New Hawks owner Tony Ressler said Thursday that he chose not to keep Danny Ferry as general manager in part because he felt comfortable with the organizational structure and the three decision-makers who ran things during Ferry’s purgatory: coach Mike Budenholzer, assistant GM Wes Wilcox and CEO Steve Koonin.
“I came to the conclusion that this was a franchise that was starting a new chapter, and to start a new chapter with a new ownership, with a single voice, with clear direction and with stability and having what was working,” Ressler said in an interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution editors and staff members. “What we saw working was Bud-Wes-Steve. That’s what we bought into and that’s what we liked.”
But Ressler left out of one thing: Ferry acquired most of the players and hired Budenholzer and Wilcox. The post-Ferry era officially started Thursday night in the draft and the results were … interesting.
They drafted 15th overall, took Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre, then traded him to Washington for the 19th pick and two future second-rounders. They drafted Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant at 19th, then traded him to the New York Knicks for shooting guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.
So effectively, the Hawks made four moves that started with the 15th pick in the draft and ended with a shooting guard who likely will come off the bench and is entering the final year of his contract.
Twitter was confused.
Twitter was angry.
Twitter wanted more for this piece of the Joe Johnson trade.
I’m not ready to kill the Hawks over this decision yet. Here’s my read on this first Budenholzer/Wilcox production:
• The Hawks are in win-now mode. They didn’t want or need another project to develop. They did not believe a player available to them in this draft could have an immediate impact next season.
• Budenholzer knew the Hawks needed to improve bench scoring. You saw what happened in the postseason when defenses smothered Kyle Korver and he tired. They also needed an early season insurance policy in case Korver is slow to come back from ankle ligament surgery.
• Budenholzer and Wilcox likely still want to add some size, but that could come in free agency.
Hardaway averaged 11.5 points in 70 games (30 starts) in his second season but he scored 23 in a late-season game against the Hawks and 25 two nights later against Detroit.
This could work out for the Hawks.
(For more on Ressler’s first full day as owner and why Hawks’ fans should feel good that he has no desire to be center stage, click here.)
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