Here is where I must give Donnie Walsh a compliment, albeit with my backhand side. Finally, someone has taken it upon himself to make sure that Eddie Curry gets into shape. Given the recent trauma in Eddie's life (is much worse than losing a child?), coupled with his previously apparent lack of motivation, that could not have been an easy task. Leaving Eddie to his own devices those previous summers obviously did not work well. Remember the picture of Eddie's locker a couple of years ago where he was discussing his diet and regimen with a candy bar at the bottom of the locker. That's the Eddie we remember. This new Eddie, who came to training camp at 317 pounds and worked hard to lose even more weight, should be applauded for what has to be a new mindset. And Donnie must be applauded for forcing it to happen, finally.
However, it is slightly, and only slightly, curious that fans are expecting anything from Curry's return anytime soon. This man has not played NBA speed ball (or real practice ball) in over a year. He is not in basketball shape. While different folks develop at different speeds, it is no secret that the regular season schedule prohibits using practices to get into shape quickly. Eddie must be on the floor and he is not likely to look good from the beginning. But, if he blocks one shot in his first five minutes, like we know he can and saw him do when he was HUGE, in the Big Mac sense, there will be hope. If he is really good, maybe we'll keep him. But the reality is that Walsh needs him to be really good in order to trade him. So watch ECity come along slowly so that he does not hurt himself and the team's chances of dumping the contract on an anxious buyer.
Another transformation we expect to see is that of the much-maligned Jamal Crawford who has finally joined a group of players capable of playing playoff basketball. The Hawks enter the Mecca with a 5-2 record and Jamal is thriving as their sixth man, a lethal scoring threat and three point option. In the Hawks last victory, Jamal played starter minutes (38) off the bench and produced 25 points (8-15 shooting, 8-8 ft), four boards, four assists. Crawford, who is averaging 18 points on 49% shooting (only 27% from tre-land), 3 assists and 2 boards in 30 minutes per game, has been loving Atlanta where he gets to spend more time during the season with his son. He also has been receiving much Crawsome love from the community and his new coach.