Snooped around a bit today to see if there any trade winds blowing for the Hawks in light of their inconsistent play, the Magic’s big weekend trade and the Celtics and and Heat streaking to the top of the East. Sorry, blog people, but all still sounds quiet.
I understand the consternation. It feels like everyone else is moving ahead in the East while the Hawks stand still. Miami, Chicago and Boston made their moves over the summer. Orlando (surprisingly) made theirs in December. The Hawks basically have the same guys, with the same strengths and weaknesses, still trying to prove they are on the same level as those teams.
All of the chatter surrounding trades doesn’t go unnoticed in the Hawks’ locker room, of course, though you won’t find guys openly advocating for a shakeup.
“I think we are OK where we are at,” Al said. “Joe is getting back healthy. That’s what I think but, at the end of the day, it comes down to management and what they feel like is best. If they feel like we can contend for a championship with this team, then it will be like this. If not, then I don’t know.”
Smoove again noted the Hawks haven’t been healthy. Rotation players have missed 23 players due to injury.
“It messes up the timing. it messes up the positions,” Josh said. “I’ve probably split the three and the four this season. When you know the different rotations of the game and what’s going to happen, I think it makes it that much easier because everything is combined I think when we get everybody healthy and figure out the rotation that’s positive for us, I think we will pull a string of wins together like everyone else is right now.”
At this point, it seems the injuries are the only reasonable counterargument the Hawks could offer to the need to make some moves. Good health won’t necessarily solve the team’s weaknesses but it would at least allow for a better evaluation. I know the Celtics have rolled despite their injuries but they are better equipped to do so from a financial standpoint. The Heat have the Super Friends, a defense-first culture and enough solid pieces around the Big Three to get it done despite injuries to Mike Miller and Haslem.
The Hawks have a slimmer margin to be good and the injuries have made it even smaller.
“I think that’s fair to say,” Al said. “Ultimately it comes down to Rick Sund, the GM, to determine if he feels we are still contenders or if he feels like we need to do something. All I am going to do is go out there and keep playing hard.”
Jamal out, Hawks big
Jamal is out again. He said he was hoping to play but the back is still too sore. He could probably function but the thought of shaking and baking or making any other kind of sudden movements still makes him wince.
L.D. is going with the big lineup: Bibby, J.J., Smoove, Al, Twin.
L.D. said preparing for the new-look Magic is similar to preparing for the old-look Magic. He said J-Rich is like Vince except not quite as strong on pick-and-rolls. Turkoglu is a stretch four like Rashard, except a better passer and ballhandler. The Hawks have to watch Arenas closely in transition.
“Still the main guy is Dwight and what you do with him,” L.D. said. “The gameplan is to defend him as well as you can and also defend that 3-point line because that’s where they kill you.”