Sam Mitchell is now out of Raptor paychecks or soon will be. He has expressed an interest in a return to the league and has already interviewed with the Sixers. But now with the news that Mike Woodson has been fired in Atlanta this may open up the perfect landing spot. Sam is of course a resident of the ATL and has made the odd appearance at Hawks games since being booted from the Raptors. The Hawks were destroyed by the Magic and it was only a matter of time before Woodson would be gone. Woodson's contract was set to expire. In the sports world we live in for a coach to get to his "lame duck" year of his contract that is a clear indication the organization has no faith in him. Woodson in a even more glaring fashion was totally out coached by Stan Van Gundy. Mitchell in his battle with Stan at least got a win for the Raptors.
So why is Sam a right fit for the Hawks?
Simple... this team cries out for discipline and a leader. Sam Mitchell clearly excels at both. Sam had a no nonsense approach to coaching and it is something the Hawks are crying out for. Josh Smith clearly dogged it when he was out there against the Magic. So much so that Hubie Brown on the TNT broadcast went out of his way to point it out. If Sam Mitchell is coaching that team it just would not have been tolerated. Sam had many times in his career with the Raptors where he called out his team for such acts. He held people accountable which is something that was clearly lacking with the Hawks.
Do I know that Sam is on a list of candidates for the Hawks? No. However would they be crazy not to have him on it? Absolutely. Mitchell could also work with a player like an Al Horford and pass along the same lessons and guidance he did with a K.G and Chris Bosh. Horford as much as he will never be on my Christmas card list, was far and away the best player the Hawks had in that series. Joe Johnson leaving will just allow Crawford to enter into to the starting line-up coming off a 6th man of the year award.
Sam Mitchell had many detractors in Toronto but he also had a lot of supporters. The one thing that all would have to agree on is that Mitchell is a no nonsense individual which is what the Hawks are crying out for. Given the athletic talent they have the need for a great x and o guy is not a major requirement. Had it been Mike Woodson would not have lasted as long as he did. In addition some of Sam's best coaching performances were when he had little talent. The Hawks will lose a major piece in Joe Johnson, he seems clearly like he is not coming back. But that being said there is more then enough talent left without him. Which is pretty much what happened in a few playoff games.
Mike Brown was out then in for the moment in Cleveland today. There are other openings out there, but if there is a place the makes the best sense for both parties it is Atlanta and Sam Mitchell. In his time away from the game Sam has said he enjoys the chance to be around his family. If he was able to stay home in Atlanta and do his job that might help mello him out a little bit. Sam has had time to reflect on what he did in Toronto both good and bad. I think the 2nd time around a team will get a bigger and better Sam Mitchell. The Hawks are clearly well down my list of teams I like in the NBA. However for Sam's sake, who I do like, I hope this will work out. If Mike Brown goes he will join a long list of former Coach of the Year winners to be shown the door. That being said I don't think Scott Brooks is worried in OKC with all his young talent. Hawks were once that young up and coming team. The time has come to grow up and man up and who better to make that happen than Sam Mitchell? No one that I can think of. Maybe Jeff Van Gundy but he seems to be having to good a time being on T.V.
Regardless I want to see Sam Mitchell back in my NBA!!!