Atlanta Hawks (60-22) vs. Brooklyn Nets (38-44)
A few years back a lot of us were wondering “why in the hell did Atlanta trade away Joe Johnson?” A couple of seasons later we see why. Joe Johnson isn’t/wasn’t that guy we thought he was. He wasn’t a franchise caliber guy and he couldn’t lead a team. JJ benefited from being around players who could already play. Not guys that needed him to make them better. After a few early playoff exits the Hawks grew tired of him and decided it was time to move on. Smart move.
After the trade Atlanta has improved from year to year (top three East team last season before the Horford injury,) while the Nets remained stagnant. DeRon Williams & Joe Johnson haven’t produced like their pay implicates and I think we know why… Both players just aren’t that good. Williams is a system guy (Jerry Sloan in Utah) and JJ is best served as a 2nd or 3rd option (see a few of the early Nash led Sun teams). The Nets don’t have a sense of direction and are stuck in no man’s land.
These two teams met four times with the Hawks winning 4-0. The Nets went 11-5 to close the season sort of ending it on a role. But even with that I just don’t think they’re a true playoff team.
PG: J.Teague vs. D.Williams
SG: K.Korver vs. M.Brown
SF: D.Carroll vs. J.Johnson
PF: P.Millsap vs. M.Plumlee
C: A.Horford vs. B.Lopez
This series really isn’t all that appealing. Pacers vs. Hawks would’ve been far more interesting but it is what it is.
The Nets have the talent to make things tough but the question is will they? Brook Lopez is a top 5 scoring center, Joe Johnson is too big of a wing player for the Hawks to guard and D-Will is a veteran point guard who’s played in a Conference Finals before.
Atlanta are the Spurs of the East. They can play inside-out, outside-in, rebound, defend and everything else. Their only downfall might be how they don’t have a guy who takeover late in the game. You can get by with that in the season but in the postseason having a go to guy is critical.
They’re the best team in the East but i don’t think the gap is too far. In this specific series Atlanta should be able to exploit Brooklyn’s defense with their impeccable passing. On the defensive end if they can contain Brook Lopez and keep Williams from distributing they’ll be fine. Brooklyn isn’t that good.
The Nets. If Brook Lopez can establish himself downlow and the bench is performing the Nets can make it a series. Williams is going to have hell with Teague all series long but if he gets him the post he’ll have an advantage. Joe Johnson also needs to have that F*** you type of series great players usually tend to have against a foe…. oops
Prediction Hawks beat the Nets 4-1. Atlanta is just too good for BKN. The real test will be in round two for Atlanta.