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Swish

ESPN's Hawks Dime preview

17 posts in this topic

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The Hawks will have their problems this year, but not in the first quarter. Atlanta's starting unit can hang with just about anybody's, with the lack of a superstar being the lone thing separating them from the truly elite starting quintets.

Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are the two stars, with Johnson's smooth shooting and ballhandling a nice complement to Smith's open-court finishing but erratic half-court game. Johnson had made consecutive All-Star teams and should Smith overcome his weakness for 20-footers he'll join him, as few combine Smith's shot-blocking ability with a talent for taking opposing big men off the dribble.

Part of a rather expansive preview, complete with video and pics.

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Of course Hollinger has us at 13 because we lost our "third-best player" A.K.A. Josh Childress.

The entire board has the Celtics coming out of the East again. All of them.

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Dam it Swish you beat me by one minute...

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Great minds think alike jhay....what can I say.

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all the experts have us finishing between 7th to 13th!!!! 13th, are u kidding me???

I really hope all these "experts" come up dead wrong about our bench. Plus, we could add some vet players later in the year like the Celtics did last season with Cassell and P.J. Brown. I'm not sure who's out there but their's always a few waiting on a playoff calibur team to call.

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all the experts have us finishing between 7th to 13th!!!! 13th, are u kidding me???

I really hope all these "experts" come up dead wrong about our bench. Plus, we could add some vet players later in the year like the Celtics did last season with Cassell and P.J. Brown. I'm not sure who's out there but their's always a few waiting on a playoff calibur team to call.

Looking at it from an outsiders POV other teams had draft picks and made big moves while we lost Childress, had no draft picks and our FA signings weren't exactly headliners. Considering we won only 37 games last year their skepticism is understandable and doesn't bother me at all.

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Nice position to be in. Remember the "experts @ The Sporting News said that this year's Falcon team would have a record of 1-16 this season. (For you non football fans, the

Atlanta Falcons are currently 4-2 so far)

So, if no one expect the Hawks to do anything this season, that increases our chances

to "sneak up" on some unsuspecting opponents early.

Being a bad road team last season and opening with so many early road games, any

edge the Hawks can have will be needed. .500 record early woud seem great right

now, wouldn't it.

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Looking at it from an outsiders POV other teams had draft picks and made big moves while we lost Childress, had no draft picks and our FA signings weren't exactly headliners. Considering we won only 37 games last year their skepticism is understandable and doesn't bother me at all.

Great job keeping it in perspective, ex.

Besides, I pretty much agree with all the experts, except for John Hollinger. The team hasn't really done enough to improve. Sure, we added a couple of veterans on the bench, and Randolph Morris, but Mike Woodson is still the coach. We could miss the playoffs if this team gets complacent and rests on their laurels, rather than staying hungry. Plus, some other teams got better-like Miami, who really could challenge us this year if Wade is healthy.

I do expect to see a few things. I think Marvin Williams may step up his game a bit, and might have added a three point shot (he really just needed to extend his range by a step or two in many cases). And Acie Law has definitely added a jump shot and really we expect him to step it up in his second year. And if Bibby's knees are fine and his thumb is in good shape, having a chance to take camp with the team will help, and maybe his defense won't be so dreadful as it was (if his knees are fine, also). And obviously Horford is expected to take the next step as an offensive player.

So those are the kinds of improvements we can expect. I'm predicting a .500 finish and seventh place in the East, with the possibility of pulling a first round upset.

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lol @ the Sportsnation poll question. Item # 10.

"Who should take the last shot with 5 seconds left?"

Freaking-DUH! Might as well ask that in Laker-land.

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lol @ the Sportsnation poll question. Item # 10.

"Who should take the last shot with 5 seconds left?"

Freaking-DUH! Might as well ask that in Laker-land.

Some blogger answered by saying that every team has a similarly sized forward/guard to defend JJ and make him take a difficult shot so he should spot up instead. Then you take Josh Smith and put him in the high post to beat his man off the dribble and kick out to JJ for the shot.

The problem there is the help on a drive will come from the inside not off of JJ. Plus who really wants to go on the Josh Smith Experience with 5 secs left in the game. Plus if you applied this same logic then you would have Pippen in the high post instead of Jordan taking his man off the bounce. It just doesn't stand to logic.

But anyway, I guess Woody is smarter than some after all...

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As some of you may remember, Im a celtics fan.

And I dont get why some of you are upset over their predictions.

Last year, only one of them even had the celtics coming out of the east, and none thought they'd win a title. The pistons were the consensus no. 1, and the bulls were either no. 1 or 2 in almost all of them.

Their predictions are almost meaningless. But, by the way, averaging all predictions the Hawks are 7th in the conference:

Eastern Conference Projections

Celtics 1.0

Pistons 2.5

Cavs 3.7

Magic 4.0

Sixers 4.5

Raptors 5.7

Hawks 9.1

Wiz 9.3

Bulls 9.4

Heat 9.7

Bucks 10.4

Bobcats 11.9

Pacers 11.9

Nets 13.5

Knicks 13.7

In fact, the best thing for any team is to be underrated. Imagine the celtics this year: if instead of opening 11-0 like last year, they start a reasonable 6-4, all of the sudden everyone will be asking themselves "what is wrong with them" and any little thing will become a story. Same thing for any other team that is predicted to do well.

Edited by dlpin

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As some of you may remember, Im a celtics fan.

:beat:

In seriousness, ????????????????????

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:beat:

In seriousness, ????????????????????

Yep, Celtics fan since about 1988 (that is the first time I remember paying attention to the NBA), but Ive been living in metro atlanta for about 7 years now, and Ive always sympathized with the hawks.

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Some blogger answered by saying that every team has a similarly sized forward/guard to defend JJ and make him take a difficult shot so he should spot up instead. Then you take Josh Smith and put him in the high post to beat his man off the dribble and kick out to JJ for the shot.

The problem there is the help on a drive will come from the inside not off of JJ. Plus who really wants to go on the Josh Smith Experience with 5 secs left in the game. Plus if you applied this same logic then you would have Pippen in the high post instead of Jordan taking his man off the bounce. It just doesn't stand to logic.

But anyway, I guess Woody is smarter than some after all...

Actually, that guy is a pretty good blogger, and I sort of agree with him. The question he was asked was a bit different from the poll question. Without a doubt, if you've only got time for one shot, the man you want taking it is JJ, and that should not at all be disputed.

But the question for the blogger involved running a play with 9 seconds left (which is plenty of time to work a half-court set), and he makes a valid point about Josh Smith. If you can get him in the high post, you've got so many more options because he's quick and strong enough to draw an extra defender, and that lets you find the open man, whether it be Horford, JJ, or Marvin (though I probably would prefer Josh Smith taking on the double than trusting Marvin to take the big shot).

Smoove, like he says, is NOT the best ball handler, yet he does manage to drive the ball pretty well despite that. And while he's not the best FT shooter either, he's pretty good at hitting them in the clutch, and he could draw a foul in that situation.

It would be a way to throw the opposition off when they're ALL expecting the isolation for Johnson.

EDIT:

As an aside, the Jordan/Pippen comparison doesn't quite fly. The thing about Jordan is that if you played him too tight, he could (and would) drive past pretty much anyone to the hoop and jam it in. Joe doesn't have that kind of ability to beat anyone off the dribble, drive into traffic, and finish at the rim. He's more likely to put up the floater from the top of the key, so it pays to play him tightly.

Edited by bronnt

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But the question for the blogger involved running a play with 9 seconds left (which is plenty of time to work a half-court set), and he makes a valid point about Josh Smith. If you can get him in the high post, you've got so many more options because he's quick and strong enough to draw an extra defender, and that lets you find the open man, whether it be Horford, JJ, or Marvin (though I probably would prefer Josh Smith taking on the double than trusting Marvin to take the big shot).

Pass me the tums if they run this play. I'm a huge Smoove fan, but I don't want him having to make decisions with the ball when the game is on the line and the defense is amped up. Trusting Smoove to take on a double team might get him to the free throw line sometimes (which I'm not thrilled with as he's not a great free throw shooter), but more than likely it gets you a TO, offensive foul or some kind of no-call bad shot. He also might decide he wants to use his jab step or step back for the 15 foot brick. Smoove is not ready to make these types of playmaking decisions, even from the high post, with the game on the line. Hopefully he will be at some point, but I haven't seen him make the right play consistently enough in the first qtr, let alone the 4th.

As an aside, the Jordan/Pippen comparison doesn't quite fly. The thing about Jordan is that if you played him too tight, he could (and would) drive past pretty much anyone to the hoop and jam it in. Joe doesn't have that kind of ability to beat anyone off the dribble, drive into traffic, and finish at the rim. He's more likely to put up the floater from the top of the key, so it pays to play him tightly.

Joe may not have the blow-by or above-the-rim finishing ability of Jordan, obviously, but he is great at probing the defense under control and making the right decision with the basketball. He is excellent at the pull-up jumpshot and can use that big frame of his to create space for his shot off the bounce. He is also adept at passing out of double-teams to an open shooter (though he tends to hold the ball a fraction too long sometimes).

I would say the biggest weakness in my comparison (which was not really intended to be taken literally) is that Smith is no where near the offensive threat that Pippen was in his day. And let me restate that I am a Smith fan before my Hawks fan card gets revoked by the Squawk Police.

Then again, I wasn't really comparing Joe to Jordan or Josh to Pippen in the first place, at least not in terms of their skillsets. I meant only that you go through your #1 guy when it's crunch time, and Joe is far and away our #1 guy when it comes to creating offense, just as Jordan was for his team.

Edited by jhay610

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I think the Hawk's experience in the playoffs is the greatest factor from last year to this. That is one step that all teams have to take as an initiation to the next level. I think that and how the guys on the team matured along with the additions we have make a significant difference.

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