Thursday, February 15, 2007

Picture Me Rollin'

Hawks 96 Clippers 93

There's been a strong element of luck to the Hawks' West Coast swing. They played the Suns without Nash and the Clippers without Brand. They've won all three close games on the trip, aided by Stephen Jackson missing the winner in the Golden State game, and were otherwise pummelled by Utah. That said, for a young team learning to win, the past week has been outstanding for Atlanta. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are firmly establishing themselves as a formidable 1-2 punch and they've gotten help from Zaza and Childress as their glue guys on the trip.

I thought that a reasonable goal for the Hawks this year would be 35 wins or more and that looks quite attainable now, as the team would need to go a modest 14-16 the rest of the way to achieve that mark. I'd like to dream higher and imagine the Hawks putting pressure on the Magic for the #8 spot in the East (the Magic are #7 right now, one-half game ahead of the Heat, but the Heat are very likely to pass them), but the Hawks' home form will probably prevent that. They aren't the sort of team that holds serve at home and against bad teams such that they can turn a great road trip like this one into a huge run, but maybe they'll surprise us some more.

A few more random numbers:

1. The Hawks have more road wins than any other team in the Eastern Conference.

2. Salim Stoudamire played four minutes last night at didn't attempt a single shot from the field. That must be some sort of record.

3. Shelden Williams is firmly in the dog house right now, as evidenced by the one minute he got last night. Shelden and Marvin have been the two disappointments of the season for the Hawks (injuries have certainly played a role), so maybe it's more important to see some development from the two of them in the final 30 games of the season than it is for the Hawks to make a run at a playoff spot, although the two possibilities certainly aren't inconsistent.


Joel said...

Off topic (kind of), but I just wanted to propose that for all of Billy Knight’s shoddy moves as GM, I don’t think any one move pisses me off more to this day than the selection of Childress over Luol Deng, who would fit in brilliantly with this team and is a borderline all-star (in the weak east, albeit).

Knight gets a lot of flack for taking Marvin over CP3 and D.Williams, but that seems more of a case of hindsight being 20/20. If you recall, the consensus top two picks in the draft were Bogut and Marvin, and there was even some debate as to whether the Bucks should take Bogut or Marvin at #1. I suppose Knight could have traded down a couple notches and taken one of the PGs, but it was pretty much universal thought that Marvin had the highest upside in that draft.

I remember being furious at the Childress pick, predicting Deng would be the second best player in the draft (even better than Okafor…jury still out on that one). Childress is a solid player, but I can’t help but think about how Deng’s passing ability in the low post and sharp 10-20 ft. shooting would benefit this team…but I digress.

Solid 1st half for the Hawks I suppose. I wish Zaza would play more and we could save Ren for garbage time, but that’s only one of about fifty things I could second guess Coach Woodson on (why Royal Ivey still gets mins would be another).

Micah said...

I am amazed that people continue to bag on Childress. Flat out stunned. I understand people wanted Deng, but that is over! It's done. There is no time machine that can take us back. How about celebrate the fact that the guy the Hawks took is an incredibly valuable player in the Shane Battier/Tayshaun Prince mold? Deng might look good on this team (he'd look good on any team), but can he play the point? Childress does, a ton, with the injuries to Speedy and T-Lue right now.

Josh Childress is the kind of player every team needs to win in this league. Stop acting like every 6th pick in the draft always turns into a superstar and be happy that we have a player who helps us win and will continue to do so for a long time.

Joel said...

I never once “bagged” on Childress in my comment. I was simply pointing out an observation that for a lot of the shoddy moves Knight has made and been slammed for, one that people seem to overlook (and that seemed fairly obvious even at the time) was passing on Deng. It was simply a vent to get off my chest.

I am well aware of Childress’ value and that contenders benefit from a player or two like him on their squad. However, the Hawks aren’t exactly brimming with talent to the point where having guys in the Childress/Battier/Price mold are going to push us over some imaginary threshold that has been holding us back.