2012 NBA Playoff Wrap-Up: Atlanta Hawks
It was another early exit for the Atlanta Hawks. They fell to the Boston Celtics in six games. At what point do they go in a different direction? I bring in William Sevidal (@WilliamSevidal) of Peachtree Hoops to talk about that and the series against Boston.
Well, that was a bizarre ending to Game 6. The Josh Smith jumper. No freethrows for Al Horford after the foul before the inbounds. What do you make out of all of this?
Nothing much to say really. It was a bizarre way to end the game and the series, but honestly, I can't blame the refs or any single player or individual. Do I think the refs missed a call with Marquis Daniels fouling Al Horford before the ball was inbounded? Yeah, but even though they did, it doesn't erase the fact that the Hawks couldn't execute down the stretch and that Al Horford missed a crucial free throw. It's not a good way to end the series/season, but it happened already and the outcome can't be changed, so everyone (players, fans, coaches, bloggers) just has to move on.
What did Al Horford provide that was missing earlier in the series?
A legit player in the Center position. The Hawks were playing Erick Dampier, Jason Collins, and Ivan Johnson before Horford came back, and not any of them provided anything close to what Al Horford provided. Jason Collins played decent in Game 1, but was pretty useless for the rest of the series. Ivan Johnson was so small compared to Garnett that he got killed from the very start, which made Larry Drew actually cut him from the rotation. Erick Dampier was the best out of the 3, but even he couldn't provide anything close to what Horford provided. Dampier had his shining moments but he also had a lot of low moments that actually made Jason Collins look like an option Larry Drew should consider.
With Horford, the Hawks actually had a player that the Celtics needed to game plan for. He was a force on the defensive end and he wasn't a liability on offense. None of the three players mentioned above played good defense consistently, and also none of them provided much offense. Would the outcome of the series have been different if he was available earlier in the series? Maybe, but I hate doing the "what if" game.
What is next for the Hawks? At some point, they're going to have to make big moves, right?
Yup. This team needs changes and they have to address a lot of things in the off-season like....
- Should they trade Josh Smith already before he becomes a free agent after next season?
- Is Larry Drew the right coach for this team?
- Is Jeff Teague a championship caliber point guard?
- Should they make a move to sign Steve Nash?
- Is it time to amnesty either Joe Johnson (doubtful) or Marvin Williams?
- Should they re-sign Rick Sund as the GM again?
- What happens to Kirk Hinrich? Tracy McGrady? Willie Green? Jannero Pargo? Ivan Johnson? Jason Collins (please let him go)?
- Should there be a fire sale like what Portland did this season?
Honestly, there's a lot more for the organization to think about, I'm just saving myself (and all TNLP readers) from feeling depressed for this Hawks team. This team has a lot of holes and a lot of problems. The Hawks have to make changes. Everyone is tired of seeing the make-up of this Hawks team.
PHOTO CREDIT: NBA.Com screencap.