THREE Amigos, not TWO!

Did you ever see the movie “The Three Amigos?” Do you like Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short?

Personally, I thought Steve Martin was funnier opposite Queen Latifah in “Brining Down the House”, with a little Eugene Levy sprinkled in. I’ll never forget a corn-row hairstyled Eugene Levy (he had ‘em at the end, anyway) telling Queen Latifah, “You got me straight trippin’ Boo..” Had me rollin’ like a tumbleweed in a an old Western. But I’m getting sidetracked. Back to The Three Amigos, which I don’t remember much about, other than their signature move was something eerily like a more stiff version of the Macarena (and before that song’s time, too). But that’s not the point. Yes, I’m getting to a point, believe it or not. The point is, there were Three Amigos, not two. Three gave it balance. Three made it more effective and more laughable. It made the movie a better blend of three different comic spices. Each different, but each compatible with the other.

So it is, or should be with our own three amigos, the Atlanta Hawks own forwards (I still refuse to call Horford a center, but that’s a point for another day), Al Horford, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith. The problem is, this three amigo setup is working off of just two amigos…and that just ain’t right. But let’s check ‘em out so we can see who’s MIA from the set:

Al is easily and obviously the most rugged of the three. He’s the tallest, though not by much at all, the strongest, and probably the heaviest (though again, by a slight margin). He does the best dirty work. He’s the most fundamentally sound when it comes to rebounding and post defense. He may be the best passer of the three, though Josh has some definite skill in that area. Al is a rock. And lately, he’s blossomed into that which some people saw in him before he was drafted. While having a solid, but otherwise unspectacular season, Horford has suddenly blown up, with some very nice production. In his last 8 games, Horford has had 5 double-doubles, a 16 and 8, 14 and 6, and a 4 and 6 performance (against Portland, where the entire team struggled). In those 5 double-double games, Horford averaged 18 ppg and 14.8 rpg. Heady stuff, particularly if he can keep it up.

Our second Amigo, Marvin Williams, has also increased his production of late. His shooting stroke is the sweetest of the three, and has legit range to out beyond the arc. Marvin is clearly not the player he was the three preceeding years. He now drives to the basket well, taking much better angles than before, and finishing in traffic nearly as well as he does on the break. His first step is now deceptively quick, and rather long, surprising opponents and fans alike. In Marvin’s last 5 games, he has averaged 20.6 points and 6.4 rpg. Not to mention, Marvin has played some very good defense, including against opponents like King James himself. As it stands right now, Marvin looks to be the clearest and most reliable scorer outside of Joe Johnson right, and the one most likely to tag a defense with 20-30 points…if he’s given the ball enough. Make no mistake, he is both consistent and efficient. Marvin has never taken more than 17 shots in a game all season long. Here are a few facts about Marvin this season: He has only taken 13 or more shots (17 being the high, and that only 3 times) 18 times. Of those 18 times, not once  did he fail to score in double figures. Let’s broaden that a bit to give it even more perspective. Marvin has taken 10 or more shots in 34 games. Only 4 times did he fail to score in double figures, and two of those were 9 point offerings. Consistency, thy name is Marvin. And if this trend continues, along with a change in the way the Hawks play the game, you may be looking at Marvin, not Bibby, as the #2 option/producer on offense.

So much for our first two Amigos, who have obviously shown up and showed out. That makes the third and final Amigo our missing guy, Mr. Josh Smith. His stats are nigh unmentionable, but for the analogy to be complete, I have to mention them anyway. While it may not seem fair, we’re going to go back 10 games on Josh just to get this into perspective, since I believe that his last truly good game was a 16 point, 15 rebound effort against the L.A. Clippers. Since then, only one game has seemed decent to me, and that was the 14 point, 8 rebound performance against Miami. So, in this 10 game span, Josh Smith has averaged 11.6 points and a perplexingly anemic 3.9 rebounds per game. That’s right, 3.9. Yeah, I did the math, like, 5 times to make sure I was seeing it right (no, I wasn’t counting up just the offensive rebounds). I’ll bet some of you won’t protest so loudly in retrospect to my incredulous diatribe about that L.A. Lakers game, in which he snagged 0 rebounds, huh? Add this to an even more confusing and sudden inability to hit free throws, and somebody should be putting this guy’s face on the side of a milk carton.

So what gives? Coaches, teammates, and fans seem to be at somewhat of a loss to explain this dire phenomenon. After all, Josh is the highest and most explosive leaper of the three amigos for certain. And he has shown more than once that he can be very hard to deal with on both ends of the floor when he wants to, when it comes to rebounding, scoring, or defense. Josh may not possess the body-up, toe-to-toe defensive capability of Horford, or the laterally quick and lengthy perimeter and sideline defense of Marvin, but he’s still the Hawks’ scariest defender. Why? Two things. One,  if he gambles and makes the steal (especially in the backcourt), just hang it up. He’s gone and you won’t catch him if he gets even a half step on you. And two, this guy will block anybody’s shot, from anywhere on the court. He measures people. He baits them into shots. He will catch you on the break, even if you THOUGHT you were five steps ahead. He’ll get you from the weak side, even though you swore you saw him on the other side of the court right before you turned your back and did your spin move. And when you let the ball go in the air, and see him take flight…you know…it’s already over. Not only that, but when he gets the ball and is in a groove (read: minimal perimeter scoring attempts and maximum rim attacks), he can be nearly impossible to stop.

The Hawks are going on a tough stretch run through the month of March. Out of the next 14 games, only one team does not pose a serious threat on the boards, and that is Sacramento. Perhaps Dallas could be considered a second, but I wouldn’t bank on that, especially since Mark Cuban’s latest ultimatum to his players.  Every other team has the capacity, if not the reputation, for either competing hard with, or dominating opposing teams on the glass. And for the Hawks to have a chance at surviving this stretch, let alone doing well in it, they have to be able to hold their own in the rebounding category. Up next are Charlotte and Detroit, neither of which suffer fools gladly on the glass.

Consider that Coach Woodson is likely to hold to his 8 man rotation, so no backup is coming. If the third Amigo doesn’t get his act together and get on the set quickly, this happy, feel good comedy could turn into a sad slapstick also-ran in no time flat.

58 comments Add your comment

doc

March 5th, 2009
12:00 pm

shine on brother

Sautee

March 5th, 2009
12:22 pm

If Josh is bringing the effort, I can handle a few off nights, but lately it looks like he’s disengaged. Hopefully it was the virus that had him off his feed, but I want to see the fire from him that we both saw at the beginning of the season.

Imagine the team we could be if all three played at anything close to their potential.

Big Ray

March 5th, 2009
12:44 pm

Several grammatical errors in that post. Can you tell I worked a 12 hour shift last night, then came home and decided to write this? That and it was closer to 1250 words than it was to a 1000. Sheesh. Well, can’t make excuses…gotta do better…

Big Ray

March 5th, 2009
12:45 pm

Doc,

Thanks. I’m tryin’ to put something good out is all. I think I’m going to shine myself to the couch for a few winks…

Sautee,

Good point. I sure hope it was a virus for the last game or two, but doubt that is an explanation for the last 10.

Willie Coyote

March 5th, 2009
12:47 pm

Excellently written; nothing at all to add or elaborate on with that one.

renegade

March 5th, 2009
1:37 pm

Josh you heard the man call you out. If you have any gumption you will go to work and earn that check.Damn I wish I was 6 9 and played a game for a living.Quit letting your team mates down; show up!

Harry Hawk

March 5th, 2009
1:44 pm

You forgot two words:

Free Acie.

Seriously…

Harry Hawk

March 5th, 2009
1:47 pm

When a guy has every reason to quit on a game, it’s nice to see him shine when he is finally given the chance to play in it. That tells me a lot about Acie Law IV.

Melvin

March 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

Great Stuff Ray… You and Sekou are in sync today with these topics. Sekou touch on Horford being the most important person on the team and elaborate on his view well…

Doc,
I will see you Saturday????????????????

Stotts Era

March 5th, 2009
2:52 pm

Stotts Era

March 5th, 2009
2:52 pm

he should be called “J Sandpaper”

doc

March 5th, 2009
3:05 pm

melvin, yup.

JJ

March 5th, 2009
3:36 pm

Yes it is three,but what is truely missing is the forth.I know he is not on the TEAM this year but THE HAWKS really miss the other Josh.IT begins on “D” and when other teams run their switches there was not a matchup problem because the FOUR were all the same.We beat Boston with DEFENSE last year and we really miss that forth piece.

Melvin

March 5th, 2009
3:39 pm

Cool Doc….
Haven’t seen you in Sekou’s new blog/hiding spot… Will someone help the Good Doctor with a link to the Sekou’s new blog site….heh,heh

BA

March 5th, 2009
3:41 pm

Grammatical errors? Have you read O’Brien lately, Ray? Good content is king- and this post was full of it. I agree on Smith’s work of late. The lack of rebounding is what I find most frustrating.

kwooden1

March 5th, 2009
3:53 pm

I hope that JSmith’s problem has been the virus. I think the high ankle sprain is still bothering him also. But think Marvin is more than making up for most of Josh’s shortcomings. The problem I see is Bibby isn’t back to form. When Bibby was penetrating and passing the ball they actually have an OK offensive. I guess I’m re-plowing old ground, but a true offensive system has to be put in place. I the guys don’t look excited on offensive. Once JJ gets the ball it’s stand and watch or wait for a while and then realize they should move around. They rarely look comfortable. From what I heard from last nights game, their offensive was OK for most of the game, but they just weren’t shooting well from 3. (I think that was Marvin’s worst game) They need another creator on the floor, especially if Bibby isn’t getting it done. I believe their going to respond at Charlotte, but they’re still going to have a problem on the boards. They still haven’t figure out the right speed to play at. I hate to say this, but prepare for a bumpy ride on the HAWKS EXPRESS to the Playoffs!

GO HAWKS!!!

jhan

March 5th, 2009
4:21 pm

Great piece Ray. I hope Rod doesn’t come down on you too hard for only going back 10 games!

We need all three of these guys to play consistently (good that is) for us to be successful. For now Josh is our guy & we need him to produce. Maybe he gets moved in the offseason but right now he’s a Hawk.

shresee2

March 5th, 2009
4:29 pm

This blog was the total truth. Did anyone notice have Al and Marvin took over the two games when Joe was out sick. I may upset some of you when I say this, but I am tired of all the last shots going through Joe.
I know he is the all-star but Sunday against the Cav’s from the 3 point line that is marvin’s shot. You saw it in Boston earlier and other games consistently. The hawks have other weapons on this team, we have to use them and the entire offense cannot be run through Joe and Bibby.
No one has mentioned the play of ZAZA. He is really stepping up his game. You notice he is getting more playing time as well. he is really playing the boards hard and allowing for Al to get those jumpers he seems to be perfecting. Zaza is tough, he maybe a little slow and struggles with some passes in transition but he is playing hard, we have to give him that.

Mike B.

March 5th, 2009
5:07 pm

Great observations Big Ray. Nothing more need be said.

Lacsho

March 5th, 2009
5:38 pm

My brother, nice blog. I see you and Sekou are on fire today.

I know Smooves play has been suspect, but I think it all falls back on Woody’s coaching. However, rebounding doesn’t take a great skill set, but you have to be willing to put in work to get them (sometimes). So I can’t blame Woody for Smooves lack of rebounding.

Ray, we’ve had this discussions several times. Where does Smoove receive the ball at? Who actually throws the ball down low when Smoove is posting up? (Horford or Starvin Marvin) Does Woody have a Iso play for Smoove in the post? When was the last time you saw Bibby clear everyone out, and exploit a mismatch? I’ve seen JJ do it one time this entire season, and that was earlier this week. Marvin was posting up a guard, and after several times down the court JJ finally got Marvin the ball in the post.

Last question for you Big Ray. I know we’ve talked about this before. When was the last time JJ set a legit screen? I’m not talking about a fake screen when he’s trying to receive the ball from Bibby, so he can go Iso Joe.

Peace!!!!!

doc

March 5th, 2009
6:27 pm

lasho, i cant answer that one but i can tell you three nights ago he got only his second blocked shot in 30 games, i think he got credit for 2 steals last night or recently. you really dont want to look at his stats for the defensive side of the ball. pretty scary. just dont know why folks keep calling him as being a good defender, bibby does more with his size and speed than jj. maybe jj is really a point three. even then he might have trouble guarding threes. couldnt believe him missing an open horford last night with six hands and three bodies in his way to the basket only to miss.

Big Ray

March 5th, 2009
6:41 pm

Lacsho,

When Smoove receives the ball in the post, he has shown that he will far more often than not make the right play. He has no issues passing the ball out, and usually it results in an open jumper for one of our guards. He also has no problem passing to one of his frontcourt mates if the opportunity is there. Josh is not a selfish player by any stretch of the imagination.

However, he does not excel with the ball in his hands out on the perimeter. Since our offense tends to be stagnant (read: not enough movement without the ball) half the time in half court sets, that limits anybody’s vision. This is one reason why JJ pounds the ball so much (though part of it is bad habit). For Josh, it’s worse, plus the temptation is there to shoot a jumper if the shot clock is running down. When guys are standing around, the lane is clogged, making a drive to the basket difficult. He needs to receive the ball on cuts, flashes, and post ups. And with his deceptive quickness/leaping ability, there should be at least two or three lobs every game.

I don’t know what plays Woody might or might not have for Josh (or anybody not named Bibby or Johnson), but they are either useless or not being run.

Bibby is not going to exploit very many matchups. He simply lacks the foot speed to do it against most of the point guards he faces these days. The best thing to do with him is use a variety of screens to spring him for the open jumper. His quick release means that he only needs a fraction of a second to be open, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. He can also run the screen-and-roll well, if the screener is good at his job. Bibby also sets the best screens on the team, though others have the potential to do so. I think this would be a good thing to go over in practice, even though it should have been learned years ago. The Hawks could use some remedial lessons in some areas to help tighten up their execution. A good coach knows when to recognize and address this. I won’t go there….for now.

Lastly, I cannot recall having seen JJ set a screen. Either he is very deceptive about it, or he’s just not doing it. As to why…well, see the ending comments of the previous paragraph.

Peace!

Big Ray

March 5th, 2009
7:00 pm

shresee2 ,

If anybody gets too upset by what you said, then they need to take a pill and lay off of sports altogether. Too much truth in your words. It’s unfortunate, but every team we play has our gameplan down pat. They know they need to get on Joe, and far too often we haven’t proven them wrong. We do indeed have SEVERAL weapons that can hurt anybody. Using them consistently is the issue.

Zaza has indeed been as solid as a rock in so many ways. All we can hope for is a replacement that puts in as much effort when he’s gone. That’s assuming he’s not re-signed, which is probably the case.

Big Ray

March 5th, 2009
7:10 pm

By the way,

I will be at the game on Thursday, March 19th, against Dallas. Me and the Mrs., to be exact. She is there as part of a work/function/activity, and I the one guest. We’ll be at the Taco Mac at 5:00 p.m. Don’t know what seats we’ll be in for the game at 7:00, but hopefully I’ll be able to post that via laptop, worse case scenario.

Look forward to meeting some of you.

doc

March 5th, 2009
8:02 pm

cool ray, see you then.

Lacsho

March 5th, 2009
9:25 pm

I feel you Ray. You ever notice JJ gives Smoove the ball beyond the arc with three or four seconds left on the shot clock.

I’m going to try and make it to that game. If I don’t meet you on the 19th, you’re going to have to take a sick day during the playoffs, and I’ll definitely meet you then.

Doc, how are you my brother? I’m still lurking around here. I see you and the rest of the fellows are holding it down. Drinks are on me, when we meet up at Phillips….

doc

March 5th, 2009
9:35 pm

lac, thinking about you the other day wondering if you could stand this team not getting to 50 bro. heh heh

MannyT

March 5th, 2009
10:47 pm

Sure, Josh needs to step up his game. I do wonder if there is something going on in the background that tells us the rest of the story.

Because I see Marvin moving on after his tender offer year, this blog might be the prequel for Uno Amigo

Check this out. Not for what it says about the player, but peep the coach’s comments.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-090305&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines

WWWD? that’s what would woody do?

How does that bold thing work? Trying to catch up to all y’all.

I’ll have to make sure I get to that Dallas game to meet the non-BK bashing half of the Hacks.

BWAF

doc

March 5th, 2009
11:11 pm

stirring something up there manny t? greta article and explores a few of the themes i have been concerned about with our team and more specifically our all star. i wonder how he compares.

MannyT

March 5th, 2009
11:41 pm

doc, I’m not stirring, but I thought I should add to the spicy mix that Ray & Sekou started today.

Hollinger’s stirring the pot.

HB Ando

March 6th, 2009
12:05 am

Manny, maybe you’ll be a little more coherent than you were the last time you met up with the “BK bashing” half of the Hacks. I’m still trying to make sense out of your babble.

Man, this post was simply world-class writing by Big Ray (and I’m not just saying that because I’m his partner in crime). We’re coming down to the stretch run, and while the Hawks need to bring their A game, the rest of the way, both blogs, and all the contributing gang, appear poised to qualify every moment, every outcome, and every plausible implication.

OK now, who’s going to lay a ticket on old Ando, for the Mavs’ game, where Big Ray, and Mrs. Big Ray (AKA Jen) will be in attendance?

cp

March 6th, 2009
12:31 am

Josh just does not seem to have the same fire he has shown in the past. I don’t know if his ankle still bothers him or he is just sick… He has never been a guy to block out but he still would grab at least 8 rebounds due to his length and athleticism. The past few games it looks like he is just standing there or in many cases, out of position. Hopefully the light comes on because we will need him down the stretch.

niremetal

March 6th, 2009
1:01 am

Ray,

Journal’s killing me so I only got a minute. But I liked the post. I just wanted to chime in on Josh’s mental block about free throws – a couple threads back you said it wasn’t much different than Joe’s current aversion to ball movement and taking it to the whole, Marvin’s earlier issues, etc. I can’t really quantify or explain the difference that I see, but I think there is one. Josh Smith’s free throw troubles remind me of Mark Wohlers and Rick Ankiel’s sudden and total loss of their ability to throw strikes. There are certain types of mental blocks that just *feel* different – where it’s not just a matter of “waking up” or making adjustments. It’s a deep psychological problem where the harder the player tries to fix the problem, the worse the problem seems to get.

To draw an analogy from my own life, I had insomnia for a really long time. It seemed to be this self-sustaining vicious cycle. I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep, and so I would start stressing out about how I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Stressing about it obviously only made the problem worse, but it was impossible for me to *not* think about it. So it became a downward spiral I think there was a similar dynamic when Wohlers and Ankiel lost control – they stressed so much about their inability to throw strikes, and it got worse with every pitch they threw. Both eventually just stopped pitching. Wohlers retired altogether, and Ankiel converted himself to an outfielder.

I think the same might be true of Smoove and free throws. I’ve never seen that in a basketball player before, and he might pull out of it. But it’s just scary to watch, because I feel like I’ve seen this movie before in baseball and sleep habits…

I know this is all very impressionistic, and might not make much sense. I actually think Smoove eventually *will* pull out of this funk (just like my sleep problems often resolve themselves for awhile seemingly on their own). But if he’s the type of person who gets into those kinds of downward-spiraling funks, that’s not a good thing…and it seems to me to be qualitatively different from the kinds of problems that JJ is having and that Marvin once had.

niremetal

March 6th, 2009
1:02 am

(Another example from this from the movies is that catcher from Major League II who couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher’s mound…)

BA

March 6th, 2009
1:11 am

Don’t forget about Knoblauch in New York, Niremetal. All of a sudden couldn’t make the throw from SECOND base!

I thought it was a strong post, made perfect sense Nire.

Big Ray

March 6th, 2009
2:06 am

Niremetal,

I can’t argue with you on that one. You could be right. The free throw thing is bad, and I really think he needs to see a sports psychologist, as others here have already suggested. As for the rest of his game, I can’t say much. Dude is playing himself right out of the picture.

And that hurts the team in more ways than one, because Woody seems unwilling to delve into the bench to make up for it. I mean, what did he do, bet somebody that he could keep Solo’s total game time down to 15 minutes over a 20 game stretch?

MannyT,

You kill me, man. You call me the non-bashing BK half of the Hacks, but you post a link to an article about Brandon Roy. What is this, a baited treble hook? LOL!

Ed

March 6th, 2009
2:18 am

Ray, do you think the Hawks, or should I say the ASG, is going to pony up & get Marvin signed? Also, this team could really use J-Chill…that was a huge mistake to lose him as he was the glue for this team in many ways.

Big Ray

March 6th, 2009
9:17 am

Ed ,

I think that either Marvin or Josh will be gone this summer. Josh is of course, already signed. If he’s traded, then Marvin will most likely be signed. Worst case scenario for him, he’s on the one year tender (which I don’t like for us, we either need to lock him up or trade him- but that’s just my opinion).

Childress’ situation, although not what we wanted it to be, was a bit of an anomaly. Sund and crew had all the cards (but they rebuffed all trade offers, we could have had Barbosa in one of them) until Olympiakos came out of nowhere. Then the MLE offer was just too late.

Thing is, we really could use J-Chill. But in more ways than one. He could come back to the team and contribute (I think that doesn’t happen unless Woody is gone, though) or we could trade his rights. Either way, we should do something with him this summer. Maybe.

KevinA

March 6th, 2009
11:30 am

Woody does not foster improved play in a positive way. The problem with Josh and Acie is they cannot simply be free to play without mental reservation. I think they are paranoid of the criticism of Woody. When they are on the court they need to be playing on instinct, not worried about what the coach thinks.

Of course coaches need to address mistakes on missed assignments or poor shot selection but Woody’s coaching style has taken the aggression and comfort zone away from both of these players. ZaZa went through a period like this which to me was coach induced.

Ray, I think it’s good to call out Josh and your post was great, but realize it’s not all a Josh problem. Woody has a history of beating players down and some of these players went to other teams and improved. The team and Woody need to rally around Josh and encourage him. Thats leadership.

Ty

March 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

How much can be done for this kid? I’m sure Nique has talked to him. It’s time for him to be a man. He has been in this league long enough to know how. When he was out and Horford was at his natural position, we played so much better. Marvin has improved some part of his game every year. It’s time to see if there is a market for Josh Smith. An ok big man is better than someone who seems to have no interest anyday.

I understand players get fouled, but too may times he thinks he is fouled, complains about it, while the team is running up court. On a team that is trying to be in top four, we can’t afford to have a top player taking games off. I love the Hawks, but I am for keeping Marvin and telling Josh to kick rocks!!!

O'brien

March 6th, 2009
3:24 pm

Terence Moore has a blog up, in which Mark Price said he’ll watch Josh make 80 or 90 out of 100 free throws, in practice. But then during the game, he’ll miss one, then miss another, and then it all goes downhill. Even Price said he thinks it’s mostly mental.

One of TM observation was the Hawks, Yellow Jackets, Bulldogs and Panthers all rank in the bottom tier when it comes to FT shooting. Is there something in our water?

Astro Joe

March 6th, 2009
3:51 pm

GREAT STUFF, Ray. I don’t get over as much as i should… keep this up and I may have to become that much unproductive during the work day.

Any chance that Josh was hoping to make the All-Star game and basically went crazy when he returned from the ankle injury in an attempt to get on the team? And after it was announced, he has been in a funk? Obviously, I’m grasping. Except that the day/night performances seems quite bizarre. It’s like he woke up one morning and decided that rebounding would create health concerns for himself.

doc

March 6th, 2009
6:57 pm

nire. i see it as more the golfer losing his putting touch. it eats at the brain to the point one freezes. when he misses the backboard we can make the wohlers analogy. they called it steve blass disease in my day. dale murphy got it and they had to take him out from behind the plate. the only way he could get it back to the catcher was to run it to him, several ended up in center field. ended up a gold glover in center field. i had the problem as a freshman in college as a pitcher and fortunately overcame it by the end if the year.

MannyT

March 6th, 2009
7:11 pm

As for tonight, I hope the Hawks can do their thing against the new Bobcats. A game we should win, but the uncertainty is what makes the Hawks roller coaster team that they are.

On a side note that Astro Joe might appreciate, they don’t keep you away from the better food selections there if you are not in the Suite section of the arena. Nice BBQ sandwiches.

Ray,

Remember that my focus in the Brandon Roy post was McMillan’s role in developing his prized pupil. You don’t really see that sort of thing with the Hawks.

Ando,

If my quick research is correct (and it is) our last BK spat came over a difference of opinion on how you got into a rant over the Williams boys. I think niremetal said nice things about Marvin that night and you started the he will never be as good as Chris Paul AT HIS POSITION thing.

The hook was niremetal mentioned PAUL PIERCE and off you went on your CHRIS PAUL thing.

So as confusing as I might be to you, I was once again as correct as Rush is right!

After you check the notes on the Feb 6th blog, you can sing my praises (or at least admit to yourself that no one blogs quite like MannyT :-0

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-hawks-blog/2009/02/06/a-few-trade-thoughts/

Next time maybe you’ll buy me a beer first, then try to Outwit, Outplay, & Outlast me…because I am a Survivor!

Let’s go Hawks

BWAF

HB Ando

March 6th, 2009
8:28 pm

Manny, if the next time I see you is anything like the last, you’ll need me to buy you a cab ride far more than another beer. Referring to Paul as “your Chris Paul thing” does a disservice to the myriad of national NBA writers who find themselves compelled to bring BK’s disastrous draft decision up several times a season, year after depressing year. The day the whole national NBA media community finally let it go,you can count on me to follow suit. It’s kind of funny that it looks like you’re calling yourself Manny “TO”, because your post exhibits a similar level of self-aggrandizing as the now thrice-dismissed Mr. Owens. Rock on, Manny TO.

I have acquired a fine seat for the Dallas game, and truly cannot wait to meet Ray and Mrs. Ray (Jen) at Taco Mac, on the 19th. Thank you, Mr. Jhan.

As far as the Josh Smith discussion, I have to slide to the Astro Joe side. Free throw shooting woes, as a drastic drop off in accuracy, can be cured. More troubling is a sub-5/game rebounding rate, for the past 10 or so games. That’s nothing but a lack of effort and commitment, and is far more egregious than getting the yips at the free throw line.

Ray mentions his belief that either Marvin or Josh will exit the roster this summer. Ray knows, and some of you may remember, that I’ve been saying that would be the case for nearly 3 years. As I said then, and still feel now, both of these guys “see” themselves as small forwards, as they seek to define their careers in the league. Neither of them has shown any real inclination to assume the role of power forward. It’s curious how much time so many of us have spent trying peg either of them, at various times, as the “4″ on the team. I’ll stick to my guns that both of them are 3’s, and Horford is a “4″, as I’ve said since Horford was drafted. Nothing I’ve seen this season changed my summer-long position that the team will not optimize it’s potential until one of the “3’s” is traded for a “5″, though that opinion seems to be far more widely held than it was, around these parts, last summer. The largely panned Bargnani has emerged as a legitimate player this year, rendering moot the suggestion that we trade Marvin for him, 9 months ago, as you can bet that there is now no way that Toronto would give him up for Williams.

What we need out of a complementary front-court player (and I phrase it that way because I understand that a guy like Bargnani does not provide the rebounding you would expect in a classic center, but his presence along side Horford and Smith would have created a collectively productive line up, defensively, and a truly frightening match up for opposing defenses) depends wholly on which forward, Marvin or Josh, you would trade.

The guy you need if you were to trade Josh is a Bargnani-type, with a defense-stretching outside shot, creating open lanes for Josh to drive, and an uncluttered block for Horford to post up. Conversely, keeping Marvin, and trading Josh, would call for a more classic (and probably more easily found) center, with a low-post game which would allow Horford to play in the high post, with Marvin providing the deep threat.

Since Josh’s salary cap figure, going into next season, will no longer be base-year compensation, there are a lot more options in seeking out players who’s salary is anywhere between rookie contract and $12 million, or more (depending on the package). His tantalizing athletic skills would also likely draw more interested parties.

I’ve never been a Josh basher, and I’m not going to start now. But his game has taken a step backwards this year, right on the heels of securing a very large contract. In this respect, he has once again tied his evolving career arc to AK47, who also regressed statistically, upon signing a major extension. His subsequent seasons saw him bristle when he wasn’t made a focal point of the half-court offense, despite his obvious flaws as an outside shooter, and the reality that his value to the offense was clearly greater in transition and facilitating ball movement, as well as his skill at working the baseline and attacking the basket.

The Hawks, should they decide that Smith is their most valuable trade asset, in seeking to improve the team for the coming seasons, are fortunate that Memphis set them up with a very tradeable contract for Smith.

On the “how much is Bibby worth” front, has anyone else looked at Jarrett Jack’s stats since the beginning of February? They are as good if not better. Jack is making $2 million this year. I just hope the Hawks use good fiscal sense (I don’t think they’re going to have much of a choice) when evaluating what to do with Bibby this summer, assuming he expresses an interest in staying here. As long as JJ is here, the point guard position can be manned by a player like Jack, who doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands every possession to be effective. Those types of players are far more prevalent than true, pass-first point guards.

HB Ando

March 6th, 2009
8:30 pm

Meant to say that if you trade Marvin, the front line will need to add a “Bargnani” type big man,…..

MannyT

March 6th, 2009
9:08 pm

Ando,

Spin it how you like. Just check the link and you will see PAUL Pierce was brought up in the post, and that was close enough for you to go on a Chris PAUL rant.

I guess their lack of rebounding and D tonight allows for a Shel’en Williams rant ;-0

BWAF

niremetal

March 6th, 2009
10:24 pm

I’m convinced that for Smoove to succeed, he needs to put alongside someone who can be the Ice to his Action. Ten points for the first person who gets that reference.

Taking the MPRE (a part of the bar exam) tomorrow morning. Wish me luck, y’all.

HB Ando

March 6th, 2009
11:08 pm

Manny, seriously, the only thing in need of checking is your reality. Are you really trying to make a major point on an indifferent post from a month ago? Do you really have nothing better to do with your time than peruse blog archives, looking for a meaningless flaw in my logic? Heck man, you’d get more mileage if you started trumpeting my incorrect prediction that Bibby would be traded. I don’t care if it was PAUL McCartney that was brought up on the blog. Doesn’t change how bad Billy’s decision to draft Marvin was. And since YOU brought it up, it doesn’t change the fact that the damage he inflicted on the franchise, by following up the Paul disaster with the Shelden-instead-of-Roy pick was literally exponential.

Hollinger has a recent PER article discussing Roy’s position as the #7 rated player in the NBA. Say what you will (and there are enough odd, second-team names, sprinkled into the upper ranges of his rankings, based on productivity-per-minute projections to highlight the outliers), but if there’s strong statistical, not to mention actual all-star recognition/performance, support that both Paul and Roy are 2 of the TOP 10 players in the NBA right now, I can’t see how anybody can try and delude themselves that taking Marvin and Shelden, over two of the best players in the league wasn’t a crippling series of decisions.

I don’t know how that’s spin, but why don’t you tell me some more about how Billy was a better GM than I give him credit for……

Shoot Manny, looks to me like I should buy you another hit of crack, because beer can’t possibly take you to the far away places you’re visiting these days.

HB Ando

March 6th, 2009
11:24 pm

Good luck, Matt, though your success will be predicated on anything but……..