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Everyone knows exactly what is going to happen with the Hawks

It is the season of previews. Peachtree Hoops dropped ours last week. But that was done in the preseason optimism that reigned over us before the Orlando game.

Clearly, Joe Johnson would have a different perspective after the loss on Friday.

"Sometimes, I can't tell if we really want it,'' Johnson told FanHouse after his Hawks were embarrassed by a 37-point loss Friday night in their final exhibition game by the Orlando Magic. "It's discouraging. Sometimes, you never know what you're going to get from this team. And that won't work.''

I could call this leadership or I could call this throwing under the bus. Either way though, you normally want your leadership to have a clear line between the two.

The Human Highlight blog continues to call everyone aboard the train of depression/realism with their own preview.

That the front office doubled down on the status quo with their moves in the off-season while not extending the chief architect's (Mike Woodson's deal ends at the end of this season) contract was telling in that they believe they have the talent to win big, but not sure about the basketball philosophy that's wrapped around it. You can't expect a different paradigm from the same people--that's why organizations make changes even while winning. If this style doesn't scale up again this year, THHB would expect a change in approach before the next season begins.

Woodson getting fired? Check that the train of optimism/realism. Ahhhh, I kid, I kid.

The opposing scout behind the curtain at CNNSI subtly looks more into free agency 2010 and how Joe Johnson could be a great number two than he does at the Hawks, must be the Knicks scout. He/She does grace us with the Hawks pecking order.

Joe Johnson is by far and away the best player on this team. I know Josh Smith gets a lot of attention because of the highlight dunks, but he isn't even the team's second-best player. I would say Al Horford is their No. 2 guy, and there is a big drop-off between Johnson and Horford.

I like the argument for conversation, but tough to emphasize consistency that much on what makes a good player.

Also, did you know the Hawks drafted Marvin Wiliams over Christ Paul? Who knew? Thank you anonymous scout.

The scouting report from SI delves mostly into the Jamal Crawford signing. I happen to be liking Jamal more and more, unfortunately not as a player but more as a person. As a player, he is starting to freak me out with how well he will fit in Woody's stand around offense. Anyway, I liked this quote from the article.

"These guys are like an '80s team with how long they have been together," he says. "My job is just to fit in."

But fear not. The Hawks are not all drugs and pessimism. Fanhouse's preview drops this bomb.

They will win more than 50 games for the first time in over a decade.

Then again, that article opens up talking about how the Hawks should have drafted Chris Paul.


They also pump up Josh Smith by reminding everyone if you forget Josh's glaring weaknesses, he is totally awesome. I refuse to disagree with that impossible point. 

Moving on to my secretly favorite national blog, Ball Don't Lie, Kelly Dwyer speaks normalcy and rationality into the precedings which, while obvious, need to be said...and then repeated.

Let's give J.J. a break. He's an All-Star, but the Hawks can't keep trotting him out there for 40 or 41 minutes a night while asking him to act the part of LeBron Jr.

He's proven he can't work that way. Replacing those minutes with Mo Evans or Jamal Crawford or a big lineup will hurt, but not as much as watching the guy who takes the majority of your shots struggle through a 36 percent shooting month, with iffy defense, just because you're riding him too hard.

Bethlehem Shoals always has interesting things to say and there are some of that in his preview, but of course, I give him high praise for putting Zaza Pachulia under "blog superstars" with this tagline.

Someone get Zaza Pachulia on the corporate lecture circuit, tape it, and send it to me so I can disseminate it.


Taking it down a notch to team to team, Nets are Scorching compares New Jersey and Atlanta. Tough to disagree with anything they say. Devin Harris can do bad things to Mike Bibby and Al Horford had a tough time against Brooke Lopez. On a side note, I actually like the Nets. I think they are the new look Hawks with an athletic bookends at the point guard and center position instead of on the wings.

On Josh Smith, Nets are Scorching drop this one.

There was really no explanation for the decline (of PER, blocked shots, etc), so he’s a player to watch this season to see which direction he’s headed.

Funny, that is actually as good as you can do when it comes to analyzing Josh smith.

Finally, one almost has to end with the WWL. Which, outside of Hollinger's player projections, I find to be quite bad. If you hire 10 writers, you would think it is for detailed writing and not two sentences from 12 different guys. But that is what we got. End of story, fluff and the fourth seed. That is what you should expect. Give me Bret as Hawks beat writer for ESPN! I demand it!

There you go. Take these meaningless predictions, mine and others, and let them be reasons to wallow in your drink or celebrate. More previews probably to come. Tis the season after all.