.  If he can shoot, he's not a bad pick at 21.  Hard to judge quickness and explosivness on this video.  No defenders in his face.

tyger
tyger

Agreed. Hawks did well...


Got younger, longer, more athletic...

Both can run, defend and shoot...

Prince prolly has better 3p%...


But Bembry better iso player...

When all else fails, he can go get it...

Hawks desperately needed that type...


in re. youth movement


Shroder

Hardaway Jr.

Bembry

Prince

Tavares

Patterson

Muscala


moboman
moboman

@tyger surprised we didnt give Adam Smith a look see.  He is the kind of knockdown shooter that fits the system.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

The Hawks regressed after their terrific  2014/2015 season.  They lost Carroll and added nothing through the draft - no offense to Hardaway Jr.


This year, we jettison Teague (a top ten point guard) for a potential Carroll replacement.  We are counting on Shroooooder to fill Teague's shoes (and then some).  


Not sure what, if anything, about these personnel moves will put butts in the seats come October - or make the Hawks better.




Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

You basically said the same thing with the Braves and Hawks 1st round picks. All 3 teams reached and you act like they made good picks.

moboman
moboman

If you are not picking in the top 5, the challenge is to find the hidden gems, like the Spurs do.  Lets hope they are successful.  I see the potential in Prince, and also the PG.  Bremby = not so much.  I hope Im wrong.  In any event, the Hawks offseason dealings arent done yet.  Its how the rest of the summer plays out that will determine how they fare next season.  There werent any obvious home runs in our drafting spots.

Falcaints
Falcaints

Yawn, the average Hawks pick average players to continue to be average. That pretty much sums up all of Atlanta's pro teams.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Falcaints Kind of sums up the excitement and support of the average Atlanta Sports Fans, A Big Yawn!

MikeS777
MikeS777

I agree, Mark.   Not the hype picks that make you think the team is ready for a next step, but really this is just the draft.   The kid from Baylor could be a great fit a SF.   They drafted a SG and an impressive looking PG in the second round.

SF and the backcourt were the needs in this draft that could be met.  These 4 picks give a deep team even more depth.  The center position is better addressed this summer either signing Horford or getting someone like Whiteside or trading for another big man.  I hear Cousins is not happy with Sacramento's draft.   And remember, Tiago Splitter is set to return to the lineup for this coming season.   They could, and probably should, look to sign Humphries back as well.

gerald cooper
gerald cooper

Ummm about that 2nd round guard (whom I thought would be a way better Teague replacement) we sent him to Cleveland... The frustration of being a ATL fan!!!

OH:IO
OH:IO

Where's Schultz?

FineSwine
FineSwine

If you ever wanted to know the difference between objective journalism and "paint a pretty picture for your meal ticket" journalism, read this column.  Must be hard to look in that mirror every morning, Bradley....well, maybe not on payday..  In the end, even Bradley's lipstick won't help this pig.

SebGuy
SebGuy

Well this just means "the system" better produce outstanding results or it will not be much better than having a team full of "talent" but short on skill. Whatever happen to Smooth?

MikeS777
MikeS777

@SebGuy The past two seasons isn't proof enough of that?   Who would have picked Carroll or Bazemore to do as well as they have?  Or Millsap to become one of the top forwards in the game?  Horford, Teague, Korver...everyone's production shot up as soon as Coach Bud came to town.

Gman84
Gman84

We long ago came to reject the hype of the Hawks, Braves or Falcons drafts. When was the last time any local team hit the draft jackpot?

Gives you guys something to write about but really, nobody actually expects anything.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Gman84 That's also because they never are so bad that they get a high enough pick for the can't miss player, except a couple of times Billy Knight did a draft face plant.    The last couple of times the Falcons picked high we got Michael Vick and Matt Ryan.   talking strictly on the field performance, those picks turned out great for the Falcons, before they tried to shoe horn Vick into the West Coast system anyway.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777: ". . . those picks turned out great for the Falcons . . . ."

________________

Vick and Ryan turned out great for the Falcons?!

How many Super Bowls did they win between them?

Hell, how many Super Bowls did they even play in between them?

THIS is the problem with the ATL sports mentality--satisfaction with perpetual also-ran status.

AtlantaDude
AtlantaDude

Sometimes I wish Atlanta teams would just opt for "auto-select" like when you miss your fantasy draft.  Just give them the consensus best available player at their draft spot.  Auto-select certainly would have outperformed Billy Knight and Thomas Dimitroff and thus far I'm not convinced it couldn't outdo Coach Bud as well.