HAWKS OFFSEASON REVIEW: PART 5

This is the last installment to my 5 part series on the offseason of the Atlanta Hawks. Since the end of the 2009-2010 season, the Hawks Front Office has had a full plate of question marks on their table that need to be answered: will head coach Mike Woodson be back next season, will they resign Joe Johnson, will Josh Childress come back from Greece, will Marvin Williams or Mike Bibby be moved to upgrade at the 3 or 1, will they finally get a 7 foot Center to place next to the undersized Al Horford. We are near the end of the NBA 2010 – 2011 Offseason with most of these questions fully answered. In this 5 part series, I will deliver a full answer and explanation to each of these questions.

5. Will the Hawks sign a 7 foot Center to place next to Al Horford?

Not really. The Hawks GM has assured us that he is done making moves and he has finished the training camp roster. The training camp roster will consist of 14 players. So let’s look back at the moves that the Hawks have made that resulted in the answer “not really”. In a draft that consists mostly of Centers (7 footers), Hawks fans were convinced we would see the Hawks make a splash and take a young 7 foot Center to eventually allow Al Horford to move to his appropriate position of PF. With the 24th pick, the Hawks draft another foward (Damion James), but thankfully trade his rights away for the 27th and 31st pick in the draft. There wasn’t a lot of Center talent around the 27th pick, so this would be a chance to draft a PG to solidify the position with two young players (Greivis Vasquez or Jordan Crawford). The Hawks end up taking Jordan Crawford, the more combo guard that reflects the same kind of play as Jamal Crawford. With the 31st pick, there was a lot of promise because the Hawks had a litter of Centers to choose from (Tibor Pleiss, Hassan Whiteside, Solomon Alabi, Jerome Jordan, etc). With a lot of quality Centers slipping to the 31st pick, the Hawks draft Center, 7 footer, Tibor Pleiss. At last!!! After 6 seasons (2004-2005 Kevin Willis) of having undersized Centers, the absence of a 7 footer on the Hawks has ended… for only a few minutes. After drafting Tibor Pleiss, the Hawks trade his rights away to the Oklahoma City Thunder for cash. After a taste of sweetness, my mouth became bitter and cheap. The Hawks reasoning for trading the pick for cash is because they need the money for their upcoming Free Agents of Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Jamal Crawford, Mike Bibby (in reality all of it went to Joe). Then, with their final pick (53rd) the Hawks draft yet ANOTHER SG. At the end of draft night, Hawks fans were disappointed and rattled. Now Hawks fans turn to Free Agency to feed our need.

The Hawks had some big suiters interested in signing. The first big name interested was Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq had his choice of Atlanta or Boston. Shaq has decided to play for the Boston Celtics, to play alongside The Big Three (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett) to now make it The Big Four, signing a two year $3 Million contract. It makes sense for Shaq because he will be ending his prolific career with the historical Celtics. The story was the Hawks were not going to pay the money Shaq was demanding (2 year $8 Million). But for a player as prolific as Shaq, if the Hawks signed him, the Hawks ticket sales would SKYROCKET! Instead, Hawks sign two mediocre Center’s (not 7 foot tall) in Josh Powell and, the last big signing, Etan Thomas. Etan is a fantastic rebounder… when he’s healthy. Etan’s issue has always been his health. If Etan can stay on the court, he will have an impact for the Hawks. When Etan is on the court, he will solely be used for his physical toughness and defensive presence due to his lack of hand eye coordination on offense. So why did the Hawks not make a big splash in signing any bigs like Shaquille O’Neal, Brad Miller, Erick Dampier, Jermaine O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, or EVEN Kwame Brown:

Reason 1: Al Horford. Even though he is undersized at Center, he was an All Star last year at that position. But, when your players are even agreeing with adding an “impact” Center (both Al and Josh agreed). Al knows he is not a Center, and by playing him there, you are potentially shortening his career.

Reason 2: No money. Hawks front office did not want to pay anyone big money because they did not want to get in the Luxury Tax threshhold. If you were afraid of the Lux Tax, then WHY DID YOU GIVE ALL YOUR MONEY TO JOE JOHNSON!!! That money could have easily paid for Joe’s demands AND an “impact” center.

So thank you Hawks for once again skimping out on one of the holes in the roster. With your choices this summer, be prepared for a long, and mediocre season.

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