In the clearest sign that there is a departure from the Billy Knight era, GM Rick Sund took about 30 minutes of his time prior to the Hawks/Suns game to talk with the Atlanta Hawks Blog Nation. What was a Part Introduction/part Q & A was a very informative look at the inner workings of the man who has the now enviable position of elevating the team from potential 4 seed to potential title contender.
It's from that prism that we gleaned some very interesting points and are still wondering on others:
Interesting points first:
1. GM Sund was a very gracious and open guy. You ask a question - you get an answer. Since we are Hawks Str8 Talk, we like that. Might not like all of the answers, but we like it. We like off the record quotes even more. Can't tell you what they were, but we do like feeling like - he knows what he can and can't say, while wanting to be clear that if you can read btw the lines - you'll find your answer.
2. To some answers, Josh Childress...nothing could be gleaned regarding this situation. The standard answer was simply - he's in the same situation with us this offseason as last. Here's hoping that with a different result - either sign and trade or matching an offer.
3. There was clarity around the Flip Murray signing. While most thought he was simply a shooting guard, he was brought in to be a backup point and shooting guard. Sund said he likes the upside of 70% of the team and included Law in that mix, but did not seem to be worried about Law's time on the bench.
4. GM Sund was also not as certain about our foray to the playoffs, but did mention that the goals for the team - to have a winning record while making the playoffs. To win 25 games at home at a minimum (though hoping for 30). Those were the bench marks.
5. Barring something spectacular, the Hawks will not be making any moves to improve the team. That was made pretty clear. The note that team chemistry is probably the #1 thing for this team right now and he's not looking to change the mix anytime soon.
6. There was also no clarity on the re-signing of Mike Bibby, but it was noted that Bibby is having a great year and we'll see what happens when the season is over. (My read: Bibby being re-signed is probably mutually beneficial - at the right price).
7. Sund loves Al Horford as a center, not a power forward. He looks at him as one of the top 3 and a potential All Star Center for us.
1. It wasn't clear whether he believes this team can make a deep run into the postseason.
2. It wasn't clear if he believes the post and backup point guard situations could be improved.
3. It wasn't clear how long this group could be together without competing for a NBA title.
4. It wasn't clear if Acie Law is the point guard of the future.
It was a great opportunity to see what the powers that be think about the squad and with the season we're having - it's hard to complain with the front office's choices (sans letting Childress get away for nothing and possibly Woodson's return - though he had a plausible answer for that, which was that he felt that based on the playoff run that Woody deserved a chance with a healthy point guard and team to see how far he could take the team.) Sund explained that he's taken steps to take a mix of old and new to keep some continuity while adding his stamp on the team and its success. To date, it's hard to argue the results as much as the Blog Nation (and traditional media might). Let's hope that at 50--32 we can toast to a season well played and home court advantage in the playoffs.