Passing on the Hawks and the NBA

By Anthony Rhoads

The Atlanta Hawks have a new head coach.


Mike Woodson, who was an assistant for two years for Larry Brown at Detroit, is a good hire for the Hawks. He's also served as an assistant for Cleveland and Milwaukee and played in the NBA from 1980-91.

He certainly has the credentials to become a head coach in the NBA but I can't get excited over it. It's not that there's anything wrong with Woodson, it's just that I find it difficult to get pumped up over the Atlanta Hawks and the NBA in general.

What can you say about the Hawks over the last several years? It's a far cry from the Dominique Wilkins years. Back then, the Hawks were an exciting team to watch and even though they weren't able to get past the second round of the playoffs, they were at least able to contend year in and year out.

Now watching the Hawks is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

I can't remember the last time I have watched a Hawks game all the way through and it's been four years since I have been to a game live.

Back in 2000, I went to a Hawks-Nuggets game and it was a snorefest. The Hawks won but it was not an exciting night as far as what happened on the court.

My impression that night was that Philips Arena was a very nice venue but I was definitely not impressed with the product on the court.

I am not just sour on the Hawks n it's the NBA.

I just can't get into it. I watch the playoffs but the NBA is a pro league that I am definitely not a fan of.

The last time I really followed the NBA passionately was the early 1990s when I followed the Portland Trailblazers. I really like the Trailblazers of that era with Clyde ?The Glide' Drexler, Buck Williams, Terry Porter, Kevin Duckworth and Cliff Robinson. Even though they didn't win any NBA titles, they were a fun team to watch.

And who can forget the Chicago Bulls from that era? It was kind of fun following the Bulls but during that period, it seemed like it was a foregone conclusion that the Bulls were going to win it all and the real battle was for who was going to be the runner-up.

I don't know what it will take to get me back into NBA basketball. I will probably get more interested in it if the Hawks improve but I can't see myself being an NBA fan again.

When it comes to basketball, I would definitely rather watch the college game or a really good high school game.

I really like watching good team basketball based on the fundamentals. I have never claimed to be a hoops expert but it's really enjoyable to see a group of five guys (or girls) operating as one unit on the court.

Kudos to coach K: When it came out last week that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was seriously being considered for the L.A. Lakers job, I wasn't all that enthused.

Even though I think he could have been successful in the NBA, coach K is one of those guys you always envision as a college coach.

I think if he had made the jump to the NBA, he would have been one of the few college coaches to gain the respect of NBA players. Right now, there are only a handful of college coaches like Krzyzewski or Bobby Knight, who would immediately gain the respect of the players if they went to the NBA.

The track record of college coaches in the NBA is not good at all. The trail is littered with guys who have failed and I think it would have been unfortunate if that had happened to coach K.

He's a guy who has made an indelible mark on the college game and is well-respected all around. I have to admit I am not a Duke fan but you've got to respect that coach K has accomplished and the way he has conducted himself over the years.

He's kind of like Joe Paterno at Penn State. As a West Virginia guy, I absolutely despise Penn State but there's no question about the respect I have for Paterno, a guy who could have coached in the NFL but he decided to stay at the college level.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily or sports@news-daily.com.