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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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.