Whither the Hawks?
Good question, Doug.
And one with no easy answer.
After one of the great capitulations of all time – the Orlando series was the most one-sided four-game sweep in the history of NBA basketball – you’d have to think major change is in order.
Obviously, the Hawks are a good regular season team, they win a lot of games on their athleticism and individual skills.
But equally obviously, that does not translate into playoff success, where teamwork and defence trumps all.
I think that group has reached its potential and I would expect significant change in Atlanta, change that may or may not bring success of an equal amount next season.
I feel nearly certain that Joe Johnson will be gone and I feel equally certain that ownership will look at Mike Woodson and think, ‘well, he’s done as good a job as he can, maybe it’s time for someone else to give it a shot.’
The Hawks do have one big chip and that’s Josh Childress, who has an out from his European contract and remains a restricted free agent. If they do lose Johnson, maybe that gives them enough money to bring him back as some sort of replacement and maybe they can revise their style to one that doesn’t rely so heavily on one-on-one play.
I will say without equivocation that the Hawks team that starts next season won’t look remotely like the one that gave up against the Magic and I guess if you’re a Raptors fan, you can hope that it takes a while for whatever change occurs to take hold and it puts another team in the middle of the Eastern Conference regular season pack rather that near the top.
Hey, those two results mean on thing: We’ve got Wednesday and Friday nights free.
No games either night, no in-game blog thingy, time for some rest and relaxation.
Oh, and I guess the Habs game on Wednesday, right?
Anyway, we will be here tonight and Thursday for Games 5 and 6 in the only series still going. Hope they’re good ones.
If Joe Johnson’s played his last game for his team, do you think the same can be said for Carlos Boozer out in Salt Lake City?
He’s one of the kind-of-forgotten free agents who’ll be on the market this summer, a good player who’s in a system that lets him shine and takes full advantage of his abilities.
I wonder, though, how he does anywhere else. I’m not saying he’s not highly-skilled; what I’m saying is that with the almost constant inside motion that goes with the Jazz offence, Boozer rarely finds himself isolated where bigger, or even second, defenders can come and disrupt him.
Put in something of a more traditional set, I wonder if he’s as effective.
The Jazz has a tough decision to make with him, and I can’t fathom a guess on which way they go.
They’ve got Paul Mlllsap – and kind of undersized power player – under contract for three more years at a pretty good number (about $20 million in total) and while Boozer’s a better player in my estimation, I’m not sure there’s room for both of them on the same team long-term.
Utah’s an intriguing situation, thought. Great point guard, a couple energetic and cheap youngsters on the wings, an intriguing big in Mehmet Okur (when he comes back from the Achilles injury and that might not be until after the regular season ends) and if they can parlay Boozer into, perhaps, a seasoned slashing wing, I can see them remaining among the elite in the Western Conference.
Trip down memory lane, anyone?
Did you know that it was nine years ago to the day – May 11, 2001 – that Vinsanity might have been at its zenith.
That was the day he dropped 50 on the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of that epic second-round playoff series, one of his iconic moments. He had nine three-pointers, a crowd of more than 20,000 was in full throat the entire day and you could make the case it was one of the greatest home moments in franchise history.
And I’m kind of conflicted about it. Part of me can’t believe it was nine years ago; part of me remembers it like it was yesterday.
Odd how an aging mind works.
Hey, big game in Turkey today.
No, Hedo’s not in some off-season charity show or anything, but it’s a Game 3 of the best-of-five Turkish women’s league final.
Why should you care? And why should I know?
Well, local hero Tammy Sutton-Brown – who remains one of the city’s under-appreciated athletic gems – and her Fenerbahce team has a 2-0 lead over Galatasaray in the series and can wrap things up with a win tonight.
And while you’d love to think that celebrating a championship and coming down from the emotional high would be a good thing to do, it’s not the case in Real Women’s Professional Basketball.
As soon as that season ends, it’s back to the WNBA’s Indiana Fever for Tammy.
She’s not alone, of course, all the top women in the WNBA go and augment their salaries by playing a winter-spring season somewhere in Europe. It kind of sucks but it’s the way it is.
Pau Gasol is a stud.
That 33-point gem against the Jazz to finish things off was a pretty impressive performance. Finishing with either hand at the rim, some short jumpers and baseline moves and 14 rebounds was total domination down low.
It’s the kind of thing to give a guy cause to think perhaps the Lakers are the top favourites to win a championship.
But, luckily, a guy’s got a few days to try and figure it out because the Western Conference final won’t commence until next Monday.
Of course, that’s far too long a time to wait but scheduling at this time of year is primarily TV driven and TNT, which will do the West final while ESPN does the East, has suggested a Monday start.
And those kinds of suggestions are often accepted by the league.
There’s no real reason in the world that the Suns and Lakers couldn’t start Friday, or even Saturday. Sucks that they won’t.