By Gordon Robinson
1. Rebounding – The thought that Tiago Splitter and Edy Tavarez would add some size and fix some of the woes in the paint. That has yet to take place this early into the season. With Mike Muscala, Tavares, Splitter and Al Horford the thought was that the Hawks would be a little bigger and be able to hold their own against some of the bigger teams out there. Hawks’ fans would still like to be able to see Al more at the four spot.
2. Forcing the Three – The Atlanta Hawks’ offense seems to be based around the three-pointer. When the threes are falling, the Hawks are a beauty to watch. When they are not, Atlanta seems to force the three instead of just taking the open look inside the arc. The Hawks need for someone to be hot at all times to keep them in games so that they can close out opponents at the end.
3. Toughness – Atlanta gets pushed around against bigger, more aggressive teams. Like the stereotype, you rarely find a tough jump shooting team and the Hawks fit right into that mold. Many fans would like to see Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroeder attack the paint, get better looks and draw more fouls on the opposing teams.
4. No Superstar – Atlanta was tops in the league last season in assists. They share the ball, sometimes to a fault, and force the defense to stay on their man. It becomes a negative at the end of the game where you don’t have that definite closer who will take charge down the stretch. The importance of having that guy is usually that’s who gets the calls from the refs.
5. Energy – The big loss with DeMarre Carroll leaving was the energy that he brought to the floor. He was the one who hit the floor after a loose ball and always seem to spark the intensity on the defensive side of the ball. Who is going to feel those shoes now? The obvious choices would be Kent Bazemore on the offensive end and Thabo Sefolosha on defense. As the games play out we will see who steps into that role.