You would not know it by watching them lose by 17 points at New York Wednesday night, but the Atlanta Hawks are five games over the .500 mark as the All-Star break beckons. Riddled by injuries and with their head coach embroiled in criticism and rumors flying about locker room unrest, the Hawks dropped their third consecutive game as they braced for a Thursday night matchup with the Magic before the break officially set in.
Al Horford’s torn pectoral muscle has caused the Hawks to fight an uphill battle that will likely last for the rest of the season without him, and Joe Johnson was unavailable on Wednesday with a knee injury that will keep him out until after the All-Star break. Drew has been taken to task for his questionable handling of personnel, and Marvin Williams was recently in the middle of a media storm that centered around alleged trade demands.
Josh Smith was snubbed for the All-Star game, another negative storyline that rotated around the team Wednesday as they trailed by as many as 30 points in a game that was never close. Atlanta shot just 39.5 percent from the field as it lost for the eighth time in its past 11 games.
Despite the down play recently, Smith has been a major bright light. He is averaging 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, and also ranks in the Top 15 in blocks and steals. Smith talks about how he has adjusted to defenses keying on him in the first half of the year, and the supporting cast that surrounds him.
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Scott Engel joined RotoExperts.com in 2008 after four years at ESPN.com, where he was an Associate Editor and Fantasy Writer. He began his career as a Fantasy professional in 1996 at CBS Sportsline, where he served as Managing Editor of Fantasy Sports and Senior Writer during his tenure. In 2006, Scott was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in his first year of eligibility. Since joining RotoExperts, Scott's work has also appeared regularly on NFL.com and Yahoo Sports. Scott hosts the RotoExperts morning drive program on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio. In 2011, Scott was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class. You may email Scott @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scotteRotoEx