Four reasons why the Atlanta Hawks will make strides this season, despite the loss of Josh Childress:
1. Acie Law and Al Horford will be vastly improved
Law had an awkward rookie season. He seemed lost at times. But Law looks to be ready to really contribute off the bench this season.
Horford looks like a beast. I don't think he will ever be a 20-point-per-game scorer, but if he can score 12 to 15 points a game, grab 10 to 12 boards a game, and block two shots a game, the Hawks will definitely be a force.
2. Better bench
Losing Childress was a big blow, but it wasn't the end of the world. The Hawks now boast a bench rotation of Maurice Evans, Flip Murray, Zaza Pachulia, and Law. If you throw in one more solid backup, you have the makings of a pretty deep Atlanta Hawks team.
3. Josh Smith is back
If the Hawks didn't re-sign Smith, you could forget about the playoffs. Now that he is back, the Hawks are much more athletic. Smith is a little selfish and immature at times, but no one questions his athleticism. He is only 22 and should only get better. When he is rolling, he takes a lot of pressure off Joe Johnson.
4. Increased fan support
The Hawks fans finally showed up for the playoff series with Boston. It also seems many Thrashers hockey fans may be trading in their NHL attention for the NBA this season.
If the Hawks fans continue to show up and get rowdy at Phillips Arena, the they might have quite a home-court advantage. Better support from the fans will spur the Hawks to bigger and better things this season.