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Atlanta Hawks Commentary: More To Be Done & Plan A is the Only Option

<strong>That's right, you know this...</strong>
That's right, you know this...

HawkStr8Talk: Da Truths – Truncated Offseason Version

I can’t keep trying to do 5 hard hitting truths, so only today I only got 3 for you, my disloyal readership. And going forward - during the slow part of the offseason, it might be anywhere from 1 to 5 truths…never know what nuggets come my way, so let’s get it crackin’.

Truth 1: Operation Perception Change Starts in 5, 4, 3...

Much time has been spent on what players the Hawks can bring in and while it's pretty clear that a run at Howard and Paul is the appropriate focus while being audacious and hopeful at best - there's a second reason why it's important for the Hawks to pursue the best players available in free agency next season (or via trade this season). The Hawks need a change in how we are perceived by the players of the league. Sure, Danny Ferry's moves have given us a boost, but nationally - the Hawks have always been the team with the faulty owners, the passive(and to some, disloyal)management, and fairly uninspired coaching. That's the thought of the media, fans, and yes - the players.

With that being the case, the best way to show there's a new day in town is to make the complete overhaul. This was displayed best by Mark Cuban when the Dallas Mavericks were purchased - he came immediately with new facilities, new management, first rate treatment of players, and a push for the best coaches in the league. No stone was unturned to not only find the best talent, but to raise the profile of the entire organization in the eyes of the fans and ownership. The Hawks still have a ways to go in terms of fan appreciation and that uninspired coaching, but it's fair to say that - making a pitch for the best talent available is part of that plan. Let's just hope that they've considered that the attempt at the best talent has to be accompanied with the changes necessary to make that talent come here (and the requisite cheap talent and future talents who would want to join a first rate organization). We're not there yet, but those changes need to come and come quickly.

· Truth 2: Win At A Loss?

There are several different schools of thought on the best way to build a contender, but one I've never subscribed to is players learning from the bench. At this juncture, there's only 2 potential free agents that deserve significant playing time this year - they are Jeff Teague and Josh Smith (w/ apologies to Zaza Pachulia). The worst thing that can happen this year is to see Larry Drew playing players in search of Ws at the expense of the 4 (6) players who right now are the only players that conceivably are blocks you plan to build a title winner with - those being Al Horford, Josh Smith, Lou Williams, John Jenkins (and Mike Scott and Ivan Johnson).

You want to see the chemistry that can be built with these guys while recognizing that we still need more permanent options at the small forward position, the center position, shooting guard, and possibly point guard. So, for those who care about wins only, there are several ways to accomplish the short term success of making the playoffs, but if you care about the long term growth of the team - chemistry at the possible expense of 2012-2013 wins (and a Larry Drew extension and mid-round first round pick) is the way to go.

· Truth 3 - We Don't Need a Stinking Plan B?

People keep asking me if not Howard and Paul, then who? First, I don't see a reason to even aim at what are B level talents when A level talents are still available, but ok - you win. Yes, Andrew Bynum is worth considering for a contract too. No, he's not Dwight Howard, but with the right coach - Bynum is a worthy alternative. But then, what do we do about one of those guard slots? Hopefully, there won't be a debate about this fact - we aren't a contender if our starting guards consists of Williams/Teague/Jenkins/whoever else we add...and honestly, we don't have that next option. Could James Harden be that guy? Can a Josh Smith/James Harden/Andrew Bynum led team be a contender?

Possibly, but here's why the Plan A is so important - no one is coming here on the cheap to play with those guys. There's no uber competitive, proven leader, player magnet in that bunch. When we need to add the Ray Allens or Shane Battiers to our mix - Josh/James/Andrew are not going to draw them. Those moves are important towards the end of actually moving from contender to NBA Titlist. And that's why Chris Paul is so key for this need the player magnet - the guy who extends the careers and convince people to take the vet minimum in order to make that run for the title when the talent says - I'm worth 4M a year. So, no Plan B until it's forced upon us and then it becomes Plan A.

Those are my Truths, now tear it shreds in the comments...