Injuries and, by extension, a weak bench didn't help. Neither did the fact that the Cavs are just a better coached team that also features the best player on the fucking planet. That the Hawks lost was not a surprise.
In all honesty though, I was hoping for a run akin to the Celtics series last year. Maybe pushing it to seven games would have been a stretch, but a home win or two was not out of the question. Alas, it was not meant to be, and here is where we stand as Hawks fans:
- With a coach that has done a below-average-at-best job of developing the plethora of talent on the roster or devising a gameplan to fit their talents. It should be noted that due to THE ASSHATS THAT ARE THE ATLANTA SPIRIT, said coach will be retained despite eleven (!) playoff losses of greater than ten points in a year's time.
- A "best player" that will never the best player on a championship team. I love JoeJ, and in the right situation, he can absolutely be an all-star on a contender (think Paul Pierce last year). But he absolutely cannot be the end-all-be-all in crunch time situations.
- A free agent point guard that, while aging, is a ideal fit for this team. You can either resign said point guard, or head into next season with the two options being Acie Law, who hates the coach, and Speedy Claxton, whose expiring contract could be one of the Hawks main weapons next year. Let's just move on.
- Marvin Williams as a restricted free agent. If you don't anticipate this situation playing out exactly like Josh Smith's "lowball offer--->teams scared off by 10 day matching period--->sign a below market contract with a shitty team--->Hawks match offer" last year, well then you just haven't been following the Hawks long enough.
- Two quality players overseas (Josh Childress, David Andersen) that the Hawks hold the rights to. There about a 0.0000000006% chance that either of them will ever suit up for this team in the future.
- Josh Smith trade rumors. Please. He's not going anywhere, nor should he. As anyone who's watched the playoffs the last two seasons, he has the talent and ability to be our best player on the court, and often is. Unfortunately, he also doesn't get along with ole Woody, so stagnation will reign supreme.
This was undoubtedly the most enjoyable Hawks season in more than a decade. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much room for an improvement in personnel or on the sideline. That, combined with the way the Hawks went out against the Cavs, kind of puts a sour taste on a sweet season.