(Ed. note. I know some of you will bristle at this question, but it is the elephant in the room. Might as well talk about it.)
Ok, so hypothetically, let’s say the Hawks win the next two games, then what happens? They go to Orlando and get(probably) thoroughly destroyed. Maybe they win 1 game, but honestly, more than that is just unrealistic optimism (I may have just defined fandom however). Orlando led the league in defensive efficiency, was second in offensive efficiency, and on top of that, is just a terrible matchup for the Hawks because Dwight Howard neutralizes what makes Horford effective and Lewis as a stretch 4 neutralizes Josh Smith, so the Hawks become more reliant on the perimeter both offensively and defensively. More reliant on the perimeter scoring is exactly the opposite of what anyone anywhere would prescribe to fix the ails of the Hawks, and the across the board pathetic Hawks perimeter defense is probably the most underrated story about these Hawks. (And don’t get me started on the switching. Maybe as a base defense, it can work. But all the time, every time? You think a defense where Lebron can choose to have Bibby guard him one-on-one at will is a good defense?) Soooo, yeah, sure they beat Milwaukee, but they don’t really have much of a chance of advancing further.
So they lose to the Magic and then what? Presumably, the thinking is, “Okay, they didn’t do it as easy as everyone expected, but they still did what we figured they would.” And the Hawks get rewarded for their 50+win season. Mike Woodson stays, Joe Johnson stays with a max deal, all financial flexibility goes and the Hawks are stuck with a mediocre team for the next 5 years whose only chance of getting better are if Josh Smith develops a reliable jumpshot and Marvin Williams can become a consistent weapon. Yeah, that sounds likely.
On the contrary, say the Hawks lose. The local and national media blast the Hawks. Fans are outraged. There’s no way Sund or the ASG could justify staying the course. Personally, even without Bogut, I always thought this series was going to be a lot closer than most people did, (even though I never thought the Hawks would actually lose), but the defining characteristic of this team won’t be that they won 50+games for the first time in over a decade, or that this is actually one of the best teams in franchise history (sad as it is, only 4 times in 60 tries have the Hawks won more games, although the year the Hawks won the championship they only won 41 games), but that the Hawks lost to an injury ravaged, lesser talented team and played like a lottery team outside of the friendly confines of Phillips. Woodson’s definitely gone, someone else overpays Joe Johnson and the Hawks do a little renovating. I don’t know where the Hawks go from there, but I do know it’ll likely be better than handicapping themselves for the next 5,6 years with the Joe and Woody show. (Yes, yes, I know I wrote a previous fanpost saying the Hawks should resign Woodson after the first couple months. That was when they were playing like a 60 win ballclub and were a joy to watch every single time they played. Sue me. If one had to and one had to stay, I’d pick Woody to stay in a heartbeat because Woody can be easily gotten rid of.) And yes, I could have added more stream of consciousness poll options but I decided to exercise moderation.