Strengthen Numbers

The title of this blog is probably a phrase that’s over-used and cliched to death, but I can’t think of something that applies more to the Hawks right now.

This time last year saw Mike Woodson shave the rotation down to 7 or 8 men, a move that he admitted (in an interview/article by Sekou K. Smith) was not favored by his assistants. Not so this year. The fact is, Coach Woodson has actually lengthened his rotation to 9, sometimes 10 men since Marvin Williams went down with a back injury. I don’t know about you, but I figure the devil has to be checking his thermostat after that one. Did anybody see this coming? I mean, we ARE used to Woody saying that he wants to extend his rotation, that he needs to find a way to do it (while not actually doing it).  Well, apparently he found a way to do it. Let’s examine the guys who are benefitting the most right now.

Woody has developed a sudden penchant for putting Mario West into the game either late in the first quarter, or early in the second.  It’s worked, as West absolutely refuses to let whomever he is guarding get into an offensive rhythm. Not only that, but the 6′5″ guard is relentless on the glass. On BOTH sides of the floor. West is still somewhat out of control on the offensive end, but the man has absolutely no fear, and can get to the basket if there’s a clear path. His energy, hustle, and defensive attitude make up for his shortcomings. The best part is, when he goes out, the Hawks aren’t losing any offensive punch.

Enter Solomon Jones, who inexplicably has been glued to the bench after rather promising early season production.  Solo is another energy guy who has somewhat decent touch around the basket (if he actually gets the ball, that is) . His biggest impact is on defense where he can use his length to bother opponents, and on the glass where again his length and leaping ability come into play.

Last, but certainly not least,  is Acie Law. While many (myself included) have ground their teeth at the paltry minutes Law has been getting up to this point, none of us could say for certain just how good Law would be. And while his stats have not jumped out at anybody, he’s as solid as they come. Unlike during his collegiate career, Law isn’t real big on taking shots these days. Instead, he has focused on being what he has been asked to be- a point guard, first and foremost.  But lately, he hasn’t been shying away from shots either, not like he was earlier in the season. However, that’s not where he’s been making the biggest impact. No, that has been on defense, where he has allowed guys like Flip Murray and Joe Johnson to regard their respective counterparts (a rare luxury when playing next to Mike Bibby) , while he guards the opposing point guard. And what a job he has done. Even Chris Paul was not able to do a lot against him when he was in the game. Not only that, but Law has more than adequately done the one thing that takes the most pressure off of Joe Johnson- handle the ball without making a bunch of mistakes. Try looking at Law’s assist-to-turnover ratio. Look at his stats in those two categories for the last few games in which he has played. You might be very surprised.

The question is, did it really take an injury to a starter for this to happen, or was Woody going to do it anyway? We’ll never know unless he’s asked that question in an interview (hey, somebody send a memo about this to Sekou Smith…he’s the man). Inquiring minds want to know, but does the “why” of it really matter? Perhaps what matters more is that not only is Woody doing it, but he’s doing a decent job of it. Maybe more than decent. Yes, I know, grudging praise….but pardon me if I’m not going to get overly excited about a handful of games in the face of five whole years. Besides, there are two bigger questions. One, will Woody continue his prudent use of the bench if/when Marvin returns to the lineup? It’s only natural that some bench players will lose playing time when a starter returns, but we don’t know if Marvin will be 100% healthy when he returns. Chances are, he won’t be that healthy until sometime during the offseason. And since that is likely the case, playing him more than twenty or so minutes a game until he proves himself ready to go, would be a mistake. And two, how much trust will Woody show to these bench players (and how will he use them) in the playoffs?

Either way, what Woody is doing right now is working. And it’s building confidence among the bench players, and the team overall. These guys have been needing  to know that they can count on each other when the heat is on. Better late than never.

So. Do you think this is an aberration, or just a coincidental turning over of a new leaf? Tell us what you think. Gotta go for now. It’s halfway through the 4th quarter, and the Hawks are up by double digits over the Blazers. Nothing like home cooking.

121 comments Add your comment

Big Ray

March 15th, 2009
2:18 pm

Actually, the title is a bit of play on words, and not the usual three word catch phrase….but you get the point.

Big Ray

March 15th, 2009
2:35 pm

Sweet win, and yet another example of how to properly use the JJ ISO.

Simple: run enough effective plays through other guys, making them a credible threat, and eliminating the effectiveness of throwing double and triple teams at Joe.

It may have taken FIVE WHOLE YEARS to figure this out, but we’re there now. As long as we continue this, we’ll be okay.

It was nice to see us outplay the Blazers in nearly facet of the game (except rebounding, they always beat us in that segment). Our defense was definitely better, both schematically and by way of execution. PROPS TO SENOR WOODSON on that one, and the players of course.

Great game by JJ. He’s a beast when you let him do HIS thing, instead of making him do EVERYTHING, a point that my friend Niremetal has brought up repeatedly (but has been largely ignored).

Nice game by Josh and Al, though they struggle against such sizeable lineups. The fact that we still won by nearly 20 tells you something, though. And I see their haters are conspicuously quiet…

Basically, we did to the Blazers what most teams have been doing to us for the past 5 years: limited them to one effective offensive option. Sure, Roy more or less did his thing. And Aldridge had a decent night. But he wasn’t the amount of trouble he usually is, and only Outlaw was able to muster double digit scoring other than those two, despite McMillan’s extensive use of his bench.

All of our starters played fairly well at the least. It was nice to see Bibby get a few dimes and hit some shots. He’s been starving out there on the court lately (still takes too many 3s).

Gotta give Woody credit. He used, but did not overuse the bench. The starters were playing pretty well, especially in the second half.

It was great to see us FINALLY compete with, and beat the Blazers. I loved this one!

Sautee

March 15th, 2009
2:51 pm

I HOPE that the leaf has turned (good thing this isn’t the Falcons blog, as “leaf” would have a whole different meaning. ;-)

Like you said it’s a handful of games, but dang, it DOES give me hope.

Big Ray

March 15th, 2009
2:53 pm

Sautee,

Phone is on the fritz. Sorry. Call ya later.

doc

March 15th, 2009
3:29 pm

great comments ray. good game today. countdown to thursday dude. got to take care of business. may even be time to get the playoff tix. they continue the roll they are on it will take it out of my cash jar big time. where are you guys, get out here and support this team durn it.

go hawks!

jhan

March 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

I hope this bench use continues. If the Hawks continue winning utilizing the bench how can Woody stop?

This is what we’ve been asking for all year. Just regular minutes for our bench guys so they can help contribute. Even 5-8 minutes a game for Solo, Law & West will pay dividends.

Good job Woody – keep it going

Lacsho

March 15th, 2009
4:44 pm

Nice blog Ray. Hopefully the change is permanent.

I watched a hour of Acies college highlights on youtube, and Acie was a beast. He stated Billy Gillispie help change his game at A&M. Furthermore, he stated Gillispie had a a lot of confidence in him. That confidence empowered his game.

Anywayz, it was a great win. Looks like the same Hawks that started this season. A bigger rotation gets the entire team involved, which promotes great team chemistry.

Tell your boy Ando I prefer cash!!!!

Peace

Melvin

March 15th, 2009
5:57 pm

Doc, I will be there for the Lakers and Celtics at the end of the month and the Magic the week after. See you then…. Go Hawks…

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2009
6:39 pm

It might be time to start dealing with a cold, hard dose of reality. Hawks have 15 games left with 9 at home. For the sake of argument, let’s say they go 8-7. They will finish with 47 wins. We have the inside track on the 4th seed for two reasons. One is that we have defeated Miami twice with the last meeting coming in Atlanta after we have 2 days rest. Also, Miami has to play 4 more conference games (and 4 more road games) to end the season. With 5-6 teams competing for the 8th seed, there will be many teams with a lot on the line in these next 4-5 weeks. I don’t see the Heat going 12-4 (which is what they will need to do if we go 8-7). So let’s assume that we finish with the 4th seed and 47 wins.

Barring a 4-0 playoff sweep and a meltdown with a player or two, Woody is coming back. In some cities, a fan base that sees their coach win 10 more games, have a very good home record, improve 4 playoff spots and host a first round playoff series would be very excited about their head coach. There wouldn’t be complaints about playing more 2nd round draft picks (or undrafted free agents). No complaints about holding players accountable when they stray from the correct path. Few issues with an offense that is usually good enough to score 98 points/game (we average 96 points in our losses which suggests that our defense is most often the cause for our defeats). I’m sure Boston fans had issues last year with Doc and Cavs fans may dog Mike Brown this season but I’m guessing those coaches enjoy an overall favorable rating from their fan bases. The same is not true in Atlanta.

Anyway, as a charter blog member of the “Fire Woody” fan club, I have come to the realization that Woody has earned another year on the riding lawn-mower. His grass is lush, green and has fewer brown spots than the vast majority of houses in the neighborhood. You may want to stop focusing on the crab grass and small patches and recognize that the grass may not be any greener somewhere else.

Melvin

March 15th, 2009
8:17 pm

Astro Joe, good points on Woody. Even if your scenario plays out it still doesn’t make Woody untouchable. There have been been coaches (and some HOF worthy) that has gotten the pink slip with a better body of work than Woody. Heck, Jimmy Johnson (I know, different sport) got ran out of Dallas after winning the Superbowl. Now you want to suggest that we can’t fire a coach that has a under .500 winning record? This is not a catch 22 in my eyes. Has Woody improve over the course of his tenure, YES he did. Does, this mean Sund have to bring him back as Coach for next season, NO he doesn’t. Its totally up to Sund (and maybe micromanagers ASG)….

HB Ando

March 15th, 2009
9:35 pm

Was this Hawks recovery as simple as a home-stand and Joe Johnson redirecting his recent string of moping (as suggested by repeated games where his on-court body language couldn’t have been much more negative)? Probably a combination of the two and some trigger that might have been Woody’s spat with Josh (this run DID start the game after Woody benched Josh and we lost to the Bobcats).

I’ve got more to say about all this, but I’d be using up my intended material for the next blog………….

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2009
10:41 pm

Ray, to add to the points you made in your blog post, Woody has also started sitting Joe at the end of the first and third quarters regularly, so that he can get extended periods of rest between quarters without actually having his minutes reduced. So although Joe is still playing close to his regular 40 minutes, Woody is doing a much better job of budgeting those minutes to get him the most continuous rest possible.

Astro Joe, what you imply is true, that although Woody is flawed it’s very possible that firing him will result in an even worse coach being hired (like Jim Mora replacing Dan Reeves in 2004 for the Falcons). I’m no fan of Woody, but I do give him credit that a) he is slowly beginning to do some of the things we’ve all been wanting him to do for a few years now, and b) he has reached the point as a coach where his replacement is nowhere near guaranteed to do better than him if he’s fired.

HB Ando

March 15th, 2009
11:25 pm

Najeh, you bring up a point that I’ve been highlighting with various folks in recent discussions: the value of potentially replacing Woody is only as solid as the quality of his replacement. If the ASG is limited in its financial flexibility, going forward, then how much of a “sure thing” can they afford? I just don’t see them spending the $3-5 million (or more), annually, that it would take to lure a can’t miss coach. And one has to only look as far as Larry Brown’s brief tenure in New York to confirm that there is no such thing as a “can’t miss”. So if the byproduct of a limited budget, for Woody’s plausible replacement, is an up-and-coming assistant coach, can there be any guarantee that such a hire is certain to improve the potential of the Hawks’ franchise?

I guess a lot of this depends on how these guys close out the season (and post-season). Ongoing questions about Woody losing these guys can be answered (and if you are to take the results of the last five games, there’s a pretty solid argument that he HAS NOT) from this point forward.

Personnel decisions will be equally impactful on the future (the Hawks appear to be a couple of good off-season moves from further improvement, while equally plausible is the thought that a couple of poor off-season decisions could lead to a disheartening plateau and decline-see Chicago Bulls).

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
9:25 am

Melvin, I agree, that there are examples but most are rooted in the coach going in the wrong direction. Dumars operates from a perspective that winning the conference is the standard and anything less gets you fired. He can do that after watching his team to go 5 straight conference finals (I think that is accurate). It’s like a classic line graph and in Detroit, the line was headed in the wrong direction. In the case of the Hawks, the line is clearly going up. You don’t buy any stock at $20… you buy the one that appears to be going up from $20 not down from $20.

I’m the last guy to say that Woody should get a 3-4 year extension and that he will ultimately take us to the promise land. I don’t believe that at all. But he has pushed the right buttons this season. Maybe the internal fight was the right button. Maybe the home-stand is the real reason for the resurgence. All I know is that despite the forecasts from the national “pundits” and the pessimism from most bloggers (hey, I only predicted 42 wins so I was happily wrong like most around these parts), this team is “shocking the world” a year after falling 48 minutes short of “shocking the world”. And I think dude should get some appreciation from the liar’s table for ending our “long-suffering”. But some have been wearing the long-suffering label so long that they refuse to adorn the “4th seed/homecourt playoff” wardrobe. I think I look DARN good in my “I am a fan of a quality NBA team that is securing a homecourt playoff berth” attire. My wife told me that I’m beginning to look a little more like Denzel with each and every Hawks victory. Ya’ll can walk around looking like Dennis Rodman if you want.

KevinA

March 16th, 2009
10:35 am

I would give Woody another one year deal with a nice bonus with the option of changing my mind after the play offs. If we get into the second round a two year contract would be fair. If we go farther than that then I would agree a 3-4 year deal is a justified pay off.

I also predicted 42 wins and am happy I shot to low. I am still trying to be realistic about the tough games ahead. We have some great match ups ahead and it will be tough to go over 50%. Once again I hope I’m wrong and we’ll do better.

Ray, love the post

I think most of like increased use of the bench. We can only hope this continues when Marvin returns. The team seems to be getting better at situational awareness. Flip was 1-6 and was smart enough quit shooting. This has been a problem in the past. JJ and Bibby would have a higher shooting percentage if they would pass more when they are having off nights.

The improved play of multiple players means the Hawks don’t have to rely on the back court. Fan-em and feed-em should be the new motto. Our front court has proved the ability to take over parts of games. ZaZa has proven his worth while Al has taken his game to another level. If every one on the Hawks team gives Josh a hug and gives him 13 shot attempts he can go double double every night. Al dosen’t need the hug but he has earned the right for 13 attempts as well.

I believe we have a ways to go in exploiting this area but the signs are encouraging. JJ and Bibby need to feed and fan these studs.

One area Woody could do better at is playing Acie against quicker guards. When Bibby is hot he can offset great PG’s but we need Acie’s defense when Bibby is not shooting so well. There is still time to work with Acie on his consistency before the play offs. Were going to need him confident and happy.

Speaking of happy, the chemistry of the Hawks is evident. The psychological wizard that is Josh has cleared the air and more team ball is the result. All of us are human and need encouragement and support. Woody is the hard boss that rarely likes to dish it out. Lets hope he’ll chill a little and feed the good vibes. I think giving bench players even 3-4 minutes in important games gives them the feeling their needed and important to the teams success. Fanning this chemistry is done through minutes. When Marvin comes back we can only hope the bench is not forgotten.

O'brien

March 16th, 2009
11:46 am

I am not a Woody fan, but I must say that since Marvin got injured, he has done a much better job of using the bench. I hope Marvin is able to make it back before the playoffs, and I hope Woody keeps it up.

I think Woody will be here next season, and based on team results, I am okay with that, especially if the Hawks win their first round playoff series.

If the Hawks make it to the Eastern Conference finals, then Woody will have earned at least another 2 or 3 year deal.

Heat Check

March 16th, 2009
12:23 pm

I agree that Woody has been making some MUCH needed adjustments (if increasing font was an option, that “much” wouldn’t fit on your monitor) since Marvin went down, but I’m far from sold on him as the coach this team needs.

As far as the sudden increase in bench minutes, this is typical Woodson. It’s nice while it lasts, but it’ll come to an abrupt halt once Marvin returns. The number of games these guys have spent as DNPs or seeing the court for 1-2mins over the past couple years is ridiculous. The bench isn’t utilized, it’s dealt with only because the starters can’t play 48min.

doc

March 16th, 2009
12:55 pm

since i am not a woody hater i will say that whoever is has another year of misery. feel he has done a suitable job and manages crisis well even if he is part of the reason for it. also like his feeling it during games managing games with more substitution patterns. now that marvin is out it has challeneged him to get it right and if it isnt to make a quick change. i think he could have done this all year very effectively and we might be sitting higher in the standings. i still look back to the nets game where josh is guarding vince and wondered uh WHY! i mentioned maybe mario should have been the pest and folks said gee he might have fouled him. he alos could have denied him the ball. yes it was a lucky or great shot, doesnt matter it went in. those are the situations that woody has failed to negotiate the bumps. now that marvin is out he is forced to so what he has been reluctant to do and use his bench and finding it isnt so bad. still got to say solo has the best touch between zaza, al and josh.

anyway got to give woody credit as he continues to get some more out of these guys when it looks to be darkest. i am also mighty glad josh whispered in his ear the other night, woke the mutha up. he might even look back and thank josh for the extension he gets. josh and horford are still the guys this team cannot live without, flat bottom line. woody better keep them happy if he want s more meals, be a fool otherwise.

JOSH = MVP !

my goodness my computer has a virus, look out it might spread. heh heh no telling where it might show up next.

btw i really like this team and the players. it has been fun to watch them live. give it a try guys, come and see some games.

Big Ray

March 16th, 2009
1:02 pm

KevinA,

I appreciate the shout-out. And I agree on the rest of this season (and post-season) being a big factor in determining the future of Woodson with this team. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a second round playoff series for us is a blank check for Woody (maybe). A first round loss is a nail in his coffin.

As my esteemed (or despised, depending on who you are) pal Ando says, one really good year only goes so far, and Woody IS still on a 2-year contract. The only pitfall remaining for Woodson is this scenario:

Hawks go to this year’s playoffs and make it to the second round. Inevitable roster moves happen during the offseason. The Hawks endure a less successful season in 2009-2010. Woody is on the block.

And it’s really that simple. We don’t know what our roster will look like next year. Marvin could be gone. Bibby could be gone. Others as well. And who knows if JJ will stay. Again, Woody’s contract is good through the end of NEXT season. It’s the perfect plan if you’re a GM who wants to shape this franchise into your OWN image, and get your OWN coach in here. Seen it happen before. And it doesn’t matter what bad/questionable moves the GM makes. Was not Sam Mitchell “Coach of The Year” once? I rest my case….

Having said that, all possibilities abound. Woody could be here for the next 5-6 years. As long as we’re winning and improving….

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
1:02 pm

doc, maybe the agreement in Charlotte was that Woody would coach like an NBA coach once Josh started playing like an NBA PF. And the first one to stop doing their job would have to leave town (like one of those old Dick Slater vs. Junkyard Dog loser leave town… and come back as a masked wrestler… matches). So let’s see what happens first, if Woody asks Flip to defend Kevin Martin for 20 minutes or if Smith jacks up 3 3s in a half.

Big Ray

March 16th, 2009
2:32 pm

Astro Joe,

Coaches come and go. Most of us are fans of this Hawks team, and we LOVE this team, regardless of who is on the sidelines.

As for our coach, I’ll think about wrestling you for the shotgun seat on your bandwagon when the grass can stay green for longer than a few games at a time.

By the way, did your wife say you are looking more and more like Denzel…or he’s looking more and more like YOU? :)

Big Ray

March 16th, 2009
2:40 pm

Holy crap, Joe.

I sure hope you’re wrong about that one. Still, that’s one funny analogy!

Regardless of injuries, we know now what it takes to compete and win:

1)Keep JJ from having to do the pg duties. He can’t score like we need him to when he’s doing that.

2)Run the offense through the frontcourt (and through players other than JJ) enough to where teams cannot double up on JJ without paying the price.

3)If Bibby is hot and the other team cannot deal with him, run screens for him and feed him the ball. If he’s not, let him rest.

4)Use Law as a change of pace. He penetrates and dishes the ball well, and handles the ball mistake-free. He allows guys like JJ and Flip to do their job as scorers. Not only that, but he defends the oppsing pg rather well.

5)Use Mario West to disrupt the other team. He will be very active on both ends of the court, tiring out opponents, and will lose you nothing on offense when he comes out of the game.

6)Sit JJ, Bibby, and Josh at the end of quarters (except the 4th) whenever possible, keeping them fresh.

7)Feed whoever is in a rhythm until the defense forces you elsewhere.

…and so on. Again, continuing this is the key.

niremetal

March 16th, 2009
2:54 pm

Ray,

As usual, you seem right on. I think Sam Mitchell is the perfect analogy for Woody. Indeed, with the exception of Pop out in San Antonio, there seems to be a curse that follows coaches who win COY – they all seem to “hit the ceiling” the year they win the award, and none of them seem to stick around for more than a year or two afterwards. Not saying that Woody will (or should) win COY, but even the most cynical observer of the Hawks has to admit that he’ll be in the running if the Hawks finish with 47+ wins and the 4-spot in the East. The question then becomes whether he can take them to the next level…

If anything, I’d like to see Woody try more bench rotations – maybe mixing in a little Tom Gardner every once in awhile when the team is having trouble putting points on the board.

And because I think everyone needs to see this twice:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Kobe-and-Artest-The-lost-trash-talk-audio;_ylt=AvtC7JtM8AaWFHtokAHKswW8vLYF?urn=nba,147982

richbrave

March 16th, 2009
3:22 pm

As soon as HAYWOOD went down October last I said HAWKS and WIZ would trade positions in the standings at the end of the 2008-2009 season. Well, I guess the HAWKS at four look good, but the WIZ – oh my. I knew they would tumble, but this is ridiculous. BTW, they just shot themselves in the proverbial foot vying for the most lottery balls in the BLAKE GRIFFIN sweeps by beating SACRAMENTO. Fell from one back to third in the picking order. This late in the season its too much to hope that BOTH the CLIPPERS and KINGS would win 2 and 3 respectively on the way out of this miserable season.

J-CRIT continues to get my vote, and grows in the eyes of the posting faithful on the WIZARDS blogs.

Big Ray

March 16th, 2009
3:34 pm

Niremetal,

I finally went to that link. That was SOOOOO funny! Oh damn, that was funny. I had to play it, like, 3 more times. :)

On the subject of Woody. Hey, if we finish strong to 47 wins and the 4th seed, he’s definitely in the running. (I hate to see what Samuel would do if he won, but luckily I don’t live anywhere near him and won’t be embarrassed :) ).

But here’s the deal: I’d rather have a guy who can take us to the next level. If that’s Woody, then great. If it ain’t….

MannyT

March 16th, 2009
3:59 pm

Sure Woody has done well since Marvin’s injury and Josh’s dust up. I’ll give him coach of week credit. Moooo

Woody = COW

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
4:23 pm

Ray, I may have to hop aboard Sam’s hoopty. Goodness knows, I’m not a big Woody fan but I can’t overlook the facts. And I think I am soooo tired of the constant complaining that it has pushed me to the other side… being the natural contrarian that I am. The only difference from most blog entries from this season vs. maybe two years ago is the lack of discussion about the draft. But it still reads like we’re about to finish with 30 wins based on many posts between your blog and Sekou’s. I guess is all part of the disbelief of going from perpetual loser to a respectable team. But I don’t expect this to happen next season (due to economic issues beyond the dysfunctional ASG mess) so I don’t want to sit here and complain about the warts on a team that has maintained a lock on the 4th slot for almost the entire season. (Not after sitting thru the past 8-9 seasons). I’ll enjoy the hoopty ride now because there is absolutely no reason to believe it will be available next season.

doc

March 16th, 2009
4:44 pm

gee, aj are you bi? astro to anakin and back again, anti then pro wooody. dern dude you sure you didnt say to your wife, hon you are looking better than denzel? heh heh, switch hitter if i ever saw one.

i hope you or ray werent drinking coffee on that one.

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
4:53 pm

doc, I thought you would appreciate someone who can alter their opinion based on facts. Even though I was the one who offered “organic growth” to the blog world, I can’t say that we went from 30-37-48? wins strictly due to player development or limited roster moves.

The Hawks are like the girl you knew from high school. On a really good day, she was average but mostly, you avoided her because she wasn’t quite up to par. But a few years later, you see her again. Now are you going to continue to act like she is that unattractive girl from high school or will you stop and realize that mother nature has paid her some very kind visits since last you saw her? Not every girl is fine at the age of 16… sometimes the curves don’t kick in until a few years later. But when they do, you need to recognize, son. Recognize and respond appropriately!

niremetal

March 16th, 2009
6:11 pm

Astro,

Man, some days I just read the blog to see your analogies. You’re a trip, my friend!

doc

March 16th, 2009
6:17 pm

aj, agree. also, might say, misery likes company from time to time. growth is what is all about in the end anyway. well i am on the wagon and have been this season. fun time to be a hawks fan. folks better come out. dont know if it will be one and done. enjoy it while it lasts.

Samuel

March 16th, 2009
6:21 pm

Cuz,

You must not be reading my posts(before Marvin’s Injury). Yall thought I was kidding when I said that Acie would see more time down the stretch.

Doc, I aint forgot about you.
Samuel

March 16th, 2009
5:47 pm
Doc,

Sorry it took me so long to respond to your post.
Yes, I did take the time to read the article. It was an ok article. A bit long and boring. Reminded me too much of Ray and (prebirth) Ando’s stuff. I just can’t get too excited about a guy named Wojnarowski being an expert on basketball. You know me.

The article pretty much talked about how unprepared a high school boy from a “cow” town like Starkville was in coming to the bright lights of the NBA. The guy, Bobby Hurley was trying to prepare him to match up with a mature 30 year old “grown ass” man, LeBron James. What rookie wouldn’t be lost.

The article mentioned a learning disability one time towards the end:

“Too many times in this league, they’ll dismiss a guy as, ‘Oh, he can’t think,’ or ‘he’s learning disabled,’ when you could take the time to help him learn,” Williams said.

“Too many times” means that it has been done before. Like I said, there are plenty of professional athletes and professional everything else, including MD’s, who have succeeded with learning disabilities. I don’t know if Travis really has a learning disability or not but I do know that many are being misdiagnosis. If you doubt me, spend a few days in the public schools.

What really “pissed” me off about your little sermon was:

“he would be out of the league with another coach and on the street otherwise”.

Doc, what may I ask were you “implying” in that statement? Is it that Outlaw is a thug maybe and that if it weren’t for basketball he’d be “on the streets”?

I don’t personally know Travis or his family but I have seen him play high school ball many times. I also know that he is a very respectable and humble young man. He actually has a “real” family with a good support system so I doubt he would be on the streets right now, even without basketball.

Furthermore, I don’t believe the Blazers have done any more than any other organization would do if they drafted a guy right out of high school and invested Millions into him. I’m sure he’s not the only rookie who has been given extra practice time. Give me a break.

“samuel, i know you will shove it down my throat if we win tomorrow. just the same i will be very vocal that we win. anyway it will be only one game. mcmillan has a better record”.

Doc, I haven’t even seen the game but from what I can understand, there’s not much to shove in your face. Woody and the Hawks “owned” Mc and the Blazers.

Woody=COY

Diego

March 16th, 2009
6:23 pm

Just read the column and haven’t ready any of the other posts yet, but I couldn’t agree more with the column guys. Great review–particularly regarding the strong defense by Acie, who with his speed, muscle and tenacity, is really helping against guys like Paul and Deron Williams. Just hope Woody doesn’t get too cute with his subbing–against the Pacers, there were times in the first half, where we just didn’t have enough scorers in. Acie still needs to also shoot a bit more.

welikebaseball2

March 16th, 2009
6:51 pm

Yes, it took an injury to a starter for this to happen! No, Woody was not going to do it anyway! No, Woody will not continue his prudent use of the bench if/when Marvin returns to the lineup! No, Woody will not show much trust to these bench players in the playoffs! Yes, he will use them for garbage minutes!

ant banks

March 16th, 2009
7:06 pm

RAY
graat post. based on your comments and the steady improvement of this team over the past 4 years, do you think that sund will can woody after the season is over? could you put an end to this insanity?

also, we need to reevaluate our thoughts on bknight. maybe he knew what he was doin’ by draftin’ a team full of athletic forwards. we pose match-up problems for teams on a nightly basis.

lastly, ray, i honestly think that we can make it to the Eastern Conference finals. my coworkers think that i am an idiot. AM I?

Big Ray

March 16th, 2009
8:14 pm

Ant,

You’re not an idiot. When we play like we are now, we really can (and do) beat anybody. The issue is that we don’t always play like that, and Woody doesn’t always caoch the way he is now. Also, getting to the Eastern Conference Finals requires some serious strategy, because opposing teams/coaches will be doing anything and everything they can to find an advantage/weakness and exploit it. Woody has to be ready to outthink the opposition.

As for canning Woody, like I said: an appearance in the 2nd round of the playoffs probably earns him an extension if the following year is acceptable. A loss? Curtains, bro’, curtains….

Astro Joe,

Fair enough man. We should enjoy this season. But you say that there is no reason to believe that next season could be this good. Well, I’d say there is no reason to believe it won’t. But hey, I don’t want to bait a natural contrarian…. :)

Samuel,

“Cuz?” Did you accidentally show up to the blog hosted by the two Hawks fans you hate the most (well, besides Doc, considering the accusation you just leveled at him)? Be that as it may, rest assured, we enjoyed the victory against Portland as much as you did.

As for Acie, I recall you making several unflattering remarks about him all season. I don’t recall you making ANY comments about him getting playing time down the stretch run <until it was actually happening. But hey, if I missed those posts, forgive me. I don’t catch everything, despite my lengthy attention span.

KevinA

March 16th, 2009
9:25 pm

Art, when drafting, It is smart to pick the best player with the most upside potential. When it comes to Marvin there is much debate. I think Bk was not trying to fill slots as much as getting the best player.

Ray, I think were giving Woody to much credit. While we pine about the addition of Mario and a couple of Acie sightings, I don’t think he is a changed man. He will play these guys, but I have a feeling there on a very short leash. I go to ZaZa for the example. He was ready to play bigger minutes way before he was allowed to after his injury. I actually think he should play more. One of them deals where if Josh or Al is not on top of their game, ZaZa plays the same minutes. Why?

We all complain about Woody not playing situational substitution. The starters are not benched early enough and often enough their play is off and lack of minutes for bench players who are hot and performing. While the starters like it, I think we miss opportunities to develop players off the bench and give to much comfort to the starters regardless of how there playing. This is not an effort thing, it’s a production thing.

I could be wrong but Josh might have been upset about the double standard between himself and the back court. Josh gets the “look” and the chew while the golden boys of the back court get a “their game was off tonight”. What do you think Acie thinks?

The air seems to have cleared and the Hawks are rolling. I hope Woody doesn’t throw a stick into the gears by doing what is normal to him. Maybe he is a mind master mine. I just think he’s old school. Even if it isn’t right and even if Woody is unfair, if we get the fourth seed and advance to the second round, Give the man a raise.

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
10:10 pm

Ray, in this economy, I can’t blame any business owner in any industry for trying to reduce expenses. Hawks will lose around $20M in salaries this summer and I don’t expect them to replace all $20M worth of players/talent. And I expect most teams will look to cut costs. We saw what happened in baseball (Garrett Anderson for less than $3M? Insane). And I think football free agents will see similar contracts get slashed. We’ll see, but I think the purse strings may be ultra-tight in the summer and we may have to fight with plastic knives. So I’m going to enjoy our payroll and playoff-bound team, NOW.

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2009
10:12 pm

Sorry, but did Ant just suggest that the Hawks may make the Eastern Conference Finals AND Woody should be fired? WTF?

Ed

March 16th, 2009
10:29 pm

One of the biggest differences since Marvin got hurt is moving JJ to the 3 spot which changes the dynamic of the offense. This means he gets the ball closer to the basket & not always at the 3-pt line in the guard position. It has forced the Hawks away from ISO Joe on the perimeter…now when he gets the ball he’s dealing from the wing postition. Of course if Marvin comes back, all bets are off…

Samuel

March 17th, 2009
12:13 am

I must be losing it. Did I post on Hawks Hack. Ray,Sorry I called you Cuz.

doc

March 17th, 2009
7:14 am

samuel, sometimes you are the “last to know” in things like this. heh heh, too much time in a frozen banana is my diagnosis. freezes the brain cells until they thaw in april. you will get over it.

doc

March 17th, 2009
7:37 am

or maybe it was the man crush on woody began. the woody= coy gave it away bro.

JOSH = MVP !

Astro Joe

March 17th, 2009
8:47 am

niremetal, we are all blessed with talents. Mine is the ability to take really stupid analogies that are essentially meaningless and make them mildly entertaining. It’s a heavy burden to bear. With great power comes a big utility bill.

MannyT

March 17th, 2009
9:55 am

Peter Parker: [voiceover] Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-man.

Spider Joe, Spider Joe
He’s the man,
In the know.

Got a topic
any size
He is ready to
Analogize

Look Out
Here comes the Spider Joe

Melvin

March 17th, 2009
10:09 am

LMAO, MannyT

Astro Joe

March 17th, 2009
10:23 am

Manny’s unique talents shine through BRIGHTLY again! LOL!

Melvin

March 17th, 2009
10:31 am

Doc, I think I’m going to buy you a Josh Smith jersey…. KISS CAM..

Melvin

March 17th, 2009
10:31 am

Correction Dod, make that 2 Josh Smith jersey (1 large, 1 small)… I said KISS CAM….

Melvin

March 17th, 2009
10:32 am

Correction Doc, make that 2 Josh Smith jersey (1 large, 1 small)… I said KISS CAM….