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NBA Power Rankings 2012: The Atlanta Hawks Need To Give Josh Smith Some Tough Love

The Atlanta Hawks will have a day off recover from their 20-point loss to Miami Heat as they prepare for their Valentine's Day (massacre?) matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on the road. The Hawks struggled to prevent the Heat from getting to the line and will have to deal with an even bigger frontline (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) and craftier guard (Kobe Bryant) in the Lakers. Larry Drew, good luck sir.

Tom Ziller recently posted his NBA Power Rankings "of love" on Monday and his call out of players like Tracy McGrady, Josh Smith, Ivan Johnson and Vladimir Radmanovic essentially being potential lighter fluid to a burning fire was intriguing.

If the Hawks get positive contributions from those four players then they are as good as any team in the league. When they fail to get anything positive from them, they struggle mightily. While players like McGrady, Johnson and Radmanovic has much lower expectations put on their shoulders, its the unsteady performances from "J-Smoove" that prevent him from getting the respect that he probably deserves.

8 points and 7 rebounds against your division rival isn't going to cut it from a player who's arguably the most talented on the entire roster.

For more on this game Hawks fans should visit Peachtree Hoops and Heat fans should check out Peninsula is Mightier. For more news and analysis from around the NBA, head on over to SB Nation's NBA Basketball page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.