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News » Atlanta Hawks Roster Report 2008-06-06

Atlanta Hawks Roster Report 2008-06-06

Atlanta Hawks Roster Report 2008-06-06
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Joe Johnson turned in one of his finest seasons yet in a Hawks uniform, leading the team to the playoffs and leading them in scoring the entire way. Whatever he lacks in verbal leadership abilities Johnson more than makes up for by leading this team by example. But those who questioned the Hawks' pursuit of him three years ago need not open wide to snack on the crow they so rightly deserve -- Johnson could care less.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Speedy Claxton's tenure with the Hawks is quickly turning into another cautionary tale for teams strapped to fix their draft mistakes through free agency. He didn't play a single game this season because of a knee injury that could very well end his career. That $25 million the Hawks paid him to be the point guard of the future (instead of drafting Chris Paul or Deron Williams) looks even more ridiculous now than it did when they signed the career backup.

BIGGEST NEEDS: The Hawks have to locate another shooter with size to help alleviate the double- and triple-team pressure Joe Johnson saw from defenses all year, particularly from the Celtics in the playoffs. That player doesn't even have to be a starter. But he has to be someone capable of posing a legitimate deep threat when he's on the floor.

FREE AGENT FOCUS: The Hawks have their own free agents to deal with, namely restricted free agent forwards Josh Smith and Josh Childress. But they also have to locate another shooter and at least two veteran big men to help fill out a rotation that was woefully thin in each of the past two seasons, even before the February trade that sent Shelden Williams and Lorenzen Wright to Sacramento.


--Guess who was the first Hawks player to hit the weight room and the offseason workout regimen the team set forth for the players? Josh Smith. That's right, the Hawks' restricted free agent power forward was spotted in the weight room two weeks after the Game 7 loss to Boston, pushing himself through a grueling workout. As much as Smith is focused on what should be a huge summer payday, he's just as focused on getting ready for what could be an even bigger season, were he to remain with the Hawks.

--Josh Childress, the Hawks' other restricted free agent this summer, could see his stock soar with several veteran Western Conference teams in need of an infusion of athletic wing talent. Both Phoenix and San Antonio could use a role player like Childress who can be effective on both ends of the floor without ever being the focal point of the team's attack.

--Veteran Hawks point guard Speedy Claxton will attempt to make yet another comeback from the knee problems that have sidelined him in each of the past two seasons. He'll work out this summer and might even make a summer league appearance just to test his knee out.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 6, 2008


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