What if: Atlanta drafted Chris Paul in 2005
The Atlanta Hawks had their pick of point guards in 2005. Between Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Ray Felton they really couldn't go wrong. They chose Marvin Williams. What would their future have looked like if they had drafted CP3
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Hawks would have been a very high scoring team who would have been a piece or two away from title contention.
The Atlanta Hawks had the number two pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Considering the pieces they already had in place (Joe Johnson, young Josh Smith, Al Harrington, Josh Childress) the Hawks desperately needed either a point guard or a center.
The best point guards available were Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Raymond Felton. The best centers available were Channing Frye and Andrew Bynum. Clearly, their were multiple ways the Hawks could have gone with this pick that would have worked in their favor. However, the Hawks did the unthinkable.
They drafted small forward Marvin Williams out of North Carolina. Williams was a sixth man for that Tar Heels team and was largely unproven. Not only did they make the mistake of making their pick based on purely on his potential, but they drafted a player at a position they already had depth at.
Clearly, the Hawks future would be dramatically different had they drafted Chris Paul. He would have been a perfect fit next to Johnson, Childress/Smith, and Harrington. This would have been a fun, up-and-down type team who would have dazzled fans with their transition offense.
The Hawks would not have immediately been a contender with the addition of CP3 to this young lineup however. Johnson, as good as he was at the time, had just been acquired from the Phoenix Suns. Smith and Childress were extremely young and although both had lots of potential, they also had a lot of work to do to fulfill that potential. Paul would have improved the team right away, perhaps making them a fringe playoff team, but they would still be a few years and an addition or two away from being legitimate championship contenders.
The addition of Chris Paul would have had the pieces around him that Atlanta could have offered, I feel that his already stellar rookie stats of 16.1 points, 7.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game could have been inflated if Atlanta would have drafted him because the Hawks could have been a much more explosive offense who utlized his abilities more effective in transition. He would already have been the best player on this young squad and would have been responsible for a good amount of scoring as well as allowing the young pieces on the roster a chance to strut their putting them in the best position to succeed.
However, without Paul, the Hawks point guards in his rookie season were Tony Delk, Tyronn Lue and Royal Ivy. Lue would receive the most playing time, about 24 minutes per game, and would average 11 points and three assists per game.
Meanwhile, the Hawks real draft pick Marvin Williams would play 24 minutes per game and averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game off the bench.
Not only would they have been better immediately with Paul, but he would have potentially been able to lure bigger name free agents to Atlanta rather than moving on to Los Angeles as he has. Dwight Howard is from Atlanta, so maybe that along with the fact that he and Paul would be a dynamic duo along with the other pieces the Hawks had would have been enough to get Howard to go to Atlanta after he forced his way out of Orlando.
Ultimately, the Hawks would have been in an entirely better situation had they drafted Chris Paul rather than Marvin Williams with the number two pick in the 2005 NBA draft.
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