|NBA DRAFT: Kings take Hawes with 10th pick|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 28 June 2007 16:35|
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -Spencer Hawes has a message for all those critics who questioned his athletic ability before the Sacramento Kings selected him with the 10th pick in the NBA draft.|
``When I start playing, people will really start realizing I'm not the big stiff that some people make me out to be,'' Hawes said Thursday night.
The Kings certainly hope so after drafting Hawes in the first step of a rebuilding process to get the team back into the playoffs.
The 7-foot Hawes is a skilled big man with good moves around the basket, but struggled at times with rebounding and defending powerful big men in college.
His one season failed meet the high expectations that greeted him as a former Seattle prep star who stayed home to go to Washington. He scored 14.9 points per game, while shooting 53 percent from the floor, while dealing with an injured knee and ankle as well as a midseason illness.
``There's not a big player in the draft more skilled than Spencer Hawes,'' said his college coach, Lorenzo Romar. ``He can pass with his right hand or left hand. He can shoot with his right hand or left hand. He can step outside and knock a shot down. When you talk about guys with more athleticism, I wonder if they can do what Spencer can do.''
Hawes struggled against stronger opponents in college, a problem that will be exacerbated in the NBA if he does not add more bulk to his frame. He said he weighs about 245 pounds right now, about 18 pounds higher than his low last season. He averaged only 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game with the Huskies.
Romar said Hawes needs to bulk up and improve his rebounding and said it would take time before he can dominate on the professional level. But he said he can make an immediate impact.
``He can definitely play in the NBA,'' Romar said. ``We just haven't seen the finished product when it comes to Spencer Hawes. He can play in the NBA and the Sacramento Kings certainly think so.''
Rebounding was one of Sacramento's biggest needs after finishing last in the NBA last season in that category, getting outrebounded by 4.5 per game.
That was a big reason why Sacramento had a lottery pick for the first time since 1998, when they selected point guard Jason Williams at No. 10. The Kings made the playoffs the next eight seasons before missing out with a 33-49 mark this past season that led to the firing of coach Eric Musselman and the hiring of former Kings star Reggie Theus.
Last year's starting center, Brad Miller, was limited to 63 games because of injuries and had his worst season in years. Miller averaged 9.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, his lowest numbers in years. The 31-year-old Miller has three years and about $34 million left on his contract.
Hawes has similarities to Miller and former Sacramento center Vlade Divac with his ability to pass and shoot as a big man. That's one reason why Hawes hoped to be picked by the Kings.
``I think the way they traditionally run their offense, using the big guy, and the way everyone passes and how fluid everything is makes it a great opportunity,'' Hawes said.
This could be one of many big personnel moves this offseason with the Kings looking ready to rebuild after failing to make the playoffs for the first time since 1998. Ron Artest and Mike Bibby are among the players who could be shopped as Sacramento tries to get younger this offseason.
Sacramento used its previous three first-round picks on shooting guards, taking Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia and Quincy Douby. Martin was one of the many draft finds for top Kings executive Geoff Petrie, who also picked Peja Stojakovic, Hedo Turkoglu and Gerald Wallace.
Sacramento did not have a second-round pick for the third straight year.
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