Knight confident Hawks will get good player in draft

ATLANTA - General manager Billy Knight isn't naming names but he's confident the Atlanta Hawks will get a good player with the third pick in the June 28 NBA draft.

''We know we'll get a good player,'' Knight said at a news conference the day after the NBA held its draft lottery Tuesday night, with the Hawks coming away with the No. 3 and 11 overall picks.

''We don't have any idea who we might pick,'' Knight said. ''We just got the pick last night. We can't bring players in until after the Orlando camp, after the (June) 5th. But we are going to have more assets.''

Knight expects his telephone line to light up before the draft with teams offering trade possibilities, especially to get the team's No. 3 pick.

''We'll make some calls ourselves,'' he said. ''Now the work begins.''

Knight said he didn't watch the draft lottery on television Tuesday night, choosing instead to walk his dog. ''I turned my blackberry off until 9 o'clock.''

When he flicked it on, he had plenty of messages.

''Players are really excited and enthusiastic,'' Knight said. ''I talked to a bunch of them last night.''

It's almost inevitable that the first two picks have been decided - Greg Oden of Ohio State and Kevin Durant of Texas. Portland won the lottery and Seattle gets to choose second.

He said Atlanta could be looking for almost anything in the draft. He mentioned a point guard and a big man and noted that the team has some solid young forwards on the team - Josh Smith, who averaged 16.4 points a game last year, and Marvin Williams, who averaged 13.1.

''We've had point guard issues because of injuries,'' Knight said. ''We are not a good defensive rebounding team and we give up too many points in the paint.

''It's not a point guard heavy draft,'' he said, adding that it is strong with big men and also wing players.

He thought the point guard position was in good shape last year, but injuries kept them from getting a clear picture of just what they had. Speedy Claxton missed 39 games and Tyronn Lue missed 27.

If point guard is the choice, it could be Mike Conley Jr., who, as a freshman, helped direct Ohio State to the national championship game. Atlanta may have had its eye on Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, a 7-foot-2, 280-pounder, before he declared Wednesday afternoon that he was bowing out of the draft and returning to college for his senior season.

''Maybe we need to bring in a more veteran player,'' Knight said. ''That's certainly a possibility for us. We just have to go through the process of talking to everybody.''

He said the team is now in a position to get the player or players to help move them into serious playoff contention. Coming off last year's 30-52 season, challenging for the playoffs would be a major achievement.