Posted: Wednesday February 1, 2006 12:12PM; Updated: Wednesday February 1, 2006 5:33PM
With no instant impact players likely to come out of the draft, the Hawks' Joe Johnson may find few new options next year.
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Marty Burns will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
Call it the anti-Super Bowl.
The Hawks and Bobcats meet up Wednesday night in Charlotte with absolutely nothing at stake.
Well, maybe there is one thing ...
The two NBA doormats are locked in a heated battle for the most ping-pong balls in next May's draft lottery.
For fans of the Hawks (12-31) and the Bobcats (11-35), it's a chance to dream:
Wouldn't Atlanta hoop heads love to see LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas in one of those yellow Hawks uniforms next year, running the fast break with Joe Johnson on one side and Josh Smith on the other?
And wouldn't Charlotte denizens enjoy watching Adam Morrison of Gonzaga curl around a pick from Emeka Okafor, take a feed from Raymond Felton and splash one of his high-arching jumpers?
Or maybe it would be UConn's Rudy Gay, Duke's J.J. Redick, LSU's TyrusThomas or one of the two international stud power forwards in this year's field, Andrea Bargnani of Italy or Tiago Splitter of Brazil.
But can Bobcats and Hawks fans realistically expect a dramatic turnaround from their clubs next season, even if one were to get the No. 1 pick?
Scouts say neither Aldridge nor Morrison -- or any of this year's top draft prospects - is what might be called a "high impact player." In other words, there is no Tim Duncan or LeBron James in this field. There are some talents who could develop into that kind of player, but nobody capable of taking a floundering franchise and hoisting it on his shoulders.
For Atlanta, it has to be especially frustrating. The Hawks desperately need a center or a point guard, but this year's draft (as of right now) doesn't seem to feature a top candidate at either of those spots. Instead it's stocked heaviest at small forward, where Atlanta already has a logjam with Smith, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams (last year's No. 2 overall pick). That's why the Hawks might lean toward the 6-foot-11 Aldridge if they do get the No. 1 pick, though it could change depending on what they decide to do with free agent-to-be Al Harrington.
The Bobcats appear to be in much better shape to parlay the No. 1 pick into some immediate help on the court. They already have Primoz Brezec at center and the Brevin Knight/Felton combination at point guard. They are also pretty solid at power forward with Okafor and Sean May, and at small forward with Gerald Wallace. They basically need a shooting guard and more depth on the perimeter. Morrison's ability to hit the outside shot and readiness to play would seem to make him a good fit, though Gay's superior athleticism could prove tempting.