5. Are they simply a one-season tease? We've all seen it before. A team gets hot at the end of the regular season, sneaks into the playoffs, makes some noise, and so everybody expects them to take The Next Big Step next season. But when said team is flawed -- as the Hawks are -- this often leads to overconfidence and failed expectations. The most recent example of this is the Golden State Warriors. The 2007-08 Warriors may have won a few more games than the 2006-07 Warriors, but they failed to recapture the magic of that '07 playoff run. I think we're going to see the same thing happen to the Hawks this season. Especially since that seven-game series with the Celtics wasn't as close as everybody seems to think: The champs absolutely crushed them in Boston whereas the Hawks pulled out three could-have-gone-either-way victories at home.
- The Daily Dime at ESPN.com has its Hawks preview up. I draw your attention to it so that my small contribution (#6 of 10) might engender more cogent criticism than it's likely to get in the ESPN.com comments.
Hawks down one, 9.2 seconds to play, must-win game. What's the play?
I would not run any sort of isolation for Joe Johnson. Almost every NBA team employs a "defensive wing" roughly of Johnson's size and quickness, while very few teams employ someone capable of matching Josh Smith's size and quickness.
Thus, I would call for Smith in the high post to attack the basket forthwith. Smith isn't the slickest of ball-handlers, but the, shall we say, unpredictable nature of Smith's dribble penetration is a worthwhile risk. Plus, with Johnson waiting on the perimeter to receive a kick-out, the likelihood that the possession ends with a made jump shot increases exponentially.
- Basketball Prospectus hasn't gotten to previewing the Southeast Division yet, but Kevin Pelton is publishing some interesting work there this week. I recommend both the introductory essay and the Central Division preview.
- Go to the Edgewood Kroger on Saturday and Solomon Jones might offer to return your shopping cart for you. (He seems a very polite young man.) Mario West, I expect will be bagging groceries with great energy for very short periods of time.
- If you bump into Acie Law IV at that event, he may encourage you to vote. (HT: Game On!)
- Speaking of voting, the first pre-season poll is up. The second poll will show up later this afternoon. These polls will be open until approximately 7pm on October 29th.