2011 NBA Draft: Hawks Bring On Oakland Center Keith Benson To Mixed Reviews

The Atlanta Hawks had just a second round pick, and walked away with the NBA Draft's first-ever member of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.

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NBA Draft Grades 2011: Wizards, Bobcats, Entire Southeast Division Tops Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks didn't have a lot to work with in the 2011 NBA Draft, coming in with only a later-second round pick. Though chatter would have you believe Josh Smith was thisclose to crossing the border to play for Minnesota (that's in Ottawa, right?), the only actual surprise for Atlanta fans was the selection of a player who actually appeared on United States television last season: Oakland center Keith Benson.

Better than usual, but based on the draft grades being assigned by the experts, the Hawks fell behind their Southeast Division rivals Thursday night.

SB Nation's Tom Ziller loves (A) the job done by the Wizards in picking up Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, and thinks the Shelvin Mack flyer wasn't a bad idea. He also approves of the very busy night (B+) put together by the Bobcats while giving the Magic a (B) for Justin Harper and Denadre Liggins. The Heat earn a (B+) for replacing Mike Bibby with Norris Cole.

Ziller is pleased the Hawks selected a relatively known commodity, but would've preferred the far Sundier selection of Targuy Ngombo. Still, with a (B) from Ziller, the Hawks aren't all that far behind their primary competition.

Matt Moore and Ben Golliver of CBS Sports (B-) like the selection:

Benson has some upside and it was just a second round pick. Good value for position.

Both the Wizards and Bobcats snag an A+ here, while Miami gets a B- and the Magic a B.

ESPN's Chad Ford (C-) laments the trade that sent Kirk Hinrich to Washington and meant Atlanta gave up a chance at Florida St. Seminoles bruiser Chris Singleton:

Between Hinrich and Singleton, I'd rather have Singleton for the long haul.

In the second round, the Hawks didn't fare much better. They may be desperate for size, but Keith Benson plays small. I've been intrigued by his talent for years, but unless he really turns the corner I don't think he will stick in the league. 

Ford has the Hawks worst in the Southeast Division, and by quite a bit: the Heat earn a A- and the Magic rate a B. Ford also likes the job done by Charlotte (B+), but really loves Washington's night (A)

For more Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops.

Stay with this StoryStream for all of the 2011 NBA Draft results, check out our 2011 NBA Draft rumors and trades StoryStream for all the latest news from the NBA's craziest day, and hit our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage of the draft, trades and the aftermath on Friday.


NBA Draft Results: Keith Benson Picked By Atlanta Hawks At No. 48

The Atlanta Hawks have a well-known history of doing really bizarre stuff on NBA Draft night -- take a walk through the past decade or so with Peachtree Hoops' rundown if you don't recollect. And that was before last year, when they sold a pick and spent another on Pape Sy.

The Hawks shocked the world Thursday night, however, by picking an actual player. Oakland Golden Grizzlies center Keith Benson, a six-foot-11 center, is known as a decent defender and excellent shot blocker. Though he needs to hit the weight room to develop a professional physique and there are some questions about his motor -- read up on him at Draft Express' very extensive profile.

Zaza Pachulia, sounds like you have a young fella to toughen up a little bit, but this might be the least-disappointing Hawks draft pick in quite some time. Many are pouncing on his lack of toughness and post moves, but hey -- at least we've heard of him.

For more Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops.

The 2011 NBA Draft rolls on through Thursday night. Stay with this StoryStream for all of the 2011 NBA Draft results, check out our 2011 NBA Draft rumors and trades StoryStream for all the latest news from the NBA's craziest day, and hit our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage of the draft, trades and the aftermath on Friday.


2011 NBA Mock Drafts: Who The Rest Of The Southeast Division May Pick

With the Atlanta Hawks having a very uninteresting zero picks in the first round of the draft, barring a trade, it's going to be a boring night for the citizens of Atlanta. That should translate into some record-low ratings in the ATL for the so-called "World-wide Leader," who is broadcasting the draft live from the Prudential Center in Newark.

It's not like the draft is going to be exciting to watch for Hawks fans if they are looking to see what their division neighbors are doing, either.

Only the Charlotte Bobcats have a first round pick. They notched the No. 9 and No. 19 selections in what's supposed to be a not-so-good draft. The Miami Heat have the first pick in the second round and the Orlando Magic hold only the No. 53 overall pick.

The consensus (as posted by NBA.com) suggests that the Bobcats will select Kansas junior Marcus Morris with the ninth pick, while NBA.com's David Aldridge has Texas' Tristan Thomas falling to Charlotte. Our SBNation.com's latest mocker has Florida State forward Chris Singleton headed to the Queen City at No. 9.

Aldridge has Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton going to the 'Cats at No. 19, while SBNation selects Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert at that spot.

Neither Aldridge or SBNation bother with a second round mock, but Aldridge's compadre Scott Howard-Cooper does. He has Colorado SG Alec Burks and Kansas PF Markieff Morris going to the Bobcats in the first round, swingman Reggie Jackson (ironically from Boston College) going to the Heat with the first pick in the second round and Texas' Cory Joseph headed to the Magic at No. 53.

Howard-Cooper also has the 'Cats selecting Cleveland State point guard Norris Cole with their second round pick and Marquette SF Jimmy Butler headed to the ATL at No. 48.

The draft kicks off at 8:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN.


2011 NBA Mock Drafts Send E'Twaun Moore, Scotty Hopson To Atlanta Hawks

The mock drafts have been all but finalized ahead of the 2011 NBA Draft, which will take place in Newark, N.J, on Thursday. And from all indications, who the Atlanta Hawks will select with the No. 48 overall pick is about as clear as the NBA's upcoming labor situation. There seems to be zero consensus on who the Hawks would select with their lone second round pick.

Nor should it be. This whole discussion of who the Hawks are going to have drop to them in the second round is one of those kind of things that should be simply for entertainment purposes only. Figuring out who is going to fall into the Hawks' lap is really like trying to solve the Rubik's cube. Marvin Williams may be able to figure out that little Rubik's cube puzzle in seconds, but for mere mortals like the rest of us, there are so many moving pieces in the NBA draft that it's almost pointless to even speculate.

This task is made more difficult because the Hawks haven't released the names of the 20-25 guys that they are looking at in this year's draft class and the media hasn't had a chance to interview them.

Bottom line is take these three mock drafts with a grain of salt and enjoy the speculation, but that's all it really is: water cooler stuff.

Draftexpress.com selects Purdue SG E'Twaun Moore with the 48th overall pick.

Former East Chicago Central High School product Moore knows a lot about winning. Draftexpress.com writes that Moore won a championship with his high school team and compiled 107 wins for the Boilermakers -- tying him with his current crop of four-year senior teammates for the most in school history.

In his four seasons with Purdue, Moore was in the NCAA Tournament each time, made the Sweet Sixteen twice and won a Big Ten regular season Championship and a Big Ten Tournament title.

Moore averaged 18 points and just over five rebounds per game in his senior season with Purdue. The draftexpress.com experts see the 6-foot-4, 191 pound shooting guard "lacks the ideal physical attributes for a prototypical shooting guard," but possesses "very good scoring instincts and a nice feel for the game." 

Mynbadraft.com selects Tennessee swingman Scotty Hopson with the 48th overall pick.

Hopson played three seasons for the Volunteers. His game took off in his senior season, where he averaged nearly 17 points per contest. Draftexpress.com calls Hopson's talent "undeniable," but writes that the 6-foot-6, 195 pound swingman "seems to lack the polish, consistent mental approach and overall feel for the game to contribute efficiently on a game-to-game basis."

For more Hawks, join Peachtree Hoops.


2011 NBA Draft News: 20-25 Players To Be Worked Out By Atlanta Hawks Before June 23 Draft

More likely than not, the Atlanta Hawks will go into next week's NBA draft with a lone second round pick.

And if Friday was any indication, who that guy may be is still up in the air. Hawks GM Rick Sund and Assistant Dave Pendergraft met the media ahead of next week's draft, which will take place at Newark's Prudential Center on June 23.

Unlike in previous seasons where you had an idea of who the Hawks worked out and may nab with a first round pick, Sund and Pendergraft have been tight lipped as to who they have worked out. All they would say is that they worked out players in New Jersey, Minnesota and Atlanta.

All indications are that the Hawks will go with a U.S. college-based athlete -- preferably a senior -- when they select No. 48 overall in the NBA's annual first-year player draft. 

Pendergraft admitted that the Hawks had worked out 20-25 former student athletes, evenly divided amongst forwards and guards. They also have looked at three centers and a lot of swing players.

Both Sund and Pendergraft know that should Atlanta just stick with a second-round pick, they'd be looking at someone who can fill a role with the team.

Instead of looking for a player with a bunch of tools, Sund is looking for things like, "Does he have an NBA skill? Does he have size?" or "Does he have multiple skills."

Ideally, should the Hawks stick with their allotted pick, the Hawks brass is just looking for someone that can hold down the fort if one of Atlanta's regulars suffers a short-term injury.

"We should be able to find a guy that if one of our rotation players sprains an ankle and is out four or five games, we have a guy who can tread water," Pendergraft said.

Of course, there's always that chance that a second round pick could amount to a good NBA player. But typically, second rounders are generally role players and the really, really good ones turn into journeymen.

Sund has had some success finding diamonds in the rough, selecting Earl Watson and Bobby Simmons in the second round of the 2000 draft when he was the GM off the Seattle Supersonics.

But in a draft that isn't thought of as very deep, talent may be hard to come by that late in the second round.

Another thing that is looking to be very difficult this year is trading up in this year's draft. There's a lot of uncertainty with what will happen after the current collective bargaining agreement ends on June 30 and a likely lengthy lockout begins the next day.

As a result, the trade market for picks has yet to materialize.

"This time of year there is always a lot of dialogue going on," Sund said. "There's probably less (trades) with the uncertainty of the CBA and people unwilling to pull the trigger. There's just as much dialogue but the uncertainty of the new collective bargaining might play into the timing issues."

The new CBA will have a profound impact as to how the Hawks do business, especially if the NBA implements a hard cap at the luxury tax ceiling. Atlanta is very close to that ceiling right now, with $64 million committed to seven players. 

Keep in mind that those salary figures do not include sixth man Jamal Crawford. Sund declined to comment on whether Crawford could be signed before the current CBA expires.

Two guys that the Hawks may need to lean on more next year are unsigned rookies Pape Sy and Magnum Rolle. Both players are working out at the team's facilities in the offseason and will do so until the doors are padlocked by the league.

It will also be a big summer for 2009 second round pick Sergey Gladyr, who will represent the Ukranian team in the European Championships. Assuming insurance issues can be worked out in the event of a lockout, he will be facing Zaza Pachulia's team from the Republic of Georgia in the tourney.


2011 NBA Draft: Atlanta Hawks Just Have Second Round Pick

For the first time since 2002, the Atlanta Hawks will go into the NBA draft without a first round pick that could make an immediate impact on the team. Unless the team ships away a player for a first rounder and a trade exemption, the Hawks will go into Newark's Prudential Center on June 23 with just a second round selection in the league's annual version of real-life mini-fantasy basketball.

Basketball fans know how unpredictable the draft can be. The Hawks can conceivably move up and get a first round pick. However, if they stand pat and select at No. 48, picking out the guy they are even interested in at this point is about as easy as trying to find Waldo in that popular children's book series.

There simply is not enough information out there to make an informed decision given all the talent available and those players stashed in places like Europe that most folks have no idea about right now. And I do not pretend to be enough of an "expert" on the college game to make even an educated guess at this point.

Hawks fans will get a better idea of the universe of players their team is looking at when the club starts inviting players to individual workouts at Philips Arena.

Color me not too excited. Atlanta's last two second-round picks were Pape Sy and Sergiy Gladyr. Atlanta's last "impact" second round pick was Solomon Jones. I don't think I can pick Gladyr out of a lineup and no offense to Sy or Jones -- they both may turn into serviceable role players, but is anyone really getting visions of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant here with a late second round pick? Of course not.

Nevertheless, as SB Nation Atlanta gets more information on who the Hawks are looking at, we will bring that to you as soon as we get it and will stay on top off the story until draft day. Also take a look at Peachtree Hoops for further information in the lead up to the big draft (and the NBA lockout eight days later).

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