Not that anyone would remember, but this was a line I used repeatedly during the beginning of the season, as the Hawks won their first six and lost their seventh to Boston in a rare, early season, epic, on a last-second Paul Pierce jumper.
But as we ponder the end of January, capped by a road loss to the Redd-less Bucks, a team we beat in Atlanta by 30 (THIRTY!!!!!) eight days prior, this is the question that once again comes to mind.
Easiest place to begin this discussion is in the numbers.
January ends with a whimper, as the Hawks finish the month 6-10. To add insult to injury, 5 of those losses were to teams currently at .500 or worse. So they go in to the new year at 21-10. They enter January at 27-20. Eight days after I posted “I don’t think the Hawks will hit 50-wins”, they lost four of their next five.
Discussions abound regarding the issue of depth, but there is no arguing that when one of their starters is out these Hawks are not the same team. 6-6 during Josh Smith’s November outage. 5-7 during the current absence of Al Horford. Not to oversimplify, but these numbers seem to converge at the logical conclusion that the Hawks are a .500 team without either frontline starter. And this issue does reinforce the concern that the Hawks lack either quality depth, or Woody’s willingness to leverage the improved depth (that most folks, pre-season, seemed to view as the best we’ve had in recent memory) that has been handed him.
With an intent to avoid repeating myself, or the thoughts of those who disagree, the end of January DOES hammer home some of the recent concerns, subjectified here and on Sekou’s blog: Can the Hawks really compete, as a legitimate contender in the East, without upgrades to its current roster? And what is any reasonable person to make of the combined conundrum that is Woody’s risky penchant for wearing out his starters, with the obvious results (.500-ish) when any of the starters are out?
Again, are the Hawks going to push, to make the most of this teams’ potential, via added depth or improved roster make up? Or are they going to let this season play out, take credit for what will obviously be the best outcome in a decade, and point towards the uncertainty of future rosters, possibly missing a rare opportunity to compete for the Eastern Conference crown?
Who are these guys (and now the question is dual; who are the Hawks, and who are the ASG)?
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t help but hope that the ASG pulls out all the stops, and takes a shot at greatness this year. As Ray mentioned recently (here or on Sekou’s blog), the Bulls followed up a very promising season, a few years back, with a series of bad decisions. Nothing, about the future, can be taken for granted.
Let us know what you think……..