Hawks First Half Accolades - 2009-10

With all of the success the Hawks have been having as a team, it only made sense that the individual accolades would not be far behind. Wednesday's win marked the halfway point of the season and many analysts and publications are coming out with their half-season awards.

Here is a sample of where the Hawks have been mentioned:

Entire Team:
First Half Success

NBA.com: Midseason Report Card
First Half Story Lines: Hawks Flying High

Britt Robson, SI.com: Midseason Grades
They have improved for the fifth consecutive year, thanks to the maturation of Josh Smith and Al Horford, the effectiveness of reserve Jamal Crawford at both guard positions, the talents of go-to star Joe Johnson and the lowest turnover rate in the NBA. They're making people pay attention, but is their lofty status among the elite a secured notch in their upward climb, or the happy result of a remarkable run of good health thus far? Validation will come only when they get past the second round of the playoffs.

Joe Johnson:
- SI.com (3rd Team) - Full Article
All-Star Starter
Ian Thomsen, SI.com:
Joe Johnson. So controversial was the expensive 2005 sign-and-trade for Johnson that it fractured the Hawks' ownership, leading to a court fight that has yet to be resolved. But Johnson's $70 million contract was a strong investment. His leadership skills have improved each year, culminating (for the moment) in the underfunded Hawks' rise to No. 3 in the East. Johnson creates for others but isn't afraid to take and make the biggest shots himself. A real star. (Full Story)

Chris Mannix, SI.com: Joe Johnson. The most overlooked superstar in the league -- and I don't care how many times we say it, it's still true -- is having his usual productive season. The difference is that Atlanta, with Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, is now a legitimate title contender. Johnson deserves recognition for that. (Full Story)

Marc Stein, ESPN (Reserve) - Johnson continues to be one of the few players on earth -- behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- capable of giving his team 20 points, five assists and five rebounds every night. (Full Story)

NBA Fanhouse (Reserve) - With James, Bosh and Wade getting all the ink, he's the 2010 free agent nobody is talking much about. All Johnson has done is lead the Hawks to a third-place standing in the East, including being ahead of Orlando, last season's East titlist. It would be Johnson's fourth straight All-Star appearance. (Full Story)

John Schuhmann, NBA.com - With the addition of Jamal Crawford, the Hawks have more depth and firepower in their backcourt, but Johnson is still the man on the team with the third best record in the East. He ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, 11th in assists and seventh in made threes, while shooting 45 percent from the field, an improvement over each of his last two seasons. At this point, it's hard to fathom that Johnson, who will likely be making his fourth straight All-Star appearance, was traded by the Celtics in the middle of his rookie season. (Full Story)

Jamal Crawford:
Sixth Man of the Year
- SI.com (1st) - Full Article

- SportingNews - See Right

- Leo Rautins, TSN.com: This guy has come out of nowhere. He couldn't find a fit in the NBA and then comes to Atlanta and you talk about a guy who's not afraid to make big shots and he's winning games for them. They are now third in the East.
- Full Article

- Washington Examiner - The Hawks have found a perfect spark off the bench in Crawford. He averages 17.2 points per game and it appears he's on his way to his first playoff game in nine seasons in the league -- the longest active streak without a postseason appearance. - Full Article

- Dime Magazine - Jamal finally got his chance to play for a winner and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Crawford is averaging 17.1 ppg and shooting 45.7 percent from the field - the second best of his career. He is proving to be the missing piece to Atlanta's puzzle who are 25-13 (fourth place in the East). - Full Article

- Doobie Okon, SLAM Magazine - I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Hawks have the best overall top six (starting five + sixth man) in the NBA. In his first season with Atlanta, Crawford is coming off the bench but you wouldn't even know it. He plays just as many minutes (31.1) as the starters. He's the second leading scorer (16.9 ppg) on the team behind Joe Johnson. He's led the team in scoring in ten games already. And he's done it all by accepting his new niche with no complaints. - Full Article

Josh Smith:
Defensive Player of the Year
- SportingNews - See Above Right
Most Improved
- SI.com (2nd) - Full Article
Paul Forrester, SI.com (Starter): He's finally stopped trying to be a three-point shooter and is focusing on his strengths: driving into the paint, working the offensive glass and wreaking havoc on defense. It's why the Hawks have graduated from wannabe to actual contender. (Full Story)

John Schuhmann, NBA.com - This spot comes down to Smith or teammate Al Horford. Give it to Smith for his superior overall game. The 2005 dunk champ has always had the talent to be an All-Star, but it has taken some time for his game to mature. Smith has kept from launching bad shots from the perimeter, is getting to the basket more, and also creating for his teammates. He's shooting a career-high 51 percent from the field and dishing out a career-high 3.8 assists. As always, he's a defensive force, the only player in the league averaging at least two blocks and 1.4 steals per game. (Full Story)

Marc Stein, ESPN - There will be calls for center Al Horford to snag a reserve spot as well -- and accusations, no doubt, that I'm letting my lefty bias sway me -- but Smith's huge impact at the defensive end and his more disciplined play offensively have been key factors in Atlanta's success. Add up Smith's versatility, improved team play and those above-the-rim capabilities that belong in an in an All-Star setting and he's the most worthy Hawk this side of Joe Johnson. (Full Story)

CBSSports.com - Shot-blocking is back in vogue in the NBA and few do it better than this high-flyer. I send him to Dallas if Garnett can't go.

Executive VP and General Manager, Rick Sund:
Executive of the Year

- SI.com (2nd) - Full Article