FanHouse: Hawks Learning to Win Without Joe Johnson

Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse looks at the Hawks recent good play without Joe Johnson. We have discussed the topic here but the Hawks ball movement has picked up considerably since Johnson left the lineup. 

"We have to do things a little differently without Joe here,'' said first-year Hawks coach Larry Drew, who has been preaching a more balanced attack and sharing the ball this season, even before Johnson had left. "We're trying to get more guys involved. And that can be a good thing. We're less predictable. We miss him, but we've still got the pieces to make it work without him.''

You have to think that the recent assists to made field goals ratio that the Hawks have enjoyed of late was exactly what coach Drew had in mind when he installed the motion offense. 

"If we keep playing this way, we have the potential to be among the top teams in the East,'' said Horford. "In the fourth quarter, teams always expected Joe to have the ball. Now they don't know who is going to beat them. I hope we learn from this. Joe will understand because he wants to win. The pressure won't always be on him.''

The pressure is on Joe however to buy into this. I for one don't see it as a problem. Joe is sitting on the sidelines now observing how the team is playing and many times that can be a good thing. We are starting to see trust in the system and that is still going to be a season long task for this Atlanta team. There is no reason that Johnson can't fit back in to this group and be a part of that. When I looked at his struggles earlier he simply was missing a lot of open jump shots. If one thing is for certain this offense will be able to produce open looks, they just need Joe to be healthy enough to knock them down. 

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