NBA – Are the Atlanta Hawks a playoff contender?
November 7, 2008 by Jay K
Lets rewind the clocks back two years ago. The Atlanta Hawks were dubbed as one of the worst franchises ever in professional sports. They had the longest playoff drought in the NBA, spanning back to the 1998-1999 lockout season. For those of you that don’t remember this team featured a young Dikembe Mutombo and Semi-All Star in Steve Smith. The Hawks showed signs of promise as they started off the year 4-1 and were atop the Eastern Conference standings during the infancy of the 2006-2007 season. Joe Johnson had completed one full year in Atlanta under the tutilage of Mike Woodson. The end result? A 30-52 record, finished last in their division, and amongst the worst of the NBA.
Last Year the started the season at 3-10. People had written off this team from the start with good reason I ight add. They finished the season at 37-45 and had snatched the 8th seed for their first playoff birth in 9 years. Of course this is not impressive by any means because this is the Eastern Conference we are talking about, where if you won 3 games in a row you could catapult from the 12 spot to the 7 spot. No as far as I’m concerned they were just as pathetic as they were before. But! When the playoffs came around, this was a different team. They pushed the Celtics to a crazy 7 games and almost created a huge upset. We as fanatics all talked about how this team was going to be good next year, and now next year has come around.
The Hawks have started off 3-0 and have beaten Orlando, Philly, and New Orleans, respectively. All three of those teams were playoff teams last year, with Orlando and New Orleans being division winners. There are whispers in the wind of the Hawks being legit this year. I am here to tell you otherwise. The Hawks are still a bad team. After years of poor management of the Coaches and Personnel, poor draft decisions (Not picking Chris Paul or Deron Williams when they had the chance), barely squeaking into the playoffs last year, this team is far from being much better than what they were last year. Teams like Atlanta are young and inexperienced, and live off of the hype of the beginning of the season. This is when coaches can reach them because they are eager to win and to learn. But as the season progresses and the players face the strain of traveling and going through the physical depreciation of their bodies, the true colors of the Hawks will show.
Think about this, Joe Johnson left the Suns to be the “man” on a bad team. In which he isn’t even the franchise player, Josh Smith is. Speaking of Josh Smith, you think he wants to play in Atlanta? After how he was treated this offseason because the Hawks didn’t want to shell out money to keep a young and athletic shot blocker and scorer. We all know as regular people, who have regular jobs or go to school. We follow the lead of our bosses or teachers. This Atlanta management team is a great example of how to not treat your players or managers. This group of players in Atlanta need more time to develop and need better coaches to help them develop. Despite Joe Johnson having a career year so far (28/5.7/3.7) the other parts of the Atlanta core (Mike Bibby and Josh Smith) are playing rather poorly. The loss of Josh Childress has placed more pressure on Marvin Williams, who has not risen to the occassion (6.5/6/0.5). I guarentee that this team will place out of the playoffs this year or at most the 8th seed again.
But, who knows, miracles can happen. After all Obama did become president.