See? We told you this could be a fun year!
Lowe is off to a great start at Grantland, banging out a stellar preview yesterday (which featured a positive review on the Hawks) and then today's Guide to the NBA's All-League Pass team, which.....also features the Hawks.
Second look at national media love-fest for the ATL?
Check out the whole thing -- here is a passage from the Book of Lowe:
And it's hard to be boring when you start two big men who do just about everything well, as the lucky Hawks do with Al Horford and Josh Smith. Every NBA geek missed Horford's team-first two-way game last season, and Smith, for all his selfish mid-range jumpers, is a fast-break menace who might be the best inside-out diagonal passer on planet Earth. And he's in a contract year! Toss in more responsibility for Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia's face, a dash of Grantland favorite Ivan Johnson, some two-point guard lineups, and a faster pace, and this team should be a fun watch. Right, Larry Drew?
We'll see -- but we are holding out hope that the departure of renowned isolater Joe Johnson should liberate the motion/flex tendencies that Larry Drew tried to bring forward in the preseason of his first year as captain of the S.S. Hawks.
The key will be how Drew is able to use Teague, Devin Harris, Louis Williams and his newly established Shooter's Association of Anthony Morrow, Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins all together in a rotation. Talk about looking over your shoulder -- it's possible your first brick could have your replacement waiting at the scorer's table before the sound of the clank is finished resonating through the Highlight Factory.
The other side of this, as we've mentioned also previously, is the Golden State like potential of a, well, liberal defense. Not won't-contest-your-shot liberal, just fast paced fun without all the grabbing and grinding of the 90's Knicks and Heat.
The fun defense should include some epic swats from Smith and Horford, leading to some big men leading the break excitement from Josh and Al. I think we can all picture Horford gamely leading the break and checking to a wing and, alternately, Smoove's laser beam passes in transition when he doesn't take it to the cup.
As most authors are doing when looking at the Hawks this season, their eyes are most fixated on Teague. The question that usually emerges from such a gaze is if he will make a jump this season.
Lowe actually calls out that Teague may overestimate his own speed in creating a can't miss opportunity for himself, something we've also noted here. We agree that for Teague to take the next step, he has to give in transition and not always take. If he starts doing that, then Smith, Al and the guys will trust enough to find their places in transition --- and away they'll go -- fulfilling Lowe's prediction for excitement and can't miss viewing for more than just the avid Bird Watcher.
Read the whole piece from Zach and answer this Exit Question: Which three teams, other than the Hawks, would you want to watch?
We're not friends nor family with Grantland's Zach Lowe, but we do wholeheartedly appreciate his writing and his well-informed knowledge of the Hawks. Hard to find out there --as we well know.