Monday, April 28, 2008

Horford is Real (as are the Hawks)

Yes, I said Horford does not deserve to be this year's Rookie of the Year. By now, everyone pretty much agrees with this.

But that said: this Horford kid...he's got it. You know..."it"! He has it! That thing that elevates a player over others with similar skill and size. That thing that makes players become fan favourites, and that thing that draws the best out of his team-mates. That thing that let's the opposition know you don't take no shit...that thing that helps win games.

Horford, like Durant, has got it...and all of a sudden the Hawks seem to have a starting five with great potential. No, they probably won't win this series against Boston, but they have shown that on some nights they can match it with the best of the best. Give this team another year or so, and they could go places. Let's have a look at the starting 5.

PG - Mike Bibby
If he has an injury free pre-season and can grab some time to fully mesh with his new team-mates, next year could be a great one for the Hawks. He's still young enough to contribute his best to this team for a few seasons.

SG - Joe Johnson
The guy simply can make buckets. Some nights he may go cold, but when he is hot you can ride him for an easy W. Hand in the face? Doesn't matter. Fade-away? Money. When he is on, he can shoot with the best of them. On his off nights, that's when you need your post presence.

SF - Marvin Williams
Sure, he was picked over CP3. But that was hardly his fault, was it? The kid is getting better all the time. Possesing a solid mid-range jumper, nice finishing around the rim and a good Free Throw percentage, Williams is finally showing us what he can do. Not a terrible player to have there at the SF glueing things together. He definetely has another gear to climb, though.

PF - Josh Smith
OK, this guy is my favourite player. But looking past that, what does he bring to the table? He is probably the most athletically gifted player in the league, bar Lebron. Coupled with a natural defensive instinct, you better watch out when you are attempting to finish a fast break, or even in the half-court. Smith will most likely always be hovering. His shooting is a weakness, and incredibly streaky. It does seem however, he posseses enough of a base to improve this into a strength. Much practice will be needed in this area. Add this to his game, and he will be an All-Star, of that there is no doubt. He already fills up the stats sheet...with more PPG added he would be an incredibly useful player to build around.

C - Al Horford
The rather small line-up is completed by Horford. There is a reason he was part of two NCAA championship winning teams. He plays with heart, and confidence. His energy is infectouos. It seems that he will be towards the top of the rebounds per game list for years to come. Obviously he needs to work on his offensive game and lift his FG%. He may struggle at times around the rim, being smaller than your average centre, but must work to make up for this and get easy buckets on the fast break. It also seems he has a few moves that work from time to time which should be developed, as well as a mid-range jumper.

This young starting line-up offers plenty of potential. Childress offers a good option off the bench, but otherwise depth is a weakness in this Atlanta team. A solid veteran or two wouldn't go astray. A genuine 7-footer is also needed, and I would recommend the Hawks do all they can to secure one in the upcoming draft. Complete all these items on the franchise-building check-list and the Hawks could go somewhere real soon...let's see how it pans out.

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