Debate the decision to sign the player formerly and laughably known as Superman – Dwight Howard – and to jettison one of the most sincere competitors in Hawks history – Al Horford – all you want. Anything to keep the mind active until the start of training camp.
But, honestly, all we’re really talking about here is the rearranging of some furniture. An exchange of parts that, when installed, will amount to very little actual difference in performance. (OK, I think the Hawks may be a little worse as a result, a little more static, and Boston a little better).
Because of the fad now of the high-profile free agents herding together with others of their kind like nervous sheep, seeking the comfort of each other’s talents, sharing the heat of the spotlight (hello, Kevin Durant), the Hawks already seem assured of being, at best, playoff filler next season. As is 85 percent of the NBA.
The script for 2016-17 in the NBA was written this past week, and nowhere are the Hawks prominently featured. Whatever they do will make no difference so long as LeBron James remains on track to re-sign with Cleveland, and injuries do nothing to swing the balance of power.
The Hawks will be markedly different, with Dennis Schroder the featured point guard and Howard snatching a few more rebounds and weighing down the team free throw percentage like an anvil.
But can you say they will really be markedly better? Better enough to at least win one game against Cleveland in the postseason? To go somewhere this franchise has never been? I certainly don’t see it, but then my eyes, along with my optimism, are failing.
Like that vast majority of the NBA not blessed with the rare, truly difference-making player, the Hawks do these kind make-overs with as much hope as conviction. You’ve got to do something, right? Anything. Shake up the mix and see if somehow its turns into wine. It so seldom does.
What it accomplishes is to give the public something to talk about here when all is theory and conjecture, before hard reality takes hold.