May 17, 2007

The Kevin Durant Mock Draft -- Round 1, Pick 4

With the fourth pick in the Kevin Durant Mock Draft, Micah Hart selects...the Atlanta Hawks. I suppose I should be up front with my biases and say that I work for the Atlanta Hawks, and so I have a personal stake in seeing Kevin Durant put on a Hawks uni. But much like Ziggy picked Durant to come to Memphis to play for his hometown Grizzlies, I would want to see Durant find a home in the ATL simply for the selfish opportunity to see him play 41 times a year (plus playoffs!), regardless of my employment.

Having said that, Atlanta is the best place for Durant to end up, hands down. Look at the sports landscape of the city: the Braves success has bred complacency in their fan base. The Thrashers are an up-and-coming success (disclosure - I work for them too), but in a niche sport. The Falcons are led by a quarterback who appears to be engaged in some sort of legal trouble can-you-top-this battle with his brother ("I see your weapons charge and raise you a cruelty-to-animals rap!"). That leaves the Hawks.

KD is a breath of fresh air, a charismatic and enjoyable personality that the city would gravitate towards post-haste. His presence on the Hawks roster would immediately make the franchise the most-talked about in the city, and the fact that he would lead them to the playoffs for the first time in a decade would bring the fans out in droves.

People like to make fun of the Hawks and the amount of fans that come to the games dressed as empty seats, but this city loves basketball. Atlanta typically pulls close to the highest out-of-market ratings in the country for the NBA. They are dying to support a winner. A Durant-to-the-Hawks scenario would be the perfect storm, much like Vick was at the beginning of the decade for the Falcons, only without the herpes. He would rule the city in much the same way he rules Austin, and would instantly make the franchise relevant again, which would be music to David Stern's ears given that the team resides in the country's 9th largest media market.

Then again, maybe getting Durant would be too much for me to take. I nearly shit my pants when the Hawks drafted Royal Ivey for god's sake - drafting Durant might make me catatonic.

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