Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford (15) passes the ball as Miami Heat's Shane Battier (31) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)AP2012
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) looks to pass as Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford (15) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)AP2012
Eyes on the Impressive Atlanta Hawks
Much has been made of the Atlanta Hawks not bringing back guard Jamal Crawford, who averaged 18 and 14.2 respectively over the last two seasons. With Crawford signing with the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the main question has been where would the Hawks get the much needed punch to compliment Joe Johnson, he of the $119 million, six-year max deal that will hang over the Hawks management for the next five seasons.
Al Horford knows that it will be hard to replace Crawford, but they have gone out and added other pieces that he thinks will help them out in the long run this year. By the look of things, the loss of Crawford certainly hasn't hurt the Hawks, who have jumped out to a 4-1 start in their first five games of what's going to be a short season of 66 games in 124 days.
The Hawks brought in some veterans to mix it in with their main core of Horford, Johnson, Jeff Teague, Marvin Williams and Josh Smith. Tracy McGrady has averaged 11.6 point per game, making up for the points that Crawford would have contributed, while big man Vladimir Radmonovic can hit shots out in the perimeter and behind the arc. Atlanta also brought in Jannero Pargo to back up Teague at the point, and added Willie Green and Jerry Stackhouse to the mix.
Horford, who now enters his fifth season in the league, believes that the veterans will help them out in what will be a tough season.
“Those acquisitions are very important for us. McGrady knows how to play and he can put the ball in the basket. He knows how do it,” Horford told Fox News Latino on the night the Hawks opened up their season in New Jersey against the Nets.
“Stackhouse is good offensively, but will also help us defensively because he can play and is very intelligent. Radmonovic will help us coming off the bench and extending the defense. I think we never had a player at the four position that could shoot the 3-pointer they way that guy can.”
Ricky Rubio & the T-Wolves
Many though that Minnesota was not the ideal destination for Ricky Rubio, especially with the cold weather. As soon as he was drafted and in the months that followed, there was a lot of speculation that Rubio would try to force a trade away from the Twin Cities.
But RubioMania has definitely hit the Timberwolves franchise --one that's been synonymous with losing. Rubio has wowed his teammates and the home town crowd with an array of behind-the-back, no-look, alley oops and bounce passes.
Despite losing their first three, all loses by four points or less against Oklahoma City, on the road at Milwaukee and Miami, the T-Wolves have pulled off two straight wins over Dallas, the defending champions, and beat San Antonio.
Rubio has been coming off the bench but his seven assists per game lead Minnesota and his shooting, although limited, has not been bad. He has shown that he can knock the 3-point shot down, nailing four of eight beyond the arc.
So far the transition from playing in Europe to the NBA has been pretty smooth, particularly with the way he has performed in the fourth quarter
Opposing players have clearly noticed the Spaniard's impressive play.
“He is playing unbelievable,” San Antonio's Manu Ginobili told reporters.
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc