HAWKSVILLE - More than a month has passed since the Hawks’ interest in Joe Smith was revealed to the world in this space.
I doubt any of us thought it would take this long for the resolution to come. I mean, school has already started. The Michael Jackson autopsy is done (someone’s going to jail for this one). The NFL season is upon us. Cash for Clunkers has come and gone. College football is just days away.
And still, we wait for Joe Smith to be signed.
But I believe the day has come. Today has to be Joe Smith Day in Hawksville. It has to be. If things play out the way they are supposed to my name will be intact – check the Twitter feed for my name-change challenge – and we should be able to move on from this saga and back to whatever else we amuse ourselves with this time of year.
And speaking of amusement, if you haven’t seen this extrapolation of the Hawks’ ownership situation, you need to. I understand how someone might try and make the move from “we’re not selling” to where this article took the conversation, but it seems like a stretch even to me. And we all know I’m not afraid to go off the deep end every now and then.
While we’re on the subject of the deep end, I had a great seat at the Dream-Sparks game Sunday at Philips Arena. It allowed me to view the crowd from just about every direction. Josh Smith, Billy Knight, Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright and many others were in the building. Josh has shed some weight since I last saw him. He said about 10 pounds. It was noticeable. He looked slimmed down from when I saw him working out in the gym at McEachern High in early July. He said he’s been working all summer on every facet of his game, particularly his mid-range game (those jumpers everyone wants him to take instead of the 3-pointers that cause so much cringing). He’s worked out mostly here in Atlanta, which is a departure from previous summers, when he spent most of his time in Houston.
Wright, who finished last season on the roster in Cleveland, is in a unique situation. He’s job-hunting, so to speak, and an intriguing possibility for the Hawks since he still has a residence here in town. Another veteran big man in that same situation earlier this summer, Theo Ratliff, was also at the game Sunday. The Spurs snapped him up before the Hawks could get to him. But Wright is the kind of physical, veteran big that could fit exactly what the Hawks need in a 12th or 13th man for this upcoming season.
My philosophy is that a team can never have too many big men. It’s clear the Hawks’ cupboard isn’t overflowing in that department, and hasn’t for some time. But now is the time to stock up, especially with every contender in the Eastern Conference loaded up front.
Some of you probably chuckled when you read that the Celtics scooped up Shelden. You were probably thinking back to his days with the Hawks and assuming that he’s an odd fit there. Not me. I think it was a shrewd move for the Celtics to go out and find a serviceable big body for an excellent price, even if he doesn’t play a whole lot this season. It always pays to have that part of your team secured.
If you don’t believe that, scan the rosters in Boston, Orlando and Cleveland and start counting big men. You can go five deep on each team. The Celtics start with Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins and round out the rotation with Big Baby Davis and Shelden. Orlando starts with Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis (who is a bit of a tweener but forces one of your bigs to guard him at 6-10) and Brandon Bass and round out the rotation with Marcin Gortat and Ryan Anderson. Cleveland starts with Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao and rounds out the rotation with JJ Hickson, Darnell Jackson and Leon Powe (not to mention a dude named LeBron James who can swing over and play minutes at power forward if ever needed).
The Hawks enter the season with a group that starts with Josh Smith, Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia and round out the rotation with Joe Smith and Randolph Morris.
Again, the more quality big bodies (you can debate the quality of one guy over the other all day long) on your roster the better.