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).
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