For a while, I thought the Atlanta Hawks were ready to make the natural progression from their first-round loss to the Celtics two years ago to last year's second-round loss to the Cavaliers and advance to the conference finals this season. But it's impossible to envision the Hawks' beating Cleveland or Orlando. It doesn't seem fair that a team that has come so far so fast has already reached it limit, but sometimes these things happen. Ask the Bucks or Nuggets of the '80s or the Cleveland Cavaliers of the '90s or the Sacramento Kings of the 2000s.Where have you gone Lou Hudson and Bill Bridges?
The Hawks could lose Joe Johnson to free agency, but that shouldn't be envisioned as the worst-case scenario. The worst case might be bringing him back and paying full scale for a player who hasn't shown he can carry a team to the conference finals. At least Johnson has good company. Dominique Wilkins never got the Hawks to the conference finals. Neither did Pete Maravich. Sometimes franchises just have a ceiling. Atlanta's is in the second round.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
ESPN.com: Adande: Playoff Outlook
On the question of how far they can go in the playoffs, J.A. Adande comes down firmly on the Atlanta Hawks are what they are and they aren't Cleveland or Orlando side of the argument: