Friday, January 2, 2009

It Was A Very Good Year

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We'd ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

Though Sinatra sang unabashedly about the ladies in his tune, the HHB says that Sinatra and the Hawks had a similar theme----

It was a very good year.

Think about it:

  • The emergence and energy of Al Horford was getting regular playing time.
  • Josh Smith and Josh Childress continued their growth and development.
  • Joe Johnson repeats as an All-Star (only 5th Hawks player since 1975 to do so).
  • The Arrival of Mike Bibby for Shelden Williams.
  • A playoff run for the first time since 1999.
  • Zaza's H2H with Garnett
  • Game 4 and Joe's killer sauce.
  • Dominique calling that there would be a Game 7 before Game 5 was even finished.
  • Game 6.

Then came some drama as the Hawks watched Billy Knight leave the nest he had built and was replaced by Rick Sund, who promptly presided over the messy free agency season.

Josh Childress somewhat exposed the franchise and left the NBA for Greece, and continues to garner amazing attention for the move.

The Hawks signed Maurice Evans and RFM ostensibly to replace Childress.

The long wait and hand wringing for Josh Smith to sign finally occurs when Memphis signs him to an offer sheet. Atlanta waits for about .0001 seconds to match the offer.

Then the season starts:

  • 6-0.
  • The Hawks, with the momentum from the drama and surprisingly competitiveness against the Celtics last playoffs and an undefeated start with wins over Orlando (away) and New Orleans (away) bring the Hawks into a place called Relevancy.
  • Josh Smith gets hurt during the streak.
  • Last second loss to Boston, in Boston, without Josh Smith.
  • New Jersey owns us.
  • Hawks go about .500 without Smith.
  • Smith returns.
  • The dreaded Texas trip.
  • A 7-1 homestand.
  • Winning 9 out of 10 to close out the calendar and win 21 games before Jan 1st for the first time since 1979.

Along with that, as the statisticians in the house can attest, the Hawks have found their identity, though it's not what most had envisioned for this long, athletic team.

The Hawks have found that a slow pace suits them, as they are 26th in the league in Game Pace and are putting up their best Offensive Rating since 1990. You can check it all out (I mean, I don't know what all the numbers mean, but we seem to win when we're good in all of these things) right here. Try it. Fun for the whole family.

Somewhere in the heart of Atlanta, Mike Woodson is smiling.

Yes, he has quirks, as do all bosses, but Woodson seems to be getting what he wants, a cohesive starting 5 that he can go with every night, just like the Pistons team he left to come take on the rebuilding Hawks.

Still in the spirit of resolution and growth that January 1 always brings (Don't believe us? Check the gym registration stats---January is easily the busiest month as folks vow to change.) we wish to list the HHB Wish List for 2009.

  • Continued winning and relevance for the Good Birds.
  • More playing time for Acie Law or a cohesive long term plan around the point guard position--we mean, other than praying that Mike Bibby can continue his excellence as he gets further into his 30's.
  • A more polished inside game for Al Horford and a will to assert himself as more than a complementary piece to the game.
  • For Mike Woodson to play inside-out more, thereby taking advantage of Horford to ease the dependency of the three to the Hawks success.
  • Another All-Star berth for Joe Johnson (a third would make him only the third Hawk since 1975 to be a 3-peater---Nique and Dan Roundfield being the others.)
  • An All-Star berth for Mike Bibby.
  • 50 wins and home court for the Hawks.
  • To get past the second round of the playoffs for the first time.
  • To get another Legitimate Big Man in the offseason.

We'll stop there, but we are excited about what 2009 can bring for the Hawks, but we also celebrate 2008 as the year the Hawks packed their bags and left Lottery Land, but more importantly built something that appears will stand for a longer than a season.

It was, indeed, a very good year.

2 comments:

rbubp said...

I'm still amazed at Childress. Those highlights of the games in Greece confirmed that he took a whole bunch of cash to go play for somebody's high school team.

I can't imagine it will result in helping his reputation when he comes back to the NBA--he'll have been playing poor competition for some years and will certainly be viewed as a flake.

Jason Walker said...

rbubp,

I think Childress knows it was a bad career move, but he will try and use it to force the Hawks hand this offseason.

He wants to be somewhere where he can start. The Hawks are not that team now.

Going to Greece might have hurt that chance as much as anything, because nobody any good is going to hand a starting job over to someone coming back from Greece, I wouldn't think.