“Are the Hawks legitimate threats to win the Eastern Conference now?”

Apparently he's no fan of Iso-Joe, man.

Apparently he's no fan of Iso-Joe, man.

Dallas–I asked the question, these guys answered at the Hall of Fame presser (where former Hawks player/coach Richie Guerin was included among 19 finalists):

Bill Walton

“The Hawks have to make the leap forward that good teams sometimes accomplish but often fail at. Their success will come when they understand that it’s about the team and it’s about ball movement. Unless you have Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or LeBron James on your team, or . . . one of the greatest of the greats, a select few in the history of basketball—unless you have one of those guys you are not going to be able to win by playing off the dribble.”

Nique

“Oh, yeah. No question. The thing is it is OK for us to be the underdog. In the East they know this Atlanta team is for real and we have a legitimate shot of beating anyone in the East. If you are going to take us for granted going into the playoffs that is going to be a mistake.”

Magic Johnson

“The Hawks are the team that everybody doesn’t want to play because of the athletes, Joe Johnson, Horford now has got his offense going I love his development. You look at the firepower that Jamal brings from the bench, I’m enjoying watching him. What they must not do in the second half is slide. . . . (Now they must) tell us, ‘Have you grown?’ It has got to be in you. Show everybody that you’ve grown, you learned from what happened in a seven-game series (vs. Boston), you learned from what happened last year as well and now you want to take it to another level. Let’s see that. Are you going to show us now?”

MC

114 comments Add your comment

BONE

February 13th, 2010
11:07 am

Not until they show they can be a consistent team which they have failed to do. So no right now they aren’t contenders in my eyes.

falcondawg

February 13th, 2010
11:07 am

They have a chance but they have to figure out a way to get past Howard and the Magic

niremetal

February 13th, 2010
11:12 am

Question of the day: Who’s uglier – Bill Walton or Greg Oden?

I’m gonna go with Walton.

dap01

February 13th, 2010
11:15 am

They need a defensive minded big man.

thomas22

February 13th, 2010
11:22 am

I believe that it’s possible- but as Walton stated it all begins with movin the ball- I can definitely see them surprising teams during the playoffs.

Rip Van Winkle

February 13th, 2010
11:23 am

Where has Michael Cunningham been? Doing a two step with an antiquated Bill Walton? On the set of happy days with Richie Cunningham?

Has he slept a thousand years?

Where the hell has he been?

Every one and his mother knows that the Hawks will never win a championship with a power forward masquerading as a center…DUH?

Dude, write something timely and progressive. THE HAWKS NEED A DEFENSIVE CENTER TO STOP THE ABUSE THAT THE OTHER TEAMS DO AGAINST HOE FORD IN THE PAINT! THIS WILL BE MAGNIFIED IN THE LATE ROUNDS WHEN THE HALF COURT SET KNOCKS OUT THE RUN AND GUN…

DUUUUUHHHHH!

WTF!
Where do these people come from!?

KnightHawk

February 13th, 2010
11:23 am

The Hawks are without questions one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, BUT the gap between the elite teams in the East and the Hawks is still pretty apparent. As currently constituted, the Hawks should get past the 1st round again, and maybe win a game or two in the next round, but that’s about it.

The Miami game showed that without Jamal Crawford and having to rely exclusively on JJ to find offense this team is limited in its approach. They need to upgrade their bench with another player that can create offense on his own. Or, I’d like to see them get a big that can bang with the top centers and let Horford excel even more at his natural position.

Sam Cooke

February 13th, 2010
11:24 am

Question of the day: Who’s uglier – Bill Walton or Greg Oden or niremetal?

I’m gonna go with Walton.
Im going with niremetal

Dick Long

February 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Sam, Ive got to go with niremetal too, the dude makes onions cry…..

The Man

February 13th, 2010
11:33 am

Put me down for niremetal too although Oden is not far behind.

Good question.

Stockdog

February 13th, 2010
11:34 am

I agree with Bill Walton. If the Hawks understand that they can not do the isolation game and play team basketball offensively and continue with the team defense then they can win the east. If in the 4th quarter, they try to dribble drive and shoot then they are toast. However, if they dribble drive and pass or just 5 good passes per possession then the Hawks will have a chance of beating anybody in the east.

The Grinch

February 13th, 2010
11:37 am

The combination of Woodson’s predictable offensive scheme (note I didn’t add an “s”) and the lack of a Center are going to prevent us from advancing past the 2nd round. The Cavs have THREE centers that are better than anyone we ostensibly have at that position, and Howard slaps us around like Ike on Tina. This team is too talented otherwise not to address those two glaring problems.

niremetal

February 13th, 2010
11:41 am

Wow, one person with two brain cells using three different handles is calling me ugly. I’m so hurt.

No Brainer

February 13th, 2010
11:44 am

The hawks inability to protect the basket in the post will keep them from advancing.

You cant win in a half court game if you cant protect the rim. NO BRAIN-ER.

A better question would be;” what will the hawks do to shore up the weakness in the middle?”

Swap Dog

February 13th, 2010
11:45 am

Yea, Niremetal is a hellofa lot uglier than those two. The man has a face that dries a river.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
11:46 am

The Hawks playoff success will ultimately be determined by the road they take. If they see Orlando early, then they’ll be an early out. But, if they can get a Boston or maybe even a Cleveland in the 2nd round, then I like their chances.

Cleveland may have the best record in the East, and even though we took two losses to them in that home & home, we still played them tough both times out. We didn’t look as mismatched as we did in last season’s playoffs.

We’ll have to wait and see what the playoff picture looks like, so it’s hard to speculate. But, most Hawks fans have a sense as to who the Hawks want to see as opposed to who they wouldn’t. I’m also curious to see how the Hawks handle that 1st round matchup w/whoever they get. I’m confident the Hawks will get out of the first round, but how they do it will answer a lot of questions before we get into that 2nd round series. We were in a dogfight with Miami last season, and it took us 7 games. We’ll see if they can improve upon that this season. I understand that it’s ultimately about winning the series, but I don’t want to see the Hawks get caught up in a fight in the first round of what’s ultimately a 4 round fight.

Oden

February 13th, 2010
11:46 am

I vote Niremetal too!

Art Vandelay

February 13th, 2010
11:46 am

Hey Rip Van Winkle, that power forward masquerading as a center will be in the All-Star Game — as a center.

Bill Walton

February 13th, 2010
11:46 am

He gets my vote.

Willy

February 13th, 2010
11:47 am

Why does Bill Walton still have a job?

David Smith

February 13th, 2010
11:49 am

The only thing holding the Hawks from achieving greatness is themselves. We have too much talent not to be considered as one of the top teams in the east but, until we beat the teams in the elite class (Orlando, Cleveland, Lakers, and San Antonio) consistently we will continue to take baby steps in the playoffs.

Rip Van Winkle

February 13th, 2010
11:49 am

Art Vandelay, Yea, that is funny, of course Allen Iverson was the starting guard, so go figure. Lopez and J, Oneal are clearly better.

Hey how far to April’s Fool Day?

Bill Walton

February 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Willy , I have a job because I understand what being a center is and I look better than niremetal.

Jokes on you...

February 13th, 2010
11:52 am

Art Vandelay is that a riddle or a trick question. You gotta be kidding.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 13th, 2010
11:55 am

Simple answer to the headline: no.

I kinda wonder what goes through the minds of men who judge the physical appearance of other men that they haven’t seen before…

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Jermaine O’Neal and Brook Lopez over Al Horford?

I don’t know about that one. O’Neal seems to be past his prime. He’s done nothing to help Dwayne Wade in Miami.

Brook Lopez is a good looking player on a bad team. But truthfully, I honestly don’t see as much as some of you seem to see in Lopez. He’s more of a finesse guy and I wouldn’t say he’s a defensive force -so I’m not sure how you’d think he could protect the basket. His brother Robin Lopez seems like the more physical center that some of you want to battle the likes of Howard and Shaq.

Brook Lopez will pan out to be more of a Pau Gasol if he pans out. I’m not saying he’s as talented as Gasol or will be anywhere near as good, but he’s not that physical prescence that many criticized the Lakers for lacking when they kept falling short of winning a title. What was everybody saying last season about the Lakers with a healthy Bynum? They have the toughness to win a ring now…

ant banks

February 13th, 2010
11:57 am

NIREMETAL,

i am goin’ with oden, but the ugliest basketball player of all time is popeye jones or tyrone hill. these guys are insanely ugly.

Art Vandelay

February 13th, 2010
11:57 am

Jokes on you, not sure what you’re getting at — I didn’t ask a question.

Jody

February 13th, 2010
11:58 am

My take is no, the Hawks are not a threat to win the East. They a clearly a very good team, but they are not on the same level with Cleveland or Orlando and if Cleveland or Boston makes a move before the deadline to better their teams, the Hawks will really have it tough. I know you never make a trade for the sake of doing it. However, the Hawks talk about not making a move for the sake of protecting their current team chemistry; a chemistry that is now 0-5 against the two teams who were in the Eastern finals last year. So, what exactly are they trying to protect?

No Brainer

February 13th, 2010
12:06 pm

Yeah, J. Oneal Just kicked Horford’s but last week but of course, every one does, and Lopez owns Horford.

Horford only pads his stats when the real centers are on the bench. Horford is 0 defense. (rebounds arent defense, defense is what caused the missed shot to be rebounded).

I agree with the professionals analyst and the guys here who know basketball and say wed be better with a real, defensive presence and move horford back to his natural position of pf.

dos hawkquis

February 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

NO, THE HAWKS ARE NOT READY TO WIN THE EAST!!

the hawks labor in inconsistency. we lost twice to new york, lost to the hornets without cp3, lost to detroit without their big 3. the hawks must win games that they are supposed to win and COMPETE in other games against stiffer competition. we lost 3 games to orlando, 2 to cleveland and save the excuses about the shot clock.

“I don’t always watch basketball, but when I do, I prefer the HAWKS. Stay thirsty my friends!”

Art Vandelay

February 13th, 2010
12:16 pm

So, for everyone who thinks the Hawks are doomed without a center who can bang with Howard and Shaq — who do you suggest? Other than maybe Camby (who would be a nice fit but wouldn’t come cheaply), what are our options? I agree that Horford isn’t the ideal size to match up with some of the bigger centers in the league, but I also think that we’re probably stuck with what we’ve got, for the most part. Yes, there are matchup issues in the frontcourt, but on the flip side, we’ve got matchup advantages in the backcourt with JJ and Crawford, and Josh Smith is a handful for even the best defensive power forwards in the league, especially when his head is in the game.

Like the rest of you, I’d love to add a dominant big man, but they’re in short supply and I don’t think it’s worth breaking up a team that has the potential to be very successful as currently composed.

nash

February 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

if the team stays healthy and can pick up a big or to in a trade that can come of the bench and not look completely lost in to game and maybe if teague can play like a first round pick they can make it. anyone else see the fire sale the washington is have we missed out on haywood but they might be willing to part ways with drew gooden in a trade or something

rms

February 13th, 2010
12:47 pm

Are you smoking crack? Heck naw the Hawks aren’t Conference championship material. They are just a good team, and thats it!! Settle for second fiddle and roll over and let Orlando and Cleveland duke it out-teams that have heart, a will to win EVERY game, and the ability to stay focused and play smart basketball!! DUMMIES, the HAWKS and EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP dont even belong in the same sentence together. With the current roster we have we have no chance of playing a seven-game series against better teams.

Jethro

February 13th, 2010
12:56 pm

I think Josh Smith is the “next level” guy. He’s playin’ there now, should be an all-star…. I think Walton’right. Move the ball around. This is a good team.

Grip

February 13th, 2010
1:01 pm

According to Bill Walton’s view we are screwed, this team is not designed to move the rock around, and we still have not figured out the team thing, (joe’s contract) is an issue. We are really weak at the point and at the pivot defending. Plus Woody. The funny part is how in sam hill do we have the record that we do? Who is weak in the middle and at the point and still wins? Orlando and the Lakers are the only two teams that I really think we could not beat in a 7 game series, our issues with cleveland are league related,(if you know what I mean) all that being said, I’m gonna enjoy this year, because we play an exciting brand of basketball, and we thump the heck out of people, more than most others.

rique

February 13th, 2010
1:03 pm

lol i love how everyone says we’re not consistent…we’ve only won 33 games and we’re a whole 1.5 games back of orlando…yes we’re not consistent

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
1:07 pm

Common now, seriously, if you swapped Brook Lopez or J. O’Neal for Al Horford straight up, are the Hawks NBA Title Contenders?

I can’t even say we’d be a better team.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
1:10 pm

I agree with Art.

Sure, we may be in need of some size, but you can bring that size off the bench if we could pick up a quality backup CENTER to play behind Horford.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
1:18 pm

2 inches and 15 LBS seperate Brook Lopez and Al Horford. Jermaine O’Neal has an inch on Horford and about 5 LBS.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
1:21 pm

rms:
“Are you smoking crack? Heck naw the Hawks aren’t Conference championship material. They are just a good team, and thats it!! Settle for second fiddle and roll over and let Orlando and Cleveland duke it out-teams that have heart, a will to win EVERY game, and the ability to stay focused and play smart basketball!! DUMMIES, the HAWKS and EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP dont even belong in the same sentence together. With the current roster we have we have no chance of playing a seven-game series against better teams.”

I mean no disrespect by this, and I’m not tryna come at you, but I found this funny:

“Settle for second fiddle and roll over and let Orlando and Cleveland duke it out-teams that have heart, a will to win EVERY game, and the ability to stay focused and play smart basketball!!”

A will to win every game? Common now man, the Hawks are how many games back from that team that has the will to win every game?

Joe

February 13th, 2010
1:23 pm

Yes, if we had a Coach like Larry Brown and a Center.

UNCLE RUCKUS

February 13th, 2010
1:38 pm

YOU SO CALLED ATHLETIC GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT YOU ARE TAWKEN BOUT..BILL WALTON,LARRY BUD,ARE THE GREATEST PLAYERS NUMBERS 1 AND 2 THAT HAVE EVER GRACED US WITH THEIR PRESENCE IN BOTH THE PAINT AND IN THE GAME OF BASKETBALL..
IF YOU QUIT YO HIP HOPPITY PLAY AND SHOWTIME,THEN MAYBE YOU WILL “GET SOME PROPERS”..
YOURS TRULY,
UNCLE RUCKUS
NO RELATIONS

Ree Roe

February 13th, 2010
1:46 pm

I think alot of us Hawks “fans” are much tougher on the teams chances than most national analysts are. With that said, yes the Hawks are a threat to win the East. We’re a 1.5 games back of the #2 spot & we play well against CLE. We own Boston. Will we win the East? Who knows? But if we get the Southeast Division & the #2 spot who knows? Noone saw us taking BOS 7 games in 08…I think it’s much more likely than not that we can win the East

-REEsurgently Roe!!!

Johnson an All-Star starter

February 13th, 2010
2:05 pm

Art Vandelay, I agree in part with your assessment. You want to blame hoe fords inability to play defense and protect the rim on his size. OK, If you say so. I also agree that we are probably stuck with him, defense or not, but, that is the point.We cant get to that next level with him being the center. He is more like a green lite to the rack and we will never get away from switching as long as he is the center.

So we will have to settle for being a good team.

Yes, Stodumire, lopez, camby and Oneal (both of them) are better centers than hoe ford I trade Hoe ford for Stoudumire or lopez any day of the week. And J Oneal utterly embarrassed hoe ford last week.

Idiot Watch

February 13th, 2010
2:08 pm

Size is not the issue, idiots, its the lack of defensive tenacity from horford, Hes a automatic greenlite to the rim and yes, hes to small to push anyone off the block too.

Michael Cunningham

February 13th, 2010
2:12 pm

@ Rip Me Van Twinkle: first, let me say i have never heard that richie cunningham joke before. never, ever. and think about how funny it would be if i actually were a dorky white dude. which, come to think of it, are you a dorky white dude?

second, all i did was ask the question. looking at the standings, it’s not an outrageous one. it’s not like i cover the Nets, man.

@KnightHawk: solid, reasonable analysis.

@ Art: also a solid, reasonable analysis. Camby would be a perfect fit but the Hawks would have to give up a core player to get him so then you leave a giant hole elsewhere long term for a guy on an expiring contract.

darrell starks

February 13th, 2010
2:14 pm

Michael cunningham your kidding right dont insult our intelligence, lets keep it real like i said before this will be a wasted year unless the hawks can get a big man, and be able to controll the boards, our front court no way can match the CAVS, ORLANDO, and if garnett become healthy by playoffs BOSTON WOULD BE EVEN STRONGER THAN CAVS,AND ORLANDO.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!

JSS

February 13th, 2010
2:25 pm

Popeye uglier than Sam Cassell? No one with the exception of Sydney Wicks was uglier than Cassell!

TNT

February 13th, 2010
2:33 pm

this team will not go deep in the playoffs if they dont get a true big man