The Atlanta Hawks are ready to take another important step in their rebuilding process.
General manager Danny Ferry has already gutted the roster and brought in a new coach. Now, it's on to the draft Thursday night, with the biggest step of all - free agency - just around the corner.
''The draft is essential in team building, especially within this new (collective bargaining agreement),'' Ferry said in a recent interview. ''So we have to go about each draft with great respect, and understand the value these picks have to our organization.''
The Hawks have back-to-back selections in the opening round - Nos. 17 and 18 - and two more choices in the second round at 47th and 50th. Naturally, there's a lot of talk about Atlanta packaging that plethora of picks to move up, or perhaps move down and pick up some additional choices for the future.
''Those discussions have and will obviously continue to be there between now and the draft,'' Ferry said. ''We'll weigh the opportunities, look...