The Atlanta Hawks – with new President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry – are busying preparing for the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28th. Part of that preparation is evaluating potential talent. The Hawks finished the 2011 season with only one player on their roster who was drafted in the last three years – point guard Jeff Teague – so making sure they get the most from the 2012 draft will be an important step in keeping the Hawks competitive in the upcoming season.
From June 16th-27th the Hawks held workouts with 27 draft entries, and in particular had their sights set on some big men who could allow staring center Al Horford to move to his natural position of forward. As it stands right now, the Hawks own the 23rd and 43rd picks.
Players come in early in the morning of their workout day and are put through an exhausting series of physical and medical examinations, as well as psychological profiling, and have game situation workouts for the Hawks coaching staff before hopping on a plane to go back home that afternoon.
It was apparent that some of these young men were feeling the effects of the whirlwind schedule.
“I’m worn out, you know? I can’t move right now,” said Washington guard Tony Wroten. “I just can’t wait to get on a plane to get back home to my family”.
Wroten has a good athletic pedigree, as his father Tony played football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his cousin is 11-year NBA veteran Nate Robinson.
Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor echoed Wroten’s sentiment saying “I think the more workouts I’ve gone to, the more I’ve worn down…all the traveling kind of wears on you, but it’s part of the NBA life, you know?”
One of the players the Hawks were looking at in particular, and one that many draft experts have coming to Atlanta with the 23rd overall pick, is Syracuse center Fab Melo. The 7’0, 255 pound frame that Melo could bring to the Hawks frontcourt would be exactly what the doctor ordered to compliment All-Star Al Horford. Unfortunately, Melo sustained an elbow injury during the workout, so coaches may not have gotten the best look at the sizeable sophomore.
After the workout, the Hawks PR department announced that Melo had been taken to a doctor for examination and that it didn’t sound serious enough to alter his draft position.
Hawks head coach Larry Drew seemed pleased with what he had seen during the 10-day workout schedule.
“All these guys who came in are very hard-nosed guys, and play very physical,” Drew boasted. “It was very, very competitive workouts”
Now the question remains leading into the draft: will the Hawks stand pat with the picks they have, or will new GM Danny Ferry pull the trigger on some trades to move up in the draft?