Steel Gauntlet Smackdown!

Wow.

If you predicted a first game blowout of the Heat, by the Hawks…then kudos to you. No doubt every Hawks fan was anxiously, eagerly looking for a win, but a win like that? You certainly couldn’t ask for any better. The Hawks took note of other teams in the playoffs losing game 1 (and therefore homecourt advantage) and responded accordingly. Point blank: they smacked the Heat right in the face with a steel gauntlet and drew blood. There’s really no other way to say it.

And they did it in a way that represents the teachings (and constant implorings) of head coach Mike Woodson. That’s right, defense and rebounding. Dwyane Wade never became the Mr. Flash of old in this game, even though he got to the basket with relative ease a few times. He didn’t get the calls, and other than the few aforementioned forays into the paint, he got nothing going. He looked anything but a superstar, and his teammates were unable to help. Sure, Michael Beasley had a double double, but in the sorriest possible fashion, as the Heat were beaten to death on the boards by a determined Hawks squad that saw 7 players get at least 3 rebounds, with three of them getting 9 or 10.  Meanwhile, only Beasley managed double figures in rebounds for the Heat. Two other Heat players literally only got about half as much. Rebounding and Defense. There went two smacks with the steel guantlet!

Eric Spoelstra has done quite a job with his team as a rookie coach. Much can be made of the Heat getting this far with a rookie head coach, rookie point guard, and their second-best offensive threat being….you guessed it….a rookie. But regular season achievements mean little come playoff time. Everything changes, and you have to bring your A game. And that’s hard to do when you just haven’t been in that position before. Either way, Spoelstra and his staff were just not able to counter the schemes that Mike Woodson and his staff brought to the table. Not even for a little while, and not on either side of the court. Woodson had to feel good, putting it to the newcomer in fine fashion, all that hard work coming to fruition. A gauntlet smack again!

Mike Bibby has been much-maligned by myself and others for his less-than-stellar defense, and his propensity for shooting many long jumpers (and not making enough of them) during the regular season. He’s even come under fire for playing more like a shooting guard than a point guard. However, I’ve always maintained that his presence will be needed in the playoffs. And did he ever come up big! Bibby looked every inch the battle-tested, playoff-savvy veteran on both ends of the court. His 10 point, 9 assist, 2 steal, 2 block performance…..wait a minute. Did I see 2 blocks? 2 blocks! Now there’s a part of Bibby you definitely don’t see on a regular basis, but you have to take that with a wide smile. Anyway, Bibby made sure Chalmers looked like the rookie he is, schooling him with ease. By the way, Chalmers’ assist-to-turnover ration was less than 1 to 1. Bibby? His was 3 to 1. Another smack! (Am I beginning to sound like Emeril?)

Of course, there was also the battle in the paint. Just looking at the box score, one would have to ask, “What battle?” Jermaine O’Neal, Udonis Haslem, and Jumaine Jones were simply no match for Al Horford and Josh Smith. Add in the zealous contribution of Zaza Pachulia, and the three of them nearly matched the entire Heat team on the boards, while also combining for 47 of the Hawks’ 88 points. Josh Smith led the way with an array of jaw-dropping dunks, layups, and hooks, while Al’s sweet mid/short range jumper was on display. And while he wasn’t on the court for a very long time, Marvin Williams made the most of it, coming out hot and shooting 3-4 from the field initially (including a 3-pointer) , enroute to a quick 10 points. Meanwhile for the Heat: Joel Anthony was not a factor, Moon had no impact, and Magloire never even made it into a game that was firmly taken by the Hawks in the second quarter.

You know I have to say it….Smack!

When the Hawks play like this, they are going to do more than compete. They are going to win, and in some cases (like last night), they will dominate. Good contributions from EVERYONE on defense always helps. Self-less play on offense is another huge key, and major credit goes out to veterans Joe Johnson and Mike Biby for doing just that. Joe had an unremarkable game of 15 points and 5 boards on 7-16 shooting, but any complaint on this is nitpicking, considering his solid defense and within-the-flow-of-the-game play.

Now all the Hawks have to do is KEEP playing like this, never letting up. Fortunately, coach Mike Woodson will not let these guys get too ahead of themselves, and he will have the help of veterans Murray, Johnson, Bibby, and Evans to keep things well grounded. But a game 2 does beckon, as does the remainder of the series that has just begun. Will the Heat come up with sufficient adjustments to make life harder on the Hawks? Will the Hawks disregard this and beat them into submission anyway? Staying tuned for another smackdown!

In other news, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown won Coach of The Year. Hawks head coach Mike Woodson finished a very distant 8th in the voting, far behind even 7th place finisher and playoff opponent Heat coach Eric Spoelstra. Spoelstra received 2 first place votes, 8 second place votes, and 19 third place votes. Woodson received 1 first place vote (who let Coach Samuel into the voting process? Hee Hee..), 3 second place votes, and 3 third place votes (Astro Joe got in there too, and voted like he’s from Florida…heh heh). Same as Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

But you know what? None of that matters. Ask Coach Woodson, and I’ll bet you he’s all too focused on the task at hand. Spoelstra’s votes (and those of any others for that matter) count for nothing when compared to playoff wins, and it looks to me like Woodson is up 1-0, and counting. All that matters is what he, his staff, and this team can accomplish in the playoffs, in the wake of a successful regular season.

What’s that metallic sound you say? If last night was any indication, that’s Woodson and the Hawks, pulling on their steel gauntlets….

88 comments Add your comment

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
3:47 pm

By the way, if any of you had this game recorded or saw it on live on television, I do believe you saw a great tv cameo by one of our own.

During pre-game, the cameras showed shots of Hawks fans with their posters in the concession/apparel areas. They even showed a small family with a D-Wade poster. As I looked on, I saw a person come into the background, waving off the D-Wade poster and shaking his head vigorously.

…. Looked a WHOLE LOT like none other than MannyT…

;)

Astro Joe

April 20th, 2009
5:22 pm

Ray, it took 83 games and 7,979,654 posts between the two of us… but we finally have come to violent agreement on something. Nice blog! And you know, I LOVE the banter!

Lacsho

April 20th, 2009
5:33 pm

Ray, I’m not going to front. Bibby had a excellent game, and it’s great to see the Hawks in playoff mode. Now can they maintain, and take the Heat out in Miami? That’s the million dollar question.

The Money Ball From Money Town!!

April 20th, 2009
6:04 pm

Already got my tickets for Smackdown, Part Deux!!

DWAF!

Harry Hawk

April 20th, 2009
6:50 pm

****, we better win this series. If that means Woody is back next year, so what? We need to do as much as we can with the guys we have. Ain’t no reason to wish for less success just to satisfy our own (sometimes correct) thoughts and feelings about our head coach. We’re in the playoffs, so let’s win some ****ing games, man! Let’s do this!

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
6:53 pm

Astro Joe,

Thanks, and you know I love the banter, too! It’s very much part of what makes a blog what it is, and you have been a man on a mission lately. You’re assessment of Woody is probably about as balanced as I’ve seen (and Mark Bradley must be listening to you, based on the blog he just put up yesterday/today). Like you said, Woody’s not elite level, but better than he’s been given credit for (by me and others), and still growing. I have no problems saying you’ve certainly been more right about him than I have.

I like seeing the man earn the accolades. And while I HATE to sound like I’m making wholesale changes after just ONE playoff game….hey, last night was NO FLUKE.

I really can’t say enough about Woody’s management of the players’ minutes during that game. The box score says it all, if a person missed the chance to see it on television. It feels good to not be worrrying about what he has done habitually in the past, and to feel openly optimistic about his preparation for each game. I know the man works hard. Nothing better than seeing that come to fruition.

Now, lest I seem too excited about the first game, there will be adjustments made to try and counter what we did in the first game. How we respond to that will be the key to game 2.

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
6:56 pm

Harry Hawk,

Agreed, all the way!

KevinA

April 20th, 2009
7:06 pm

What was more impressive than the “Josh experience” was the team play of the Hawks. As the team has matured the front court is finally getting more touches and they have responded. The Joe iso and Bibby off a screen is not the dominate play anymore. Last nights unselfish play and active ball movement was at it’s best. This is the Hawks at it’s best. If we can keep this style of play even when games are tight, look for the Hawks to continue to impress.

doc

April 20th, 2009
7:14 pm

aj, what did you guys finally agree on, how great josh is? heh heh

JOSH = MVP!

MannyT

April 20th, 2009
8:15 pm

While I would have enjoyed telling the Heat family that there is nothing to believe in since they sent Shaqta Claus to Phoenix…it was not me. I was sporting my Signature Esteban Batista warm up shirt on Sunday. Fits me like an 8 year old wearing his dad’s clothes ;-)

I don’t live in that sweet seat area. Camera rarely come up to the top of 108 where I taunt the fraud fans that root for opponents.

Ray, if you want to give Spoelstra a bunch of extra credit, we can nominate him to coach in the Rookie/Sophomore game at next year’s all star game. He gets no cred from me during this series. Nothing personal, just fan business.

If this is NOT the best performance that the Hawks have for the duration of the playoffs, some folks will be as comfortable as the combination of TI, a shower, and dropped soap will be in a few months.

The question is can we maintain this level of performance? If so, I may need to figure out how to pay for all those extra playoff games I didn’t expect to see.

Now You Know…

BWAF

Ariose

April 20th, 2009
8:30 pm

LOL@Smack Emeril Jr. Hehehe.

Like I said, They have nothing that bothers us, and if it gets tight on the road Joe will take over lol.

Ariose

April 20th, 2009
8:36 pm

…..and Other than Josh, no one was really hot. If we just had one other player go off, this would have been a massacre…..honestly it was probably Marvin lol.

Sautee

April 20th, 2009
8:39 pm

Manny, “you ain’t rite!” ;-)

Ray, Great blog.

This will be a huge challenge for Woodson. How to get a young team to re-focus, after a blowout. But I’m delighted to have him face this particular challenge.

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
8:55 pm

MannyT,

It wasn’t in the seat area, more like near the pretzel stand. Sure LOOKED like you. In a blue/aquamarine shirt…. ;)

As far as Spoelstra, I’m giving him credit for the regular season. Nothing else. You ain’t the only one with his game face on…ya heard? :)

Astro Joe

April 20th, 2009
9:05 pm

doc, you are becoming as consistent as our man Clyde.

Darn it, is it Wednesday yet?

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
9:11 pm

Doc does not know how to act. ;) If he’s not getting a response from a well-aimed jab at Ando, he has to find another target, I swear….

That and somebody forgot to tell him to leave the spoon at the soup kitchen, not bring it to the blog. ;)

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
9:15 pm

By the way, been trying to keep up with the filters on this blog system.

Najeh and Astro Joe had posts that nearly got eaten on the last blog, which I managed to re-post. Sorry, guys.

Ariose,

Glad you liked the “Emeril” humor!

Astro Joe

April 20th, 2009
9:31 pm

I just read where the Raptors GM is looking to offer Bosh a contract extension. That smells like he’s trying to gauge if Bosh will stay when he becomes a UFA next summer. I’m predicting this attempt t get Bosh to commit will lead to his trade this summer. I wonder if a wildcard team like the Thunder could swing a deal. They have a ton of draft picks, cap space and some nice players to move. I wouldn’t expect Colangelo to trade him within the Eastern Conference, unless he gets a crazy offer. Would Jeff Green, Nick Collison and 2 1st round picks get it done?

HB Ando

April 20th, 2009
9:44 pm

Joe, not if Bosh is planning on opting out regardless. If the “word around the league” is that Bosh is gone, he’s going for cents on the dollar. I’d say that Josh Smith would get the deal done, with a late first-rounder as a throw in. The thing is that if Bosh is planning on leaving, he’s probably planning on selecting his final destination. And I’m still of the opinion that when the dust settles, he’ll be playing with either Wade or Lebron, though whether that’s Miami, Cleveland or New York is anybody’s guess. He’s under no obligation to re-sign with any team he’s traded to, so unless he agrees to an extension as a condition for the trade, no team is going to break the bank for him as a rent-a-player.

Big Ray

April 20th, 2009
9:55 pm

Joe,

Sounds like Wednesday won’t get here soon enough for you. Already thinking up trade scenarios (that don’t even involve the Hawks, no less)? LOL!

Ando,

Interesting proposition. Where indeed will Bosh end up?

Astro Joe

April 20th, 2009
10:01 pm

Yeah, but he’s a Texas kid. That may be worth the risk for a fledgling team like OKC, even if it is for one year. I wouldn’t trade Smith for a single year of Bosh. The other thing to consider (and I’m sure that you have read the same articles). If the salary cap declines (as projected), no team will likely have enough money to sign two max free agents in 2010. But a team like OKC could offer Bosh a spot close to home, a max deal and a young teammate with elite talent (Durant). And OKC could likely offer Colangelo the best deal. OKC owns some late first round picks (from teams like the Spurs and someone else trhe following year). 2 late round picks and a young star like Green to plug into the SF position for the next 3 years? Nice and reasonable package.

doc

April 20th, 2009
10:17 pm

aj, just here for the intelligent repartee. hope you dont mind being considered intelligent. if you dont or are not, i will find someone else. ;-)

JOSH = MVP!

WOODY = ALMOST COY, if top ten is good enough.

ray, did you miss mine that got chewed up or decide it might upset the banter between the two souls on the blog?

that new commercial with magic, barkley and dr. j is really funny. hard to believe magic and barkley were premier athletes.

hopefully in 48 hours we can continue to shout NOW YOU KNOW!

now why isnt gooden playing on the hawks now? did we even try to sign him?

Ariose

April 20th, 2009
11:22 pm

If Josh leaves no one will come to the ATL…..seriously. Mo, and Marvin said the same thing in the offseason when josh was still waiting on his contract.

Marvin: “They better sighn Josh back.”

Mo: “We defenetly need to get josh back here in order to continuer our gorwth/succes.”

Not word for word of course but thats about the jist of it……

Joe+Josh not just Joe…..as long as we have both other free agents will want to come to Atlanta…..at least that’s my theory.

doc

April 20th, 2009
11:31 pm

parker is shredding the mavs tonight like he did to the hawks last month.

HB Ando

April 21st, 2009
12:08 am

AJ, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a solid package, for an exiting young star. I’m saying that I don’t think anyone is going to pay that kind of price without a long-term extension in place. The logic is sound, but I’m not sure how Colangelo would envision revamping his front line, which would then be Green and Bargnani, with two late first-rounders.

As I suggested all summer, the play (which Toronto would laugh at were it possible now; not that it is, post-deadline and into the restricted phase of this summer) would have been offering them Marvin for Bargnani, when Bargnani was still a question mark, the Raps actually thought they were going to be a playoff team, and they believed Jermaine O’Neal was still a top player. At THAT time, Bargnani was the odd man out, as the Raps had 3 seven-footers, and lacked a true small forward. At THAT time, as I suggested it, Williams gave them the front-line balance with Bosh and O’Neal. Clearly they couldn’t start all three seven footers, so Bargnani started the season on the bench. What could have made more sense than a swap of a former #2 for a former #1, all in the name of upside and roster balance? Would have been a great steal for the Hawks. But snoozing, the Raps never got out of the blocks, O’Neal made it clear that he was cooked, and Bargnani solidified his emergence as the cornerstone of the franchise.

I still sit and wonder just how good a front line of Smith, Horford and Bargnani would be. How the heck would opposing teams match up with those three? Your biggest guy is your best shooter, and your shortest guy is your best finisher/shot blocker? And Horford gets to play his natural position of power forward? All you guys who were calling Bargnani a bust last summer have gotten awful quiet. So what if he’s still a little soft on the boards? As a starting center this year, he averaged 18.3, 6 boards, 1.35 blocks and 2 3’s on 44% from behind the arc. Of all the teams who could make up for his rebounding deficiencies, putting him with Horford and Smith would have been perfect. And he’s only 23.

Ah well, I digress.

But as I have been saying for years, and as I reiterated to Jhan and his large friend, Mark, at the end of the day, no matter how good, individually, Horford, Smith and Marvin become, I still seriously doubt that playing them together will ever lead to a championship. At the end of the day, either Marvin or Josh needs to move on, allowing Horford to play PF, and acquiring a legit 7-footer to man the paint (who, offensively, would need to be a long range, face-up shooter, if it was Marvin who moved on, or a true big man, like Biedrens, if it was Josh who moved on).

Josh is certainly improving his low-post play, with a running hook shot as his go-to move. But he’ll never be a true low-post scorer.

At the end of the day, my perspective hasn’t changed on this subject: players see themselves in a certain light, and guys who play for this kind of bank are committed to playing “their game”. No matter what the fans, who have argued endlessly on this issue, think, both Josh and Marvin “define themselves, and their visualized legacy in the NBA” as small forwards.

And as much as the league is moving towards a smaller, more mobile, template, I think that a long-term front line of Horford, Marvin and Josh will always result in 2 of those guys playing a role that fails to optimize their individual potential: Horford forced to play the center, and, at any given time, either Josh or Marvin having to play as a power forward.

Anyhoo, none of this ramble matters for the rest of the playoffs, so this old opinion is still for another day.

If any of you like to gamble, and you always figure going against my prediction is money in the bank, I’m taking the Hawks for Game 2.

And if getting the most out of Josh Smith is as simple as publicly challenging his effort and expected production, then I’m CALLING OUT J SMOOVE!!!!!!!!! J, your; haters don’t believe you can match your Game 1 numbers; don’t believe you can go BACK-TO-BACK!

Show us what you got, brah!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s see 25 and 10, with 5 blocks! ‘Cause like Reggie Jackson, with the Yankees of the late ’70’s, you ARE the STRAW THAT STIRS THE DRINK!!!!!!!

KevinA

April 21st, 2009
12:56 am

If we agree to lose Bibby I think Lamar Odam is the guy to go. This new front court would be as good as any as in the league. That would leave us the Speedy contract, ZaZa contract, sign and trade Chills contract? left to go for a pg. Still give us Acie and Flip to fill in. Anybody like the deal? If our owners would give us an extra 20 mill to spend like the top teams, we would be there.

BA

April 21st, 2009
2:56 am

Woodson might not be elite, but if he worked in a different city I assure you he would have placed higher in the COY voting.

All year I read nothing but b*&^ing about Woodson’s “scheme” and how awful it was, how he couldn’t motivate players, and how glad all of us would be when he was gone next season.

It’s about the players. The stuff Woodson did in Detroit looked great, and the Hawks look great now- because they’re buying what Woody’s selling and they’re executing- ball movement on offense, rebounding and strong one-on-one defense.

(by the way, nice post Ray Ray)

Can that kid from College Park embarrass the Heat again tonight?

Big Ray

April 21st, 2009
5:23 am

BA,

Appreciate it. Don’t look for that kid from College Park to do much tonight, though. I don’t think they play again ’til Wednesday. ;)

Big Ray

April 21st, 2009
5:27 am

BA,

One other thing. Woodson’s defensive schemes have been pretty good, especially lately, despite some holes/deficiencies by certain players.

The offensive scheme? Can’t/Won’t say too much about that. While I don’t like the fact that Kenny Smith has a fairly negative view of us, he’s right about one thing: we do NOT have a set offense or true offensive identity. Sharing the ball is how we get it done, and it kinda varies from game to game who is going to do what. If you can tell me what our offensive bread and butter or “scheme” is, besides “sharing the ball”, then I’d be glad to hear it. I have an opinion on that, which I will use for a future post. For now, I don’t think we have to worry about it against Miami. At least, all initial indications are that we don’t….

doc

April 21st, 2009
7:08 am

hmmmm, plagiarism on the stirring the drink, brah. glad you agree with the concept though. it is just simpler to go ahead and say;

JOSH = MVP!

altogether now, just try it. it feels good.

our identity has to hang on defense, to heck with offense is what we have heard as the leader says over and over it is about rebounds and defense. getting stops is how this team wins.

uh astro, touting the virtues of josh smith is hardly the same as touting the toking mad man, sean williams. that is insane brother. not even in the same universe. you should be ashamed.

doc

April 21st, 2009
7:09 am

how can one gamble if he never pays his losses? ok, lacsho, said it for you.

Astro Joe

April 21st, 2009
9:16 am

doc, fair enough. I was thinking about the old Clyde, not this Sean Williams-promoting version. The one who tried to earn a second income by selling t-shirts with a simple tag-line. I won’t repeat it… you remember.

Does Larry Brown have an offensive personality? If he does, I missed it. Woodson learned the pro game on LB’s knee. In Philly, it was mostly AI off a screen. AI in an iso. AI on a pick and roll. Then the two go to Detroit. What was the offensive scheme on those Pistons teams? I recall that their backcourt (Rip & Billups) did most of the scoring with Rasheed being the 3rd option. And when their defense produced fast break opportunities, Tayshaun and Big Ben were able to out-race the opposing defenders down the floor.

Does any of that sound familiar? I’d like to see the Hawks run a few more creative sets as well (doc and I called for Adelman 3 seasons ago to take over as head coach). But the splits of this season show that the Hawks typically lose because they give up 100+ points on defense, not because their offense is ineffective. I’m still hopeful that the “organic growth” of the front court’s offensive skills will ultimately give us the needed options in late game situations that are better than iso Joe. But I truly believe that as long as we maintain defensive energy and tenacity, that our offense is more than sufficient. When they force turnovers and force bad shots, they create many fast break opps for our front court players to do major damage (see Smith in Game 1). But it starts with KILLA defense.

Lacsho

April 21st, 2009
10:40 am

Doc, I have faith that everything will be resolved. Hate it or Love it we live and die by Smoove. I told Ray that I think JJ will elevate his game to another level before the playoffs are over. Now it’s time to hustle a couple of dollars up so I can make it to one of these playoff games….

doc

April 21st, 2009
10:50 am

lacsho the guy next to me is not able to gey to thegame and wants to sell his ticket for the price on the ticket, not sure it is still available. let me know if you have 75 bills and i will inquire.

aj, larry brown despite his mile demeanor on sports south reviewing his years in the nba saying everyone is the best or the greatest has probably offended many with his personality.

aj says …. doc, fair enough….. does this mean we are friends again? :-) i mean now that you and ray have made up, seems only fair, especially since this is the playoffs.

Lacsho

April 21st, 2009
10:55 am

Doc I will be in touch. I exchanged numbers with him after the first game, but I lost it after I got new cell phone.

Astro Joe

April 21st, 2009
11:53 am

doc, when did we stop “being friends”? I got no beef with anyone on these parts. I banter with guys like you and Ray. I even have no issues with Ando (after all, he’s going to help me purchase a new digital camera). It’s all good in the Woodson Commons neighborhood. HA-HA.

doc

April 21st, 2009
12:29 pm

lol, heh heh.

just checking.

O'brien

April 21st, 2009
12:43 pm

Woody does a good job coaching defense (although I dont like the switch all the time, no matter what), but I think Woody needs to hire an offensive assistant coach who has a system.

If Josh plays within himself like he did in game 1, this will be a short series.

BA

April 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

correction noted, Ray- been working so much I actually thought today WAS Wednesday until a few hours ago!

I wonder if D-Wade is going to be playing playstation as J-Smash on his next commercial…

Astro Joe

April 21st, 2009
3:17 pm

BA, one thing’s for sure, Smash won’t be one of Wade’s Fave 5.

HB Ando

April 21st, 2009
7:58 pm

doc, really? Plagiarism on a 30+ year quote from Reggie, about Reggie? Um, OK…..I guess I confused historic reference with copyrighted (?) quotes. Prolly be served with a lawsuit any day now…..

blue hawk

April 21st, 2009
9:06 pm

hey guys,

it’s been some time…

has HB Ando paid up already? remember our bet at the start of the season, where Ando was saying that the Hawks would not end up greater than the 10th seed in the East? we (myself, Najeh Davenpoop, and another guy) took him on his wager.

ahem, the hawks are the 4th seed and have home court advantage in the playoffs.

umm, can we collect already? haha.

great regular season guys. hope our boys stay fit and healthy.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 21st, 2009
9:08 pm

“So what if he’s still a little soft on the boards? As a starting center this year, he averaged 18.3, 6 boards, 1.35 blocks and 2 3’s on 44% from behind the arc.”

Serious question, because I’m too lazy to look it up: how many future All-Star big men EVER averaged only 5 boards in 31 minutes over a full season?

Andrea Bargnani can shoot 3’s really well. Big deal. He’s still soft as Kleenex and can’t rebound. On a team like the Hawks that wins using half-court defense acquiring him would be a disaster.

There are big men out there who would fit with the Hawks’ plans and improve the team. Bargnani was not, and is not, one of them.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 21st, 2009
9:14 pm

I do agree though that Josh Smith and a late-first rounder would probably be all it takes to acquire Bosh this offseason, and as much as it would hurt to see the hometown player traded, the Hawks would have to at least consider that trade, especially if the Hawks are able to negotiate a new long-term contract with Bosh as a prerequisite to that trade. I have my doubts as to whether Bosh will ever be the true franchise player that people thought he might be a couple of years ago, but he would allow Al Horford to play PF for stretches at a time, improve the Hawks’ height, and is definitely a more refined offensive player right now than Josh, not to mention he’s not even two full years older.

doc

April 21st, 2009
9:42 pm

ando in reference to what josh means to the hawks. you might have been on sick leave when i said it. just as you were honored when bradley esentially repeated your remarks i can only say i am humbled that i can say great minds think alike if it wasnt plagiarism. heh heh

KevinA

April 21st, 2009
10:36 pm

If the Lakers don’t win it all I think Lamar Odem might be available. Same price range as Bibby. With a tightened market maybe he would sign for close to the same.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 21st, 2009
11:06 pm

Lamar Odom and Josh Smith are very, very similar players, except Josh is much more athletic and Lamar is a much better ball-handler. Good player, but I think he’d be a poor fit for the Hawks even in the unlikely event they choose to pursue him.

Big Ray

April 21st, 2009
11:29 pm

Larry Brown, for all his warts and faults, has also been known for being able to really get things done with a lead guard. I’d say “point guard”, but we all know Iverson wasn’t, and isn’t a point guard. But he had the skills to be such a thing. Brown is still at it, having motivated Felton to be the best he’s been since he got in the league, and bringing along DJ Augustin.

He loves his point guards (or perhaps obsession is a better word). As for his offense, all of his teams have had an offensive identity, even when it was the Iverson ISO (and when you have a guy like Iverson in his prime, you can use the ISO all you want), though I think that’s an oversimplified explanation of that particular team. Brown could take guys who had the right amount of potential, and turn him into a much more succesful version of themselves. Woody…um, I don’t see that in him. At least not yet. Notice I said guys with the right amount of potential. You still can’t turn rotten lemons into lemonade.

It’s very true that we win with defense and rebounding. That’s partially because we cannot lean on our offense, which is not a consistent thing. It’s also true that our offense is sufficient…to a point. Hey, we DID win 47 games. But even the greatest defensive teams we’ve seen in recent years had an obvious offensive identity. And that’s needed to get to “the next level.” We usually find that out against the better teams. Sometimes your defense just isn’t going to get it done because the opposing team’s offense is just so good, or they just can’t seem to miss, or whatever. In the end, you still have to score more points than your opponent, and if you are matched with an opponent that is equally potent on defense, then where are you going to turn? Offense. Sure, you have to get stops. You also have to get buckets. And simply “sharing the ball” isn’t the complete answer. That’s a vanilla phrase, a glittering generality. There needs to be more substance.

Understand though, I’m not knocking the Hawks or Woody for this. It’s an area where there’s room for improvement. And of course, organic growth will help in this area.

I think this is why Woody prefers veteran point guards, especially ones that are battle-tested on offense. After all, it would be a tad too funny to even mildly suggest that Bibby was pursued for his defense. And no doubt that is NOT why Woody likes him so much.

For Woody, the difference between a vet pg and a young, inexperienced pg is probably somewhat similar to the difference between strategy and tactics.

Tactics is knowing what to do when there is a plan already in place for the event in question. Strategy is being able to come up with a plan for said event….

Big Ray

April 21st, 2009
11:38 pm

Ando,

For crying out loud PLEASE give Doc credit for whatever it was he said, however far back, or there will no doubt be worse accusations than plagarism….and quit nibbling at his treble hooks… ;)

Doc,

Go pick on somebody your own age….ooops…sorry, did I just take away your entire field of targets? ;)

By the way, looked for a post you claimed was chewed up. Are you sure you didn’t get all confused and post it on Sekou’s blog? Checked the spam section AND the moderation section….nada, zilch, nothing. Found Najeh’s and Astro Joe’s stuff. I’ve really been trying to keep up with that, although I can only make the proper changes when I’m home. I don’t log into WordPress when I’m at work. Perhaps you might be able to remember just a smidgen of whatever diabolical plan of instigation you had in mind, and can re-post it…. :)

Big Ray

April 21st, 2009
11:43 pm

Astro Joe,

I think we tend to forget (or at least I do) that your patented “organic growth” applies to all parties, both player and coach alike. As we agree that we look for our young frontcourt to evolve into steady, reliable offensive threats, we also look for Woodson to learn and implement new wrinkles into the gameplan.

I think it would be doing him a disservice to think that he cannot learn and grow as a coach, while expecting the players to grow as a team, and individuals.