Fix-A-Team: The Atlanta Hawks
It’s definitely NOT going down in the A…
As squads bow out of the Playoffs, “Fix-a-Team” will identify team’s key strengths and weaknesses, opportunities to get to the next level, and key threats to ascension. You will recognize this as a SWOT analysis. Today, we review the Atlanta Hawks.
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
“See, I never just did things just to do them. Come on, what am I gonna do? Just all of a sudden jump up and grind my feet on somebody’s couch like it’s something to do? Come on. I got a little more sense then that.”
“Yeah, I remember grinding my feet on Eddie’s couch.” – Rick James, RIP
I swear this is the thought that kept running through my mind after seeing the Atlanta Hawks get abjectly destroyed over the last week in a half by the Orlando Magic. I think we all have friends like that, someone who is capable of doing great things, but they just seem to do something so…dumb, that’s its inexcusable. That’s how I feel about the Atlanta Hawks. Maybe they are on something, that’d be a better excuse than the sad performance this team has put up in the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs the last two seasons.
Can they be fixed? If Atlanta Hawks fans truly care. and I’m convinced that all 87 of them do care, after they mercilessly booed Joe Jeezy on Monday night (Good for them, JJ’s a good dude but he deserved it. He’ll be ok) then I’m convinced I can fix them. Let’s go.
Athletically, they are as good as anyone. They have the League’s best 6th man in Jamal Crawford, and when they are rolling they truly exciting to watch.
Let’s get to counting on this one…
• I love Mike Bibby to death (Light Skinned Coalition stand up) but they have next to nothing at the point guard position, unless Jeff Teague blossoms in the next couple of years. This leads me to another point…
The Atlanta Hawks quite possibly have missed on more quality players in the Draft over the last 5 years that it’s astonishing. We all know the mishap of picking Marvin Williams instead of CP3 or Deron at the PG position, but look at some of the other players they’ve picked since ’05 and the players that were still on the board that they could’ve had.
• 2005: Chris Paul, Deron Williams (Picked Marvin Williams 2nd)
• 2006: Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo (Picked Shelden Williams 5th)
• 2007: Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks (Picked Acie Law 11th after picking Horford 3rd)
• 2008: Traded 15th pick to Phoenix, picked Robin Lopez
• 2009: Eric Maynor, Darren Collison (Picked Jeff Teague 20th, not fair to judge as of now)
• Their now-free agent shooting guard was unable to put up big time performances when the game was on the line.
• The best fit at small forward for the Hawks is currently playing in Greece.
• Their best athlete is a tweener. Is Josh Smith a 3 or a 4?
• Their best big man is a power forward stuck playing at center.
• They have no depth at all whatsoever.
• Their coach shaved his eyebrows and lost all of the respect of his team has struggled to find a way to take the team to the next level. That level would be winning a game in the Second Round. If you were wondering.
I think the Hawks have a few things they could work on.
With Joe Johnson seemingly fleeing the premises of Phillips Arena in Atlanta, they are now positions to be approximately $10 million under the cap in the “Summer of ‘10”, will they go out and get a big name? Maybe role players and glue guys, something they desperately need. Let’s look at both options:
Sign The Big Name – Atlanta could go make a major offer for Dwyane Wade, but I’m not sure if the current makeup of the roster lends him to believing that he could avoid another First Round exit like he received courtesy of Boston this season. I think it would be interesting to get a big man like Bosh or Amare, but the problem is that they already have a power forward in Horford and that’s where he needs to stay…power forward.
Role Players & Glue Guys – For Atlanta, they need some guys that give a damn when they come off the bench. They need some players that have some defined positions come to Atlanta and play those roles. For ATL, go make a strong push for Raymond Felton (the other PG that they could’ve picked over Marvin Williams in the ’05 Draft) to be your floor leader, and consider signing Brendan Haywood to play center for you. You could probably get each player for $5-6 million a year.
After you get a center and a floor general, go get someone who can play some defense and shoot the rock at the 2-guard position. Pray that James Anderson or Xavier Henry falls to them at No. 24 (or you could trade up) or consider taking Avery Bradley who should still be on the board. The Hawks have to start hitting on the Draft, or they are going to freefall from Playoff contention real soon.
Plus, what if they could find a way to get Josh Childress to come back and play in the states? Just a thought…
With Orlando seemingly ensured to be the top dog of the Southeast Division, the Hawks have to do a better job of matching up with them. Plus, with the potential upgrades that Miami might make this season then the ‘heat’ will be turned up on Atlanta to make major improvements.
I think we’ve seen how far Coach Mike Woodson can really take this team, although I think you have to give the man some credit for dealing with a bunch of crazy on that team. Of course what did he do? Shave his eyebrows. If Atlanta can properly address their coaching situation, and find a way to bring in better role players to a team that is in big need of a spark…they could be much improved. This team is capable, we’ve seen it! We all saw them take Boston seven games when the Celtics won the title; we want to see more of it!
Because what you just did in the Second Round of these here Playoffs? That can’t happen ever again.
Eddie Maisonet is a freelance sports writer, blogger and big time hoops fan from Oklahoma who currently resides in Cincinnati. Keep up with Eddie at SLAMonline as well as his blog Ed The Sports Fan and on Twitter.