Mark Bradley has joined John Hollinger in the ranks of respected basketball pundits who rate the Hawks' chances highly this year. He makes a good analogy to the team's emergence in the '85-'86 season, which I hope plays out this year. With the Falcons and Thrashers in the tank and Georgia and Georgia Tech headed for unremarkable seasons, this would be a good time for the Hawks to grab some headlines.
Incidentally, I'm intrigued by the lineup the Hawks deployed last night with Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in the backcourt. Joe doesn't want to play point, but putting him there and moving Marvin to the two alleviates the logjam in the frontcourt and allows the Hawks to deploy their five best players: Johnson, Marvin, Childress, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. (I'm projecting a little on Horford, but I think he'll be the best option at the five by midseason.) If that lineup can defend against smaller, quicker guards, then it would present a lot of match-up problems for opponents. I'd much rather the Hawks' forward get minutes than their point guards.