2008-2009 Atlanta Hawks Season Preview
2008 Atlanta Hawks preview from the Maddux Sports experts. Maddux Sports the premier professional handicappers also offers winning NBA Picks daily to our visitors.
In 2007- 2008, the Atlanta Hawks (37- 45) put in a losing season but managed to win the last seed in the NBA playoffs. Over the course of the regular-season, the Hawks top players put up good number but a lack of depth severely limited the team’s ability to win. Atlanta was 16th in offensive efficiency and 18th in defensive efficiency. The Hawks continued to suffer from the draft mistakes of former GM Billy Knight and owners that are unwilling to spend money. The frontcourt suffered the most from Knight’s decisions. Just before he lost his job, the GM sealed the deal that brought Mike Bibby from Sacramento to Atlanta. That was a good move overall. But he also tried to convince team owners to fire coach Mike Woodsen. That backfired as the owners retained Woodsen and jettisoned Knight.
There was one major bright point last season. The Hawks did something they had not done since the turn of the century—they made it into the post-season. Still, although they took the Boston Celtics to seven games, the fact was that Boston beat up Atlanta in their four victories by 23, 19, 25 and 34 points. Atlanta could not win a playoff game on the road. Mike Bibby came from Kings and played in 25 regular-season games. The team scored more points with Bibby on the roster but their defense also gave up more. The offense went from being ranked 20th to 10th while the defense went from ninth to 26th. It’s tough to win a playoff series by playing that type of “D.”
The regular-season trade for Bibby gave Atlanta an experienced player who can serve as a leader for the young guys. Former Hawk Josh Childress went to play in Europe. Forward/center Randolph Morris looks to take his place, offering something this team needs—solid defense. Forward Josh Smith ended up in a bidding war that Atlanta won at the cost of $11.8 million per year.
Forward/center Al Horford, who notched 9.7 RPG and scored 10.1 PPG, is a double-double guy while small forward Marvin Williams has a solid inside shot. Averaging 14.8 PPG, he hit 46% of his shots last season. Josh Smith, who averaged 17.2 PPG, will play power forward. There’s some depth upfront, with Morris and Maurice Evans offering quality minutes.
Mike Bibby is the main man in a backcourt that is deep with three-point shooters. Bibby, who played in 48 games last season, hit 38% of his threes. It would be better if he took fewer shots from downtown and focused on moving the ball around. He averaged 6.0 APG and 13.9 PPG. Joe Johnson is the team’s best player. Johnson scored 21.7 PPG and averaged 5.8 APG. He’s an amazing playmaker, fine passer and topnotch shooter.
It all starts at the top with the battling franchise owners and filters down through the ranks. Atlanta may have made the playoffs last season, but it was by default. Another losing season means that the Hawks will finish fifth in the Southeast and 13th in the Eastern Conference.