Hawks are surviving nicely without Joe Johnson (go figure)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the Hawks have had a lot of reason to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the surprising Hawks have had a lot of reasons to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Notwithstanding that 15 games is a small sampling size, it’s worth noting that the Hawks don’t appear flummoxed or discombobulated this season, even without the former king of clutch and locker-room glue that was Joe Johnson.

(I thought I’d open with a joke. Try the veal.)

The Hawks are 10-5. They have the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They are running. They are moving the ball. They are playing unselfishly. They are having fun. They seem to actually like each other. So this is what it looks like.

Welcome to Fantasy Island.

“I’m surprised. I’m shocked,” Josh Smith said. “When teams have a lot of new faces like we do, it usually takes until about December or January to click and gel. But we’re doing it right away.”

There’s a temptation to suggest the Hawks have been greater than the sum of their parts. But that would suggest that when general manager Danny Ferry unloaded Johnson and his contract in the offseason, he removed a franchise centerpiece. In fact, it was closer to removing a rain cloud from a beach view.

Johnson’s 20 points a game and All-Star designations too often were overshadowed by his disappearances in important moments (like playoff games). Equally important, he was reluctant and maybe just not well-equipped to take on a leadership role. He wasn’t a bad guy. He just wasn’t a come-on-and-jump-on-my-back guy.

It would’ve been like asking Eeyore to lead the parade.

Larry Drew is surprised by how quickly players have come together and is pleased about the "vibe" around the team. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Larry Drew is surprised by how quickly players have come together and is pleased about the "vibe" around the team. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Without Johnson, the Hawks look different, feel different, act different. They may lack a big man, but they function well together. It doesn’t mean they’re going to continue winning at a .667 pace. There’s certainly a possibility that as the season wears on, they will wear down from an overall lack of size and struggle against more physical teams.

But for now, it is fun to watch. Everybody shoots. Everybody passes. Maybe not everybody defends, but it really hasn’t been as bad expected.

Al Horford has taken on an increased scoring role, averaging a career-high 16.6 points. Smith (16.1), Lou Williams (14.1) and Jeff Teague (13.3) are close behind. Six guys on the roster can hit threes: Williams, Teague, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson and Anthony Morrow.

The team ranks third in the NBA in assists per game (23.5). Also third in steals (9.4). That screams: teamwork and effort.

Coach Larry Drew wasn’t sure what to expect this season. He didn’t really know what he had. Only five players returned after Ferry’s first roster makeover.

“I knew these guys as individuals,” Drew said. “I knew what their skill level and their talent was. The big question was, would it all fit? Would they mesh together?”

When asked what has pleased him most, Drew said: “How fast we’ve come together, even when we’ve gone through some shaky times. We have not fragmented. We’ve stayed together. We’ve closed the doors in the locker room and talked about things. I can see these guys are committed to pulling together.

“Sometimes you can look at a team and look at individuals and know it’s going to be a real good vibe, a good mix. I got that feeling very early with this group. I hadn’t seen that before.”

Smith and Horford, both of whom have been here for a while, will tell you it’s different this season — on the court, in the locker room and even away from the arena.

Without mentioning names, Horford said the chemistry is “better, compared to past teams. We’ve had a group of good guys before, but the chemistry wasn’t there this year. It’s encouraging to see when you’re a part of the team.”

From Smith: “No disrespect to anybody else. But when you’re willing to do stuff off the court, it creates a different kind of bond. Guys really care for each other. It makes us want to help each other out on the defensive end that much more.”

What does Smith mean by off the court?

“We hang out,” he said. “We do a lot of activities together. We went to Andretti’s. On the road we may go to dinner or catch a movie. That’s more than we’ve done in the past.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of liking each other.

By Jeff Schultz

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60 comments Add your comment

bigbobbles

December 6th, 2012
3:50 pm

1st who cares?

Steve

December 6th, 2012
3:55 pm

you must since you responded there :) fun to watch a team that plays like a team…

mike

December 6th, 2012
3:57 pm

Conference finals? I don’t see the Knicks or Nets pulling all the way through. Hawks def need to get to the line more though in my opinion.

I don’t get the constant Joe Johnson bashing. He made lots of money and was quiet…so? He took our franchise out of the gutter I wish the media would stop taking shots at him, nice enough guy.

Also, would love if we could get people in the seats, but this town will never support pro bball for some reason. Go Hawks.

Tyler H

December 6th, 2012
4:03 pm

Never thought Id see a likable Hawks roster until at least 2015

Bills fan

December 6th, 2012
4:20 pm

I remember Skip Carey answer a question about the importance of chemistry very negatively. I suppose if there is a lack of talent, chemistry only goes so far, but as in war if each player is invested in the other player in some way it has got to improve motivation and therefore results.

As a former public school coach I realized that there were students who participated in team sports so as to be included in a group. Others enjoyed cross-country, tennis, and track & field because they highlighted the individual more and their personalities were suited to that stage. This is not a hard and fast rule, but some individuals thrive being part of a team and it improves there performance.

Motivation comes in many ways and to not disappoint a teammate is one. The teams that I coached were, of course, not pros with their own egos, but still teammates who were selfish, reclusive and unfriendly and perhaps too business-like were not always conducive to team cohesiveness.

One of my teams became one of my favorites, because I took a gamble and the student/athletes responded in an overwelmingly positive way. Going in to the (lacrosse) season I realzied that our talent would not bring a winning season. Many had never played the sport and their skill levels were low. As a team we were average at best. I wasn’t sure we’d win a game.

As a result. my philosophy was that each player would start one game minimum and play every game. The motivation level in practices changed knowing that each kid knew he would play and they wanted to do their best. We almost finished at .500 and the benefits at the end of the season were that those kids were a team and loved the experience of playing. Some never played lacrosse again, but the overall atmosphere was that this was fun and “we’re a team.”

No, they weren’t the best, but they might just as well won the Super Bowl, because it was a positive experience for each kid and I had a ball. More so than teams that I had a couple of studs who were expecting to be the whole show.

My experimental coaching philosophy would not go over well in a pro sport, but helped me to remember what was most important at this level, that each kid has value, even if not equally gifted. There’s still lots of “kid” left in lots of these pro athletes and I am sure many appreciate sensing that their contribution contributes synergisticly to the success of the team.

Bills fan

December 6th, 2012
4:21 pm

oops! A couple of typos.

Sneaker Pimp

December 6th, 2012
4:22 pm

The have a few “big men”, they just don’t have a traditional low post player. But Josh and Al are as versatile as it gets and work well together, forming one of the best front court duos in the Association.

New Orleans Pelican

December 6th, 2012
4:35 pm

Josh Smith: ” Hey Joe wanna go to a movie ? ”

Joe Johnson: ” No man I don’t wanna go to no dawg on movie ? ( in that whatcha talkin about Willis type voice )

steve brown

December 6th, 2012
4:41 pm

In my opinion and now Magic Johnson’s as well the clock is ticking on Josh-we both think he will be traded-Josh enjoy the bowling outings while you can.

ignition

December 6th, 2012
4:51 pm

I just wish Josh would just play within the 10 t0 15 foot box..
And I need Teague to take commad more..

teedub

December 6th, 2012
4:53 pm

Fun to watch, indeed. I hope more sports fans in the ATL catch on.

Steve

December 6th, 2012
4:56 pm

Given that Joe was our fourth best player I see no reason why we would not survive. He got his points by clogging up the offense and taking a ton of shots. He is probably league-average at best as a 2G these days.

Smith and Teague were all much more influential last year, but the JJ factor kept them from playing their game (athleticism and quick ball movement). You add in Horford and JJ was clearly fourth if you don’t judge by numbers alone. He absolutely killed this teams offense last year.

The Hawks are actually fun to watch again with Joe gone and with the flexibility we have next year we can go a ton of different directions. I like our core group. I once thought CP3 would be someone we would go after, but Teague is playing very well right now and I have no problem letting him run the show. It will be interesting to see how things come together the rest of the season.

SecondSage

December 6th, 2012
5:00 pm

This year doesn’t matter. The fact they’re doing so well is a bonus. It shows why we should’ve let johnson go in the first place.

All I'm Saying Is....

December 6th, 2012
5:44 pm

Never miss a chance to take a shot at someone who is no longer here. In Atlanta, Schultz, with respect to Joe Johnson. And on earth, Bills Fan ,with respect to the late Skip Caray. Nice, classy move by both of you.

Joe Johnson saved the franchise and those of us paying attention will always appreciate him for that. He signed with us as a free agent when the Hawks were winning around 15 games a year. And no one told or forced the Hawks G.M. to give Joe a max deal and we all knew of Joe’s leadership short-comings at that time but Rick Sund did give him the max deal. We now know why which is that Rick was thinking about retirement even then and figured the easiest thing for him (i.e. less work) was give Joe the max deal, leave the core in place, and blame the players if they didn’t advance to the finals rather than do some real work like do a sign and trade of Joe at that time.

In any case, Danny came in, did some work, and now look at where we are:
1) Larry Drew is the leading candidate for NBA Coach of the Year;
2) Danny Ferry is the leading candidate for NBA GM of the Year;
3) The Hawks like each other and it shows in their ball movement and assists.

All we need is to scour Europe, the D-League, your local pick-up games, YMCA, whatever for a 7 footer who can defend and rebound and we will be set. Is Greg Oden healthy and mentally together yet? (just kidding—he’s a basket case). Whatever happened to Garrett Seiler [sp.]?

LET’S GO HAWKS!

kuhndog

December 6th, 2012
5:51 pm

I like JJ I thought he was one of the better players in a Hawks uniform in 20 years. I knew from watching JJ play he ws not the superstar player but a great compliment player he is. I knew when this last contract was drawn up by the way it was laid out that if we did not compete seriously for a championship in the first two or three years that his contract would be too lob sided to not trade. I am a bit suprised that the Hawks have played as well as they have, but they have not played many good teams or many road games. I look forward to watching the Hawks playing the better competition soon. Heck they had a chance against Miami – Wade, but lost it. I still watch JJ play in Brooklyn and see we were lucky to get somthing for him, if we would have let him walk a couple of years ago we would have got nothing. Now Smoove , I think if we compete and look like we can make it the postseason AND smoove does not self destruct then he might be here. If a good trade comes along I think the circumstances will dictate if we trade him. With all the down side things smoove does he is home grown and I think that matters, as well he brings alot of good to the table. I think in crunch time smoove makes real good basketball decisions and does not jack up shots like he does early in the game.

tony

December 6th, 2012
5:53 pm

mike

December 6th, 2012
3:57 pm

“He took our franchise out of the gutter”
___________________________________________

When did JJ took the franchise out the gutter? I thought they got out the gutter after Al Horford was drafted and when Mike Bibby was signed.

heat check

December 6th, 2012
5:55 pm

I will be in charge of compiling funds for Mr. Prokhorov’s Christmas gift, so everyone go ahead and paypal me your $$. We owe this guy something really nice this year.

Bills fan

December 6th, 2012
6:15 pm

@ All I’m saying is… I apologize if I offended you, but not for what I said.

My mention of Skip Carey was meant to make a point that even pro broadcasters don’t all think alike. I thought highly of Skip and his son too. Very competent broadcasters. Skip was one of the faces of the broadcasting franchise for a few decades if not mistaken,

Perhaps it would seem to some that I was knocking SC, but, no, merely making a point. If I were knocking someone it would be considered negative if it came to their personal life. A broadcaster or writer is entitled to their opinions and come into the public domain when broadcasted. Yes, Skip is gone, but I honestly don’t think that I demeaned his wonderful name. It only served to contrast a point. As we know, as sports fans there are intangibles that will be discussed as long as they play the games. Attitude, effort, clubhouse “value” all are intangibles that are part of the sports equation, but part of the game.

I personally hate those who gossip and also talking about someone not present to defend themselves, but in the public domain this is not the mortal sin, merely part of the fan’s world of discussion. I honestly don’t think that SC or his son mind me saying what I said in reference to team chemistry.

feudfinder

December 6th, 2012
6:31 pm

I would take a max contract too, and so do you. Just like the other fellow mentioned earlier, JJ signed with this team when it was as low as a D-league team. People should be hard on Josh. Anytime he has the ball, he thinks he is a God-made point guard; I’m pretty sure he has had more turnovers than anyone on that team. The team will benefit greatly if he plays inside. But hey, you cannot teach an old dog a new trick. Anytime Josh has the ball, Steve Hollman, the radio commentator, always holds his breathe.

Buckhead Benny

December 6th, 2012
6:47 pm

Just another nail in the reputation coffin of billy knight who hailed joe Johnson as our “Larry bird”. In addition how about some people giving Steve Belgian his due if the hawks other owners would have listened have a couple more first round picks and probably don’t get and probably draft cp3 once u don’t have joe-

Buckhead Benny

December 6th, 2012
6:49 pm

Goes to show u how bad off billy knight was on his prediction as joe Johnson being our “Larry bird”

Jesse

December 6th, 2012
7:08 pm

Lou can finish a game. JJ couldn’t. And Lou is 1/4 the cost

newkid

December 6th, 2012
7:24 pm

Hard to fathom that Ferry was hired by the same folk who hired the Chump (Rick Sund).

Buckhead Benny

December 6th, 2012
7:24 pm

What are other player can you name in the NBA that averages 15 points a game and has a max out yearly contract with the NBA? yep that’s right nobody but Joe Johnson.

JDH GT

December 6th, 2012
8:04 pm

Since I live in Boston now, last night was my first chance to watch the new look team. The games are definitely a lot more enjoyable to watch.

Sonny Clusters

December 6th, 2012
8:05 pm

Schultz: No Johnson, no problem for Hawks – ajc headline

So, the Hawks have no Johnson?

We’ll be appearing here all weekend. Thankyouverymuch.

JSS

December 6th, 2012
8:18 pm

@ 5:44PM…
It is Garrett Siler, and he’s back in China playing for Jiangsu Dragons…

Jeff Schultz

December 6th, 2012
8:35 pm

Clusters — Rise up! (See what I did there.)

Mike S.

December 6th, 2012
8:37 pm

Yeah I get a kick out of all the NBA analysts that never really followed the Hawks trying to talk like losing JJ and Williams were big blows to the team:

1) We get Horford back hopefully for the whole year. We got the #4 seed without him for most of last season.

2) Most Hawks fans know JJ wasnt really a clutch player, and his stats werent a lot better than Smith or Horford. Crawford was often you go to guy when he was here.

3) Teague has immerged as a threat from the guard position.

4) Picking up players like Harris, Stevenson, Lou Williams, and Korver more than fills the rest + the loss of Marvin Williams.

jfreak13713

December 6th, 2012
8:49 pm

Joe Johnson alone probably provided an extra 5 – 10 wins per year and with him gone plus those provided to replace him I suspect the Hawks will finish close to years past less 4 or 5 games. The problem is team like last years team can’t beat the real Championship teams. They may win 45 – 50 games even without Joe but that probably won’t translate into playoff wins. Glad they rid themselves of Joe’s salary and hope Joe Johson has a good career going forward but Hawks are at best 4th – 6th in Eastern Conf. and no real shot for Championship. Sorry, but the reality is what it is.

Go Falcons!

Techster

December 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

Ferry will build a real winning program in Atlanta.

JSS

December 6th, 2012
9:14 pm

Oh, for old time sake when blogging was still fun… “Drive-by Hawks Blog!”

phil

December 6th, 2012
9:29 pm

Josh is having fun….

Right.

Gone by trade or FA. A good riddance too, whenever it happens.

Rick James

December 6th, 2012
10:03 pm

The reason is simple,better ball movement.Joe is not hogging the for 12 to 15 seconds.The Hawks should have let him walk instead of giving him max money and hung on to Jamal Crawford.What were they thinking?

Rick James

December 6th, 2012
10:09 pm

@jfreak13713
Joe Johnson alone probably provided an extra 5 – 10 wins per year and with him gone plus those provided to replace him I suspect the Hawks will finish close to years past less 4 or 5 games. The problem is team like last years team can’t beat the real Championship teams. They may win 45 – 50 games even without Joe but that probably won’t translate into playoff wins. Glad they rid themselves of Joe’s salary and hope Joe Johson has a good career going forward but Hawks are at best 4th – 6th in Eastern Conf. and no real shot for Championship. Sorry, but the reality is what it is.
—————————————————————————————————————————–
I agree with some of what you said however I’m a firm believer in Danny Ferry.I think he will get things on the right track.Keep in mind that Mike Brown and Danny Ferry are close and that GM’s like to hire their own coaches.Nothing against Larry Drew just stating the obvious.

AtlantaDude

December 6th, 2012
10:11 pm

Joe took over several games in that first 7 game playoff series with the Celtics 5 or 6 years ago, and he was successful. But, after that, he continued to try to play 1 on 5 at the end of ballgames and it stopped working. I thought it was Woodson’s fault for calling ISO Joe, but it continued under Larry. It got to the point where I couldn’t bear to watch the Hawks.

Now, the ball is moving, and the play is improving. It’s fun to watch and I even find myself being a little more tolerant of Josh’s ill-advised 18-footers.

Just simply a much better product. Thank you Danny Ferry.

Nite Owl

December 6th, 2012
10:11 pm

Jeff, I got as far as “king of clutch and locker room glue,” and I had to scroll down to log in and tell you that I love you, man.

Now, on to enjoy the rest of the article.

ag

December 6th, 2012
10:27 pm

I see a lot of people assuming it was JJ, but I remember those episodes “At Home With Marvin”, Marvin actually seemed like the recluse. Remember, JT0 admitted he was at Joe’s house when he was traded (although he texted Joe “He has a really big house!) – JT0 said on NBA TV.

I also wish more fans would go see the games. I tell my co workers that the Phillips puts on a good show – without the game. Unlike baseball and football that has a lot of dead time, their is constant entertainment after each time out or halftime (I must admit rubber boy was a little hard to stomach, lol).

Joe Blow

December 6th, 2012
10:48 pm

Glad Joe is gone. He was a sourpuss. Always looked constipated. Josh has PASSION. He cares and it shows. I like that its Josh’s team now. He is the leader of the team and will have a great season. I hope he makes the All-Star team this year, and Joe is home watching.

falCans

December 7th, 2012
1:13 am

sorry bloggers but for some reason my mobile app wont allow me to comment on articles….currently on freinds laptop. seen game last night o,O Horford looked good. Josh was great and showed why he is the most frustrating player in the league lol. tha spin dribble -pass to Horford was WOOOOW…I still think we pay Horford too much (6 mill too much) but he is a top 10 C. What were missin is a 6′9 defensive minded wing. disappointed i didnt get to see Rookie Jenkins….O yea lay off LD. I think its official he wasnt riding Mike Woodsons coattails. LD knows what he is doing lol even if he hides players on the bench

SA

December 7th, 2012
4:55 am

Yes, going to work where you respect and want hang out with your coworkers sounds great. Where can I find a job like this?

Big Daddy

December 7th, 2012
7:35 am

To me, there were two things that was against Joe. 1st, was his contract. He held out for a max deal and although he did elevate our team with his play. It was not his fault that he was given the contract no more than it was Jon K’s fault that he got the contract he did. It is the GM fault.

2nd, he was not one of those players who regularly takes over a game the way Lebron, Kobe, Melo and D Rose do. He can have some outstanding nights but it is not consistent and the iso plays have never really work for any team for any length of time. For the contract that he had, he should have regularly been on the evening highlights and teams should be looking to double team him whenever possible. He usually got one one one coverage.

He fits in with the Nets although he still is not the outstanding player he should be for the contract he has. He has a role and fills it well.

Finally, if everything keeps going the way it is now, Woody will be coach of the year, not LD. GO HAWKS!!!

hot.trod.87

December 7th, 2012
8:28 am

Nothing is guaranteed in this league. Every team’s weakness has been exposed. Hawks have a better chance of going further than they have before with the experienced guys we have

hot.trod.87

December 7th, 2012
8:46 am

Why does the media give the Braves and Falcons fresh starts from their mistake while continually reminding Atlantans of the Hawks mistakes. Can this be the last Joe Johnson piece. JEFF

yep

December 7th, 2012
9:14 am

Peter Schiff: The Fantasy of a 91% Top Income Tax Rate

A liberal article of faith that confiscatory taxes fed the postwar boom turns out to be an Edsel of an economic idea.

By PETER SCHIFF

Democratic Party leaders, President O b a m a in particular, are forever telling the country that wealthy Americans are taxed at too low a rate and pay too little in taxes. The need to correct this seeming injustice is framed not simply in terms of fairness. Higher tax rates on the wealthy, we’re told, would help balance the budget, allow for more “investment” in America’s future and foster better economic growth for all. In support of this claim, like-minded liberal pundits point out that in the 1950s, when America’s economic might was at its zenith, the rich faced tax rates as high as 91%.

True enough, the top marginal income-tax rate in the 1950s was much higher than today’s top rate of 35%—but the share of income paid by the wealthiest Americans has essentially remained flat since then.
In 1958, the top 3% of taxpayers earned 14.7% of all adjusted gross income and paid 29.2% of all federal income taxes. In 2010, the top 3% earned 27.2% of adjusted gross income and their share of all federal taxes rose proportionally, to 51%.

So if the top marginal tax rate has fallen to 35% from 91%, how in the world has the tax burden on the wealthy remained roughly the same? Two factors are responsible. Lower- and middle-income workers now bear a significantly lighter burden than in the past. And the confiscatory top marginal rates of the 1950s were essentially symbolic—very few actually paid them. In reality the vast majority of top earners faced lower effective rates than they do today.

In 1958, an 81% marginal tax rate applied to incomes above $1.08 million, and the 91% rate kicked in at $3.08 million. These figures are in unadjusted 1958 dollars and correspond today to nominal income levels that are at least 10 times higher. That year, according to Internal Revenue Service records, just 236 of the nation’s 45.6 million tax filers had any income that was taxed at 81% or higher. (The published IRS data do not reveal how many of these were subject to the 91% rate.)
Enlarge Image

In 1958, approximately 28,600 filers (0.06% of all taxpayers) earned the $93,168 or more needed to face marginal rates as high as 30%. These Americans—genuinely wealthy by the standards of the day—paid 5.9% of all income taxes. And now? In 2010, 3.9 million taxpayers (2.75% of all taxpayers) were subjected to rates that were 33% or higher. These Americans—many of whom would hardly call themselves wealthy—reported an adjusted gross income of $209,000 or higher, and they paid 49.7% of all income taxes.

In contrast, the share of taxes paid by the bottom two-thirds of taxpayers has fallen dramatically over the same period. In 1958, these Americans accounted for 41.3% of adjusted gross income and paid 29% of all federal taxes. By 2010, their share of adjusted gross income had fallen to 22.5%. But their share of taxes paid fell far more dramatically—to 6.7%. The 77% decline represents the single biggest difference in the way the tax burden is shared in this country since the late 1950s.

The changes came about not so much by movements in rates but by the addition of tax credits for the poor and the elimination of exemptions for the wealthy. In 1958, even the lowest-tier filers, which included everyone making up to $5,000 annually, were subjected to an effective 20% rate. Today, almost half of all tax filers have no income-tax liability whatsoever, and many “taxpayers” actually get a net refund from the government. Those nostalgic for 1950s-era “tax fairness” should bear this in mind.

The tax code of the 1950s allowed upper-income Americans to take exemptions and deductions that are unheard of today. Tax shelters were widespread, and not just for the superrich. The working wealthy—including doctors, lawyers, business owners and executives—were versed in the art of creating losses to lower their tax exposure.

For instance, a doctor who earned $50,000 through his medical practice could reduce his taxable income to zero with $50,000 in paper losses or depreciation from property he owned through a real-estate investment partnership. Huge numbers of professionals signed up for all kinds of money-losing schemes. Today, a corresponding doctor earning $500,000 can deduct a maximum of $3,000 from his taxable income, no matter how large the loss.

Those 1950s gambits lowered tax liabilities but dissuaded individuals from engaging in the more beneficial activities of increasing their incomes and expanding their businesses. As a result, they were a net drag on the economy. When Ronald Reagan finally lowered rates in the 1980s, he did so in exchange for scrapping uneconomical deductions. When business owners stopped trying to figure out how to lose money, the economy boomed.

It’s hard to determine how much otherwise taxable income disappeared through tax shelters in the 1950s. As a result, direct comparisons between the 1950s and now are difficult. However, it is worth noting that from 1958 to 2010, the taxes paid by the top 3% of earners, as a percentage of total personal income (which can’t be reduced by shelters), increased to 3.96% from 2.72%, while the percentage paid by the bottom two-thirds of filers fell to 0.51% in 2010 from 2.7%. This starker division of relative tax burdens can be explained by the inability of upper-income groups to shelter income.

It is a testament to the shallow nature of the national economic conversation that higher tax rates can be justified by reference to a fantasy—a 91% marginal rate that hardly any top earners paid.

In reality, tax policies that diminish the incentives and capacities of innovators, business owners and investors will not spur economic improvement. Such policies will, however, satisfy the instincts of those who want to “stick it to the rich.” Never mind that the rich have already been stuck fairly well.

Ryder

December 7th, 2012
10:03 am

@Yep, I think you’re on the wrong blog bro.

Anyway, Danny Ferry has come from two franchises that have made the NBA Finals (Cavs & Spurs) and they both had one thing in common: a franchise superstar (LeBron & Duncan) that made it easier to build around.

If you get a chance, read the Grantland article on the Hawks on ESPN.com, it’s a great story on how well this team has meshed, with stats to boot. This team is a lot like the 76ers of last year, a lot of great parts that will make things interesting but until they determine who is the go to guy down the stretch, they will struggle in crunch time.

That said, I think it’s time we give Larry Drew more credit. Schultz made a good point in that this team without Horford still made the playoffs as a 4 seed last year and is off to a great start this year. At some point we have to give the coaching props to Drew for how he created a culture of unselfishness. Granted, the players also had to buy in, but as the season goes on I think that they will mesh even more and make it in the playoffs as a 6 seed.

Of course, the real key will be what happens in the off-season. If they can somehow get Chris Paul (forget about Dwight, no way he wants to play here) next year then Atlanta can finally move from being a fringe playoff contender to a championship contender.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

December 7th, 2012
10:21 am

Once again, the Hawks are the most enjoyable sports product in Atlanta. And it’s not even close.

Mr Mojo

December 7th, 2012
11:17 am

Josh Smith is not getting traded. You people need to stop thsi trade Josh stuff already. We got a good team just root for them instead of bashing every single move. The hawks will sign Josh Smith to an extansion after the season. Magic Johnson is only saying he is going to get traded cause he is dying for the Lakers to get him which will not happen for a declining Pau Gasol. The Hawks are playing well and after the season even after we sign Josh we will have plenty of cap space to make this team even better. Obviously Howard or Paul are the best players available but even if they stay with their teams we will be able to add more talent to this team.

Luv Josh Smith

December 7th, 2012
12:29 pm

There are many ways Josh contributes to this team. Passing, defense, boosterism. He wants to win badly and sometimes plays beyond himself. More consistent production from his teammates is needed so he doesn’t feel he needs to do so much. Welcome back KK. Why in the hell doesn’t our #1 draft choice get more burn? It’s not like this the Heat or Lakers backcourt.

Joe Johnson

December 7th, 2012
12:57 pm

See what happens when you have an extra 20-25 to pass around that I used to take.