Clearly my motivation for this new feature at ETSF was watching the Atlanta Hawks get shellacked, bamboozled, murdalized, molly-whooped, slap-chopped (VINCE), and massacred all over the court by LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I want to take a moment to highlight quite possibly one of the funniest commercials of all-time (ok its a reach but still) by Nike. Featuring your past two MVPs, Kobe and LeBron.
The funny thing is, this is exactly how I think Kobe and LeBron act. LOL...
Ok, back to reality. The boys from Inside the NBA made a fantastic point about the Hawks last night and it stuck in my brain. Kenny Smith said that there's nothing worse than an organization (team) being where Atlanta is right now. They aren't horrible enough to feel like they can make wholesale changes to their team and give their squad a new outlook. Yet, they aren't good enough to feel like they could make a major run at a championship. If I said that Orlando wouldn't win a championship, well how do you think I feel about Atlanta? They've got to make some hard decisions in the off-season, lets go through this accordingly.
#1. Make a decision on Mike Bibby
The same reason that Atlanta was able to become a playoff is what restricts them from becoming great. Bibby brought stability, steady handle, and an ice cold 3-point touch to a Hawks team that maybe outside of Joe Johnson had no clutch performers. The 2007-08 Hawks made a run to the #8 seed last year and played the future champion Celtics to 7 games in the first round, Bibby hit many clutch jumpers and consistently found Josh and Joe for easy buckets by penetrating and dishing. However, Bibby can't do that too much anymore. He was never really fast, just decisive and steady, and he's a free agent so what does Atlanta do?
Trade for Raymond Felton. Felton would be a great add for the Hawks, he can penetrate, he can defend both guard positions, and is an improving jump shooter. You can pay him about $6-8/year and solidify your backcourt for years with Joe and Ray. (By the way, did anyone play NCAA March Madness on PlayStation? Raymond Felton was like super unstoppable on that game, doing 360 dunks and everything. I'm just saying.)
#2. Make a major run for a Power Forward
Look at all the great teams in the playoffs, they have people that can go inside and get them easy buckets when they need them. By either penetrating to the bucket, or by posting up on the block, if you can't do one or the other you are in trouble. Well, let's look at Atlanta...do they have ANYONE that can do either one of those things? Their best penetrator is Flip Murray, who's your 6th man. Your best post player is Al Horford. (Career PPG avg. 10.8) They've got to get someone who can go and draw fouls, lots of them. Get you buckets around the rim and open up space for your shooters (Joe Johnson is raising his hand) to rise and fire.
Go get Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. Both are prominent scorers who can get you 20 a game, and are real matchup problems. How much better would one of those players make Horford? Joe Johnson? Josh Smith?
#3. Make some position changes, ASAP
Ok, here's a problem. Everyone thought they were going to miss Josh Childress after he got his $20M over 3 years in years. Thought wrong, they already had a logjam of people who play the small forward position for the team. Problem is, THEY STILL have a logjam at the small forward position. Additionally, the best person they have to play small forward ISN'T PLAYING SMALL FORWARD! Why do they keep trying to force Josh Smith at the 4? He's an uber-athletic small forward who needs to work on his jumper. Period. You can conceivably trade Marvin Williams, see what you can get for him, and keep Maurice Evans as the backup 3. Are we done here? Yes??!!? Thanks.
#4. Act Like Your In Bankhead, not Buckhead
Does Atlanta scare you? Is there anyone on their team that looks like someone you really don't wanna F with? No, not one? Zaza Pachulia maybe? Ok. That's a problem. Kenyon Martin causes problems for other teams. Not just because he's a great defender and energy guy, but because he's got a mean disposition and has LIPS ON HIS NECK!!! Me personally, I'm not messing with him. Same with Ron Artest, Sideshow Bob Varejao, or any big man from the Celtics. (Seriously, seeing Big Baby, KG, Powe, and Perkins and his turtle face would be an issue)
Atlanta needs to sign some super grimey, like Rasheed Wallace (even though they had him a couple of years ago) or Zach Randolph, somebody that looks like they'll "relieve themselves" on your Maserati for fun. LMAO.
Does this fix Atlanta? Do they become contenders instead of pretenders?