As tempted as he might have been throughout the NBA draft, general manager Rick Sund resisted the urge. Without a pick in the draft for the first time in the franchise's Atlanta history, the Hawks had to watch impatiently as the rest of the league played the draft game.Just how close the Hawks were to making a deal to get in the mix remains a mystery. Sund, who has proved to be just as tight-lipped as his predecessor Billy Knight, isn't interested in sharing any secrets.
"It was a little strange to watch because we were strictly bystanders," Sund said. "It was really us, Denver and to a degree Dallas because they didn't pick until (51) or whatever. The Hawks were major players in the draft the last four or five years. This year with no picks, and it was difficult to get picks, we just weren't going to give up future picks to get in. So we watched it as spectators.
"The summer for us is really focusing on free agency and working on our own free agents, and that will be a process that we'll concentrate on now and just see how it all plays out."
So in the end the Hawks resisted the urge to join the fray, abstaining from the process while also paying the debt of recent trades by surrendering both of their picks Thursday night.
Phoenix took Stanford center Robin Lopez with the 15th pick, the last bit of compensation for the sign-and-trade deal that brought Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson to town three years ago. Sacramento took Virginia guard Sean Singletary with the 42nd pick, cashing in the second-round pick it snagged from the Hawks in the February trade that put Mike Bibby in a Hawks uniform.
It was a complete turnaround from a year ago, when the Hawks controlled the draft with two of the top 11 picks.
They chose Al Horford with the 3rd pick and Acie Law IV with the 11th pick. Horford finished his first season as the Hawks' starting center and was the runner-up to Kevin Durant in the Rookie of the Year race.
Law didn't play as big a role because of injuries early and the addition of Bibby at the trade deadline. He saw spot duty most of the regular season and in the Hawks' first-round playoff series against Boston.
"If I had to trade being active on draft night with what we experienced in the playoffs, I'd do it every time," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "The draft has been our bread and butter for so long, so it was certainly a bit strange watching the way we did. But nothing compares to the NBA playoffs. And I think making it there was more important than anything we could have done (in the draft)."
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: The Hawks' hair-raising run to Game 7 against Boston in their first round playoff series woke up a slumbering fan base and put the rest of the league on notice. The Hawks showed the world that there is more to the franchise than just a dysfunctional ownership group and mixed up front office crew. There's also some talent on hand.
TURNING POINT: Mike Bibby's acquisition at the trade deadline changed things dramatically for the Hawks. They went 16-17 with Bibby in the lineup and ended an eight-year playoff drought with Bibby at the controls. The veteran point guard provided everything the Hawks needed to get to the postseason but fell flat against the Celtics.