But the Hawks have long been favorites in the less traditional corners of NBA fandom. This is due in large part to the team's apparent experiment with a lineup of five 6'8" swingmen, which one might call Total Basketball. This experiment has, to this point, been a resounding failure in terms of wins and losses, but has unleashed a vast amount of the most revered of NBA qualities: Potential.
Be it Josh Childress's poor-to-destitute-man's Shawn Marion act or Marvin Williams trying to channel his immense gifts and talents into productive directions or even the Acie Law/Tyron Lue/Anthony Johnson/Speedy Claxton bad point guard limbo, (how low can you go and still win? The Hawks have been overshooting the mark for quite a few years on this one. Could be different this year) this team is intriguing from a narrative standpoint.
But no player embodies this more (yet still isn't getting in Shoals' Five) then one Josh "J-Smoove" Smith. Watching every minute of every Hawks game this season has brought me to one realization - Smith is the most talented player in the NBA, yet has no idea "how to play" basketball. There is seemingly no single act he cannot perform, no shot he cannot block (at 6'8 no less):
but he has no 'feel,' for lack of a better word, for when to unleash each particular talent. And worse, he knows this, and is frustrated by it.
Of course this frustration is interpreted as immaturity, surliness, or any other negatively stereotypical adjective used to describe young players by old, jaded
* As for that proposed nickname: