1) The Atlanta Hawks are in some great company, being one of only three teams in the Eastern Conference with a record above .500. Wait, maybe it's not so prestigious. The east basically stinks! Since Al Horford went down, the Hawks have a 2-3 record, but all three losses have basically been close, particularly a one-point loss to the Golden State Warriors. How do you think the Hawks will do moving forward sans Horford?
Kris Willis: Well they certainly aren't as good a team without Horford and there is little chance of them making a roster move to offset the loss. As you pointed out, the East is bad, so I still think the Hawks are a playoff team. Mike Budenholzer has them competing to the final buzzer every night. I'm not sure they will be able to hang on to the third seed but don't think there is a lot of danger of them missing the playoffs either.
Hawks vs. Nets Preview
Hawks vs. Nets Preview
2) Which players have stepped up since Horford's injury and will the uptick in production be sustainable? If not, who should be the one to do so and make Hawks fans happy?
KW: Early on it was Paul Millsap but he has struggled for two straight games. Mike Budenholzer said after Atlanta's recent win over Charlotte that it would take some time to figure out how to play without Al Horford. It appears the Hawks are still feeling things out. Any jump by a single player probably isn't sustainable but Lou Williams finding some consistency off the bench would be beneficial at this point.
3) Considering that trade season is basically upon us, should the Hawks explore a trade to make up for Horford's absence or is standing pat the way to go? Would a released player be a viable option? If the Cleveland Cavaliers just release Andrew Bynum, should the Hawks take a chance on the enigmatic, but talented, big man?
KW: It's my belief that Danny Ferry and his staff have been exploring ways to make the club better all season long. I don't think the Hawks should make a rash move to replace Horford when even with him this team is not a championship contender. Ferry has his eyes on the future and a move is possible but only if it doesn't negatively affect the long term outlook of the team.
4) Does the world need more Dennis Schröder in it? Heading into the 2013 NBA Draft and following Summer League, I was intrigued to see how Schröder would perform. Thus far, he doesn't seem to be really be able to get off the bench. Should he?
KW: Schröder opened the season as the back up point guard but was replaced in the rotation pretty quickly by Shelvin Mack who in many ways is the feel good story for this Hawks team this season. I'm still a big fan of Schröder and think he can be a really good player in the NBA. I think right now that Coach Budenholzer and his staff are looking for more focus from Schröder who has had a lot of careless turnovers of late. I think in many ways they are administering some tough love to the rookie but I expect to see him on the court much more as the season moves along.
5) What are three to five things that Nets fans should know about the Hawks and give us a final score to the game!