2009-10: 53-29, 2nd in the Southeast, 3rd in the East, beat Milwaukee in 7 games, lost to Orlando in 4
Coach: Larry Drew (1st year coach)
Projected Starting Lineup:
Point Guard: Mike Bibby
Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson
Shooting Forward: Marvin Williams
Power Forward: Josh Smith
Center: Al Horford
Key Bench Players:
Guards: Jamal Crawford
Center: Etan Thomas
Sleeper: Marvin Williams
Keys to Success: Great bench play, adding another big man to compete for Eastern conference title.
Summary: In 2009 the Atlanta Hawks took that extra step and officially became contenders in the East. Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford played great off the bench while Al Horford elevated his game in route to an All-Star appearance.
Atlanta’s off season has been criticized by many experts. The Hawks started the summer by firing head coach Mike Woodson, who led them to two straight playoff appearances. They also gave Joe Johnson a max contract, a deal considered to be one of the worst in NBA history.
An unhappy Jamal Crawford might also disrupt the locker room. Crawford reportedly requested a trade earlier this month.
Despite all the internal issues, the Hawks will still find themselves in the thick of things. Great backcourt play will win games in the East, but the lack of a legitimate inside presence will hurt the Hawks in the playoffs. The signing of Etan Thomas will help the weak frontline.
Despite having the 6th Man of the Year, Atlanta still has one of the weakest benches in the East. In order to make a deep run into the playoffs, they will need to add another big man.
Predictions: I predict the Hawks to finish 5th in the East. They didn’t get any better over the off season while teams in front of them did. I think they will lose to the Bulls, my 4th seed, in the first round of the playoffs.
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