As if digesting my own defecation wasn't degrading enough, I had to sit through yet another deflating end to yet another disappointing Atlanta Hawks season last night—making the whole poop-eating thing a little less depressing.
Despite snapping a 15-game losing streak in conference semifinal games and winning Game 1 of a second round playoff series for the first time since moving to Atlanta 43 years ago, the Hawks still managed to serve up their own plate of poo in front of a partially-filled Philips Arena.
Unfortunately for those who sacrificed two hours of their lives by tuning in, we were all forced to stomach it.
But haven't we become accustomed to this by now? Should the Hawks getting embarrassed on national television really upset us that much? I know that I won't lose any sleep over it, but I fear that there is a sizable portion of Atlantans that will—and that bothers me.
This is a franchise that has enjoyed a recent run of relative success in spite of poor front office decision making, questionable roster moves and an ownership group that's as tangible as a coherent thought from Charlie Sheen (about five weeks too late, sorry).
Whether it was the puzzling promotion of Larry Drew, a direct understudy of a coach who was perhaps one of the most clueless in the entire league, the absurd resigning of Joe Johnson or the repeated draft pick whiffs, the long-term viability of this franchise is inevitably in question.
Drew's offensive game plan was supposed to promote ball movement and a balanced scoring attack, but it repeatedly regressed to the days of 18-foot jumpers and And1 impersonations.
The 6-year, $119 million contract that the Hawks tendered was supposed to anoint Joe Johnson as the team leader and down-the-stretch scorer that this team so desperately needed, but Johnson proved to be just as inconsistent and un-clutch as ever—averaging 13.2 points in Atlanta's six playoff losses.
Do the names Shelden Williams (4.5 PPG), Acie Law (3.9), DerMarr Johnson (6.2), Cal Bowdler (3.0) or Dion Glover (8.2) ring a bell?
If not, it's no big deal. Those are just a few of the Hawks first-round draft picks over the past 15 years that haven't exactly "worked out".
Of course, we all remember the drafting of one Marvin Williams, who was selected No. 2 overall and ahead of such perennial All-Stars as Chris Paul and Deron Williams. What if I told you that he averaged 4.8 points this postseason?
The one silver lining for the Hawks this postseason was the emergence of Jeff Teague, a player who's been buried on the bench for the majority of his young NBA career but averaged 14.8 points and 4.2 assists against the Bulls.
However, Teague's superb postseason play actually speaks to the incompetence of this Hawks coaching staff and makes me wonder why he wasn't playing more often than 13 minutes per game during the regular season.
Despite all of these red flags suggesting that perhaps I shouldn't become emotionally invested in a team that's let this city down so many times before, I still succumbed to the allure of a potential Eastern Conference Finals berth as the Hawks took Game 1 in Chicago and appeared as if they might accomplish the impossible.
After losing four of the next five games, including two on their home floor, the Hawks found themselves where they usually do this time of year: bounced from the playoffs before mid-May.
I guess that's what I get for going against my instincts and better judgment by thinking that this franchise could actually do something of great significance. Oh yeah, and the 43 years of underachievement and irrelevance might've had something to do with it as well.
@ Roxanne Dimacale
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