Admittedly, I was giddy while watching the Hawks run ram shod all over the Orlando Magic. This is an emotion that was sorely missing throughout this 2010-2011 campaign, but that's mostly because the function of my posts is to focus on what makes us move toward a NBA championship. A playoff win didn't change any of those things that I question about this team. An unlikely series win still won't change those things is probably not going to do that either.
On the good side, Joe Johnson played to about 80% of his contract. Kirk Hinrich played to about 75% of his trade 'value' (how depressing is it that Hilton Armstrong didn't even make the playoff active list for this team?) and we made our jump shots on the whole. On the bad side, Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich have not been consistent about being at or above those percentages above and a team that relies on jump shots a) doesn't normally hit them with consistency and b) never makes any noise in the playoffs. So, hats off to the Hawks, but we're going to need to see more from the Atlanta Hawks to convince us that the problems we've watched for the past 3 years are erased by one impressive playoff victory.
Truth 3. Winning Does Have Negative Consequences.
I've said it before and I'll continue to say it. If this playoff series causes the leadership to stay the course, I don't want them to win. Yes, that causes a complete inner turmoil for my cheering interests. I certainly could never openly want my team to lose, but the long term interests that I shouldn't have to worry about don't seem to be the concern of our ownership and management. With that in mind, there's great fear that any success will embolden ASG and Sund to continue to double down on a flawed roster. So, I don't want to say it, but I can't help it - anything other than a DEEP run in the playoffs could end up with a long term epic fail written all over a first round series win. How's that for a fan's conflict of interests?
One other consequence of winning this way just reinforces that this team doesn't need Teague and confirms my belief that Teague won't be a part of this team in 2011-2012 OR we're continuing the inexplicable use of Teague over the past 2 years. How do you expect him to ever be a factor in your ability to win meaningful games if he's never played in one?
So, Zaza and Marvin are now taking on much smaller roles and, of course, Jeff Teague and Damian Wilkins caught the DNP Plague. Josh is a starting small forward. Zaza is just one of a merry quartet of Dwight Hackers. For Marvin, that might be fine and a function of the lineup changes. For Zaza, it's a slap in the face for arguably the hardest working and most skilled of the reserve backups. I said in last week's Truths that Zaza was playing the best of all Hawks over the last 20 games and he's rewarded with...9 minutes against the Magic. Sorry but if 15 minutes are distributed between Etan Thomas and Josh Powell when they can be given to Zaza - that's just not good minute distribution.
To be fair, it may get them past the Magic, but does it translate to something that beats any other playoff team?
Bonus Truth. Jason Collins starts prove that roster balance is valuable. (PH Exclusive)
About 3 years ago, I made the suggestion that Marvin Williams needed to come off the bench. Last year, I made the suggestion that Jeff Teague and Maurice Evans needed to start. The premise of this was simple. With Al, Josh, and Joe dominating the ball and shots for the starters and, with the need to have some bench scoring and defense to go with Jamal Crawford on the bench, it would do wonders for the aggressiveness of both players. And now, Jason Collins' time as the starter proves the theory correct. You don't have to have your 5 best players on the court when the game starts. Sometimes, it makes perfect sense to simply put players at their proper position and then mix and match it from there as the Hawks have done in most games against true centers. It also makes perfect sense to not have 5 All Stars on your starting unit and then have the Whitman Mayo Rec League All Stars as your 2nd team, so if you do have weak links - you may want to mix them in with the stars in order to balance out your team until crunch time.
It does make you wonder whether or not this starting lineup with Collins up wouldn't work no matter who the center is. Larry Drew, maybe you should try this as a permanent solution. [Note: This starting option would still only mean 20 mins or less for Jason Collins or else I rebuke everything I just said.]
And with that note, that's this week's 5 Truths....agree or disagree if you must, but if it's the Honesty Corner, then it can't be lies. See you in the comments...