Your team is an old rap album: The Atlanta Hawks are "Age Against The Machine" by Goodie Mob

A quick note:

Goodie Mob’s “Age Against The Machine” isn’t out yet. It is tentatively scheduled to be released at the end of 2012.

Yeah. Don’t be confused. I can make sense of this, I promise.

Goodie Mob. Great group in their time. Torn asunder by politics and commercial aspirations and “artistic differences”. You know how it goes. Yet another example of what should have been but never was.

Then, more or less out of nowhere, Cee-Lo Green (one of the most talented dudes in music for about 20 years now) went and blew up commerically, a concept that seemed far-fetched to me in the “Cell Therapy” days but makes plenty of sense now. Sometimes, talent actually does carry the day.

Cee-Lo can do pretty much whatever he wants now, and what he wanted to do is reunite the Goodie Mob and give them a proper reintroduction to the world and likely more fame than they had the first time around, just by association. It might be a bit much to call him a savior or anything, but the rest of the Goodie Mob went from essentially out of the game to back in a big way.

Thing is, there are no guarantees that their record catches on with the public or anything like that, but the promise of another shot at the big time is reason enough to be giddy, both for them personally as well as for us that dug them.

Well, the Hawks might not have been in similarly dire circumstances, but they were stuck in a “make the playoffs but fail to contend” mode that was likely never going to change with their payroll situation. Fact is, they were locked into some pretty steep contracts, most notable Joe Johnson’s monster 6 year, 119 million dollar deal that was just simply too much to pay for a player of caliber and worse yet, appeared virtually unmovable.

Or so we thought.

Is that you, god? Nope, but it’s where Danny Ferry enters this story, as the Cee-Lo to the Hawks’ Goodie Mob. All but dead in the water for the length of Johnson’s deal if not longer, Ferry swooped in and, within months of his hiring as head personnel man, managed to dump Johnson’s contract and the last two years of perennial underachiever Marvin Williams’ deal as well, for good measure.

So, where all hope had been lost, there is a new lease on life. The Hawks might take a step back on the court this year, but it will be to ensure the chance to take two giant steps forward in the new few years, since they’ll finally have some salary cap room to improve the team and rebuild around a younger, cheaper nucleus.

Again, there is no guarantee that Ferry’s rebuild will be a smash hit, but everyone involved is thankful for the opportunity after it appeared one might not come.

So yeah, The 2013 Hawks are an album that has yet to come out. Ferry has a chance to make them great or he could mess it all up, just like the last regime and the one before that. Still, the hope exists where it hadn’t for quite some time.

Told you it would make sense.

On the court, The Hawks should be…

..Just fine. Well, they aren’t going anywhere special this year, but they should still win more than they lose. personnel-wise, Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich and Marvin Williams are gone, replaced by Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams and Devin Harris. Essentially, this should now be a more athletic, run-and-gun kind of team, especially if they have any luck on the health side of things.

Guys like Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Harris and Williams are all made to play fast, and if Al Horford is good to go after last years injury issues, they should be decent. Consider them a good bet to sneak into the playoffs, even if they’ll likely be out in short order.

Still, it’s all about the future for Atlanta. As of next summer, they’ll have a clean payroll (save for Al Horford’s contract, which is extremely reasonable) to do with what they please, and if Teague, Ivan Johnson and the rest of the young guys continue to improve the Hawks could be one move away from making a giant leap in the Eastern Conference.

Better times are ahead for Atlanta. If Ferry gets it right, expectations could be Sky High.




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