Under normal circumstances, we would be preparing for the opening of the Atlanta Hawks 2011-12 season tonight in Minnesota. Instead, we are left to think about what might have been and speculate about what will happen once this lockout is over.
The lost summer of the NBA offseason has left teams like Atlanta will many unanswered questions that they will have to answer in an abbreviated sprint once the lockout is finally settled. Questions like who will fill out the roster for the team? What about Jamal Crawford? If you count Magnum Rolle and Pape Sy, the Hawks have nine players under contract for this season which is four shy of the league minimum of 13. Atlanta is expected to try and bring back Jason Collins and Keith Benson is also a candidate but who fills out the remaining spots is a question that we really have no idea how to begin answering.
Another question is who will be in the starting lineup for the team once the season does begin? Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford are locks but does Larry Drew once again opt for a big lineup or does Marvin Williams take his customary role at the small forward position?
I feel that the biggest story line for the Hawks coming into this season should have centered on Jeff Teague and his performance against the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. Given past circumstances, did Teague do enough in that playoff series to secure the starting point guard position for the Hawks? Does Kirk Hinrich come off the bench and how often does Larry Drew play Teague and Hinrich together with Joe Johnson sliding to the small forward position?
All questions that would have been answered at least in part tonight against the Timberwolves. Which brings us to the games themselves. What would have happened in tonight's game we will never know although some have taken it upon themselves to speculate. Personally I think Jeff Teague would have made Ricky Rubio wish he was still in Spain assuming that the Spaniard would have even gotten off the bench for Rick Adelman. Thus is the reality of the hand we have been dealt by the NBA Lockout. Nothing will settled on the court, all we can do is just speculate.