Being a basketball fan from Atlanta, I’ve got every right to complain about that garbage-disposal-of-an-organization, the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s one thing that Atlanta has never been able to experience a professional basketball championship, but it’s another that the lack of winning has been brought about by the incompetence of the Hawks’ front office. For years now, it has almost seemed as if the organization has been trying to self-destruct, usually by means of making inexplicable and horrid picks in the NBA drafts.
This process started way back in 1992, when the Hawks opted to leave Robert ‘Big Shot Rob’ Horry on the board and instead select Adam ‘No Shots Adam Because I Am Never In the Game and Always On the Bench’ Keefe, and has not come anywhere close to ending.
The following year the Hawks made an even more egregious choice when they passed on possible future hall-of-famer Sam “I Am” Cassell and happily drafted possible future nothing Doug “I Lug” Edwards.
After several years of impressively mediocre picks, 1998 marked the beginning of an era in which the Hawks would perennially make fools of themselves on draft day. This era was highlighted by such moves as picking Roshown McLeod before Ricky Davis or Al Harrington, Cal Bowdler before Ron Artest, Dion Glover before Andrei Kirilenko, DerMarr Johnson before Jamal Crawford or Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress before Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala, Marvin Williams before an abundance of future all-stars, and, most recently, Shelden Williams before anything that could be valuable to a basketball team.
In 2001, however, the Hawks stole a dominant franchise forward in Pau Gasol with the third overall pick—only to then immediately trade him for the single most overrated player in the history of the game, forward Sharif Abdur-Rahim.
I should just give it all up and head west to places like San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, or, heck, even Portland, but I won’t, because I’m too loyal. No, not to the Hawks; to my Facebook Group entitled, “No Matter How Much It Hurts, I am a Hawks Fan.”
Sometimes I just want to grab the Hawks’ front office, shake their shoulders, and dramatically ask them, “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted—one moment., would you capture it or just let it slip?” Yeah I know, that’s the intro of Eminem’s single Lose Yourself, but it fits so well: the 2007 NBA Draft is on Thursday, and opportunity is worming around the Hawks nest, waiting to be scooped up and fed to the young. With the 3rd and 11th picks, the Hawks have the positioning to draft at least one winner from Titletown and turn things around in
Where’s Titletown you ask? That would be Gainesville, Fla., the home of the back-to-back champion Florida Gators. Three Gators are almost certain to be selected in the top 10 of Thursday’s draft, and two in the top five. All three will be available by pick three, meaning that the Hawks essentially can choose whomever of the competitive and mature Gators they want to.
And by whomever I mean Al Horford. His coachability, basketball IQ, work ethic, and, of course, extremely refined overall basketball game make Horford the most logical choice for the disorganized and turnover-prone Hawks.
In order to quickly turn around the disheveled franchise, the Hawks need to quit adding projects and high-flying dunkers to the roster studded with projects and high-flying dunkers. No team with that type of backbone has ever won a national championship on any level.
Horford, or any of the Gators for that matter, yes, even Lee Humphrey…maybe, would make the Hawks play more like one collaborative unit—more like the San Antonio Spurs squad that recently won the NBA Championship and, obviously, the most dominant college team of the last two seasons, the Florida Gators.
Not to mention the Gators like to each play MJ when in Atlanta; for the basketball and football teams have gone a combined 12-0 in the Georgia Dome including four Southeastern Conference Championships and one National Championship over the past three seasons.
The Hawks have to take Horford at the least. He’ll be playing just down the street from the Dome, where he perennially dominated in college during tourney time. Draft him for the good of the team. Draft him for the good of, well, Horford. Draft him to prove that the Hawks front office wouldn’t be better run by Anna Nicole Smith—dead or alive. Draft him because, most importantly:
Is a Hawks jersey with the name “Horford” plastered on the back too much for a guy like me to ask for?