Photo via hawksquawk.net.
Where does the offense go from here?
Love him, hate him or covet his bank account, Joe Johnson was a consistent scorer.
He was Atlanta's leading scorer, in fact, and now the Hawks are tasked with establishing another prolific point-totaling option.
Is that someone Josh Smith?
Most would say yes, but he's hardly the dominant inside-out option Johnson was. He shot 25.7 percent from beyond the arc last season, and per Kirk Goldsberry of CourtVision Analytics, nearly a fifth of his field-goal attempts were "long twos," yet he converted on just 36.9 percent of those.
At this point, it's neither naive nor ignorant to admit Smith's 18.8 points per game could have merely been a product of the defense's focus on Johnson, as well as Al Horford's absence.
Which brings us to Horford himself.
Can he stay healthy long enough to develop into a No. 1 scoring option? Should the offense even be run through him?
Truth be told, we don't know. His best season came in 2010-11, when he averaged more than 15 points per game in over 35 minutes of action. Impressive? Yes. But without Johnson to help stretch defenses, can he do more in the same kind of minutes? Doubtful.
So, who will step up? Will Smith elevate his game? Can the ball be put in Horford's hands more? Should the Hawks look to Lou Williams or Jeff Teague to become the go-to scorer?
The praise that came with shedding payroll in Johnson's departure is now a distant memory. Reality is beginning to set it in, and Atlanta needs to figure its new-look offense out.