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72 reasons to be excited about the Atlanta Hawks: #41 Mike Woodson's expiring contract

Oh, I know. The bashing. The ridicule. The senseless meanness. We treat Mike Woodson as if we were middle school bullies. For what? For why? All he has done is produced a better record every year he has coached. Could you be so crazy to want more from the Hawks? Go root for the Lakers if you demand crazy expectations. And the retorts to this could certainly be typed back quickly. From something as short as "yes, I do want better" to cynical remarks on Al Horford's foul status to algorithms computing lottery talent, city temperature, and jumping ability. We could read a myriad of responses as to why Woodson is a detriment to the team. In the final score of things, more people are probably going to fight to verbally destroy Woodson than they are to support him, but the opinions will vary almost as much as Woody's expression during a game does not. Our bald leader creates arguments that are a merry-go-round of awfulness. You go up, you go down. And then you get off and wonder why you just rode a plastic horse to nowhere.

Ahhh, but the good news. The good news is Mike Woodson's contract is expiring at the end of this year. Unless I am far too optimistic in both Rick Sund's judgment and ability to act on said judgment, then he is neither satisfied with a one time journey to the second round nor confident Woody can do anything more than make a rare appearance there. After all, Sund made it clear this team was not ready to contend, the media made it clear they overachieved in the regular season, and yet Woodson did not receive an extension.

And so it seems like any good expiring contract, Woody has the chance to be useful for all parties. Another strong showing, an improvement over both regulars season wins and playoff performance and even the haters will have a tough time arguing that a top tier coach would have taken the team much further. But Sund has shown by forcing a final year that a step back is not acceptable either. He would have extended Woodson if his body of work was already good enough.

The gray area, that place ripe for debate and rage, will be if the Hawks find themselves strikingly similar to last year. Was Sund just checking Woodon's consistency or was this just a final year rental before the Hawks hire a new coach to seriously contend in 2010/2011? On thing is for sure, this season is going to answer your Woodson questions. The final is score is coming back. The only unknown is whether you are going to like the grading rubric.