Before I delve into the Atlanta Hawks as the regular season quickly approaches, I want to touch on a great philosophical question. It’s not as deep as the chicken-and-egg, or as metaphysical about the throwing abilities of a woodchuck, but it’s still something that’s keeping me awake at night. Why, in the MLB postseason games on TBS and Fox, is there a graphic keyed behind home plate only on the center field camera, but when they switch to another camera or use a tight shot, is it just a green screen? The things that bother me.
I know in my last entry I said that the results of the preseason do not matter, but the minutes spent working on Larry Drew’s system does. That’s a valid point, but any fan should be worried that the Hawks have posted two victories. Just to prove I’m not entirely a pessimist, Atlanta defeated the mighty Heat in probably the best complete performance we’ve seen. Okay, here comes the pessimism. Miami had starters out with nagging injuries that will be gone for the season opener. (Gilbert Arenas, take note) Also, Miami will get the best effort from everyone they play, and when you boil it down, it is just the preseason. With the injury situation, Atlanta left a sizable group in the training room during a two-game road trip in the middle of the preseason slate. That hindered Larry Drew’s efforts to install his motion offense. But one thing it does not excuse is a couple of lackluster showings, like Friday night’s 99-66 loss to Charlotte. Okay, it was one day after the Heat victory, but at this level, letdowns like this should never happen.
For comparison, let’s look at their co-tenants of Philips Arena, the Atlanta Thrashers. They’re also owned by Atlanta Spirit, and as such also has to turn over to management any spare change they find outside the building (Kidding – but it wouldn’t surprise me). The Thrashers put up a donut in the preseason win column, and are working in a new coach – Craig Ramsay. But after two weeks of the regular season, the Thrashers have a 3-4-1 record. All three wins have been of the comeback variety, including the opener against Washington, and two more while they were on the West Coast. Signs of things to come? Maybe, but the Thrashers have the second lowest payroll in the league, and are almost $20 million under the salary cap. Suddenly, that joke about giving over found change doesn’t sound so farfetched. I’m just wondering how long they can keep it up before reality sets in, and I’m also thinking the same thing about the Hawks.
I shouldn’t be so negative. The Hawks have virtually the same roster from a squad that won 53 games last year. Sports Illustrated picked them fourth in the East. The days of them at the bottom of the conference are way back in the rearview mirror. My brain spits out those facts, and they are truly optimistic facts, but, I guess every positive can be turned into a negative. Miami, Boston, Chicago all got better. Orlando still dominates. I want to believe this team can take that step to greatness, but my gut is telling me otherwise. That, and the stat that Atlanta got outrebounded by five during the whole preseason. And the 46.6% opponent FG shooting (fifth worst in the league) isn’t helping either. Maybe the carping will make them play better. I don’t know. We’ll see Wednesday.
Last week, the Hawks held an open practice at Milton High School. It was a wise choice, as Milton’s boys team are the defending champion in Georgia’s largest classification. They drew a good crowd, as 1,700 attended. I wanted to go and check it out, but I had to call a soccer game for Georgia Perimeter College, and then get to my parents’ house and take care of my mother, who fell and tore her rotator cuff. So you see, I have a very good excuse.
One more thing. I’ll watch the opener with Memphis, then I’m heading for Albany, GA to announce a Junior College Regional soccer tourney (men’s and women’s) for PSBlive.com. It’s video streaming, so I’ll make my TV debut. I had a whole joke ready, but it didn’t make sense without a large exposition. I guess I’ll let it go until another time. I’ll try to post while studying the teams for the tourney. I’m glad the regular season is upon us. I plan to enjoy it, as I’ve got a bad feeling the 2011 season won’t start on time.
About the Author
Written by John Morgo
John Morgo lives in Atlanta, GA where he has done broadcast work for CNN, The Weather Channel and Encompass Digital Media. As of right now, he does Internet play-by-play for Georgia Perimeter College and Norcross High School. With GPC, he is the voice of the men's soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.