As much as we have been giving love to the Blazers, and even thoug..."/>
As much as we have been giving love to the Blazers, and even thoug..."/>

Soaring Hawks?


As much as we have been giving love to the Blazers, and even though the nation has picked up on it someone has to give love to the OTHER hot, young, surprising team in the NBA. Ladies and gentlemen…I give you the Atlanta Hawks. Yes…those same Hawks that haven’t had a record over .500 since the lockout year. Yes those same Hawks who have been marked for success the past 2-3 years and have underachieved every year. I’m serious, the Hawks really aren’t that bad right now. Truth be told

Atlanta has won 5 games in a row and have a tremendous December going 9-3. Two of those losses came against Detroit. It is very easy to point out that the Hawks have been the beneficiaries of some home cookin’ (8 of the 12 games this month have been at Philips Arena) but then again the Hawks have never been known as juggernauts at home. They are evolving, like the Blazers and are becoming a good home team. How is this happening? As bad as this may sound and as unfortunate as it is…the best thing to happen to Atlanta were the injuries to Tyronn Lue, Speedy Claxton and Acie Law. It was clear that the two issues surrounding Atlanta were their lack of point guard play (the 4-man poo poo platter of doom) and their lack of an inside presence. Mike Woodson had yet to prove he could manage an efficient rotation, made evident by the fact the team juggled starters all last year and into this year as well. On the court if there is one position that needs to be constant it is the point guard position. Those injuries forced Woodson to play one guy and Anthony Johnson stepped up and has been great this month. That had a trickle down effect on the rest of the team. He knew he was going to be running the ship and everyone else knew it was going to be him. Not him, then Lue, then Law or a mixture of all three. Johnson is just stable and solid, obviously a veteran presence on a young team. He doesn’t do too much but he can score, he can pass and he doesn’t turn the ball over much. Can’t ask for much more than that…he’s like a better Jacque Vaughn.

With the PG position somewhat resolved the other area of concern was the big men. Last year they were anchored by Zaza Pachulia and Shelden Williams. Both are solid but in other ways and shouldn’t be 1-2 on the depth chart. Meet Al Horford. The man has just been consistent on a night-in, night-out basis. Honestly he should be the Rookie of the Year sorry Gunner Durant and Streaky Navarro. Al Horford brings it everyday. And he brings an element that the Hawks have not had in a very long time. He is an absolute monster on the boards, already putting himself in the top 20 in the league (9.5 a game). He’s smart and has post moves. Why is this important? This means sky is the limit for him. Look at Shaq right now..he never developed any real post move other than the ‘I’m Shaq, I’m bigger than you and if you don’t flop or use all your weight to lean on me I will dunk on you’…move. The wear and tear has left him a shell of his former self. People have the same concerns about Dwight Howard, but he isn’t human so it doesn’t count. Horford could have the perfect mix of both: efficient post moves with a beast mentality. He adds a jumper….watch out. His presence and ability has lifted this Hawk team up in so many ways.

So now that those two have been settled…what else is going on? Well everything else is falling into place. The arrival of Marvin Williams as an NBA player hasn’t hurt them at all. He’s averaging 16.8 points and 5.7 rebounds and has given the Hawks another consistent scoring option. It’s crazy what happens when young players just get better after getting baptized by fire. See Williams and Travis Outlaw for examples, two guys who the majority of people left for dead after last year. Joe Johnson is still Joe Johnson, and even though he has been off this year he has done a tremendous job scoring for this team. He can hit the big buckets in the clutch the man is scared of no shot. And despite the fact that Joe Johnson still jacks up too many threes and bad shots, he is still a finisher and carries the load. Josh Smith and Williams with their ability and versatility aid him, add Horford in the post, a solid point guard and Childress as the sixth man off the bench makes for a very solid team. A team that should be respected.

Until they go on a losing streak and Josh Smith punches someone in the face. Or when they realize that they are the Hawks…it’s happened before. That’s when this post mysteriously disappears.