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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Franchise that Doesn't Play to Win

3...2...1...Zero. The score reads 83-80. The Boston Celtics win the series 4-2. But more importantly, the Celtics proved that the Atlanta Hawks are still the same old Hawks of the past 5-6 years. A team that has "potential" but never shows up in the playoffs. Well, these "young" Hawks aren't so young anymore. It's an excuse that no longer has any meaning to it and it hasn't for the past 2-3 years.

The Atlanta Hawks are a proud franchise but in the past 2-3 years, I question if this franchise wants to win an NBA Championship. Kind of bizarre that I even think about that right? Is it not every franchise's goal in any sport to become the one and only champion in any sport? There is a reason to my madness though.

Consider this, the Hawks have PG Jeff Teague, SG Joe Johnson, SF Marvin Williams, PF Josh Smith, and C Al Horford. Teague has only been there for three years while the remaining four have been together for the past 5 years. So with this much chemistry among the 4 of the 5 starter, one would assume this group would be able to contend for an Eastern Conference Finals Berth, however, that would not be the case with these Hawks. They've made the playoffs for 5 straight years. Cool. They've been to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the 3 of those years. Cool. Zero Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Not cool. Think about how the Hawks finished in those semifinal series finished: Lost 4-0 to Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008-2009, lost 4-0 to Orlando Magic in 2009-2010, and lost 4-2 to Chicago Bulls 2010-2011. They're never in a position to even win the series in the semifinals. Fans would cling to the "youth" factor but while I believe that excuse has no meaning to it anymore, I believe the excuse masks a reality that the fans and the Hawks' management do not want to accept.

These Atlanta Hawks cannot win a NBA Championship. What I mean is that this current, core group of players do not have what it takes to win an NBA title and they haven't for the past 2-3 years. It's understandable in their first two years if the group does not succeed because they need time to "gel" together but after that there should be no excuses.

Everybody calls them young but they're based on their age. The "Stars" may be only 25 or 26 years old but some of them have been in the NBA for more than 5-7 years now. They're not young, they're veterans. My question is why hasn't there been a shake up to improve the team?

It has been clear for the past 2-3 years that these Atlanta Hawks have never been in contention for a NBA Title, let alone an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Why hasn't management tried to make a change? They've done nothing except hold on to that cliché excuse: "Well they're young. Give them time. They'll come around." Well, we've given them time. Actually, at least 3 years to prove themselves and we still haven't seen results. The fact that this franchise foolishly convinces itself that its players can win with no signs of improvement leads me to conclude that Executive Vice President and General Manager Bill Knight may not serious about winning a NBA Championship.

That statement may sound harsh however, the NBA is moving towards teams with multiple superstar players while Atlanta has done nothing except keeping their starting lineup intact by signing star, not superstar, Joe Johnson to a six-year, $119 million deal. While teams like Miami are getting quality players like Shane Battier, the Hawks signed a former star in Tracy McGrady who, although not entirely his fault, hasn't won a playoff series in his career. I just find it hard to believe that while teams like the Thunder, the Bulls, the Heat, and the Knicks are getting better, the Hawks believe that their players will be better than these teams in the next 3 years when there have been no signs of it in the previous 3 years.

Atlanta Hawks Organization stop making excuses for these guys. Stop lying to yourselves. Go out make a trade and switch up the starting lineup with new faces that "gel" together. If you don't, you will be sitting in your office watch the Heat, Thunder, or some other team holding up that trophy once again and again and again and again.

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