The NBA real season is nearly upon us, finally.
In just over a week, we’ll be able to change our ever-present caveats from “it’s just preseason” to “it’s only been five games”, or something to that effect. Come now, we all know that this is precisely what we like to do, when discussing both positive and negative results and observations of games, where the Hawks are concerned. Until then, there is little to do besides hashing over the final three or so preseason games. Oh yeah, and waiting to see how contract extension negotiations go for center Al Horford. Hawks beat writer currently reports no movement, but there is time yet. There isn’t much else to be heard on the subject, other than opinion. Speaking of which, here is what Hoopopinion.com had to say on the subject.
Just Another Preseason game? Hardly…
Normally, tonight’s preseason game would be little more than an opportunity for Hawks fans to watch their favorite team play (the other games have hardly been accessible to everyone). After all, preseason games are just tune-ups, right? Head Coach Larry Drew has stated time and again that he is using these games to gauge, critique, and improve the team’s defensive approach to the game. Of course, that hasn’t been going very well so far, and one argument suggests that this is due in part to the starters not playing many minutes, and many of the rotational guys being out with injuries.
But….what if things are really that bad? How much can the Hawks get done to correct their defensive issues? Defense isn’t the only problem. In this new offense, the Hawks have been turning the ball over like it’s a poplular new trend. Are guys making bad reads? Is this just a learning curve, or was the methodical (if stagnant prone) ball control offense of yesteryear better than we gave it credit for? Some of you will scream blasphemy for such a suggestion, and I would not blame you. After all, there is a difference between a “safe” approach to offense, and an “attack” approach to offense.
Tonight’s game will be a tuneup for both teams, but for different reasons. The Magic have been treating the preseason like it’s a tuneup for the playoffs, blowing out anybody they come across. No doubt they are seeking to dissuade the notion that the Southeast Division has a new champion already, among other things (the state of Florida now has what should be a very hot NBA rivalry). They’ll look to crush the Hawks like they have everybody else, and serve a reminder that the debaucle that occurred in the playoffs last season was no fluke.
The Hawks on the other hand, have a lot of work to do. In addition to finding a way to cut down on turnovers, they also need to improve their rebounding. Without solid rebounding, there won’t be much running, which is what Larry Drew wants to do. That leads to another thought: can they make the Magic guard them, something they haven’t come close to doing in the last couple of years? Or will their recent penchant for turnovers and weak rebounding lead to another blowout at the hands of their division nemesis? How will Al Horford’s low post bench “help” fare against SuperMan II? Will we even get to see any of that? Is Al healthy enough/should he be playing big minutes in this game?
The Magic have a statement to make, and they aren’t waiting for the regular season to do it. The Hawks? Well, they may just want to avoid statements, and just concentrate on re-learning how to talk. To each other. Let’s see how this one goes.