I would like to say thanks to me. Yes, me. After one of my lengthy rants about the Hawks' problems, problems that are sure (to me) to result in a first round loss in 6 or 7 games or a certain THIRD straight sweep in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs - I was going to smartly show just how insightful I can be about this team by saying 'as bad as we were vs. the Celtics, we'll beat the Nets to prove that we're still flawed, but not flawed enough to incite the kind of change necessary to make the Celtics game temporarily forgettable to the coaches and players and possibly management.' That's been our 2 year pattern. To show just enough to make you think that the flaws you see are correctable.
I provide that backdrop to yesterday's overtime defeat at the hands of the Nets as a point that sometimes, it's better not to always try to sound intelligent about the psyche of the Atlanta Hawks. Yep, that would have been me looking stupid for making a proclamation regarding our makeup and fortitude. I keep seeing articles and blogs about 'is it time to hit the panic button?' Well, if you asked THIS GUY (complete with fingers and thumbs in some Northeastern accent), the time to accurate hit such a button in a way that changes could occur on an ascent to a title would have been when we had trouble beating a woeful Heat team and were swept by the Cavs two postseasons ago. You should have hit it again when we were having trouble with a hobbled Bucks team and again swept by the Magic last postseason. So, yes, the panic button should have impressions of all fan's DNA. Not because of an 8-7 start to the season, but because of our allegiance to a core that has been proven time and time again that it is not suited to play championship basketball. Hitting the panic button now would only provide us with changes that in all likelihood won't make a difference in the end goal, but hey - change is what the Hawks need right now.
Here's some quotes that should be scary two years ago - Mo's quote on Monday about us not knowing our identity, which is a quote he gave in the playoffs two years ago. Every quote that even mentions effort and energy should tell you everything you need to know about why the mix needs to be stirred up in a significant way. I don't know if it will work, but I didn't know that Manu Ginobili would work as the 6th man. I didn't know if Rondo would ever turn into John Stockton without a jump shot either. I do know that trotting out the same 8-9 players and expecting them to do things different, to play differently, to expend effort differently is insane, but I sure would like to see it for about 20 games. I'd like to see Teague setting up Johnson, Horford, and Smith. I'd like to see Evans spotting up for 3s. I'd like to see Marvin in a role where we're asking him to be aggressive and attempting to score when he's not the 4th option in the offense. I'd like to see Bibby managing Crawford's control of the basketball with the 2nd string. It could all lead to a 5 game losing streak and it'll still be the right thing to do. These guys need to feel like their jobs are on the line and that their play will dictate what happens, not what their generic sound bites represent.
Note: I say this with the thought that, like Obama, I want my coach to coach without the concern of losing his job. Unrealistic, I know, but I feel comfortable that the results would leave us better off. I don't know how a coach can listen to these post-game interviews and not throw something through a glass door unless his concern is winning as many games as possible to prove his worth (in regular season wins, mind you). The sound bite - 'we came with energy tonight' as if that's a GOOD thing is as clear of an indictment of where this team is and its ceiling for the season. It's entirely possible for this team to NOT make the playoffs, not likely, but it is possible. You don't think so...go back and see how quickly the Pistons, Wizards, and even the Sixers bit the dust over the past 2-3 years. If you think that can't happen, then maybe you forgot that Josh Smith battled with Mike Woodson or that Jamal Crawford's past is not complete with locker room harmony. Hawks fans, consider yourselves warned.
Paul Millsap is No. 34 in SI.com's Top 100 NBA Players - Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap checks in at No. 34 in SI.com's ranking of the Top 100 players in the NBA this season. SI.com's Ben Golliver a...
6 hours ago