The Three Best Possible 1st Round Matchups for Cleveland
I actually really liked last year’s Atlanta Hawks, because they proved that even without a superstar, a combination of talented role players, a good coach and strong chemistry could go far in the NBA. What I didn’t realize was how talented these players were, and how much of an impact losing DeMarre Carroll would have. The Hawks sit in the 6th seed, only about 2.5 games back from the 8th seed, so a drop is feasible. These Hawks aren’t bad by any means, Al Horford is a top-five center in the NBA, a rising Dennis Schroder and the combination of role-players with mini-Gregg Popovich should, in theory, still preform. But when you look at the Hawks when they come to play Cleveland, something is missing.
The drive they had last year isn’t there. Perhaps being swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by a lower seeded team was a real blow to the pride and confidence of the team; or maybe it truly is the loss of Carroll who brought energy and intensity to the team in a similar way Draymond Green does with the Golden State Warriors. What is clear is that Cleveland could easily do away with the starless Atlanta team if they find themselves falling as low as eighth.