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Friday, June 1, 2007

Billy Knight: Bottom of the barrel?

More than a week later and we’re still scratching our heads over AJC Hawks beat writer Sekou K. Smith’s loving, warm-fuzzy profile of Hawks GM Billy Knight, who, with the luck of the bounce, went from the doghouse to the penthouse in the June 28 NBA Draft by getting the third pick. It was the best-case scenario, as Knight is now able to keep both first-rounders (from Phoenix and Indiana) and will draft third and 11th.

Maybe Smith was just trying to put out some positive mojo for Knight, who, by most objective observers, is one of the league’s worst GMs. Here’s but another observation from the blog site Can Danny, which placed Knight in the “Bottom of the Barrell [sic]” category with the following observation:

That Marvin Williams pick is looking worse and worse. And while Knight lucked out in getting a #3 pick, that could turn out to be a one year reprieve as the Suns get the Hawks pick next year regardless of where it is and right now, it's looking like it'll be in the lottery. Billy's got the pieces to make some moves this offseason but what he doesn't have are the pieces to make a playoff team. If Knight doesn't clean up the mess of a roster he'd made, the Suns will be sitting pretty in ’08.

Amen, blogger!

While I would like to be included in that cynical group that believes this year’s draft crop is vastly overrated, with Brandan Wright, Al Horford and Yi Jianlian, it’s got just the type of “project” and “glass ceiling”-type big men Knight seems to lust over. (See Williamses Marvin and Shelden.)

Billy, we may not love ya, but we still have hope you’ll do the right thing, suck it up and draft Ohio State point guard Mike Conley Jr. at No. 3 (or trade to move down a few slots and get him later). While Boston GM Danny Ainge is creating a South Georgia-sized smoke screen by putting it out there that he covets Jianlian, he’d be a fool not to take Conley, who may only need one year of NBA seasoning before he breaks out.

Currently, NBADraft.net and Draft Express have Atlanta taking Brandan Wright at No. 3 (ugh!).

But if Knight grabs another mediocre big man or small forward (though Corey Brewer, Jeff Green and Julian Wright are intriguing) to add to his not-so-bumper crop, it’ll be a wasted draft.

At least Smith, blogging from Orlando's draft camp, says the prevailing winds suggest Conley's the best choice.

Pull the trigger, Billy. Get straight to the point, and out of the barrel.

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