Just when you think you can get excited about the new CBA (whenever that comes) and possible escape from Joe Johnson's contract, building on the young frontcourt, and the ongoing playoff run of your favorite team, someone with common sense takes a look and then plops this down in front of you.
Matt Moore of NBC's ProBasketballTalk looks at what the Hawks should do when the lockout ends and concludes that it starts with jack and ends with squat.
All of my answers are implausible. Amnesty Joe Johnson? Give up a huge chunk of your offense and a very underrated defender. Trade Joe Johnson? No takers. Fire Larry Drew? He just took them to the second round semi-promised-land. Feature Al Horford in the offense more? His efficiency would drop with the usage increase. Strap a device that sends an electrical surge through Josh Smith whenever he shoots from further than 12 feet? Illegal in most states.
Hey, who's up for some Hawks season tickets, huh? Ooooh, are you feeling the excitement yet?!
Moore is right, though. Through spending 66 million for 9 players, there are no obvious ways to reinvent this team as something other than a 3-6 seed, first round nuisance without totally obliterating things and starting over, and we remember how that worked the last time we tried it.
The best the Hawks can do is hope that Josh Smith turns it around in terms of understanding what brand of basketball is most effective for him, Jeff Teague's expanded playing time continues his upward productivity trend, and that Joe Johnson doesn't completely fall off the map, efficiency wise, whenever play does resume.
And what's the top end for that kind of team? Maybe puncturing the long standing second round ceiling?
Exit Question: What will it take for you to get excited about the team this season---you know, assuming it actually happens?