The Atlanta Hawks 2010-11 season tips off tonight in Memphis, Tenn., against the Grizzlies, but it should end the same way the 2007-08 season did: A first round playoff loss to a far superior team.
I apologize for bursting anyone's bubble, but before you get too wrapped up in the six-month NBA season just know that it will likely be a waste of your time to follow this Hawks team too closely.
It's not that the Hawks got worse during the offseason, it's just that everyone around them got a whole lot better.
The division rival Heat added the best player in the game, the Celtics bolstered their frontcourt by adding Shaquille O'neal, the Bulls added key pieces in Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer and the Knicks acquired Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.
And oh yeah, did I mention that the Orlando Magic—the team that mercilessly ousted the Hawks from the 2010 Playoffs—are still the team to beat in the Southeast Division this year.
Sure, the Cavaliers got worse and the Knicks probably won't be a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference either, but during an offseason like nothing the NBA had ever seen before in terms of so many high-profile players changing jerseys, how did the Hawks stand pat?
Firing your habitually clueless head coach and replacing him with his own assistant and then re-signing your best (and most overrated) player to a max contract that he hasn't earned isn't going to do the trick.
This Hawks team is still just a collection of guys who want to beat you one-on-one or grab garbage buckets and possess no sense of how to play team basketball.
Here is Atlanta's offensive gameplan for the 2010-11 season:
Option 1: Joe Johnson will dribble around for about five seconds before he calls his own number and drives the lane or shoots a three-pointer.
Option 2: Mike Bibby will bring the ball up the court, pass it to Marvin Williams who will miss a 15-foot jumper and Al Horford or Josh Smith will put the back the rebound for an easy two points.
Option 3: Insert Jamal Crawford into Option 1 instead of Joe Johnson.
Option 4: Breakaway slam dunk by Josh Smith that will end up on a highlight reel. Thus, giving the illusion that the Hawks are actually a decent offensive team.
Option 5: Pass the ball around the perimeter for 23 seconds before someone hoists up a 25-footer.
Not exactly what you would call a formula for success, but this clusterf**k of an offense should somehow produce around 95-100 points per game, which is fine for all of those 20-point blowouts that inevitably occur over the course of an NBA season.
But it's those nail-biting fourth quarter finishes that will ultimately reveal how weak of an offensive unit the Hawks have this season.
2010-11 Atlanta Hawks Predicted Result:
42-40 Regular Season record, No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a first-round exit at the hands of the Chicago Bulls
Let's hear what you think: Where will the Hawks finish up this season? Put down a final regular season record and what their postseason fate will be.
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