Atlanta Hawks Prepare for Busy Offseason

Chase SanfordCorrespondent IJune 24, 2009

ATLANTA - MAY 03:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over James Jones #22 of the Miami Heat during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Philips Arena on May 3, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks defeated the Heat 91-78. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

With the Atlanta Hawks continuing to improve over the past two seasons in the NBA, the outlook is bright for the Joe Johnson-led team for the 2009-10 season.

After taking the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics to seven games in the first round of the 2007-08 playoffs, the Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals this past season (only to be slammed by King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers).

Sensing the continuing improvement by Atlanta should leave Hawks fans hopeful for the upcoming season.

Here are some things the Hawks need to take care of before next season begins: See what offers they can get for Josh Smith (his game is exciting but his jumper is weak and his ball-handling skills need more than just work); convince Johnson to be a more vocal leader and also to be a more consistent player; continue to develop Al Horford; have a productive draft; find a point guard (not Acie Law IV) to replace and learn from Mike Bibby and Flip Murray as they are getting older; and most importantly, find a post player who can score from the block in late-game situations.

With a few offseason moves to add a little more depth and scoring power, the Atlanta Hawks have a chance to continue to build on their experience and become a more dangerous team.

If they can finish in the top four in the East this year again, look for them to make some noise this postseason and possibly make a run with more experience.