Let it not be said that I forgo all potential optimism.
With five returning starters from a playoff team, someone has to be the target of opposing teams.
Someone has to be identified as the weakest link, the one player on the Hawks’ roster who can be attacked — physically and perhaps even schematically — in the hope that he will break down and the entire team will falter.
Wednesday night in Phoenix the Suns targeted Hawks small forward Marvin Williams. And Williams made them pay, outlasting the rest of the starters on both teams in the final minutes with plays that helped the Hawks secure the 100-96 victory.
Williams finished with a team-high 19 points to go with six rebounds, four assists and a body full of sore muscles courtesy of the pounding he took from Suns reserve power forward Louis Amundson, who spent most of his night trying to get under Williams’ skin.
I don't think that handling Louis Amundson in an exhibition game is the strongest potential argument that Marvin Williams has turned a corner in his development and is poised to become an above-average NBA player but it's the only evidence we've got on in the early evening on October 9, 2008 and, for now, it shall serve as a salve for pessimistic predictions--our own or anyone else's.