What you see here is new weekly feature. We call it the Monday Morning Heat Check, and its intent is to measure the warmth, or the absence thereof, of Atlanta’s sports entries. And what qualifies me to determine such things? Well, I buy my eyeglasses at the same posh establishment frequented by Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel. Need I say more?
The Braves: Went 4-2 on the week, sweeping a pretty good opponent in Toronto before losing a series to the last-place Padres. On Saturday the Braves scored 10 runs and you thought, not for the first time, that maybe they’d gotten it going. On Sunday they managed two hits, and you thought, not for the first time, “Nah.” They’re still five games back of Philadelphia in the East, and Jonny Venters just proved he’s human after all. Heat index: Warm, but not nearly sizzling.
The Hawks: For a couple of hours Thursday, the Hawks were the center of the NBA universe. SI.com reported they were about to be sold, and Yahoo! Sports reported they were trying to trade Josh Smith to Minnesota for the No. 2 pick in the draft. But Bruce Levenson, one of the many owners, claimed no sale was imminent, and the trade never happened. The Hawks were left with the 48th pick in the draft and took Keith Benson, a skinny center of some promise from Oakland. This prompted Chad Ford of ESPN Insiders to give their draft class of one a league-low C-minus. Heat index: Tepid.
Georgia Tech basketball: The good news was that Iman Shumpert was selected with the 17th pick of Round 1 — by the Knicks, whose fans booed the selection. This made four first-round draftees for Tech over the past five seasons. The bad news is that those gifted Jackets never did much while they were Jackets, which is why Tech has a new coach. Heat index: Hot in terms of pro potential, chilly in terms of college production.
Georgia basketball: Had Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie returned for their senior seasons, Georgia would have been ranked in the preseason Top 25. But they left and didn’t even get taken in Round 1 for their trouble. Worse still, both were taken by the Clippers. Heat index: Cold, cold, cold.
The Falcons: They’re locked out. They’re practicing on their own. If they ever get unlocked-out, they’ll be one of the best teams in the NFL. Until then, they’re just a bunch of guys tossing around a football on a high school field. Heat index: In cold storage.
The Dream: Last season they played for the WNBA title. They’ve started this season 2-7. Yep, they’re an Atlanta team. Heat index: Not even room temperature.
The Thrashers: They’re officially gone, and they’re no longer the Thrashers and Craig Ramsay is no longer the coach and … well, it’s as if they never existed. Which prompts the question: Did they? Heat index: As cold as the grave.
By Mark Bradley