Atlanta Hawks

Human Highlight Reel: Why the Hawks Will Be Fine Without Avery Johnson

ATLANTA - MAY 10:  Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks against Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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John ReidCorrespondent IIIJune 10, 2010

Once Mike Woodson was let go the immediate thought on the minds of Hawks fans everywhere was, "Let's hire Avery Johnson! He has Finals experience."  I heard all of the conversation on how he would motivate the talented-but-undisciplined Hawks, how he would utilize the skills of center Al Horford and forward Josh Smith to their fullest potential.

To that I say....oh really?  Think about this for a second.  Had the Hawks hired Johnson they would've gotten a coach with experience in the Finals, but also a coach who has shown an ability to lose the confidence of his players.

Go back to Game 1 of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.  He allowed the Golden State Warriors to dictate the pace of the series by shifting his lineups to adjust to their style.  It displayed a lack of confidence in his plan and as a result the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated in six games. 

The following season he didn't make the necessary adjustments against Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, which led to his departure.

If there's one thing Atlanta doesn't need right now it is a coach who doesn't know how to make the simple adjustments necessary to place his team in position to win.  Woodson was let go because the team began to tune him out, which was part of the problem Johnson had in Dallas.  The same thing would've happened here, only by then many of the guys who are here would be ready to leave via free agency.

Right now Atlanta needs a communicator.  Someone who not only can coach X's and O's but also can manage personalities of a team that desperately needs to be more disciplined on offense.  My vote is for Duane Casey (also a Mavericks assistant) to come aboard and guide Atlanta to the next level.

Remember that the best coaches today were once assistant coaches who just needed to be placed in the right situation.  I believe that Casey is the answer that Atlanta is looking for.  Stay tuned to the Human Highlight Reel for further updates.

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