There is an abundance of optimism surrounding the Atlanta Hawks this season and there should be. A 4-0 start is tops in the Eastern conference and they lead the most competitive division in basketball.
This season the Hawks have shown improvement in certain areas such as ball rotation, wining on the road and closing out inferior teams, yet there is one thing that is keeping the Hawks from being a legit title contender.
Many people will point to the lack of a true big man or the lapses in perimeter defense as points of why this team is not legit; those arguments are valid. With that said, this particular Hawks team, especially this year, is not in need of a dominant big man and the defense doesn’t have to be stifling for them to win games this year. However, they must continue to move the ball around and find the open man.
For the most part of this early season the Hawks jump on teams early with solid ball movement and excellent shot selections. By the time the third quarter rolls along, it feels as if Mike Woodson is back on the sidelines and the isolation offense is back in full swing, only to have the Hawks wake up and realize that’s not working and switch back to passing the ball.
This lapse in consistency will help us lose every time against good teams. Fortunately the Hawks schedule has been in their favor in allowing them to grow and make mistakes without costing them games.
Atlanta must apply consistent pressure for four quarters of the game and not just a half if they plan to defeat those teams such as Miami, Orlando, and Boston. Since Atlanta is lacking a big man, they can’t afford to play isolation basketball. It doesn’t work for them.
The Hawks can shoot with the best of any team in the league and coach Larry Drew needs to continue to feed the teams strength. It’s very early in the year but this Hawks team has the potential to be special with focus and most importantly consistency.