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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Good Call Hawks

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Image

www.whatifsports.com is an absolutely incredible site. The website allows you to put together any players from any era on the same team and have them play against other dream teams, or against any regular team. For instance, you can have the '95-'96 Bulls play the '85-'86 Celtics to see who would win in a 7-game series.

Someone told me about the website about two years ago, and it killed my productivity at work. Luckily my work put up a firewall that does not allow me to visit the site anymore, but I have gone back to it recently. First, let me say that I love pretending that I am a GM for a team. I buy Madden merely to play around in Franchise mode. So I will be using the whatifsports website to perform an entertaining experiment.

I will be stepping into a time machine and traveling back to June 24, 2004, the date of the 2004 NBA Draft, and assuming the role of GM for the Atlanta Hawks. The reason I chose the 2004 draft is that it was the first draft after Billy Knight started the full-on tanking of the Atlanta Hawks in order to get some high draft choices. From there, I will assume the role of GM and control the destiny of the Atlanta Hawks with the full knowledge of the future of every NBA player.

A few rules to try and make this as realistic as possible, avoid pure speculation, and a few time-saving tweaks. I know that every move I change would have a domino effect on every other team, but to ensure that I make it to work every day, I'm not going to change every team accordingly. This will mean that players will play against themselves. For instance, I would take Andre Igoudala over Josh Childress with the 6th pick of the 2004 NBA draft. That means anytime the Good Call Hawks play the Sixers, it will be Iggy vs. Iggy.

Also, I'm not going to go through the schedule and simulate every game in order. To simplify, I'm just going to simulate a home and road game against every team. This will give a 58 game sample size. From there, I will figure out how many wins that equals in a 82 games season. This will probably skew the Hawks win total a little low most years since the West was much better than the east, and the Hawks play more games against the east, but I'm willing to live with that.

As for trades, I will only either approve or veto the trades made by the Hawks. For instance, I will probably approve the Joe Johnson trade, but veto the Anthony Johnson trade from the '06-'07 trade. Similarly, if I no longer have the players from the Hawks that were traded, I will say it is vetoed unless the missing player was inconsequential. I'm not going to step into pure speculation and try to swing trades that never occurred. There are too many factors to try and consider and there is no telling if the other GM would pull the trigger.

As for free agents, I'm going to make a rule that I can't change the length or size of the contract. For instance, come 2010, I have to either take or leave Joe Johnson's contract. I'm not going to speculate that he would be willing to take less money due to his new teammates. Also, I'm not going to just give the Hawks every good free agent. If the signing makes sense for both sides and I think the player would take the deal, fine. However, I will veto free agent signings that make no sense (i.e. Speedy Claxton).

I don't know about you, but I'm excited! Monday is the 2004 offseason!

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