The Atlanta Hawks lack of any semblence of perimeter defense cost them their first loss of the season against the Phoenix Suns tonight. Perimeter defense is something I have been harping on all offseason, and it is something that I will continue to harp on. Beefing up this area was completely ignored during the offseason, with the Hawks apparently relying upon steady improvement from Jeff Teague and a healthy Marvin Williams to supply the bulk of the perimeter defense.
In tonights game though, they didn’t have Marvin Williams and Teague is still a work in progress. The Suns are very adept at attacking their opposition’s weakness, and with the Hawks, that is clearly their perimeter defense. Joe Johnson is average at best as a defender, and neither Mike Bibby nor Jamal Crawford can guard their own shadow. Basically, the Suns simply attacked both Bibby and Crawford in this game.
The Hawks ulitmately resorted to using Al Horford on the perimeter to guard Steve Nash, and Al actually slowed him down in the second half. Al once again proved that he is the Atlanta Hawks best player. Not Joe Johnson, who the Hawks paid an exhorbitant amount of money to keep this offseason. I’m glad the Hawks got Al Horford locked up for the next 5 seasons. Al is the Hawks most efficient scorer, best rebounder, best low post defender, and best perimeter defender.
Once again, my point here is that the Hawks are going to find a lot more struggles as they go along this season because of their lack of defense. They may have started the season 6-0, but none of the teams they played in their first six games are likely to make the playoffs. The Suns were the first legitimate playoff team this team has encountered, and they have the Orlando Magic coming up. I’m anticipating that the Magic will hand the Hawks their second loss on the year.
Here is my plea to the front office of the Atlanta Hawks – GET THIS TEAM SOMEONE THAT CAN DEFEND ON THE PERIMETER!!!!!
A move for perimeter defense help has to be made, or the Hawks are going to struggle to match their win total from last season.