No matter what Mike Woodson says in team huddles – even if he gives an inspirational overture on par with Gordon Bombay‘s speech in Mighty Ducks 2 – the Hawks aren’t going back to the playoffs if they don’t successful address these five keys to their season.
5. At some point this season, Atlanta’s brass will need to go out and add someone, anyone to beef up their bench. The one aspect of Josh Childress‘ departure for Olympiakos that no one talked about was how it would effect the Hawks. Well it’s left them with perhaps the ugliest bench in the League. Here’s their second line:
* Acie Law IV
* Flip Murray
* Mo Evans
* Solomon Jones
* Zaza Pachulia
That’s not a playoff team’s bench.
4. Last season the Hawks were one of only four teams in the NBA to hit less than 400 three’s on the season. The other three? The Clippers,
Sunset I mean, Sonics, and Sixers. That’s terrible.
Now Atlanta will have Mike Bibby on staff for the entirety of the season, who had made more than 130 treys in each of the previous four seasons. Bibby, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith should be able to touch 400 on their own. It’s on Marvin Williams to hit more than one three. Seriously, that’s all he did last year. He hit one three.
3. They’re a good rebounding team. They ranked 11th in the League in total rebounds. However, that’s only because they killed it on the offensive glass. They were one of the ten worst teams in the League grabbing boards on the defensive end – they rebounded only 71.7% of their opponents’ misses, which is tied for third worst in the L. That translates directly into wins and losses.
During the Celtics series, when they pulled down more defensive boards than Boston, they won. When they didn’t, they lost.
2. For a team as athletic as the Hawks, they play far too slow. Most good teams who plays a slower brand of basketball feature a dominant post scorer: Boston, Houston, San Antonio, and Detroit. Playing faster means more transition opportunities for Josh Smith, which means more easy buckets, which means more Atlanta #5 jerseys sold.
1. The next time Paul Pierce is knocked to the ground and Al Horford is within ten feet, he needs to keep his mouth closed. Don’t step over him, don’t point and scream. Run back on defense and mind your business. You don’t want to piss off the champs.