Thursday, June 29, 2006
In Defense of Billy Knight
I need to take a quick break from dousing myself in World Cup hysteria to engage in a pet cause of mine - maligned Atlanta Hawks' GM Billy Knight.
Eschewing all clever puns - I need to get down to business here. I know years of mediocrity, followed by years of losing, has caused many a slumbering Atlanta Hawks fans to froth at the mouth, and apparently fancy themselves the Basketball Schuerholz.
You see, they all claim they would have drafted Chris Paul, even though most NBA experts tabbed Marvin Williams was the 2nd best player in the draft. They also would have held on to Boris Diaw (ignoring the fact that he's presently the product of playing on a supremely talented team) scuttleing the trade for the only legit NBA star on the Hawks 2006 roster. Remember - winning Slam Dunk competitions doesn't make you a star, right Kenny Walker?
After reading the morning-after analysis of the Hawks' draft in the comments section Sekou Smith's blog on AJC.com this morning, I'm convinced Hawks fans would give your average Ole Miss fan a run for their money in the I.Q. department.
Sekou does a great job covering the Hawks, there is no doubt about that, but the folks who choose to comment on his on-line blog have clearly spent too much time buying crack around Philips Arena, and less time actually watching the basketball team that calls it home.
In case you didn't know, the Hawks are apparently only a rookie-Point-Guard-in-a-decidedly-weak-draft away from making the NBA playoffs, and Shelden Williams is the same player as the Joshes and Marvin.
Mind you, The Landlord probably outweighs Marvin and Childress combined, is built like an NFL Tight End, and relishes his role playing post defense. That is somehwere the Hawks were constantly outmanned all of last year, and one of the biggest reasons they were 20th in the leaugue in rebounding, and 26th in team defense. Of course, most of these Fire Billy zealots don't even have enough synapses pulsing to realize that those 3 current Hawks are more suited for the 2-3 positions, while Shelden fits snugly in the Power Forward role. In this era of few true NBA centers, his large frame also should allow him to be the 5 during certain periods of play. Considering the lack of depth behind Zaza, this is something that cannot be discounted.
Don't let that stop the hate, though. These "fans" are all convinced that Randy Foye and Brandon Roy were all we needed in Atlanta, because ESPN's Insiders (never known for overstating things) called Foye the player in the draft "most like Dwayne Wade". Yeah, well I'm the guy on my Trivia team most like Ken Jennings, but don't expect me to rule Jeopardy(!) anytime soon.
To pile on - the AJC's Mark Bradley, who has developed an increasing propesnity to annoy me, criticized the Hawks in his column today. His complaint? The Hawks didn't listen to the fans who wanted to draft Dee Brown with their 2nd Round pick. I didn't think someone could one-up the feeble thoughts of the commenters, but here's someone who thinks those same vacuous souls should have a hand in populating the roster. It's bad enough to have the national media constantly taking their tired, cliched, pot-shots at the Hawks leadership, but to have the local media be so equally clueless is infuriating.
Now, more than ever, I want the Hawks to do well. I've gone on record as being excited about where this team is going. With all these insufferable morons wasting the local bandwidth with their fool-proof solutions on how to fix the team, I really want Knight to be able to shove it back in their face come April of 2007. The best thing about him, though, is that I know he won't.