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Hawks Blogger Previews

atl.gifThe Hawks took the Celtics to 7 games last year.  Are they for real?

Matt McHale: Basketbawful

2. What are the team's biggest strengths? Their starting five of Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Smith and Al Horford is solid (particularly in the East). And Bibby -- whose "sore thumb" is fully healed -- has now been through training camp with his 'mates and should be fully integrated into Mike Woodson's offensive and defensive schemes. This should lead to improved chemistry, especially with backcourt buddy Joe Johnson, and hopefully a general improvement in team defense (which definitely de-improved after Bibs was acquired last February). They're an "energy" team that can push the tempo and crash the offensive boards. They play really tough at home, where some actual fans were sighted last season, along with at least one Bigfoot. (However, one or both sightings might have been a hoax.) Their confidence is sky high after the way they "pushed" the Celtics in the first round of last year's playoffs.

Hoopinion: Peachtree Hoops

3. What is the team's biggest weakness?

Lack of depth. After Smith, Johnson, and Horford the Hawks have two starters who, at best, can be expected to be league-average in Mike Bibby and Marvin Williams. Bibby certainly helped the team's offense after arriving from Sacramento in February, but the team's defense declined just as much as the offense improved so his acquisition failed to make the team appreciably better.

Beyond the starting five, this season's the bench should provide greater quantity in terms of legitimate, NBA-quality reserve players than last year's squad, but no one can be expected to play as well as Josh Childress would have.

For a full schedule of the previews, see here.

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