Josh_Smith4-300x200There are three elements that every team needs to possess in order to win in the NBA: veteran leadership; young guys playing well; and playoff experience. Check, check, and check. The Atlanta Hawks have all three of these attributes and are now expected to make the jump to the next level. All signs point to the Hawks turning into legitimate contenders for an NBA title this year. Led by allstar SG Joe Johnson’s silky smooth stroke and PG Mike Bibby’s playmaking abilities, the Hawks have¬†laid a foundation for years to come. Johnson is the quietest superstar in the NBA, while averaging over 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 dimes a game. Bibby has been there and done that. He waged and won battles for the Kings in the West for years, and brings that playoff seasoning to the East coast,¬†giving a much-needed edge to the Hawks. They have three of the better youngsters in the league as well, with SF Marvin Williams, PF Josh Smith, and C Al Horford. Williams put up 14/7 last year and he’s only getting better. These numbers will improve this season, lock it up. Smith is the Hawks high flier and defensive stopper. Whether he’s rattling the rim with thunderous dunks or erasing opponents shots on the other end, he truly is a special talent. Horford is the anchor for the Hawks in the middle. He’s young, tough, and improving by the day. Atlanta’s got some scoring of the bench with journeyman Jamal Crawford, who is instant offense, and rookie guard Jeff Teague out of Wake Forrest. Prodigy’s take: The Hawks are going to be a force this season. Look for them to unseat Orlando for the Southeast crown. Josh Smith has the best hops in the NBA and is the new human highlight reel. I really like this ever-improving Hawks team to make a splash and go deep into the playoffs. Prediction: 1st in Southeast.