Matthew Brown: No. 1 works of art on display

May 17—Sometimes, you have to step back and concede the spotlight to others, like state champions, conference champions and Players of the Year.

That's what's taken up the bulk of weekend sports sections in recent editions of The Union-Recorder. Congratulations to all the student-athletes in these stories from Baldwin High, GMC Prep and Georgia College & State University. My mug didn't belong on the same pages as these accomplishments so they instead can be displayed in the hallways as a stand-alone for years. Not that I'm suggesting any such thing, but it has been fun to walk a school's hallways and see an homage to your work.

Like if da Vinci ever visited The Louvre. Yes, good comparison.

But I'm back to create yet another Matthew-piece, I mean masterpiece. And it's all about being No. 1, like those teams and players are in 2024.

Who else is No. 1? Why, the Atlanta Hawks. Yes, with 3% odds, the Hawks for the first time ever won the NBA Draft Lottery and the No. 1 selection. Nope, couldn't do it when Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Victor Wembanyama are the consensus franchise changers. It looks more like a Michael Olowokandi, Andrew Bogut, Anthony Bennett or my 'cousin' and fellow Glynn Academy grad Kwame Brown selection.

All I can say to the Hawks is please don't consult with the Falcons across the street on how to handle a draft. They will look at your roster, see two outstanding playmaking guards, and say, "You need to go with Sheppard or Dillingham. Can never have enough at the point."

I can say one more thing to the Hawks: Don't think trading the No. 1 pick would be a bad thing. You are not necessarily rebuilding. You are closer to contending than others drafting high like Washington. Look and see who would love to have that top selection in a package with, say, a Trae Young. Just make sure you don't get damaged table scraps in return.

Is somebody looking for new scenery? Could you get, say, The Greek Freak from Milwaukee? Would you want to take a chance on the troubled but talented Ja Morant from Memphis? Is Jimmy Butler ready to leave Miami? Is Cleveland not long term for Donavon Mitchell? Those are some high reaches, I know, with their salaries, but the type of impact player I'm talking about. What could you get from the Lakers (I know, draft Bronny and you get his daddy!)? The Warriors? The Suns?

As for keeping the top pick, no, the Hawks don't need a Kentucky Wildcat with the same game as Young or Dejounte Murray. I wrote before that Murray's the one to keep of the two. Wipe the brow, by the way, that the 2024 first rounder was not one of the three Atlanta dealt to San Antonio for Murray (the next one's in 2025, then the last in 2027). He's 27 and much more of a distributor of the ball.

The projected No. 1 is named Alexandre Sarr, a French national like Wemby (that could be one dangerous Olympic team in their home country, but neither are on the roster). He has what Atlanta needs, a 7-1 frame over 200 pounds, and maybe he turns into a Giannis or a Jokic, both MVPs of European descent no one considered to be picked No. 1. I mean, Nikola Jokic going in the second round to Denver 10 years ago is equivalent to Tom Brady going in the NFL's sixth round.

We shall see.

Another No. 1 draft pick mystery of Georgia interest will be in the Major League Baseball selection process not long after the NBA Draft wraps up.

Congratulations to the University of Georgia's Charlie Condon for setting an asterisk NCAA home run record this season with 34, the asterisk being that it's in the era of BBCOR bats. Anyway, his exploits in 2024 have Condon in the conversation as National Player of the Year and potential No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Guardians.

But is that a lock? There's a player at Oregon State, Travis Bazzana, listed as the No. 2 rated prospect. The second baseman has the power numbers with 26 home runs to go with a .424 average, but a lot of more stolen bases than Condon (14 to 3). That could make him the analytical favorite over Condon (does college baseball use the wins above replacement WAR?). The five tools you hear about are average hitting, power hitting, arm strength, fielding and speed.

Could that mean Condon goes No. 2 to Cincinnati? Yes, him hitting in the Great American 'Small'Park would make him salivate, but it's not what Georgians want. He'd be doing it a few times against the Atlanta Braves.

And if he goes No. 3 behind Bazzana and Florida Gator Jac Caglianone, who had the HR record Condon broke and also pitches left-handed? That pick is Colorado's, and Condon will never swing the bat at Coors Field. Any manager with a brain in his head sees him at the plate and says, "Blue, put him on." But the bases are loaded. "Blue, put him on."

(If at all possible, give pet adoption a try through the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville. Donations of any kind are also in great need. ARF is a little red building at 711 S. Wilkinson St., and more information is available at