This is the year for the Atlanta Hawks; it's boom or bust.
If the Hawks don't make a significant splash in this year's postseason, then it will officially be time to start looking in a different direction in Atlanta.
However, I don't want to entirely rule out a Hawks run this postseason. Keep in mind the trouble they gave the Chicago Bulls last year with an inexperienced point guard in Jeff Teague, an overweight Josh Smith, a bothered-by-injury Joe Johnson and an at-the-time-dysfunctional-sixth-man in Jamal Crawford (great vs. Orlando, did terribly against Chicago).
This year, Teague will garner more experience and only grow as a player, Smith has lost 25 pounds since last season, Johnson is back and looking healthy and spry, Crawford is gone but he'll be replaced by a playmaking Tracy McGrady and an interesting project in Pape Sy is likely to get minutes early in the season with Kirk Hinrich out.
This year's team isn't full of world-beaters, but make no mistake—they'll be able to compete with and even beat Chicago or Boston. There is a cautious sense of optimism with this Hawks team, and rightfully so.
The bottom line remains the same, though. This is likely the last season the Hawks will be under Rick Sund as GM (expiring contract), and with the ASG looking to sell, a new owner could really look to shake things up.
If the Hawks don't make noise in the playoffs, a shakeup is just what they need. Here are five steps that could have Atlanta rebuilding without missing a beat.