Disclaimer: Trying to spin multiple posts over consecutive days out of a single subject is made difficult by the presence of astute readers and colleagues.
Larry Drew's as-yet-unseen motion offense is great fun to contemplate and project upon but, from a practical perspective, it's important to remember that, over the course of 82 games, the Hawks were excellent offensively. Now, that didn't count for much in two playoff series against top-3 defenses and it's perfectly fair to hope and argue for a less-predictable offense to pay dividends in that context even if it's not as efficient over 82 games.
I'll admit that it's hard for me to imagine these Hawks running a motion offense. My conception of the players has been significantly influenced by Mike Woodson's offense. Evn if Drew's offense helps Horford and Williams and Josh Smith fulfill their abilities it might stifle the abilities of Jamal Crawford and, to a lesser extent, Mike Bibby. For all the reasonable criticism Woodson received, he probably didn't get sufficient credit for getting career years out of Flip Murray and Crawford. In addition to the improbability of Crawford repeating a career year at the age of 30, his skills, because they are so individualistic, are unlikely to translate perfectly to a motion offense. The lack of basketball instincts that so limits him as defender and rebounder could further suppress his production in 2010-11 if he's asked to do more in a team context. On the other hand, his ability to create shots for himself and his fine work on the pick-and-roll with Al Horford could serve as a fine safety net.
That Drew's system doesn't figure to be as extreme a low turnover offense worries me with regard to the team's already dire transition defense. As does the fact that all the public attention has been directed toward improving a generally effective offense and (unless switching every screen was an even worse idea than it seemed at the time) the average-at-best defense has not been addressed at all. Unless Jeff Teague plays a lot and proves a useful defender, it's difficult to see how Larry Drew will coax a significantly better defensive performance out of the same personnel that frustrated Mike Woodson.
It wasn't just Woodson that capitulated in the Orlando series. The players exhibited a substantial unwillingness to compete in difficult/uncomfortable circumstances as well. I fear that weakness may still be lurking within. In the best of circumstances, it's difficult to execute at a high level over the course of a season. The Lakers don't always deign to run the triangle but they can get away with taking the ocassional shortcut because they're good defensively, they have Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson's there to point them in the right direction. The Hawks have none of those lodestars with which to re-orient themselves should they go off-track.
There's a general human reluctance to embrace change. Whether or not the Hawks give themselves up to a new system and stick with it through the difficult patches is a fair question. With the relative lack of commitment (considering the amount and length of his contract) the organization has shown Drew, his ambition to remake the team's offensive identity is laudable. The new offense could well make the 2010-11 team more interesting* than the 2009-10 team. It may not remake the team to the same degree addressing the team's defensive weaknesses, both in terms of personnel and tactics, might.
*There's a certain selfish appeal to this that I try and repress.