Since I've spent so much time talking about games, the scene, the nightlife around the Hawks, I figure it's time to talk about what's left in building our team into a contender.
I'll start with what we have that's solid for a championship contending team...
PG: ? - I don't know that we have a point guard that can take us to the promised land, so there's a need open here particularly with M. Bibby's contract. We certainly can't pay $15M for Mike's next contract. A distributor and leader would go well here. A Chauncey Billups type is highly desired.
SG: Joe Johnson - Joe is a definitely a championship quality SG.
SF: Josh Smith - I say upfront that Josh still needs to learn the game. That said, his athleticism and energy are things that - once harnessed - can't be replicated by many in the game. As for being out of position - Josh already doesn't play on the block and has the athleticism to cover small forwards, so let's just play him here.
PF: Al Horford - Al is a young beast in the post. It would be nice to give him the ball in the post, so that he's comfortable there when we need a bucket down the stretch in a pressure packed game. The Joe Johnson run around until you can find a shot to hit in the 4th quarter strategy doesn't work so well in the far reaches of the playoffs.
C: ? - We do not have a center that commands any respect on the offensive or defensive ends of the court. Big time need here...preferably a mobile giant who can play defense and finish on the break.
Backup PG: Acie Law IV. Listen, I may be in the minority, but I'm convinced that Acie can come in and push the ball, bring some energy, and run the team for 15-25 minute stretches. Does he have to learn the game? Yes. Has he been given the ball and an offensive strategy/role to implement that? No.
Backup SG: Maurice Evans. He's not a natural shooting guard, but he can hit spot up 3pts, defend, and get some rebounds. Plus, he's a veteran. I'll take it.
Backup SF: Marvin Williams. I'd consider it a failure if he were to be any regular backup SF, but I envision Marvin as the super sub. The guy who comes in knowing that he doesn't have to fight Joe and Josh for shots, but that comes in for 20 minutes to GUN and dominate the backups of the other teams, not be a spot up 3pt specialist with the starting unit. That's not what we signed up for, but feeling like he's a Jason Terry / Manu Ginobili would take some stink off this selection and still keep Marvin in the fold.
Backup PF: ? - No, we don't have a power forward who can fill this role, though I'm intrigued to see how much better Solomon Jones can be when given a role and consistent minutes.
Backup C: Zaza Pachulia. Easily a good backup for a championship squad. As long as he accepts the role and spits fire in KG's face, then that's what we need.
Coach: ? - I'm trying to stop pointing out the negatives of Mike Woodson, but I challenge anyone to look at the coaches who have won championships and tell me what's consistent about them and then tell me that we have a coach that will take us to a title. They have an offensive and defensive philosophy. The players know their roles. They have vocal veteran leadership. The coach makes adjustments when necessary.
So, what does that miss and what does this require from the Hawks?
So, what are we using that we don't need...
Flip Murray, step right up. If he can turn into Vinnie 'Microwave' Johnson and we use him exclusively that way, then keep him. If not, then not so much.
Mike Bibby, you're next. I love Mike's ability to shoot, but I would love more - vocal leadership and the ability to penetrate and dish. Mike's not a problem, but his defensive liabilities are not made up for on the offensive end like say...Steve Nash's. So, Mike - you aren't on the Hawks championship team either.
Everyone else on the end of the bench - it's all interchangeable since you would only use at max 9 players in a playoff run anyway, so Gardner, Hunter, Morris, West - whatever happens, happens
Mike Woodson - Look, I'm happy he's seeing some success now, but let's not mistake that for championship level coaching and that's all I'm going to say about that.
So, what do we need, then...
A PG and a Center - Like the rest of the league
and a backup PF and a coach.
These are the four things needed to get the Hawks to a NBA title...easy enough, right?
I won't speculate on what's attainable in this mix, but I am intrigued by one player who may be exactly what we need and might be a target - Paul Milsap. A back to the basket, good shooting, good energy, team concept (taught by Jerry Sloan) big man. He's undersized, but could fill in as a starter or backup for our squad. So, that's what I'm sounding my drum for for Christmas.
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