The Finishing Touch

We saw the first real sign of it in Boston, fleeting though it was. Then again against Golden State, only moreso. It spread further against Detroit, and is readily apparent again tonight against Oklahoma City. What am I talking about? The layup. The dunk. The finger roll. The Inside Score.

For good or for ill, the Hawks had become primarily a jumpshooting team, relying time and again on the 3 ball more often than not. There is an argument in favor of “for good” as the 17-10 record so far would attest. Others maintain that so many jumpshots only bode ill , be it sooner or later. Of course, anybody saying that probably doesn’t like Mike Bibby, or has a split personality, because you just can’t have it both ways. Bibby is definitely the tip of the spear when it comes to our newfound perimeter prowess (as so many of us have lamented the lack thereof last season and in seasons past). But that’s not what gets our attention lately. Oh no.

It’s this team’s sudden ability to finish at the rim. No check that, the ability has always been here. It’s the sudden execution. The drive (both literally and figuratively). The aggression. The “we just scored right in your face, and what are you going to do about it when we come at you again next possession?” of it all.  It started for me when we played Boston, where Josh Smith drove and threw down that thunderous jam over Kendrick Perkins. It continued when we watched Marvin Williams, a player known for taking bad angles to the basket when he actually decided to do so, score repeatedly on drives. Watching Marvin throw down a dunk, then follow it with an assortment of tip-ins and layups….was just plain beautiful. And while he did not score 20+ points against Detroit, he had the same look and form about him.

Meanwhile, Joe Johnson caught the bug. Instead of trying to shoot jumpers over Stuckey, Hamilton, and Iverson all night, he drove the hole. And voila! Two layups that looked easy as pie! Let us not forget Mike Bibby, who seemed allergic to attempting a shot anywhere closer than 18 feet of the basket. Watching him get a layup here, and collecting an assist there off of the drive reminded me of the old Bibby that played for Sacramento. Ah, those were the days. And here lately, those days are back.

And Josh, who’s legs still aren’t back to their usual explosive selves, is attempting several moves in the post, along with short drives to the basket. I’m noticing a lot of spin moves once he hits the paint, evidence of his work with Olajuwon. Call it what you want, but I think Josh is learning a valuable lesson right now. Sooner or later, he will no longer have the ability to outjump over 90% of the competition. Sooner or later, his athleticism will not rule the day, and some other 20 year old will be showing off his 40-inch vertical. Just ask Antonio McDyess how that feels. Better for Josh to learn now while he’s young…how to score on the block with savvy.

So, was this an aberration? Will JJ go back to nothing but 10 seconds of dribbling before throwing up the fade-away jumper? Will Bibby stay camped out behind the 3-point line every time? Will Josh go back to jacking long jumpers, or will he revisit his days as a dunk champion? Has Marvin finally turned that last switch on? This remains to be seen, but as I watch Marvin swoop in and throw down a nasty dunk (he’s wide open, but it’s still beeeeautiful), I think not. The Hawks are finally mixing in that last ingredient that will make them harder to beat than ever: the inside finishing touch.

39 comments Add your comment

Big Ray

December 23rd, 2008
8:45 pm

Finally, we’re running plays CONSISTENTLY to score inside. It’s working great, as two of our frontcourt starters are scoring in double figures. Bibby is running the screen-and-roll to near perfection.

Perhaps Marvin started going to Chad Johnson’s barber. I don’t know, but it’s working for him. Dude is slashing, driving, and dunking. And drawing fouls. Gotta love it. Didn’t think I’d be saying this, but Bibby is leading this team in ways that Joe Johnson never has. Interesting…

Big Ray

December 23rd, 2008
8:49 pm

We’ve let them back in the game. When are we going to LEARN??

Don!

December 23rd, 2008
9:14 pm

OKC, at home. And we’re seeing an 8-man rotation.

8.

Against OKC.

At home.

Finishing — as in finishing the season with healthy, motivated players is going to be the problem if we’re not careful. Up by 7 with 2:24 left after Josh hits a 3-pointer — that didn’t seem to be the inside play we’re looking for here.

This team is like a barn cat playing with its food before eating it — no matter how big (Detroit), or small (OKC) the mouse. And sometimes, these mice will bite back … please just don’t let it be this mouse tonight!

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 23rd, 2008
9:20 pm

Woody’s reading the blog as he coaches — we have an Acie and Mario sighting with 59 seconds left!

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 23rd, 2008
9:22 pm

And now Morris too!

Sigh, this is what I wanted to see in the second and third quarters — not this late. These kids need some run in meaningful game situations — not the last minute of trash time.

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 23rd, 2008
9:30 pm

Hawks win 99-88. And we even had a Solo sighting in the last 30 seconds! Talk about finishing, Acie got a pair of free throws down and Solo (Solo?!!?!) hit a 26-foot three-pointer! Mario had to get into the books too with a technical.

Like I said, this team is like a young barn cat. It just wants to run and ponce, and occasionally it has to gack one up (Celtics) when it tries too hard. I just hope Woody doesn’t run these kids to death before March …

Later,

Don!

Big Ray

December 23rd, 2008
10:02 pm

Don!

Thanks for coming over, I was beginning to wonder if I should start arguing with myself for amusement!

I really don’t get Woody’s lock-down of the bench. The starters sometimes need a wake-up call (like when they’re not beating the crap out of a league doormat like OKC). And the bench needs to get some serious run, during serious minutes, as you said.

That’s how Boston won last year. With their bench. All through the regular season, and all through the playoffs. No doubts, whatsoever. But then, that would be the difference between Doc Rivers and Mike Woodson.

And times of turmoil are also good times. Look what Poppovich and the Spurs are doing with George Hill, a guy drafted in the 2nd round this past draft. Now you mean to tell me this guy can get serious burn, and Acie Law CAN’T???

Don!

December 23rd, 2008
10:21 pm

Yeah Big Ray, it looks like we have the blog to ourselves a bit tonight. I imagine things will get better when you guys finally get your link on the main sports page, plus it is crunch time for holiday shopping. In addition, it’s kind of hard to get fired up about playing the worst team in the league. I remember the days when that was us … like three years ago.

On the positive side — I do like the spacing Woody has going on offense. I think teams have really started to respect our shooting, and the offense seems to be designed to open the floor up more than in year’s past. When we can get our guys moving to the basket — there should be openings.

Sometimes it just seems like we settle for too many jump shots sometimes when, at least to my eyes, it looks like there’s a lane to the basket. Marvin got a really nice layup late in the fourth, but I really want to see more power moves out of him, Josh and Big Al — especially like the one Josh pulled out against the Celtics last week. One good rim shaker like that can really set the tone for this team, and as a young team they play much better when they have that swagger that comes from being aggressive at the basket on both offense and defense.

Of course, it’s those 10-12 minutes a game that the Hawks seem to have when they lose focus that really hurts. But, I like the spacing in the offensive half-court sets — we just need to get Woody to light a fire under someone’s tail to take the ball to the rack with authority more often.

Later,

Don!

MannyT

December 25th, 2008
3:17 pm

Happy Holidays to all.

I know I’m late to this edition of the party, but I cannot let you two blog alone. Some consider Ra-don to be dangerous ;-) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/radon

Winning ugly is the subtitle for this season. Gimpy Josh, short rotations, 3 of top 8 in contract year, 5 of 15 players unlikely to score 82 points this season, A six pack of coaches fired before Christmas–with Woody on solid ground, and we are solidly the 4th best team in the east playing above a 60% winning pace. If I made this stuff up, you would say I was BUI (blogging under the influence.)

Gotta tip your cap to a strange season. At least it’s strange in a good way for us.

How times have changed. Five games for Christmas. The NBA is trying to get me in trouble.

BWAF

Sautee

December 27th, 2008
9:51 am

Y’all need to get this blog listed on Garmin, Tom-tom, Google maps, etc. ;-)

I love how Bibby is trying to involve the bigs lately. I just wish that Joe would do the same. I’ll say it yet again: We will NEVER be a powerhouse team until Joe starts to truly trust the younguns.

MannyT

December 27th, 2008
3:34 pm

There is now a link to the Hawks Hacks on the Hawks main page of the sports section. However, it takes you directly to the prior blog, not the main page or the current blog.

Progress comes in small steps. Like the 4 years it took Woody to get to a winning record. I suspect your success will be quicker once you get your blog GPS.

Time to kick a few Bulls while they are down tonight.

BWAF

Big Ray

December 27th, 2008
6:58 pm

These ain’t your pop’s Bulls. These guys excel from the perimeter and practically nowhere else. They’ll likely be all over Bibby, so getting the ball in to Horford, Smoove, and Marv will be paramount.

If we run this right, the Bulls froncourt will be in foul trouble in no time flat. Aaron Gray is a big boy who will give all the effort you can ask for…but he’s slooooow. No match for Horford. Noah is quicker, but not strong enough, and he’s been in and out of the doghouse lately. Same for Tyrus Thomas, who can’t focus if you gave him a view-finder…It will be up to Deng and Nocioni primarily, and while Nocioni will make the effort, he’s also fiery (read: technical prone) when getting into foul trouble against more athletic opponents. Deng has been anything BUT the guy who held out and signed for $71 million this past summer. Somebody better figure that one out QUICK, or it’s going to be someone’s job, I guarantee…

And no playing to the other team’s strengths. Kick them down, kick them hard, and don’t give them a good game plan for how to get their revenge on the next game.

Game On!!

Big Ray

December 27th, 2008
7:00 pm

Forgot to mention: Drew Gooden is the Bulls’ only true legit hope in the post. And I think he’s either going to be out, or playing with an injury somewhat similar to the one Josh Smith has endured (if I recall correctly).

Unless of course, we aim to let the Bulls bigs have a career night. Better NOT…

Big Ray

December 27th, 2008
7:30 pm

Here we are already, not putting our feet on their necks. Aarong Gray has proven he’s not quick enough to guard Horford (though he’s tall enough and long enough). Why hasn’t Horford gotten more touches? Well, I guess he’s gotten a decent amount, as he already has handed out an assist or two…

Josh is trying too hard…AGAIN..I say sit him, talk to him, and let Solo get some much-earned burn.

Big Ray

December 27th, 2008
7:57 pm

Man, Josh is starting to look so good now, playing within his current physical limits and letting the game come to him…

RealSquawk

December 27th, 2008
8:38 pm

It would be great to see the Hawks put the defense they have played over the past few games with the offensive ball rotation and mix of inside and out they are playing right now into one complete game.

RealSquawk

December 27th, 2008
8:41 pm

This ability to attack the rim isn’t new from Marvin go back to some of first year highlights and you might be a little disappointed with what you see. It’s almost like he chooses what he bring on the floor for a season.

Don!

December 27th, 2008
9:06 pm

Bleh, can we just forget the third quarter ever happened?

With that having been said, will we even have an Acie sighting in this game? Woody’s at least put Solo on the floor for a token minute — but no Acie, or Mario for that matter. Heaven forbid should Joe or Bibby go down with anything serious — because those two will need to be ready.

Anyway, 107-100 with

Don!

December 27th, 2008
9:06 pm

… 8:11 to go. Darn ’submit button’ … it got me!

Just hold on Hawks!

Later,

Don!

RealSquawk

December 27th, 2008
9:12 pm

I would really like to see the hawks put clamp on them and see score stay at 107

Don!

December 27th, 2008
9:33 pm

Free Acie and Mario!

Up by 10 with 51.4 to go, and still no run for those two.

We’ve looked good in spurts, but really didn’t put our heel to their throat until late in the fourth. Of course, that’s a good time to do it — but if we took care of business earlier, we could lengthen out the rotation.

Bleh, I’m sounding like a broken record — and I guess I should be happy with our record overall. But man, there’s a part of me that is really, really, scared of something happening to one of our key players (again) and then seeing Acie and Mario forced into more minutes before they’re ready — when they should be getting more minutes now.

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 27th, 2008
9:34 pm

Whoa, Mario gets a whole minute — and in the spirit of this column — gets a DUNK with six seconds left.

See Woody, Mario can play — and finish!

Free Acie and Mario!

Later,

Don!

Big Ray

December 27th, 2008
10:00 pm

Don!,

You’re not the only one who’s scared about this. A bench that is limited will in turn limit you when you need it. A bench out of rhythm can’t help you get into rhythm when your starters are out of it. A bench that doesn’t play, won’t play well for you when called upon.

And if somebody gets injured, you’re screwed. Woody does this to himself. He shortens his rotation for reasons unknown to us. Then, when someone gets injured (and while we hope beyond hope, it may very likely happen again…it’s a long season), the rotation gets even shorter. Guys play more minutes. Harder minutes. Then they’re tired and out of gas. And then we’ll wonder why we can’t finish games.

Never diminish your team’s current record. It’s like not acknowledging that you have two fridges full of food. But never brag about the two fridges, and ignore the need to continue to stockpile food stuffs at a steady rate. Sure, we are a wonderful 19-10. But what will happen when JJ gets hurt? How about Al? Marvin? Josh? Even worse….Bibby?

Yes, I say even worse. Know why? Because if you’re looking closely enough, you are seeing this become Bibby’s team. JJ is the man, for what that’s worth. But he’s slowly no longer becoming the spear-head. It’s Bibby that’s trusting guys, and getting them going in the offense. It’s he that is throwing the ball up the court when the wings get out and run. JJ is going for his, and he’s getting it (he sure did tonight, did he not?). But he’s becoming more Michael Redd (yes, I stole that from my friend Sautee). A shooter. A gunner. The only difference is that he is still putting up good assist numbers. Most of that is not off of playmaking, though. It’s off of being trapped and drawing enough defenders to NEED to pass the ball.

But that’s just how I’m seeing it. I could be wrong. But I feel like the transition is happening right in front of us.

Don!

December 28th, 2008
12:24 am

Yeah, I gotta agree it’s becoming Bibby’s team. He’s not the point guard I expected him to be for this team, and you have to give him props for getting everyone involved — even on those nights when he’s our best offensive option. But teams have to have a lead dog, and we have a good one in JJ, and we needed him to go for 40+ on occasion. A player that can do that, is a must for a team to go anywhere in the playoffs. Is there anyone else you want to see at the top of the key with the ball, less than 10 seconds to go in the game when your team’s down by one?

I mean, I love what Bibby’s brought to the team, JSmooth is JSmooth, Hordford is a young beast, and Marvin might eventually meet some of the expectations everyone has for him — but JJ is the stone cold killer this team needs. There’s only about a dozen of those cats in the NBA — and if you team doesn’t have one, you’re not going anywhere. That’s the difference between Dallas and the Lakers. Both teams have a ton of talent — but there’s a reason Kobe has about a dozen nicknames that all mean ‘killer’ in the end.

If there was a version of NBA Jam coming out today (anyone else remember that video game?), I’d be happy to have Bibby and JJ as my team. And for the Hawks, they provide the leadership, and scoring, and stone cold killer attitude we need to finally be winners.

For once, we’re winning the games we’re supposed to win. It wasn’t long ago when we would have found a way to lose these games. However, our defense was MIA tonight. This was the second time we let Rose get his career high — and 117 is too many points to be giving up to the Bulls.

Is it just something about Internet blogs where we just have to find the bad things? Can’t we be happy at 19-10, holding down a #4 seed, with Hollinger giving us a 97.3% chance of making the playoffs? I feel jaded sometimes — while I darn well know I better enjoy this while it lasts!

So, without further adieu — and I may not say this again — THANK YOU WOODY AND THE ATLANTA SPIRIT FOR GIVING US A GOOD TEAM TO WATCH!

Later,

Don!

P.S. Free Acie and Mario!

Sautee

December 28th, 2008
10:52 am

One caveat to my Michael Redd comment. Ray and I were speaking of OFFENSE. Before anybody jumps on me, I’ll defend JJ for his defense, which Michael Redd cannot come close to.

And last night’s game was the first time since early in the season that Joe LOOKED like a $14M / Year player.

I’d like to see that at least every other game. Not the point totals, but WHERE he took the shots, and how he involved his teammates early enough in the clock that there was no desperation in their moves. There was a definite flow last night, which Joe can also at times grind to a halt by holding on to the ball too long.

It’s great to be 19-10!

MannyT

December 28th, 2008
12:48 pm

Interesting stats.

Top of list is always best to get that W!

Missed game, but there are still some seriously scary things lurking in the shadows.

I live with the fact that we don’t beat the will out of teams, the Hawks scrum throughout regardless of the level of competition.

Given that reality, I do wonder why Woody doesn’t give the bench more opportunities to play prior to the 4th quarter. They would get some experience (especially against weaker teams). This would have been a way to give the “I want to see more defense” message to the regulars. I don’t think JJ would pout if he averaged 38 mins a game. He and Woody remind me of John Cheney & terrance Stansbury at Temple in the 1980s. (Only player I knew of that averaged OVER 40 mins/game for an entire season in college.)

If you were AC would you want to extend your deal here or move on at the first chance to actually play? If you are Sund and you recognize that Woody won’t play much of a bench, why pay for guys that won’t play. I can see 8 good contracts and 6 or 7 minimums in the future.

…assuming Bibby continues to be successful, there will be very interesting negotiations this summer. How much do you pay for a crafty PG in his 30s who has lost a step when you are over the cap?

BWAF

DecDawg

December 28th, 2008
2:04 pm

I am in total agreement that Woody needs to use the guys on the bench. We have enough talent on this team to play 10 guys a night. Getting minutes and production out of the forgotten guys (especially Acie) is actually crucial to the second half of the season and these guys are not a liability if used correctly. While Acie is not as good of a shooter as Bibby, he’s much better at breaking his man down, getting into the middle of the defense and creating opportunities for others. And he’s also better at defending quicker guards than Bibby. Not to mention, his attributes allow us to change our style of play and show the defense something different.

Burning down the house « The Big Three

December 28th, 2008
7:51 pm

[...] I come back to find that The Big Three has been getting a little internet celebrity traffic! Big Ray from ajc.com was in the house just last week. Ya’ll go check out Ray’s blog, the guy is [...]

BA

December 28th, 2008
8:32 pm

Not sure how that happened, Ray- I put a link to The Hawks Hacks on my blog, and the above link popped up here automatically. I was trying to direct traffic TO your site, not away from it!

In any event-

Games like the one Saturday are a result (much to some folks chagrin) of playing your starters heavy minutes. The chemistry with Atlanta’s starting five has been on a steep incline. I’m not saying these kids (Acie and Solo in particular) SHOULD be languishing away on the bench the way they are, but it’s hard not to notice the benefit. Williams and Smith are playing out of their mind. Horford rarely gets in foul trouble anymore…Woodson has (from what I’ve seen) made a conscious effort to pace Bibby- but with Flip Murray, who they paid big money to come in here and back up the point. I see no reason why Johnson, a 26 year-old superstar (yeah, I said it) in his prime should see any decrease in mpg. Dude is making McGrady money, and he’s playing McGrady minutes. Where does Acie get any pt? I could see arguing Acie OVER Flip, but I can’t see a decrease in Bibby and Johnson’s minutes. Not with the two of them playing at this level.

BA

December 28th, 2008
8:37 pm

DecDawg, respectfully, there’s no way Law is a better distributor or better at “breaking people down” than Bibby. I think Acie could be a servicable guard in this league eventually, but right now Bibby is the better player (if slightly slower). Last year Bibby’s defense was suspect, but with the exception of freaks of nature like Rose, he’s done a good job on perimeter D.

DecDawg

December 29th, 2008
12:00 am

BA, I agree with you that Bibby is a better player than Acie. I would never argue that point. But Acie is better at taking his man to the rack than Bibby. What Acie lacks is playing time to help his game grow. I’m sure you would have said the same about Rondo and Stuckey a year ago but look at what playing time has done for them. All I’m saying is that Acie’s can be a weapon for us. I’m not saying that he should replace Bibby but it is in our best interests to help him grow. Whether we are helping him grow to help us in the future or if we want a stronger bargaining chip for a trade. To let him waste away on the bench serves no purpose at all.

And for the record, Bibby is not nearly as quick as Acie and his defense is still suspect. But I understand that Bibby is maybe the most important piece to our puzzle (since he’s the only other person Woodson allows to shoot in the 4th quarter besides JJ).

Najeh Davenpoop

December 29th, 2008
4:41 am

I think Woody is finally trusting Josh and Al to handle the ball in the post, which is why you’re seeing more layups and dunks in recent games. I’ve been saying for a while (and so have many of y’all) that they need to be fed in the post more, and finally it seems to be happening. I was at the game against the Bulls on Saturday and I really liked what I saw — most of the time when Josh or Al got the ball down low, it either led to free throw opportunities, easy buckets for cutters, layups, or dunks, and it opened up easier perimeter looks as well.

I’m on the Free Acie bandwagon too (at the very least he deserves as much playing time as the ball hog Flip Murray) but overall I’m pretty impressed with Woody so far this year.

Big Ray

December 29th, 2008
2:17 pm

Thanks for coming over guys, as always.

BA,

I don’t know what that was either, until I read your post, lol! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and I appreciate both your contributions AND your attempts to bring people this way. As I sit here, wondering if I should put up another blog…I have to say that there is an argument both for and against giving Acie PT vs Flip Murray.

On Woody….you either commit to the coach and what the coach wants, or you change coaches. It has to be one or the other, I think. Either give Woody what he wants/needs to do the job he’s being paid to do…or get somebody else in here. Until then, what to do with the guys who get no burn?

Sautee

December 29th, 2008
4:00 pm

Ray,

I’ll have to say that respectfully, I reject the either/or premise regarding Woody. Last season Ed Stefanski gave Mo Cheeks an ultimatum to play his young players more. And as we all know, it worked, The Sixers got better as the year went on. And yeah, I know what happened this year, but the point is that Stefanski, like Sund, inherited a coach (as opposed to hiring one), and still felt he could give some marching orders. And you’d have to say that beyond the Sixers’ struggles, that they are still better off for getting all that playing time for Williams, Young and their young bigs.

If you remember, Sund said early on that player development was to be a major point of emphasis. So what are we seeing? Journeyman vets getting most of the playing time off the bench, despite playing just like “journeymen”. Meanwhile a lottery pick languishes on the bench DESPITE playing well. And a promising 2nd rounder as well. If I thought they (Acie and Solo) had played WORSE than FlipMo I’d feel differently. But that’s not the case.

BA

December 29th, 2008
6:56 pm

Has it been established if Acie was exclusively a “Billy Knight” pick? How much pull did Woodson have in the selection process? I think it’s safe to say Solo was a classic Billy Knight forward type of pick(of course, I know nothing for a fact).

So the debate is FlipMo vs. Acie/Solo? Flip has been streaky, and Evans shot has been off for a couple of weeks. But logic dictates that they’re paying these cats a signifigant amount of scratch. And I don’t think FlipMo has played poorly enough to justify replacing their minutes with the same inconsistent young players they were replacing in the first place. It might be a different story if the Hawks weren’t, say, 19-10!

A decade is long enough with the player development. Every team has three or four guys that almost never play. If two of our three are promising young guys, that bodes well for the next couple of years. I don’t think it means we play them if we don’t have too, especially during a winning streak. The players in front of these guys are for the most part young and hitting their prime, so naturally they’re going to play more minutes.

And yeah, I get Ray’s (and a lot of others) point in regards to injury. But consider this- we lost our second best player for a month, and they weathered the storm. Of course, with this “becoming Bibby’s team” (good line, that one) I shudder to think what would happen, starting Flip…

Don!

December 29th, 2008
7:12 pm

I said it on draft day two years ago, and I’ll say it again now: I’d rather have Acie than Conley Jr.

Look at Acie’s college career — the man could flat carry a team. He can pass, he can shoot and he can distribute. None of that has changed, except that he hasn’t been given a chance to do that in Woody’s system.

I don’t know if it’s because Acie hurt his ankle early in the season last year, or if he’s really in the doghouse, or if Flip has compromising pictures of Woody at the Hanna Montana concert from 2006 — but the bottom line is that a legitimate lottery pick is getting almost no run on a team that could use him.

Is Acie perfect? No. Does he have limitations at the pro level? Yes. But he can help this team, right now — and maybe even more in the future. Don’t forget, Bibby’s an unrestricted free agent after this season. If we were to lose Bibby, who takes over?

… oh, I think I just heard Speedy slip on a grape peal back in the player’s lounge area, be right back …

Sigh, it sounds like another 6-10 week recovery period for Speedy.

Anyway, the season is 82 games long. This is the period where you HAVE to work your role players into the system. If you run JJ and Bibby 40 minutes every night for the next two months — they’re going to be worn out — especially if they spend the energy on D that Woody expects them too. And yes, that was a run-on sentence and it still had the letter D and Bibby’s name in it.

Look, I don’t have a hidden stash of Acie jerseys that I’m speculating on, and if you want to take the majority of this post and swap the name Mario with Acie — I’m fine with that. But the problem remains that we need to get about 15 minutes of run a night for one or both of those guys and get JJ and Bibby down to more manageable minutes for a bit. We need this for both now and the future.

Free Acie and Mario!

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 29th, 2008
9:39 pm

20-10. And for the most part, especially in the second half — we looked good. Denver really missed Nene though.

Flip and Mo got all the reserve minutes tonight. I’m beginning to believe that Woody is just not going to play Acie and Mario any meaningful minutes for whatever reason. However, at least he kept JJ and Bibby both under 40 minutes tonight, and that’s pretty important too.

I’m thinking more and more that Woody’s rotation preferences are a lot like Bobby Cremins’ ones back at Tech in the late ’80s. You get 5-6 guys and ride them hard, and one or two more who see a little time. I mean, me and Ray could have been bench players on those teams with Mark Price and John Salley. You would never know any differently from the score sheets, because the other eight guys on the team never sniffed the court.

But hey, we’re 20-10 for the first time in more than a decade. As long as we’re playing like we did tonight, I just have to remember that Woody is the NBA coach, and I’m the anonymous Internet blogger. One of us coaches an NBA team, and the other just thinks he can!

Go Hawks!

Later,

Don!

Don!

December 29th, 2008
9:40 pm

Oh, I forgot.

FREE ACIE AND MARIO!

Later,

Don!

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
10:35 am

Sautee,

The either/or approach is merely the beginning. It only stands to sense that you hold the coach fully responsible for player usage and development. I think the 2-year extension for is all about Sund getting the opportunity to assess Woodson over a reasonable amount of time. I don’t know how he feels about all of Billy’s picks. I’m sure he would not have picked all of the same guys. But he probably wants to see what Woody can do with what he feels is useable.

There’s a saying though: Every GM eventually wants to bring in his own guy. Maybe Woody is a guy that Sund likes. Maybe he wants to bring in his own guy. But Sund did not build this team. He’s responsible for brining in Morris, signing Hunter and Gardner, Murray, and Evans. He’s responsible for the loss of Childress and matching the offer Smith got from Memphis. That’s about it.

And yet…it begins with either building your own roster, whether you use existing pieces or blow the whole thing up and start from scratch (as Billy did), then either matching a coach to your creation, or committing the one you’ve already got. Everything else flows from there.

BA,

A very good record covers a lot of ills. Sund did say he was concerned with player development. If Bibby is re-signed for a few more years, then we have less to worry about at the pg position. However, we don’t know that this will happen. Neither do they. A good back-up plan would seem to be in order. Whatever it is (and you can only assume that it exists), it does not seem to currently include Acie. That’s all I can say there. As you rightly fear (and I’ve said it before myself), what happens if Bibby goes down for any significant length of time?

Every wave in the ocean breaks at some point…it’s a cycle of ebb and flow.