A great response to our first mailbag of the regular season. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. Now lets get to it.
When are we going to get to see Payne get some run? Did the foot issues set him back that much or was he always going to be this far down the depth chart? Do you think he get's a shot to contribute soon or is this a red shirt year for him?
Seems like most all of the questions about this team in the early going has been about the rotation. I wouldn't just write Payne off just yet. I think he still has a chance to get into the mix but he didn't look like he was up to speed with the system during the preseason. No doubt the foot injury didn't help the situation at all. I don't have a real answer for when we might see him play. He seems like the most logical choice for a stint in the D-League just to knock some of the rust off. Injuries showed us last season that anything can happen and guys can find themselves suddenly thrust into the rotation but I think Payne is going to need a stint in the D-League before he is a real option.
Where are the areas you feel the Hawks need to improve in order to improve their consistency and not leave us fans on the verge of a heart attack with the close games?
Consistency across the board but mostly on the defensive end of the floor. This team isn't as fluid offensively as they were last season but I'm not worried about that end of the floor. Just in the last two weeks we have seen the Hawks clamp down when they had to in wins over Utah and Miami. We also have seen them fall behind by 35 in the first half against Cleveland and allow the Lakers to score 114 points. We have yet to see them go out and play what I would categorize as a complete game. The Miami win was close but there is still room for improvement.
Let's say the lakers bottom out, Kobe wants a trade, and is willing to come to Atlanta. What would it take to get him here and would it be worth it?
How many different ways can I say no? First, Kobe is making $23 million this season. That means the Hawks would have to part with several of their core pieces just to make the trade work. That makes the team worse anyway you look at it no matter how good Kobe might be. To make it worse, Kobe is owed $25 million next season and a quick look at this Lakers roster shows that players are knocking down the door to play with him.
He is one of the best ever, but trading for a 36-year old Kobe Bryant who is coming off of an Achilles injury would not make a whole lot of sense.
Do you think Paul Millsap will be traded before the deadline? If so, who do you think are interesting pieces he could be traded for?
Its too early to say but if the last two trade deadlines are any indication then I'd say the probability is low for a couple of reasons. First, the Hawks like their group and have been nothing but complimentary of Paul. You get the sense that they see him as part of the picture going forward. Second, expiring contracts haven't had the value under the new CBA that they used to have. Teams are reluctant to give up draft picks for players on the final year of their deal. If the Hawks want to trade Millsap there will be suitors but the return may not be what Atlanta is looking for. Its really too early to even identify who might be buying or selling at the trade deadline.
How soon will we see Carroll returning?
As soon as Friday but not before.