Published June 24, 2013
| Sports Network
With a new head coach and very few players under contract, the Atlanta Hawks have a lot to gain from this year's draft.
Mike Budenholzer, Gregg Popovich's right-hand man for years with the San Antonio Spurs, replaced Larry Drew as the head man. Budenholzer has worked with Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry when Ferry was a member of the Spurs and when Ferry worked in San Antonio's front office.
Both Ferry and Budenholzer have their work cut out for them. Few players are under contract for next season and they'll have to decide whether or not to bring back multi-talented forward Josh Smith.
He is an unrestricted free agent and the team declined to trade him at the deadline, making many people believe the Hawks are interested in bringing him back. Smith indicated previously he wants a max contract and that might be too prohibitive a figure to allow for a return.
It's no secret the Hawks will have money to spend, especially if Smith lands elsewhere. There have been reports that Ferry and the organization are going to make runs at both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, the two premier free agents on the market.
So much depends on what impact free-agency will have on the composition of the Hawks' roster. They have back-to-back picks (17 and 18) in the first round to try and populate their roster.
They could definitely use help at shooting guard, so Jamaal Franklin of San Diego St. or Glen Rice, Jr. from the NBA D-League could make sense. If the Hawks can't land Paul or re-sign Jeff Teague, point guard is an issue. Someone like Miami's Shane Larkin could be in the mix. If Howard or Smith isn't in uniform next season, big men like Duke's Mason Plumlee, or Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk become factors.
Maybe a mix of guard and big man would be the correct recipe for the Hawks.
Players under contract: C: Al Horford; G: Lou Williams; G: DeShawn Stevenson; G: John Jenkins; F: Michael Scott; G: Shelvin Mack
Free agents: F: Josh Smith; G: Devin Harris; C: Zaza Pachulia; F: Kyle Korver; C: Johan Petro; F: Dahntay Jones; G: Jeff Teague; F: Ivan Johnson (restricted); C: Anthony Tolliver
Recent Draft History: 2012: John Jenkins (23), Mike Scott (43)
2011: Keith Benson (48)
2010: Damion James (24), Pape Sy (53)
2009: Jeff Teague (19), Sergiy Gladyr (49)
2008: No picks
Draft picks: 1st round (17th, 18th overall), 2nd round (47th, 50th overall)