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Atlanta Hawks at Utah Jazz Jam Session with Peachtree Hoops

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Let's start Jammin!

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight we get to see the Utah Jazz host the Atlanta Hawks. It looks like it should be a good game, and a friendly one at that. The microcosm of that macrocosm is the relationship we have with our brothers over at Peachtree Hoops. This post is only happening because of the great initiative of Dan over at Peachtree Hoops, so thank him for making me slightly less lazy today. We did a Q&A, or Jazz Jam Session as I call 'em, and my part can be found at their site over here. We had a few questions about the Atlanta Hawks too, so here they are with his responses!

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1. The Atlanta Hawks dominated last regular season, but never seemed to get back to that type of momentum in the playoffs or with injuries this year, the regular season this year. How is this team different from last year. How is this team better?

Dan: This team is different in a lot of ways, and I don't think any of them make Atlanta better than last season. DeMarre Carroll signed with Toronto and the Hawks slipped Kent Bazemore into the starting lineup in Carroll's place. Bazemore is a decent player and much-improved since he came to Atlanta, but he's not the defender or shooter Carroll was, and I think the Hawks' failure to replace Carroll has hurt them a lot on both ends. The Hawks also traded for Tiago Splitter, and he's out for the season, so they aren't getting production from their biggest offseason acquisition. In addition to all that, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver are both playing a few tiers below where they were last season. The only positive has been Thabo Sefolosha's return, and the Hawks continue to look the best when he's on the court instead of Bazemore. Last season was a magical ride and I think it was the best that core could do. I think this team needs some re-tooling to stay seriously competitive.

2. Al Horford is making about 34% of his deep shots this year. How does he change what the team can do on offense compared to previous versions of Al Horford?

Dan: Horford's been flashing a little bit of three-point range for the last year or two, but this season he's really become more comfortable with it. Sometimes it feels like he's stretching himself a little too much, but other times, when he's knocking them down, it just doesn't seem fair to have a player of Horford's caliber adding that element to his game — he becomes immensely more dangerous. The Hawks, in all honesty, don't have a lot of great three-point shooters behind Kyle Korver, which is unfortunate for a team that loves to shoot the three like Atlanta does. I think the team needed Horford to stretch his range a little and he did.

3. Shouldn't Atlanta experience a more prominent home court advantage than it does? I remember how hard it was to pick up a win in the Omni back in the day. To me a 19-12 home record isn't indicative of just what this team should be doing in their own gym.

Dan: Atlanta's home court presence has been the butt of several media jokes over the years and I understand why. The city's fans have been notoriously fickle, and maybe that has something to do with the lackluster home court production, but I'm not sure I really have an answer. Fans may be fickle during the regular season, but they've shown up in droves during the playoffs and rocked Philips Arena. I think the reason the Hawks aren't performing so well at home this year is really just because this team is much more inconsistent than last season's team.

4. Many Utah Jazz fans are rooting for the Hawks because there have been so many historical ties to the two teams -- everything from Pistol Pete Maravich starting his career there to the Dominique Wilkins trade, to the Shelvin Mack trade of late. How far do you think your guys are going to go this year? Is it Finals or bust time?

Dan: I'd say a second round playoff exit is the most likely outcome, and even that may be optimistic. The Hawks aren't a lock for home court advantage, but I still believe they're the third or fourth best team in the East. The Hawks have looked pretty good over the last four or five games, so hopefully they can continue to build on that momentum. But I don't think this team has any shot of getting out of the East. I also don't think that means it's time to blow it up. The Hawks have a lot of moveable pieces and a pretty good foundation. I just think the roster might need some off-season tinkering if the Hawks want to be close to where they were last season.

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Thanks a lot Dan for organizing this. Jazz fans, you can thank him on twitter here: @DChris1123, and be sure to check out the great #ATLatUTA Hawks vs Jazz coverage coverage over at Peachtree Hoops!