Before we get to the laundry list of problems with this Atlanta Hawks team lets first take a moment and be realistic about something. Name another team in the NBA that could have beaten the Chicago Bulls tonight. That first half was as close to perfect as I can recall any other team being. The Bulls shot 73.8% in the first half. That is 31-42 field goals. They missed a grand total of nine shots in the first half of an NBA basketball game. They made 7-9 attempts from three point range. As bad as Atlanta was getting beat, the Hawks were shooting 50% from the field at the half and were down 72-43 at the half.
A lot of times it was bad defense. Other times it was good offense, really good offense. We saw a Chicago team that is hitting its stride at the right time. They have scored 246 points in their last two games. The Bulls play together both offensively and defensively and are what you might could call the polar opposite of our Atlanta Hawks currently.
I have said countless times how writing here on this site is one of the most enjoyable things I do in a day's time. However, my challenge has been rehashing the same things over and over to you the reader. I asked the question before. How many different ways can you say the same thing?
This past off season, Atlanta changed directions at coach by not really changing. I think Larry Drew is a great person, a great basketball man with a great basketball mind. He is willing to try and answer anything that you ask him before games and I think has attempted to put up a good hard working front while the building is crumbling in around him. I think he is a deserving head coach but I am not positive that he is the different voice that this team needed. Of hindsight is 20/20 and he tried to change philosophies with this existing group. He did a lot of the things that we on this very site were calling for with the only exception being Jeff Teague. Yet it still hasn't worked.
Which brings me directly to this group of players. I have often said that I wouldn't be writing on this site if I wasn't a fan of this team. To be a fan of the team, you are going to be a fan of a majority of the players. Once again hindsight is 20/20 and you never want to admit you are wrong but Orlando took this team's heart last season. It becomes more apparent with every 20, 30, or 40 point loss that has occurred since. Since that series against Orlando, this group no longer comes together in the face of adversity. They splinter and fracture and pull apart. We had hoped that a new voice as coach with new fresh ideas would fix such a thing but it clearly hasn't.
When you suffer a beat down on national TV, the broadcasters take upon themselves to analyze your team. Mike Fratello talked about players being unhappy with roles and contract situations. The possibility of the team being sold and the shaky job status of a GM. The thing is these guys have to be professional enough to not let those things affect them. It is the business and the Hawks aren't the first team that succumbed to those pressures. They have to be professional enough to not quit playing in the wake of a blowout particularly at home. Even if that home is filled with MVP chants for the opposing team.
What else can you say and what else needs to be said? The Hawks play Philly tonight and I don't think any of us that will be watching would be terribly surprised to see a victory or another blow out loss as this team seems equally capable of doing both. Win or lose this team is what it is. It's body of work is right there for everyone to see. It is easy sometimes to look at the schedule and think there is still time. Then you watch a game like last night's and you wonder if they are already looking to the off season.
When teams hit rock bottom there is only one way to go from there.