10 Things That Atlanta Hawks Fans Don’t Want To Hear From Announcers This Season
10 Things That Atlanta Hawks Fans Don't Want To Hear From Announcers This Season
Every fan has pet peeves about their team, mostly related to coaching decisions and player tendencies. The Atlanta Hawks are no different, and their fans have had to struggle more than most teams in recent years in this regard.
From the selling of draft picks, questionable starting lineups, even more questionable max contracts, and coaching deficiencies, Hawks fans have seen it all. Despite their ability to win games and reach the playoffs, it seems as though something is always holding the team back and that is the most frustrating part of it all.
Hawks fans are used to this however, and have developed a bit of a coping mechanism as they laugh it off (though they cry inside) every time something frustrating occurs. What makes it worse is the fact that the announcers have to relay such information to the ears of those that already see the pain on the screen.
The following are the 10 most frustrating things that Hawks fans hope they won't have to hear this season while watching the team play.
10. “It looks as though Johan Petro is being called on to start tonight in the Jason Collins role”
In past seasons Jason Collins was called upon to start in certain situations (Dwight Howard, comic relief, etc…), much to the chagrin of Hawks fans and basketball purists everywhere. Collins, who departed to the Boston Celtics this offseason is gone now , and somebody will have to fill his role when Larry Drew decides he wants to confuse everybody and start his worst big man. Enter Johan Petro.
Petro, who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason is the new third-string center and will be the perfect candidate to replace Collins’ athleticism/lack thereof and anger Hawks fans.
9. “The Hawks are relying on Iso-Lou tonight, allowing Williams to play extensive minutes at point guard”
In past seasons the Hawks have been known to allow their shooting guard to act as point guard for long stretches, regardless of whether or not they have the ability to play the point (see: Jamal Crawford). This has taken away from the development of Jeff Teague, and if the Hawks first preseason game is any indicator, it may happen again this season.
Lou Williams saw a good amount of minutes as the backup point guard in the Hawks win over the Miami Heat, and Larry Drew’s postgame comments imply that it won’t be the last time that happens. Despite the Hawks acquiring Devin Harris from the Utah Jazz this offseason, Hawks fan might have to watch some assist-droughts this season. Hopefully Drew comes to his senses sooner rather than later and keeps at least one true point guard on the floor at all time
8. “In his first game against the Hawks since being traded, Marvin Williams has recorded a career high in points”
This offseason saw the departure of Atlanta’s favorite duck-butted scapegoat, Marvin Williams. However, on Friday January 11th the city of Atlanta will welcome him back as the Jazz come to town. This will be a great opportunity to see whether Marvin just needed a change of scenery or if a change of profession would be more practical.
One thing that Hawks fans don’t want to see is Marvin coming back to town just to have a breakout game and suddenly stop falling over and missing layups now that he is out of Atlanta. It will be one of the most interesting games of the season (perhaps only behind the Hawks matchups against Brooklyn), and the Hawks faithful will most likely be praying that the clumsy Marvin of old shows up.
7. “Kyle Korver will start tonight and draw the defensive assignment of guarding LeBron James”
Kyle Korver can shoot the ball. Nobody doubts that one bit. However, the advantage that Korver brings on offense is sometimes neutralized by his lackluster defense. This isn’t a knock against Korver’s effort on defense (on the contrary, Korver is one of the hardest workers on that side of the ball), but rather his lack of athleticism in staying with quicker players and lack of strength in dealing with stronger ones.
So in a situation where a player is both stronger and faster than Korver, as LeBron James is, Korver would be stranded. In his past few seasons spent with the Chicago Bulls, Korver has encountered LeBron a handful of times and most of them have turned ugly. As valuable as Korver’s shooting will be in the Hawks’ matchups with the Heat, the thought of him one-on-one with LeBron is enough to make every Hawks fan start a “We want DeShawn” chant.
6. “Deshawn Stevenson looks to be back in last season’s form”
Speaking of DeShawn Stevenson, the Hawks acquired him knowing that he does two things well: frustrate LeBron, and frustrate his own team. Stevenson was a huge reason that the Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Finals, thanks to his strong defense and clutch shooting. However, the Mavericks decided not to retain Stevenson, and he ended up on the Nets, where his play last season was more frustrating than ever.
His shooting percentage fell to an abysmal level (28%), and his PER (4.3) was the lowest among players in the NBA who played at least 500 minutes last season. As a result, the Nets included him free-of-charge (how kind of them) in the Joe Johnson trade, and he now has a chance to resuscitate his career in Atlanta. If his numbers match his production from last season however, the plug may be pulled very quickly on the DeShawn Stevenson project. Though I do think DeShawn would be a great choice for a reality TV series after his career ends, even if every episode would just turn into an episode of LA Ink.
5. “The Hawks take the court tonight tied in the standings with the Bobcats”
Many pundits believe that since the Hawks have rid themselves of Joe Johnson’s contract they have started on a path towards rebuilding. However, what those critics fail to recognize is that the Hawks were a playoff team in the Eastern Conference last season despite playing without Al Horford nearly the whole season.
With Horford’s return, the maturation of Josh Smith (makes me chuckle as I type it), and the addition of Lou Williams (and other pieces) to bolster bench scoring, the dropoff caused by trading Johnson may have been drastically overestimated by some. Though I do recognize that it is impossible to ignore that the team does have a lot of question marks coming into the season.
I know that it is becoming common practice to pick on the Charlotte Bobcats, but come on, how can you not? The Bobcats are destined for another year at the bottom of not only the Southeast Division, but the Eastern Conference as well. If at any point during the year (besides the first game of the season) the Hawks and Bobcats are fighting for position, you’ll know that this year's Hawks experiment failed, or Bismack Biyombo magically traded places with Hakeem Olajuwon.
4. “Looks like John Jenkins is getting the Acie Law treatment this season as he bonds with the bench.
The Hawks have received harsh criticism from fans (and rightly so) in the past for failing to develop their draft picks. Hawks fans who remember Mike Woodson’s handling of former first-round pick Acie Law know just how frustrating this can be. Coincidentally the Hawks first-round pick this season, John Jenkins, received a DNP in the Hawks’ first preseason game much to the dismay of many Hawks fans.
That was just the first preseason game however, and Larry Drew did come out and say that he will be looking to give Jenkins some playing time in their upcoming games. While one game should be nothing to get worked up over, with the past images of draft picks wasting away on the bench stuck in the heads of fans, it is easy to understand their uneasiness.
3. “Ivan Johnson has picked up a chair and is walking towards a referee”
There is no way to sugarcoat it: Ivan Johnson is a terrifying individual.
Whether it is the gleam of the diamond grill that he wears during games, or the “did-you-just-step-on-my-shoe” death stare, Johnson instills fear in nearly everybody around him. The fact that he has a history of anger-management issues in the past (banned from Korean Basketball for life due to gestures and interactions towards a referee, enough technical fouls in his career to make Rasheed Wallace jealous, etc…) only adds to his legend.
However, we can not forget that in addition to being a very scary individual, Johnson is also a very productive basketball player. In order to maintain his solid production from last season though, Johnson will need to keep his cool on the court. While his playing time fluctuated all year, when Johnson was on the court he was a high-energy player who helped energize the Hawks bench. If he is able to maintain his composure better this season, he will see his playing time stabilize.
That being said, if anybody sees Johnson’s eyes turn a fiery-red, run away and secure every loose chair. It may mark the beginning of wrestlemania in Atlanta.
2. "Josh Smith decides not to drive the open lane, and steps back to take the three-pointer instead"
The worst part about being a Hawks fan (besides putting up with the lack of respect the team gets) is watching Josh Smith refuse to take advantage of his athleticism and settle for long jumpers instead. If there were a Hawks drinking game, and it was necessary to take a shot every time Smith took a dumb shot, Atlanta would most likely lead the nation in cases of alcohol poisoning.
Too many times in the past, Smith has had an open lane in front of him but still decided to shoot his high-arcing threes. Hopefully this will be the season where that ends (we’ve heard that before). With the acquisition of Anthony Morrow, John Jenkins, Lou Williams, Anthony Tolliver, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson, the Hawks have a plethora of shooters that can camp behind the three-point line when needed. This means that Smith will have to migrate towards the basket more often, even if it isn’t his choice to do so.
For the sake of our sanity (and our livers), let’s hope that Smith cuts back on the jumpers this season and starts to take advantage of his ability closer to the basket.
1. "And Zaza Pachulia is going up for a game-winning layup"
There are 3.5 seconds remaining in overtime, the Hawks are down by a single point and they have possession. They inbound the ball to Zaza Pachulia on a beautifully-drawn play. Zaza catches the ball with his momentum carrying him towards the basket, and he has a layup attempt to win the game. Sounds like a moment where heroes are made, doesn’t it?
Not so much.
Zaza was unable to finish at the rim, and the Hawks lost a heartbreaking game to the Denver Nuggets. This is a scene that I play over-and-over in my mind very often, and every time I do, I can’t help but wonder how Zaza was able to miss the rim completely on a layup.
While I personally believe that the miss was just bad luck (somebody must have shined a laser pen at Zaza right when he went up for the layup) and that Zaza deserves a chance to redeem himself, most Hawks fans would be much happier if no-more game winning plays were drawn up for him ever again.