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Horford’s Injury May Be A Good Thing

January 24, 2012
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The Atlanta Hawks are a respectable 4-2 since losing All-Star Al Horford to a torn pectoral muscle in his shoulder. While only two of these opponents have winning records it’s still a positive sign. I’m not going to tell you that the Hawks are a better team without Horford…that’s just stupid. However, his injury may force the Hawks to do something that I’ve been shouting for weeks…..acquire a true center via trade. They haven’t tried to do this yet but may be forced to now that Al is out of the lineup for months. Their bigman is clearly better off playing power forward.

 

Before the injury I was asking myself who are the Atlanta Hawks? what’s their identity?? They’re the 2nd oldest team in the NBA and, other than the scoring of Joe Johnson and post play of Horford, they’re quite the enigmatic group. This team is pretty much the same core that’s been around for the last 5 years, growing together but not really adding any talent (Jeff Teague aside). Starting 2011-12. they seemed like the poster boys for mediocrity…strong enough to kill the bad teams but not good enough to take down the elite ones. They blew out the New Jersey Nets twice as well as the Washington Wizards to start the season (I know, who hasn’t?). But then they beat the Heat in Miami and almost took down the Bulls in Chicago. I was in awe…..and just when I was about to anoint them with homecourt advantage in the 1st round, they laid an egg against the starless ‘Heatles’ (I’m not counting Chris Bosh) January 5th. Then again, when I’m about to kick dirt on ‘em, they go out and destroy the Bulls at home in a very misleading 109-94 boxscore. They were up 23 after three quarters on the Eastern Conference powerhouse. The Hawks have showed me this season that they may just be capable of putting a dent in the clan-destined Bulls vs Heat championship series.

 

The best ball I’ve seen Atlanta play in the last few years was when they started Al Horford at PF vs the Orlando Magic in their 1st round victory last April (payback from the year before). Jason Collins started at center in that series, but it could’ve been Oliver Miller or Dwayne Schintzius at the 5-spot for all we care…the key was Al played his natural position and didn’t have to grind on bigger guys all night long. Horford has a good face-up game and underrated passing skills from the high post. Head coach Larry Drew and his ‘ATL ballers’ are a much better squad with Horford at the ’4′. Josh Smith then could slide up to the SF position, something very do-able for Smooth since he’s 25 lbs lighter than last season. Who knows, maybe in some sarcastic twist of faith he may actually take fewer jumpers at the ’3′. He’ll have have smaller guys guarding him and may end up playing in the post more. Joe Johnson and Tracy McGrady are also capable of playing solid minutes at SF. Marvin Williams would be the odd man out in this scenario and, quite frankly, most likely to be moved in order to get a true center via trade. Even if it means giving up Josh Smith as well, I think it’s worth it for Atlanta. Al Horford at the PF and Joe Johnson at the SF is a much better look for the Hawks than their current alignment. Can GM Rick Sund swap Williams and Smith (and maybe another guard) for a starting center and solid shooting guard? It’s a spicy idea and one that may be a little too ‘outside the box’ for some of you target=”_blank”>ATLiens…but just let it marinate a bit.

BlogNBAsketball trade proposals are pending…..

 

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One Response to Horford’s Injury May Be A Good Thing

  1. Hawk Ay on March 16, 2012 at 5:04 am

    yeah, and Joe should go down too., that’ll be the best thing lol

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