Here's the thing, this is exactly what I wanted. For at least the past two seasons, I've been on the "let Joe go and build around Josh and Al" bandwagon. I'd seen enough of that group to know they had peaked. I appreciated all that Joe had done for the franchise, but it was obvious that he was never going to get them within striking distance of the Larry O'Brien trophy. Rick Sund obviously did not agree with my assessment. The moment he was able to offer Joe a max contract, he did so without hesitation. I remember the queasiness I felt when I heard about the deal. I have nothing against Joe, but as a Hawks fan, that was a pretty clear signal that ownership was content with being good, not great. While other teams were making big moves, the Hawks were chilling, acting as if they were a perfectly seasoned steak and a pinch of any extra spice would just ruin it.
This past summer the ASG made some huge changes. They replaced Rick Sund with Danny Ferry, and apparently gave him the green light to replace whomever he saw fit. He was able to undo the wrong Sund did a couple of summers before. HE GOT JOE OFF THE BOOKS!!!!! Joe is scheduled to make a king's ransom over the next 4 years, and Danny Ferry made unloading him look easy. God bless him. Having already gained the adulation of many a Hawks blogger, he then got Marvin Williams off the books. At that point he was jut showing off. He unloaded a marginal superstar with a monstrous contract, and an underachieving player who's paid like an asset. No matter how this season turns out for Atlanta, he should get some Executive of the Year votes.
After all was said and done, the Hawks brought in some decent players to try to replace Joe Johnson. Lou Williams, Devin Harris Kyle Korver, John Jenkins, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson all have an opportunity to endear themselves to Hawks fans. As history has shown us in Atlanta, they don't have to be great, they just need to be good. The players on the Hawks roster who need to be great are, Josh, Al and Jeff. Quiet as kept, Josh has been the most important player on the team for a number of years. His contract is up, so I fully expect him to have a career year. Al has been consistent, but if there's another level of productivity within him, this would be the perfect year for him to reach it. Jeff needs to show us who he really is. This is a make or break year for him as far as I'm concerned. I was clamoring for him to get the chance to run this team from the moment they drafted him. It's time for him to show us whether or not the point guard position is one that still needs to be addressed.
All things considered, I think this team will enjoy the element of surprise. I expect them to win around 47 games, and finish no lower than 6th in the conference. Go Hawks!
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