Derailed or Untracked?

How to survive injuries to key players is a lesson the Hawks have been forced to learn twice already this season. Three times, if you count Bibby’s absence due to sickness. Now it appears that the latest victim of the injury bug could be Marvin Williams.

Top AJC Beat Writer Sekou K. Smith reports that Marvin’s back injury is serious enough to where he will be seeking further medical opinion on it. Needless to say, there is somewhat dire speculation as to how long Marvin will be out. And if you think about it, how effective will he be when he can come back? Back injuries are not usually a 24-hour bug, after all. And talk about bad timing, as the three amigos had finally come back together for a possible encore performance during the all-important season-ending stretch run. Yet here they stand, maybe having to finish the season without the guy who is possibly their most versatile and consistent offensive frontcourt threat. Then again, perhaps this is also a portent of things to come. My partner Ando has held a long-standing opinion that the Hawks would eventually have to choose between Josh Smith and Marvin Williams, particularly if they are to add size to their starting lineup. That is an opinion I have agreed with, assuming that the Hawks will hold onto Al Horford tightly with  both hands, unless a clear upgrade is offered (and that would have to be a serious upgrade, as I believe Horford holds some of the keys to the future of this team). But without getting too sidetracked, suffice it to say that if Marvin is out for the remainder of the regular season, then we will get to see a couple of things over the course of the final 18 games: how much Marvin really means to this team, and how different the offensive approach will be without him. Will the team’s offense become derailed, or will certain guys get untracked and come to the forefront?

The game against New Orleans was the first example of how things are without Marvin. To me, there are four guys who the Hawks will need to step up and fill the void if Marvin is done. And believe it or not, Mo Evans is largely not one of them (in my opinion). Evans can get away with decent, but not dazzling efforts as long as plays solid defense, hits open or opportunistic shots, and hustles on defense and on the glass.

The first, and most important factor to making up for his offensive production and potential has to be the revitalization of Joe Johnson. Joe looked like his old self against New Orleans with tricky dribbles, fall-away jumpers, beautiful floaters, and dagger threes. Joe went one-on-one throughout most of the game, for the first time in several games, and even veteran ball-hound James Posey couldn’t do anything with him. He dominated the Hornets by shooting over 50% from the field, including a 4-8 showing from beyond the arc. This coupled with the fact that he drew defensive assignment on Chris Paul for much of the evening. The best part? Oh, you’re going to think I’m crazy….but the best part was he only had 2 assists. That’s right. Just 2, matching his turnover total. Let’s face it, Joe is multi-talented, but he is clearly at his best when he can stop worrying about all that ball-handling, stop worrying about all the distribution, and concentrate on scoring. And not just scoring, but going man-a-mano with a defender. And yet, one of the bigger differences in this game was JJ’s willingness to get rid of the ball sooner on the double team. This quicker ball movement not only kept the defense on its heels, but gave him a chance to either improve or change his position for a return pass and subsequent opportunity to score.

The second person who will have to pick it up to make up for Marvin’s offense will be Flip Murray. Murray however, has already been playing at an all-time high, proving to be the best offseason acquisition, something that Rick Sund has to be credited with. Murray’s value comes in his willingness to drive to the basket, as well as hit the midrange jumper and the occasional 3-ball. Murray has no conscience. But in the end, confidence is far more valuable than caution when the shot clock is winding down.

The third person to help will be Mike Bibby. The thing is, Bibby will have to contribute in two different ways. The Hawks will need him to get untracked as well, and we haven’t seen that reassuring performance from him yet, letting us know he’s okay. Beyond Joe Johnson, Bibby is the deadliest perimeter threat we have (when he’s on). But it’s not his shooting alone that the Hawks will need. He also needs to re-take the ball-handling/distribution responsibilities, allowing JJ to run more freely, and set himself up against a helpless defender. Conversely, if Bibby is doing this, he will also be open for a jumper when Joe begins to draw the inevitable double teams. This way, both guys feed off each other without Joe always ending up with the smaller portion (something that hurts both him and the team).

The fourth person is Acie Law. Yes, Acie Law. What does he have to do with Marvin’s absence? Well, if you watched the game against New Orleans and paid attention to more than JJ’s dazzling performance, then you already know. Law has no issues with handling the ball. He has the speed and will to penetrate, and is wonderful at dishing the ball away after fully penetrating the defense. He did it three times against the Hornets, leaving their defense completely stunned. In addition, he has the knack (and again, the speed) for staying in front of opposing point guards, leaving JJ free (once again) to pursue less tiring assignments. If Law gets 15-20 minute of playing time, that is 15-20 minutes that designated scorers Joe and Flip do not have to worry about guarding the opposing point guard or spending too much time pounding the ball, while trying to initiate the offense. That, and Law’s ability to penetrate can result in points for himself. He will also have to hit the open jumper when called upon, as he did against New Orleans.

So there you have it. Can these guys get untracked and stay that way? Will Woodson go along with this scheme (it seems to work)? Will Marvin’s absence be more of a problem on the offensive or defensive ends? If you agree with these ideas, then nod your assent and make any amendments you think belong. If you disagree, sound off and tell us how things should go!

75 comments Add your comment

fudd21

March 10th, 2009
9:34 am

Ray I think you’re dead on with your assessment of Joe and him being to play off the ball. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that AC played 20 minutes last and Joe had his best game in a while. Just being free and able to play versus trying to worry about setting up the offense and getting everyone involved are 2 totally different things. Hopefully this is the beginning of AC getting more playing time so we can truly see what he is capable of doing.

I think we will miss Marvin more on the defensive end. IMO he has become our best wing defender. When Mo came in I heard alot about his defensive prowess but to be honest I haven’t really seen it. I think Chillz played superior defense than Mo. Last night I don’t think it was a big deal cause let’s be honest none of the Hornets wings puts any fear on opposing defenses. But when we do play a team with a decent wing player, Indiana on Friday, whose guarding Granger. Joe could guard Posey or Butler last night but Granger friday or Lebron next week I think that’s alot to ask.

Melvin

March 10th, 2009
10:19 am

Good Stuff again Ray. If Woody could look pass some mistakes/growing pains of Acie than I think he will see the importance of playing AC extended mins.

O'brien

March 10th, 2009
11:24 am

You’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk, but if Acie had more PT last year, he would have been much further along in his development. But instead, he sat behind Anthony Johnson and TLue.

Mo has played some decent games, but he was supposed to be well known for his defense and 3pt shooting, and so far, he has been very inconsistent.

Ray, you’re right. Players need to step up. However, let’s not forget that Woody needs to step up too (which he did last night). If Bibby is playing bad, get Law in there. If the team is taking too many jump shots, Law will help because he will penetrate. And Woody needs to run some plays for JJ to get him off early.

whateva

March 10th, 2009
12:28 pm

You do realize that derailed and untracked mean nearly the same thing.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2009
1:00 pm

Good stuff, Ray. I also think Zaza needs to step-up. While I understand the notion that JJ can move over to the front-court, I think that won’t work but for a few minutes per game. Ultimately, our front-court rotation went from 4 to 3 (Evans is more SG than SF IMHO). So if the “dependable” front-court players are Smith, Horford and Zaza, well we REALLY need for those guys to stay out of foul trouble and play smart ball. We need Zaza to rule the offensive glass as Marvin is one of our more efficient scorers (both in terms of shot selection and free throw attempts). Creating more possessions off the offensive glass will tremendously help this team.

Solo seems to have regressed during the season. It seems when he gets his limited minutes now, he is a foul machine. While I hope that he can make smarter decisions, I’d put more pressure on Zaza to step-up than Solo.

doc

March 10th, 2009
1:03 pm

yeah ray acie in the game means jj is the three so it may be a pick up rather than a detriment.

cp

March 10th, 2009
1:39 pm

Great blog ray. If Marvin is done for the year I would bring in Demar Johnson. I would let him play the 3 and bring Mo off the bench. As someone mentioned earlier, Mo struggles guarding the bigger 3’s in the league. Hell he struggles against a lot of 2 guards also. The last time I saw Demar play he showed he can still hit the jumper and block shots because of his length. He is bigger than Mo so he would be able to guard the opposing teams small forwards. It would be up to Woody to let Law play the backup pg and let Flip play as the sg. They play well off each other and you still have Mo and Pachulia as subs off the bench.

richbrave

March 10th, 2009
2:28 pm

ray:

Know you’re down with the sting ops of the FEDS and GBI as noted in RHONDA COOK’s article in today’s AJC. Lots of folks sayin’ whew, glad that’s not in my neighborhood when we both know it is. Just a drop in the bucket, but if you’re gonna’ fill the pail gotta’ start somewhere. Lets go nationwide with this thing.

mykhalc

March 10th, 2009
3:07 pm

dag…is this the same ‘ray’ that i nick-named ‘BIG RAY’ years ago on SEKOU’s blog??? if so…BIG CONGRATS man!!! i know i’ve been away for a minute but damn!!!LOL

doc

March 10th, 2009
3:44 pm

myk you been away tooo long. it is one and the same. better start heating up for the playoffs dude. we got about 10 serious game to play between now and then among the leagues best and all pretendrers to the crown including cavs and celts on the road. get your game face on bro and get ready to party or bury.

richie it seems your girl friend left you beside the road. what happened to her?

Don!

March 10th, 2009
5:49 pm

Somewhere, I have to work in the phrase “I told you so” about injuries and Woody’s (lack of) rotation.

With that having been (sort of) said, let’s wait and see what and how bad the injury to Marvin is. If this is a long-term injury, past this season, the Hawks can make decisions in the off-season based on that knowledge. A big deal, but a manageable deal. If it’s really just a day-to-day thing, then it’s just the same old song, different verse. No big deal, except for a few games.

The worst possible situation is the one we’re in. The one where you don’t know and have to keep shifting plans based on the daily medical report. Trust me, it would be far better for the Hawks to know now that he’s gone for the season than to get a fuzzy medical report filled with words like ‘approximate’ and ‘possible’ and ‘likely’ attached to the word return.

On a side note, Speedy saw his physical therapist today. His recovery from the fractured hang nail which has kept him from playing is going well. Doctors still think he will need to have the bench splinters removed from his posterior in the off-season, and management plans to fix the issue long term by installing molded-plastic benches on the home sideline for next season. Sund says that having a player like Speedy will really help the team now, because he can show Marvin where all the different medical facilities are around town, saving valuable gasoline dollars for the Hawk’s team medical van.

Anyway, Marvin’s absence can be made up by this current roster in a number of ways. You could run a small group out there with Acie, Bibby, Joe, Josh and Al. You could run a bigger group out there with Bibby, Joe, Josh, Al and Zaza. You can have Flip and Mo move in and out at the 2/3 positions or maybe even push Joe into the one for a couple of minutes a night.

Bottom line, losing Marvin opens up about 20-30 minutes of game time a night. Split the time between Acie, Mo, Flip and Solo, and we’re still okay this season. We would likely be a touch less athletic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe we can find a group that plays with 90% of the athleticism, but adds 10% more control to their game.

Maybe, just maybe this will still work out. This team is a work in progress, and while I’d like to see us take the next step to being a legitimate contender — unless Marvin suddenly develops a Michael Jordan tenacity and desire while he’s resting his back — he’s not going to be the player to take the Hawks to the promised land. In my opinion, that player is not on this roster right now. We have the best group of players since the days of ‘Nique on this team … but no ‘Nique, or Kobe, or LBJ.

Maybe this injury will force JJ or Josh or Big Al to make that step up to Kobe-land. JJ has been on the doorstep, maybe this time he’ll bust down that door, drag the opposing team’s best player by the throat and say “You’re not in my league” and drop 50 on them for spite. Possibly Josh will get a look at all his highlight tapes, and play an entire 48 minutes like one awesome YouTube video, dominating both ends of the floor. And maybe, just maybe, Big Al will become validictorian of the Tim Duncan all-class but still kick-a$$ team for 2009 and carry this team on his shoulders.

Or it will show management that we’re still missing that player and we need to get our act together in the off-season.

After the trial’s over, of course.

Later,

Don!

Big Ray

March 10th, 2009
6:55 pm

Don!,

It’s hard to say what offseason implications Marvin’s injury will have. From a human standpoint, you always wish a guy the best. From a fan standpoint, you want to see him get better as soon as humanly possible. From a cold, objective asset management standpoint, you want him well soon, as injuries tend to devalue players, and other teams will want to know the nature of an injured player’s long term condition.

Ed

March 10th, 2009
7:08 pm

Ray, getting Acie more involved is so important for this team. Unfortunately Woody has shown in the past that just because he plays him considerable minutes in one game doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in the next one (regardless of how well Acie plays). Maybe this injury will be the catalyst for getting Acie firmly planted in the rotation as he brings so much to this team that no one else can. Gotta also point out again how big a mistake it was letting J-Chill go & Marvin’s injury only magnifies it.

mykhalc

March 10th, 2009
7:17 pm

BIG RAY!!! my man has got his blog on!!! NICE bro!!!

hey ray…WOODSON is CLULESS!!!LOL just had to say it bro!!

you always brought some knowledge over in SEKOU’s corner. glad you got a bigger stool to stand on!! not that a brotha 6′5″ or so needs a stool!!LOL congrats again man!!!

mykhalc

March 10th, 2009
7:27 pm

oh yeah…ACIE looked real good last nite. if he’s willing to take the open shot then one would think the CLUELESS ONE would have to let him see the floor more. good to see him show his game again!!!

Big Ray

March 10th, 2009
8:46 pm

Ed,

I’m feelin’ ya on the Josh Childress thing. However, I don’t think anybody saw Olympiakos coming. What I can say however, is that I don’t think they offered him ANYTHING before Olympiakos did, and that wasn’t necessarily the best idea. Not only that, but they rebuffed several trade offers from other teams. To walk away with nothing in that situation…that’s the crime…

Mykhalc,

Yeah, I have to admit I’m having fun with this. But Ando’s the 6′5″ guy. I’m the 5′11″ guy. But I go about 300lbs, so I’m Big Ray all the way!

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2009
8:59 pm

doc, I recall that the opposing team’s PGs would routinely double JJ before Bibby arrived. Acie did a good job of burning teams by penetrating into the lane quickly when his man left him. I just don’t know how sustainable that is in this stretch run. But I’m anxious to watch what he does with this opportunity.

doc

March 10th, 2009
9:41 pm

aj, i am seeing that flip or bibby still carries that role out, one or the other to protect jj when he plays three. i would be happy to let them give flip no attention as he would burn them up. essentially it is what woody used against the hornets. i liked what i saw on defense and offense as they shut them down that second quarter. i see them going with solo, josh, horford and al on block and the flipmo, jj, bibby, and acie as the rotation among the 1 thru 3. jj can more than make up for marvin offensively and defensively and acie can provide a boost on defense which we seem to ignore from time to time. it will require woody adjust a little bit more to the flow of games.

cp

March 11th, 2009
12:36 am

I checked today ray and he is in the NBDL. I was looking at the numbers and Gardner played well when he was there those two games. Maybe if he get some pt he might provide some scoring.

O'brien

March 11th, 2009
7:14 am

Let’s not forget that the Hawks are 9-1 in games started by Mo Evans (although that could be misleading, because I dont know who the opponents were).

With Marvin’s injury, it gives the Hawks the perfect excuse to let Marvin play next season without offering him an extension.

For this season, we have guys like Gardener and Hunter on the bench, who never got much PT (here or in the D-League), so we have no idea what to expect from them. And why do we think Woody would play Demarr Johnson anymore than he would our bench guys.

Perfect Example, Who was it that we signed from the D-League last year for the remainder of the season, and he could shoot (but no defense), but he never got any PT, even when the Hawks were struggling offensively. What’s his name again?

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2009
7:53 am

O’brien, Jeremy Richardson is who you’re thinking about. I recall a game when Woody left Richardson in for the last second possession. Ball came into Childress he drove and passed to a wide open Richardson who missed the shot. And Woody was qouted as saying that Chill should not have expected the youngster to make that shot…. of course the real question was, if the coach didn’t think the guy could make that shot, why did he put him in the game in the first place?

Sund would be CRAZY to not get Marvin signed to a long-term contract (or trade him for value). Ben Gordon will likely leave the Bulls this season with his original team getting noting in return for a former top 5 selection. Granted, dude wayyy over-valued himself and Bulls couldn’t offer him more than $10M/year… but ultimately, they will lose a top 5 pick and get nothing in return. I know the back issue may turn out to be a long-term concern but I’d hate to see Marvin become a UFA the same year that JJ could walk.

O'brien

March 11th, 2009
8:36 am

And although Richardson missed that shot, there were a couple games early on where he showed he could knock down the open shot, but of course, Woody never gave him a chance.

The problem with Marvin is trying to come up with his value. Yes, he has made improvements this year, but the previous years were not impressive. So do you pay him based on his play for this year, or from the previous years? I hope we dont overvalue him, because he will not get big money offers from other teams.

Jazz won again last night. And since their playing back to back, I hope the Hawks take advantage of the fast break like they did against NO. And run run run. And give Acie some PT

Melvin

March 11th, 2009
9:03 am

Obrien, I think it would be in the Hawks best interest to let the market set the value for Marvin (like what they did with Josh last summer). If teams are really hurting for money than they may not be alot of offers for him. Besides, the Hawks have right to match any offer he received…

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2009
9:54 am

I agree with Melvin… but it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t tick off Marvin (like Sund ticked off Chill). O’brien, that is true of most players coming off their rookie contract. You don’t have all of the answers so you have to do some projecting. I think his value is comparable to players like Tayshaun and Josh Howard… assuming that he doesn’t have long-term back issues. That’s the only wild card, IMO, not his on-court performance but how much will he actually be on the court in the future. It was good to know that Woody was able to fully recover from a back problem back in his playing days.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
11:10 am

Great comments, guys, especially about Marvin’s overall value and how we should adjust to his absence from the court.

Keep ‘em comin’.

jhan

March 11th, 2009
12:19 pm

o’brien – great point about Acie having to sit behind Lue & AJ. I’m pretty sure we could have won 37 games last year with Acie playing.

mark

March 11th, 2009
12:32 pm

i could feel good about the hawks even with marvin possiable gone for the year, our head coach leaves a lot to be desired.

cp

March 11th, 2009
3:52 pm

Obrien I was just throwing out a name if Marvin is out for the season. I know Woodsons history so even if we did bring in a guy I doubt he would get any pt. The most frustrating part about how Woody has handled Law is when he is not rewarded for good play. He can have a nice game then get about 3 straight dnp’s or barely play 5 minutes in a few straight games. Then there is the issue when other guys are struggling and he still would not give Law any pt. The guy would be so further along if Woody wasn’t so stubborn. Hopefully Marvin is not out for the season. I just don’t like Mo Evans as a starter. His defense is overrated and if he is not knocking down the 3 then he is pretty much just a body on the court because he does nothing else.

SlimG

March 11th, 2009
5:00 pm

Look Marvin is a baller period. We will miss him, especially since Chill decided to travel this year. J Smooth may now find his place, and J, it’s not shooting 3’s. We need you operating from about 15 feet in. It’s okay to take the occasional 3, but not when the game is on the line. Smooth, play D and take the ball to the hole man.

KevinA

March 11th, 2009
6:20 pm

Josh had to rebound the ball, drive the court and make the lay up to get an attempt.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
6:37 pm

Wow! Mario West with the monster put back dunk!

I was kinda surprised to see him come off the bench before Acie, but who cares. The guy is contributing.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
6:54 pm

Did I just watch Joe Johnson get blown away by Deron Williams for the dunk? C’mon, Joe, you can play better “D” than that.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
6:56 pm

Slim G,

I think Smith has his place regardless of whether Marvin is on the floor.

Zaza had a nice steal/dunk.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
8:02 pm

OOOOOOOOHHHHHH! JOOOOOOOOSH SMIIIIIIIITH!

Hey Kyle,

Josh says he’ll autograph that for ya….

Sam from da Swats

March 11th, 2009
8:08 pm

Is it me or is Deron Williams walking when he drives to the basket? Dude takes like 4 steps…

Sam from da Swats

March 11th, 2009
8:09 pm

Let’s go Flip!!!!!!

Sam from da Swats

March 11th, 2009
8:10 pm

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Horford!!!!!

Sam from da Swats

March 11th, 2009
8:27 pm

Good game!!! Where are the Josh Smith haters….2-0 without Marvin, 10-1 when Mo Evans starts.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
8:41 pm

Beautiful win. It got tough down the stretch, but the Hawks made plays and got the job done. And this is crucial, as the playoffs will be like this.

Joe Johnson looked again like his old self, and had a monster game with 31 points and 9 assists, on 50% shooting. Did I not say that his game improves once you take the primary ball-handling responsibilities away from him, and let him do his thing?

Josh Smith looked like a leader tonight, as well. And I don’t care if you love or hate him. He made one solid play after another. 22 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, and 3 blocks, with just one turnover and his free throw form is back? Oh yeah, I’ll take that, and haters can take that, too.

Horford got back on track with his double doubles, although his free throw shooting was bad. Still, he spoke the truth. When he and Josh are playing like that, they are VERY hard to deal with.

Flip was the usual spark plug off the bench, and it seems that he is getting even better at that. Hey, he may not get Jason Terry’s stats, but this guy is as much a 6th man of the year as anybody.

I am rather surprised at how early, how often, and how diverse Woody’s use of the bench was in this game. Didn’t think he’d do anything like this in a game against an opponent like this. But he did. Kudos to him, as he looked more like “COY” tonight than he EVER has. By far. How about that. Using the bench, and it pays dividends. Now let’s see if he’s really learned anything….will he do it again?

Mario West proved he can give you some production off the bench. I was glad to see him play AND contribute meaningfully.

Bibby had some good plays, but here lately, he hasn’t given us much. Good thing Woody has not seen fit to play him anyway for 40 minutes, while ignoring Acie. Acie has proven that he can play some good defense, and get the ball to guys on offense. As he plays more, and gets more opportunities, his offense will improve. Besides, I get tired of us playing 4-on-5 on defense when Bibby is in there. Bibby plays some defense, but only in spurts.

Zaza, as usual, provides the scrappiness. He needs to keep the ball up high when he’s in the post, so he won’t get stripped so much, but the guy gives his all when he’s in the game. And he’s one of our best, if not our very best offensive rebounder.

Great game by the Hawks, who jumped on the Jazz early (they were probably tired, but who cares), never fell behind big (despite a 3rd quarter beating), and hung in there, making the right plays towards the end.

Guess what? We just equaled last year’s win total. Time to see how much distance we can put on that number from now until the end of the regular season!

Big Ray

March 11th, 2009
8:44 pm

Sam from da Swats,

Josh haters can’t say anything after a game like that. Josh was the main counterpunch to JJ’s brilliance. He led in that game.

HB Ando

March 12th, 2009
12:20 am

Daylight savings not lined up with the blog? Ray was calling “great win” at 8:41. I’m guessing that was actually 9:41.

Either way, what a tremendous win tonight. I went to the game (thanks, good doctor) expecting that we really had some bad match ups against the Jazz. Bibby covering Williams???? No. Horford or Zaza having to chase Okur 23 feet from the basket? Not optimal.

But give the good guys their props. And give Woody credit (he’s taken a major load of ongoing heat for not utilizing his bench) for plugging in Mario West, to deal with the long and athletic tandem of Brewer and Miles.

This is the third straight game where the defense reminded observers of the early-season Hawks.

Back when these guys were coming out of the gates at 6-0, I made a point of suggesting that as long as the Hawks embraced a blue collar persona, the sky was the limit. I opined that the moment they started seeing themselves as elite, and believing they could cruise on any given night, they would quickly find themselves a middle-of-the-pack team.

Given that they played 56 games, after a 6-0 start, at .500, that general opinion seems to have been justified. But after head-scratching losses to the Knicks and the Bobcats, complete with a melodramatic confrontation between Woody and Josh Smith, the fellas rallied around each other and re-asserted themselves as Eastern Conference food for thought.

One thing that has become clear this season is that every time you think you’ve got the Hawks figured out, they surprise you. The last 3 games have been extremely promising. But if this years’ track record is of any predictive value, it’s impossible to assume that they’ll play out the remaining games with the same, crowd-pleasing level of play.

JJ has re-emerged as the all-star we need. If he can sustain this kind of production, anything is possible. Should be an intriguing ride…..

BA

March 12th, 2009
3:59 am

I think Woodson deserves credit for the way he handled the Smith blow-up. Kept it in house, and obviously Smash has responded well.

In regards to the post, Ray- I don’t think it’s safe to count on Bibby for much on a regular basis, and I don’t think they are. Johnson, Horford and Smith are capable of handling the scoring load, with Murray and Pachulia bringing up the rear. This West has proven he might should have been the fourth “factor” in your article!

Be fair, ando- there aren’t many bigs in the Association that have found a way to deal with Okur out there on the wing. Talk about a player I’d like to see in a Hawks uniform.

You all keep up the good work- this spot is BLOWING up!

doc

March 12th, 2009
6:16 am

ba agree and rubber stamp it. more or less said the same thing over at the other site. three players or playing to the point there is no one to replace them; al jj and smash. really good game and commentary with ando. enjoyed the time with manny t who sat around and shot the sh!t with ando until he went back to seek the freebies.

man deron is the real thing and he punishes you on the switches as he hammers it home over the arms of bigs that get stuck on him. it will be fun to see if utah makes more noise out to the west.

now to keep it rolling and take care of business with the pacers and get ready for another bad breeze from the west in portland on a roll themselves having disposed of the slumping lakers and now at 40 wins for the year with a legit coy candidate in mcmillan making a go of it with no vets constantly coaching the young guys up rather than tearing them down.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2009
8:21 am

I’d love to know what was said in the Charlotte locker room because not only did it get Smith to play with more energy (specificaly on the boards) but it woke Joe out of his 2 month hibernation. I know that some seem to think that Woody only goes after Josh butmany insiders say that’s not the case. Woody calls out many others but most don’t fire back. Obviously, I don’t know what was said last week but and maybe there was beef between Josh and Joe that needed to get worked out (is there a chance that they were both “quitting” because they were exhausted with each other?). All I know is that it is great to have them both playing at their normal levels again. If Horford can stay at his recent high level, then we can definitely expect to make some noise in the playoffs.

And how good does it feel to KNOW that we will make the playoffs WITH a winning record? It feels like some haven’t taken a moment to celebrate this season. Too much woulda, coulda, shoulda. Who’s hating on whom. Who shoulda received playing time. Who shoulda been traded or fired or benched. Blah, blah, blah. Am I the only one who basks in the joy that the team that I have supported through some of the most horrendous seasons (on and off the court) in league history is looking at a second consecutive playoff appearance WITH a winning record and likely first round home-court advantage?

As Ryan Cameron says “on your feet Hawks fans and make some noise”.

doc

March 12th, 2009
8:47 am

well aj, i certainly nominate kirk and samuel to sit on your pedestal..

kidding aside i think you have witnessed my noise as has many others. melvin and i go crazy at games and it was fun showing the broom to the piston fans that started to feel like they could talk some trash the other night. all the coulda and wouldas are coming together wouldnt you say? the team is doing what so many have considered it capable of and wonder why it hasnt been more consistent is all. when the cylinders are not firing, dont pretend they are. when you see a vette being driven like a model t or a diesel truck it deserves some attention, that is all. i am having fun here and at games.

in other words keep it real. ultimately clyde will get his wish as he and ando got their wish on bk. that is not what i am about nor are others. woody and his staff really threw in a new wrinkle and showed some confidence in mario and he delivered, there isnt a player that doesnt want to be treated lie a man and given a shot that is worthy. one of the things i learned early on. praise in public and criticize individuals in private if you dont want all of it to be in the news or known. like anything it is a choice.

i commend woody and only hope his game continues to grow organically as we hope that the players will grow as well. an example jj attacked last night the baseline. did it bring results yes and different for him. less floater, more to the basket and more ops to score in the field and at the line. i like what i see. smash only tried to force play one time, good for him and it shows he has confidence in his teammates. he also starts and finishes fast breaks among the best of the hawks on both ends and we forget that in all the rabble about how dumb he is. guy has game.

go hawks!

incidentally for a very small and disappointing crowd last night there was some noise made. let’s keep that up too. get put to some games guys and support your hawks the deals are unbelievable, they are playing well and the support services at the games is excellent and polite for the most part. very homey feel to it all.

Rod from College Park

March 12th, 2009
9:23 am

Great game last night fellas. I made a statement when we found out that Marvin was hurt, that I think it will actually help this team in the long run, because it will force Woody to play AC more and utilize the bench more. I stand by that comment. This Marvin injury will make this team better, and it will expose the fact that we actually play better without him on the floor. He will be missed strictly from a depth amd matchu persective, but I think we can overcome that. Would you rather have Bibby, Joe and Flip on the floor in crunch time, or Bibby, Joe and Marvin. I know which one I would want.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2009
9:47 am

doc, when did Woody take on Smith in public? If the coach thinks someone is playing selfishly, why not have that discussion in front of the team in the privacy of the locker room?

As I’ve said before, Woody can be nailed for a myriad of things. But I have never heard him rip Smith for poor rebounding effort (when he was averaging less than 5 a game for like 10-12 contests). Instead, he talked about the team needing to do a better job of cleaning the glass… all five players. He never called out Smith for shooting less than 40% from the free throw line for like 6 weeks (he said “the team needs to be better than 29th in the league”). Woody hasn’t buried players to the press like Larry Brown, he hasn’t requested the GM to trade half the team like Larry Brown, he hasn’t thrown chairs like Bobby Knight, he hasn’t placed his hands around a players neck like Bobby Knight (or berated the media like Knight)… none of that stuff. Heck, he hasn’t used the media like Phil Jackson to criticize one of his players, hasn’t stopped talking to a player like George Karl or reportedly suggested that a player needs to leave the team 6 weeks before the end of the season like Don Nelson… there are some tactics that other coaches have used that seem far more harmful. I have no idea what happens during half-time of most games with most teams but I suspect that individual bone-head plays get discussed. Not one-on-one but in the “privacy” of the players and the coaches. Why do I have a feeling that Sloan has previously ripped into individual players at half-time (like last night)?

If what Woody did to Smith was so god-awful, why has he responded with his best performance in weeks? Why has the team played some great ball since the Charlotte fiasco? If Woody found the right button to press are we more upset that he didn’t press it earlier or that he didn’t use a different button?

At the end of the day, the Hawks are not better than the Cavs, Celtics or Magic. They just aren’t, I don’t care who’s coaching them. And we have been in the 4th slot almost the entire season, despite the roller-coaster, he have consistently had the conference’s 4th best record the entire season. Our “functional” bench (excluding Speedy) features only 1 former first round pick. One. 3 of our starters are less than 24 years old. I get frustrated too but I don’t want to make the mistake of not enjoying this flower because of a few thorns. I’m guessing that fans of the Bulls and Wizards expected their team had climbed that mountain and would stay there indefinitely. I just hope that we don’t take this season for granted. Most teams will look to lower salaries next season, we can’t blame any NBA ownership group for lowering costs when every other business owner across every industry in this country is making tough decisions. So all I’m suggesting is that we consider enjoying this ride now, because (for very valid reasons) it may not be available again next season.

So here I am, standing on my desk and making some noise for my ATLANTA HAWKS!

doc

March 12th, 2009
9:52 am

the locker room is not private to the individual aj only public to the team. how do you like it when you are dressed down in front of your peers? didnt stay with that job too long? say what you want about bobby he does it in private and you NEVER hear of it in front of anyone. that is private aj, teammates is public still and even easier becomes public.

larry brown is a very bad example because he never stays long enough for it to comeback to haunt him.

you go guy, i have definitely got an image. heh heh as tall as you are there better be a tall ceiling.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2009
11:09 am

I once had a Sales VP angrily ask me in front of 30 of my peers “are you ineffective or incompetent?” after reviewing my team’s slumping performance. And you know what, I heard him dress down a bunch of my peers during those weekly conference calls over the 8 years that I worked in that job. Sure, some people literally left those calls in tears (or went running for the first alternate job). But I was thick-skinned, arrogant and recognized that as a collective team, we always exceeded the target and I was personally well-rewarded for my annual performance (while being ripped when I went into a slump). Ultimately, I was mature enough to separate the message (you need to do better) from the delivery (often abrasive). And by the way, I decided immediately that when given the option (incompetent or ineffective) the best choice was to fall on both swords as either one would have been insufficient for the VP. And after declaring loud enough for all to hear “both, Bill, I am both incompetent and ineffective”, he left me alone and allowed me to manage my team back up to normal historic levels. (Had he done a similar dress-down outside the confines of the sales team, that would have been different. But we all entered that “locker room” understanding that our individual performance would be reviewed and if we were lacking, we would not be receiving lollipops).

If you can’t take the heat associated with leading a sales team (or $58M NBA contract) then find another gig. I have no sympathy for someone who seeks the adulation but can’t stand the criticism.

doc

March 12th, 2009
12:05 pm

aj, i should have known yo were a sado-masochist. you are a hawks fan.

heh heh, nice comeback.