Despite being a No. 8 seed with a poor record, the Hawks took the eventual champion, Boston Celtics to all seven games.
Since then, there has been a good deal of buzz surrounding this team. Despite this hype, the Hawks have not been able to live up to expectations. Their roster is loaded with talented, but overpaid players.
There is no doubt that the team can consistently make the playoffs, but is it worth playing every year for a No. 5 or No. 6 seed and a first-round playoff loss?
As an Atlanta sports fan, I would rather see the Hawks make changes that consistently finish in the back half of the Eastern Conference.
Frankly, it is time to rebuild.
The Hawks are in this situation because of a handful of major mistakes. First mistake occurred during the 2005 draft.
With the second selection in the draft, the Hawks were entitled to any college player they desired. The options were the three college-proven point guards; Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Raymond Felton or the one year wonder forward, Marvin Williams.
They selected Marvin Williams and his boatload of potential. Unfortunately, he never lived up to the hype.
The next mistake was paying Joe Johnson the maximum contract. Johnson is definitely a talented guard that can score as well as anyone in the NBA, but he is not a player that can lead a team to a championship. The Hawks will owe him $119 million through the duration of his six-year deal.
The team will never be a serious contender with Johnson as the feature player.
More than likely, it will require a mixture of both.
To start this process, the Hawks must begin by trading Johnson and Williams. Since they are both overpaid, their value is not extremely high. Thus the Hawks will likely be forced to include players like Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia or Jeff Teague.
Ideally, the Hawks can move Johnson, Williams and possibly Smith in a multi-team deal that would send numerous first-round draft picks and a budding star to Atlanta.
Hopefully in this deal, the Hawks would be able to maintain both Teague and Pachulia. Along with that pair, they would have All-Star center Al Horford, Kirk Hinrich, Jamal Crawford and whomever they receive from the trade.
I honestly can see that group sneaking into the playoffs as a No. 7 or No. 8 seed. With the acquired draft picks, the team would only improve over time, eventually becoming a contender.
Will the Hawks ever do this?
The Hawks management is satisfied with the current situation: consistent mediocrity.
So, for the next five years after this year’s playoffs, the Atlanta fans will be forced to watch the “Hopeless Hawks.”
It will be exciting to watch the Hawks take on one of the stacked teams at the top of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs each year, but it will be even more devastating to watch the Hawks lose in the early rounds.