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Hawks draft Oakland C Keith Benson with 48th pick
“I’m looking forward to playing with Al Horford,” Benson said. “He’s developed into one of the really good bigs in this league. I’ve always liked watching Joe Johnson. They’re an athletic team. I think I can contribute to that.”
“I think I have the frame to put on a lot of weight, and my game will really increase once I put on that weight and some strength and things like that,” Benson said. “I think I can put on 20 or more pounds.”
Atlanta, which is coming off a second-round playoff loss to Chicago, was seeking low-post offense to take some of the front-line scoring responsibilities off Horford.
Sund declined to say whether he tried to trade forward Josh Smith in an effort to move high into the first round.
Smith, a talented but inconsistent power forward, was the subject of speculation in an allegedly proposed deal to Minnesota for the No. 2 overall pick.
Benson was named the 2011 Summit League top player and defensive player of the year. His senior of 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds helped his Rochester, Mich.-based school play well enough to advance to the NCAA tournament.
Oakland lost to Texas in the first round.
“Going into the draft and looking at the free agency market, certainly if we’re going to be one of the top teams in the East, we’ve got to get better defensively,” Drew said. “What better way to get better than to bring in a shot blocker? He has the length and he has the awareness to block shots, so we’re very happy with the selection.”
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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