The Atlanta Hawks were a good team in the 08′-09′ season. The Hawks were swept in the second round of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers – this would suggest the Hawks are yet to take the leap into one of the better Eastern Conference teams. The Hawks finished with a 47-35 record season and defeated the Miami Heat in the first round in 7 games. The 08′ playoffs against the Boston Celtics proved that the Atlanta Hawks were on the rise and should compete for the Eastern Conference Championship in the near future.
The Hawks did improve on their previous season – many feel the Hawks took a step backwards in 09′. Not being able to win 50 games in the Eastern Conference isn’t very impressive by many accounts. If a team is a serious playoff threat -winning 50 games should be accomplished.
Joe Johnson is – while a very good player – must be put in the same sentence as Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard as one of the best players in the game if the Hawks expect to do anything this season. Joe Johnson averaged 22 points per game – Johnson must be more aggressive and average 24-25 points per game because the Hawks go in scoring droughts.
When you can’t score you must prevent the other team from scoring, the Hawks defense must improve because their opponents average for the season was 97 points per game – championship quality teams do not give up that many points.
The Eastern Conference just became stronger again with the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers – how will the Hawks stop Shaq? That remains to be seen. The Hawks might be a playoff team once again but the chances of them reaching the Eastern Conference Finals with their current team is doubtful.