Running with Zaza

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Waiting for Amare

In the Samuel Beckett play, the two main characters are waiting for Godot to show up. While waiting they talk some and wonder what will happen when Godot shows up. That is exactly what Hawks fans are doing with the possible trade for the Phoenix Suns Amare Stoudemire.

Stoudemire is the perfect fit for the Hawks roster. Hawks GM Rick Sund almost has made all the right moves this summer. I would have taken Eric Maynor instead of Jeff Teague. He kept the core group of Hawks together without destroying the payroll. But, the Hawks still are a middle of the pack team in an improving Eastern Conference.

Sund needs to trade for Amare. Trading for Stoudemire would elevate this team into the conversation for an Eastern Conference title. Forget about the money and Stoudemire’s player option after next year. The Hawks can do a deal with the Suns for the Joshes. Let’s dream a little dream for 2010.

Why getting Stoudemire makes sense for the Hawks?

From day one, Stoudemire gives you a low post scoring presence that demands a double team. I watched this guy destroy the Hawks in the post last year in a mid-season game in Philips Arena. His short jump hook from the left block is a devastating move. Plus, he has counter moves and can score with either hand around the basket.

For his career, Stoudemire averages more than 20 points a game, but he does not demand a large number of shots. He averages about 14-15 shots per game. One of the weakest areas for the Hawks in the playoffs against the Cavs was their lack of offensive execution. The Hawks just do not have great set plays.

Stoudemire solves that dilemma. You can isolate him on the block, run the high screen and roll with Al Horford coming from low post to high post, or Stoudemire can screen and pop for a patented 20 foot jump shot or a dump down to Horford on the block.

Defensively, Stoudemire is only serviceable in the post, but he is long and blocks shots around the rim. The best part of his game for the Hawks will be the rebounding. He over 8 boards a game in his career. That means the Hawks would have Horford and Stoudemire averaging almost 20 boards a game from the starting bigs.

Plus, Horford is going to guard the other team’s best player in screen and roll situations. Stoudemire can stay closer to the rim and clog up the lane. Looking at next 2010, the Hawks would have a two man post defensive tandem to guard Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, Shaq and Anderson Varejao, and Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass. I even might take Stoudemire and Horford over those other tandems.

Off the court, acquiring Stoudemire means a ton to the Hawks in attendance. Atlanta was 20th in the NBA in attendance in 2008-2009. Philips Arena was at about 88 percent capacity on average. Stoudemire would pay for himself in increased attendance, parking revenue, marketing revenue, and general hype in this city.

Every night? I know Stoudemire is often injured. Reports are he had surgery this week on his damaged eye from last year. In his 7 seasons in the NBA, he has only played full seasons 4 times. It is a concern, but when he is healthy Stoudemire is a 1st or 2nd team All NBA player. Hawks have no one else at that level.

For Stoudemire, being traded to Atlanta gives him the opportunity he has craved. Stoudemire immediately becomes the face of the franchise in Atlanta. He no longer lingers somewhat in Steve Nash’s shadow. Also, he would be a soothing and funny presence in the locker room.

He takes all the pressure of Joe Johnson. JJ can just show up for all 82 games and play hard without having to worry about all of this ridiculous “Joe is not a leader talk”. Joe Johnson is a warrior. He comes to play every night.

If Stoudemire is a Hawk, here are projected rotations for the top teams in the East:

Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace
Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass, Dwight Howard
Moe Williams, Delonte West, Lebron, Varejao, Shaq
Mike Bibby, JJ, Marvin Williams, Stoudemire, Horford, Jamal Crawford

On paper, the Hawks match up very well with all of these teams. You think Shaq wants to guard Stoudemire in the pick and roll? Jamal Crawford looks to be one of the best guards off the bench in the entire NBA. In recent NBA playoff history, I would much rather have Joe Johnson than Vince Carter.

In Stoudemire, Horford, and Zaza Pachulia the Hawks have three guys that can try to guard Dwight Howard.

For Atlanta Hawks fans, the days / deadlines to watch for this are July 15th and August 1st. To make this deal happen, the Hawks are going to have to sign Josh Childress somehow. I think if J-Chill thought he was going to Phoenix he would sign today.

Secondly, after August 1st, the Hawks are able to trade Josh Smith without his consent to the trade. Hawks fans, can you imagine waking up in early August with Amare Stoudemire on your door step? It can’t hurt to dream.


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