The Hawks must wean themselves from their reliance on Joe Johnson.One who's not so amenable to the idea, Joe Johnson:
Almost every bit of the Hawks’ offense since 2005 has run through Johnson, and it’s past time for an adjustment. It’s not that he isn’t a fine player; it’s that this team has two younger players who require room to grow.
Come 2011, Josh Smith and Al Horford should be the Hawks’ best players. (And this assumes Johnson re-ups next summer.) Together, Smith and Horford took 1,443 shots this regular season. By himself, Johnson took 1,420. Save the occasional lob, the team doesn’t run many plays for Smith. It runs almost none for Horford.
"I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. I have a passion and love for the game. Sometimes the coach tries to take me out, and I tell him to leave me in. It’s not that I’m selfish – it’s just my passion for the game."Passion and selfishness are not mutually exclusive.
*I'm still most curious about Joe Johnson's trade value. I think he'd be exceptionally useful to a better team in a role appropriate for his abilities and it chills me to think that the Hawks will be trading players based on their value in Mike Woodson's system rather than their ability level. Let us not forget Marvin's two games as the first option in Joe Johnson's absence: 52 points on 28 shots and two road wins.
**Be it Eric Maynor, Darren Collison, Patty Mills, or Jrue Holiday depending on who's available. I like Nick Calathes a lot too, but I don't think the Hawks can afford to draft a defensive liability in the first round.
***Not that I'm necessarily convinced that Acie Law IV will be back next year. If Woodson returns, as he surely will, it would probably be best for all if Acie were sent somewhere else. He'd get a chance to play and we could find out if his time in Atlanta was Billy Knight or Mike Woodson's mistake.
More off-season speculation in the days to come.