Remember the bad ole days?
It wasn't too long ago so I assume you do, but here's a quick refresher to jog your memory.
The year was 2007. The Atlanta Hawks just wrapped up their third consecutive losing season under head coach Mike Woodson en route to another last-place finish in the Southeast Division.
For the eighth straight season, the Hawks would watch the NBA Playoffs from their couch just like the rest of us — assuming they cared enough to actually tune in.
Sure, the first three years of the Mike Woodson era weren't exactly "peachy."
But following equally unsuccessful stints until the tutelage of Woodson's predecessors — Lon Kruger and Terry Stotts — nobody really seemed to care about the Hawks' ineptitude.
Fast forward three years and those same Woodson-led Hawks are in the midst of their third consecutive postseason "run" (a first-round exit in 2008 and a second round sweep in 2009 aren't what I'd call runs).
Atlanta posted its best regular season record in 13 years (53-29) and entered the 2010 version of the NBA's second and third and fourth and fifth season as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Many NBA savants predicted the high-flying, unproven Hawks to advance to very unfamiliar territory — the Conference Finals — this postseason.
But thanks to road playoff losses number nine and 10 of the Woodson regime, the Hawks find themselves struggling mightily to squash a severely undermanned Milwaukee Bucks team.
Regardless of their playoff fate, the Hawks are likely destined for a return to the world of irrelevance they have inhabited for a majority of the franchise's 41-year history.
OK, so Josh Smith and Al Horford will still be here, but losing a player with Johnson's ball-hogging jump-shooting skills will be hard to replace (please don't tell J-Smoove's long-range game that).
Come to think of it ... I don't recall the Hawks being that relevant when they were winning.
Three consecutive playoff appearances and there isn't a single lasting moment. No game-winning shots. No epic individual performances. No reason to do anything other than check for the final score in the next day's newspaper.
Actually, the Hawks do have a memorable postseason performance: losing in the first round of the 2010 Playoffs to an average Bucks squad full of journeymen and no-names.
(raise imaginary champagne glass)
Here's to you, Atlanta Hawks' relevancy.
It was nice knowin' ya.
(photo courtesy of djbelc01/flickr)
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