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A brief word on match ups, playoffs, and trades

The Hawks are, at worst, meeting every single fan's preseason expectations this year. If you were looking for more than 52 wins and the second or third seed in the East, you were a bit overly optimistic, and obviously smarter than me. Because I am all for readjusting expectations mid-season to your preseason wisdom. There is no reason to be "ok" with a competitive second round series and call it a season. Everyone should want an Eastern conference finals birth. At this point, we should hope for one (and I mean "hope" in the most expectant way possible). But talk about getting there only if we get a center seems a bit too much like the crib is empty and the baby and the bathwater are hanging out together outside and the baby is cold.

A few things on this matter. The Hawks have the personnel now to beat every team in the league. Maybe not in a seven game series, but also, in a seven game series. The ball will have to bounce the other team's way to beat Atlanta. In Cleveland, there was a shot clock malfunction and a miracle three. That is the definition of the ball bouncing one way. I am not saying Atlanta is better than the Cavs, just that, as currently constructed, they can be better on any given night. And anyone thinking the Hawks can retool the roster so that we are guaranteed to be better four out of seven nights does not understand how good LeBron James is. With LeBron, no guarantee is possible. Closer to better? Sure, but the reoccurring question will be at what cost?

As far as Orlando goes, the match up is bad for the Hawks. Clearly. The only positive perspective I can put on it is the Magic have played some of their best basketball against Atlanta. That is a bit too much spit shine on a turd for some of you, but it should throw out the idea that winning against Orlando is impossible.

I agree the Hawks could use more size down low to go against Shaq and Howard (really just Howard), size that has some semblance of controllable body fat and offensive skill, but I am not willing to give up a major piece to do it. While the Hawks remain undermanned against one specific team, they over man most other teams exactly because of the pieces in place. Trading a Marvin or a Zaza could seriously put into question a few other wins this season or in the playoffs. Not to mention the long term implications for the team.

If the Hawks make a move, it will probably be for an expiring contract. Those teams don't give up free money like that for crap. They just don't. Teams want to shed salary and the Hawks don't have expiring contracts to give. Which means you have to give up serious talent. You want Brendan Haywood? Expect to hear a high price counter offer. If other teams get desperate, maybe they gift wrap something, but I doubt it.

In the end, Atlanta is not Boston, the window does not close this year. Shoot, the window just opened this year. I am not one to over estimate how long one has a window, and with no superstar, it can be a short one, but mortgaging futures to get back up centers just in case we face Orlando seems a bit much.

The Hawks need to win now. Like tomorrow. And then the next day. Keep winning, and I am wiling to take on anyone in the playoffs. I am not going to be excited about Orlando, but honestly, I am not that excited about facing any good teams. You know why? Because they are good. If we can find a trade that lets us face Toronto four times, I am in. Until then, giving up major pieces for possible playoff match ups is not a good long term strategy, and it may not even be a good short term strategy.

Go Hawks!