Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sanity Prevails

The Hawks match the offer sheet and pay the man his money.

Next step: build a team around Smith and Horford.

Mark Bradley needs to get on that particular trolly. His otherwise reasonably critical column regarding the organization's decision-making process refers to Smith as the team's "third-best player."

Sekou Smith's reaction blog entry quite rightly focuses on the future: Smith and Horford. (He also floats the idea of signing Jannero Pargo which I doubt will come to pass but should it will result in endless whining in this space. Signing Shaun Livingston, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of risk this franchise should be taking.)

Joe Johnson is a good player but not a franchise player. The Hawks need to explore his trade value in an effort to acquire assets to go along with their 2009 lottery pick. Rick Sund also needs find out if Mike Bibby's expiring contract is worth more to another team that it is to the Hawks. If another team wants Zaza Pachulia or Acie Law IV or will take Marvin Williams in a deal for Bibby or Johnson, the Hawks need to suck it up and make the deal. This team isn't going to make the playoffs as currently constituted and coached. I'm not sure the difference between 20 and 30 wins is worth anything. A 20-win season might shock the decision-makers into confronting the reality of the franchise's situation.

Ultimately, this season will let us know whether they want to continue to field an incompetent but sort-of competitive team or they're willing to build a team that has a chance to make a playoff run at some point in the next 3-5 years. Smith and Horford plus annual or bi-annual lottery picks should make the former possible with minimal effort. The latter requires both long-term planning and the willingness to take a hit in the short-term. I'm not especially optimistic but I do believe that at one's core is a desire to win. I hope Atlanta Spirit LLC begins to demonstrate some human ambition.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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