Blending in, standing out, surviving the game

Have you ever seen that movie “Surviving the Game”, with former rap star-turned television and movie actor, Ice-T? I always liked that movie. Not just because of Ice-T. I liked the performances and characters played by Charles S. Dutton and Rutger Hauer as well. Not to mention that crazy Gary Busey. Dude has always been crazy in his roles. I’m not even sure he was acting. But that was one of the things (or should I say “themes”) that came to mind when I thought about Hawks training camp. That and the reality television series, “Survivor” (something I tired of somewhat quickly, for various reasons), to a much lesser extent.

Training camp will not feature such brutal action as Ice-T’s movie (or so we hope, we don’t need any injuries). Nor will it feature the drama of forged alliances-turned-betrayals, as we saw in “Survivor.” No necklace of immunity (sorry, Mario West), and no “me against the world and these crazy group of guys with guns” (VaVa74 will be relieved, heh heh).  But somehow  I can imagine the intensity level being similar, in some ways, even though we fans don’t get to watch. Competition will be fierce when scrimmages start, but preparation is the name of this game. Cohesion. Camp invitees, particularly the ones new to the team,  need to figure out the right combination of blending in, standing out, and surviving the game. And make no mistake. Training camp IS a game….of sorts. Players have to learn to blend in by learning the existing system, fitting into, and executing plays. They have to stand out, in a manner of speaking, by either showing that they bring a certain element or elements to the game in a way that others can’t. Or that they add something to the team that doesn’t presently exist, or exists in a smaller, lesser capacity. Accomplishing both, building early chemistry with existing team members, and staying healthy are all necessary parts of surviving the game that is training camp.

Training camp is where invitees get to show a little bit more of themselves. Where they get to shop their wares to a team in more of a vaccum than say, minicamp or summer league. And I think it works both ways. We tend to assume that this setting is just for teams, so they can see if a player fits a need or role of some kind. But it’s probably also like that for the player. Yeah, you want a job, but you also need to “get in where you fit in” as the saying goes. As a player, you need to consider what works best for you. Even before an offer is made (IF it’s made), a player has to be thinking certain things, don’t they? Do I actually fit on this team in some capacity? Do I really have a chance at helping this team and adding positively to their chemistry? What roles might I be able to fill, and what needs could I meet? What ARE this team’s needs? Could my acquisition be based on a trade of an existing player on this team, or a trade involving me? That last part is something most players will shrug off in interviews. They’ll say it’s not something they have time to think or worry about. But surely it crosses their minds at some point.  

It’s obvious that not everybody who gets invited to camp will be given a roster spot. In fact, not everybody invited to a training camp will get a roster spot in the NBA. Some will go over seas, others may go to the D-League. You never know.

Can you tell where  a team is at, in part, by who they invite to camp? Can you tell what a front office is thinking (or the coaching staff ) by who they invite to camp? I think you can at least do so speculatively, but I’m sure it’s not an exact science. Seriously, look at who the Hawks have invited to training camp, and compare it to who they have invited in the past. Last year, the guys invited to camp (not the guys who were signed up for the season) included Thomas Gardner, Othello Hunter, Olumide Oyedeji, Marcus Hubbard, and Mario West. In 2007, it was Steven Smith, Antywane Robinson, and Jamal Tatum, and Mario West. The last time the Hawks had a training camp roster of nearly this size was in 2006, when the invitees included Lionel Chalmers, Cedric Bozeman, Andre Brown, Andreas Glyniadakis, Matt Freije, and Kaniel Dickens. Granted, these guys were all either rookies or players with just one year of NBA experience.

Okay, we know the deal with Mario West. And this is the second time that Frank Robinson has shown up at a Hawks camp, so we kind of know the deal with him, too. But look at some of the others for this year’s training camp roster, and what kind of players they are. Courtney Sims is the D-league player of the year, with a combination of size and skill that may be more underrated than we think. Garrett Siler is a non-drafted also-ran so far, but he’s bigger and possibly a more credible center prospect than we’ve invited to camp in a long time. Juan Dixon. Juan Dixon? (As HB Ando remarked to me the other evening) Where did he come from? Dixon isn’t Flip Murray, but he’s also nothing to sneeze at. We’re talking a low-salary end of the bench combo guard who won’t hurt you when he comes in the game. Hmmmm. Interesting. Aaron Miles is a perennial summer leaguer who has spent more time over seas than he has in anybody’s camp. Othello Hunter is an intriguing young forward who made the team last year, and may have more wrinkles to his game than we know about. And then there is Mike Wilks, who actually began his NBA career by playing for the Hawks several years ago (’02-’03). Wilks is a journeyman point guard who has the unique and dubious honor of having played for eight different teams, yet managing to keep his jersey number (29) the same, the entire time. Strange, huh? And you thought only John Hollinger could come up with obscure stuff….yeah, well so can Wikipedia.

People always talk about finding the “diamond in the rough.” Training camp is rarely where you find this. Very few of us get excited about training camp invitees, and for good reason. These guys are mostly looking for another contract so they can simply earn a living. Some are down on their luck after injury. Others are not far from retirement. But the possibility remains that you can sometimes find lesser valued gems and (more likely) useful metals in this venue. Will the Hawks find one (or more) in this crop of invitees? Hawks fan and well-known ”link master” blogger Ariose says this is never an easy decision to make, but if the Hawks want to make a serious run in the playoffs both this year and in the future, they need to sign big men Garrett Siler and Courtney Sims. He goes on to add, “Hey, in the playoffs we need every foul we can get against teams like Cleveland and Boston. And a guy like Courtney Sims has a versatile game. I was glad we got Collins and Smith, so we wouldn’t have to worry about Al getting into foul trouble too soon, and the frontcourt breaking down as a result. At the same time, I kind of like the idea of giving a guy like Frank Robinson a shot.”

Do the Hawks need another guard more than they do another big man, or is it the other way around? Is Courtney Sims a guy who will make you regret not taking a chance on him? The Hawks roster is more stocked and stable than it has been in over 5 years. So who makes it out of camp? And why?

111 comments Add your comment

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
12:51 am

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
12:51 am

I’d like to see the Hawks sign Siler and immediately stash him in the D-League until and unless injuries and wear/tear force us to call him up. Sims? He really should have to blow us away to use a roster spot on him. Not a single player who has won the D-League MVP has become an NBA rotation player. And the D-League is no longer brand new…this will be its 9th year. So that MVP is something to be proud of, but we shouldn’t take it to mean that he will ever be an NBA contributor. Yes, we need as many fouls as we can manage in the playoffs. But we can only dress 12 players a game, but we already will be dressing 5 PF/Cs every night (Horford, Zaza, Collins, Smoove, Smith), and NO team in the entire NBA uses 6 big men in a game.

RandMo’s fouls are just as good as Sims’, and we have a greater need for depth elsewhere – namely on the wing and at PG. Signing a seventh big man is useless unless we plan to stash him in the D-League. As for the D-League route, there’s absolutely no reason to take on the expense of doing that with two players. And I’d rather do it with Siler than Sims. I don’t think we’ll ever lose sleep over passing up Sims.

12 guys under contract already – our starting 5 plus 1 PG (Teague), 1 combo guard (Crawford), 1 swingman (Mo), 2 PF/Cs (RandMo/Joe), and 2 Cs (Zaza/Collins).

With those numbers, I think retaining Hunter is a must because we don’t have any combo forwards coming off the bench (sorry, but I haven’t Joe Smith getting minutes at SF since the late 90’s). If Marvin goes down, we’ll need to at least have the option of bringing in a guy like Hunter. We most certainly do NOT need another big man to eat up active roster space. We also have enough guys who can handle the point in a crunch that we don’t really have any need for a pure PG – if we get a G, I think it needs to be a combo guard or 2-guard.

So unless someone else is an absolute terror in the preseason, the only ones I think are worth considering are Hunter, West, Robinson, and Dixon. Of those, I think we all know who I’d go with…

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
1:17 am

Nire, If it comes down to it, Smoove can play SF and Sims or Siler or someone else can fill in at his PF spot. Speaking of sims, the guy is 6′11 has a sweet strok and averaged 23&10 last season, he may be our next backup PF(Joe smith is’t going to be around forever….he’s no spring chicken). Also Othello Hunter plays in the post. I’ve NEVER heard of him swithching over to play SF…and he’s no Brandon Bass or Chuck Hayes(obviously or he’s have a job right about now). There’s no need for him to be on our roster.

Siler and Sims would be projects(investing in the future), yes but that’s how most bigs get their start(and they can help us right now in some capacity if need be). Look at Andrew Bynum. Like I said, Collins and Joe Smith arent young and in the playoffs, depending on who we play,we may need bigger bodies instead of smaller ones like Smoove and Joe smith.

I don’t know what the deal is with you people and Othello hunter, but I don’t remeber him going to the D-Leauge and putting up anthing NEAR 23&10 last eason is his two games. And I don’t want to hear a lame excuse like he needs time to adjust down there, bucase i’ve seen plenty of legit players(Louis Williams, Will Bynum, Shannon Brown, Coby Karl etc) go down there and embarras those D-leaugers on their first try.

Hunter Was nice, but this isn’t Ametuer hour anymore, For the first time in a long time, we can really do something special. We have no room for project that WE KNOW don’t have a real future here and isn’t going to pan out in the long run. You heard Jamal Crawford. Everyone is talking about winning a Title…..it’s time to get serious and leave the groupies behiend…..we need more BEEF! The more the better.

Siler, Sims, and either leave the last roster spot open or give it to G.Green, Stackhouse, or maybe Frank Robinson(3rd pg/combo guard)

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
1:29 am

Ariose,

Siler and Sims would be projects(investing in the future), yes but that’s how most bigs get their start(and they can help us right now in some capacity if need be). Look at Andrew Bynum.

Couple things. First, Hunter is actually just 6 months older than Siler and is 3 years younger than Sims. Second and more important…Bynum was drafted in the lottery. Siler went undrafted. So was Sims. So was Hunter for that matter, but as I’ve said many times – if you’re an American who is 6′11 or taller, you’re not gonna go undrafted unless you’re a bona fide scrub. There has been one and only one exception to that rule in the past 12 years – Brad Miller.

Hunter slimmed down and was much quicker this summer…I’m surprised you don’t remember that from the mini-camp coverage.

You’re calling for Siler AND Sims? Why??? Do you seriously think we have more need for a 5th string center than we do for a combo guard or forward? If two of our PF/Cs go down (say Horford and Joe Smith), we still have 2 big men available to come off the bench assuming Zaza gets plugged into the starting lineup (Collins and RandMo). But if two of our wings go down (say Marvin and Crawford) and we have to put Mo in the lineup, we suddenly will have NO ONE coming off the bench who can play the 2 – and really, no one left who has played much time at the 3…take a look at 82games.com and you’ll see that Woody stopped using Josh at the 3 altogether last year. There’s a reason for that.

I don’t see how you can look at the roster and decide we should sign Siler OR Sims, much less BOTH. I don’t think it’s quite sunk into yet that we finally have an overabundance of beef. What we need now is to work on our leaner food groups ;)

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
1:45 am

LOL, Well I was calling for G.Green($800K!!!) and I was fine with the possibillity Stack coming in, but Now I don’t know what Rick is thinking. I hope Othello’s jumper has improved enough to play SF, If we do sign him. Like I said, Sims and Siler would be investments for the future, but I really wanna see Siler bang against the Big Diesel for some reason 8-O

Tomorrow the REAL scrimmaging starts, so we’ll know who’s the real deal or not……FINALLY!!!

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
1:45 am

Here’s that link on our player rotations for last year, showing no lineups that we used where Josh played SF:
http://www.82games.com/0809/0809ATL2.HTM

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
1:47 am

There’s the (800k!!!!!!) I was looking for. For a second I thought you were going soft on me :!:

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
2:23 am

I personally remeber Woodson experemnting with Josh at SF last year. Late in the season against Boston. I think he did it in another game as well.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
2:43 am

Harry Hawk

October 3rd, 2009
2:52 am

We need some more Prince Henry Stouts on this team, folks.

chuckw/deadjournalist

October 3rd, 2009
9:25 am

i think part of the other question around these spots would be which players you would be least likely to be able to re-sign if a significant injury arose at the 2/3. who of the ‘rio/robinson/dixon combo would be most likely to play a significant role? as much as i love ‘rio, his offensive limitations are so pronounced, maybe dixon is a guy they keep around.

given that the hawks’ haven’t used the d-league (save a couple of game for gardner and hunter on a west coast trip last year) since they were affiliated with arkansas and let donta smith play out the rest of his contract for the rimrockers, i doubt this is the year they use it to get game experience for siler.

frankly, even if they were to keep sims or robinson i doubt they would stick long – need i remind the old-timers that guys like fred vinson, steve wojciechowski, matt maloney and (are you ready for this?) sergey bazarevich broke camp with the hawks only to be toss to the curb by the first of the year.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
12:37 pm

Ariose,

You see Sekou’s latest on Othello? ;)

cp

October 3rd, 2009
1:34 pm

Hunter has been receiving great reviews all summer. I think he makes the team if he keeps it up. I have no idea who gets the other spot. I don’t see Mario making this team. I think it comes down to Siler and Sims. Juan Dixon looked horrible last year so I don’t know how much he has left to offer.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
1:37 pm

“Almost exactly alike,” Murray said of the two systems. “So much of this stuff comes from when Woodie and Larry were coaching together.”

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/story/982410.html#

Oh, but flip, we’ve got a new system…..I hope….

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
1:39 pm

Nire, I saw it, i’m not as enamored with the guy like some of you, but I’d love for him to prove me wrong. But when you can add a guy like Stack or Green for the same price….

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
1:41 pm

nire, Ariose,

I think you both made credible arguments. One thing that would help our flexibility is if Crawford could defend the #2. Then we could just pick the player with the most upside instead of trying to fill a slot. This flexibility wound give Woody the opportunity to move JJ to the three.

I know some of you think this a given but I am skeptical until we see him play. There is just to much written information about Crawford about his lack of defense.

We know JJ can play the #3, the million dollar question is wether Crawford/Bibby/Teague in combinations can be good enough on defense to handle the #1 and #2.

If the guards can work it out I would go big like Ariose wants. If our guards cannot guard well enough and JJ cannot move to the #3, I would think Hunter is the man.

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
2:19 pm

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
12:51 am

But we can only dress 12 players a game.

Excellent point. Why in years past including this year why wouldn’t we put a Siler, Sims and Hunter in the D League. Does the coach want them in practice so they know the plays better or thinks they will develop better in practice? Is it just to expensive? Like Rand Mo for example – no chance to play riding the pine. What is better for their carreer and skill developement.

Do teams lose rights in the D League? Can any team snatch them?

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
2:23 pm

Again – the problem is that if any two of the four players I mentioned get hurt (Mo, Crawford, JJ, Marvin), we will have NO ONE left on the roster who is capable of playing the 2, and NO ONE who played more than a handful of minutes at the 3 last year. Not one player. THAT is a problem, and one we dodged last year because JJ, Flip, and Mo all went for basically the entire season without getting hurt. If we’re not so lucky this year, we’ll be royally screwed. On the other hand, if two big men get hurt, then we’re not royally screwed because we have six PF/Cs under contract.

Again, we need to get past the idea that we have a depth issue at the big man spots. We’re so used to that being the case that we’re having a hard time looking at the roster and realizing that we have NO need to spend another roster spot on a big man this year.

Yeah, Joe Smith and Collins are probably one-year rentals. But why the heck is that a problem? We’ll sign two more veteran big men next summer to replace them. That’s what playoff teams do with their 9th and 10th roster spots – fill them with players who are ready contribute RIGHT NOW if need be. When you’re a playoff team looking to move higher, you can’t burn a roster spot on a young big man who has a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a rotation player (and that seriously is about right for the odds of an undrafted rookie free agent big man ever becoming a rotation player). At least not when you have a potentially dangerous lack of depth on the wing.

Don’t think about the lean times of the past when 1 injury to Zaza would leave us useless in the middle. Look at our roster NOW. We’re a playoff team with 6 big men under contract. I won’t object to burning one more on a PF/C. But you have to be consciously ignoring the depth chart to say we have any need at all two burn two.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm

*to burn two

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
2:31 pm

KevinA,

We can sign players and ‘option’ them to the D-League (as it were) if need be. If we take the sign-and-assign route, other teams can’t touch them…but we have to pay that player a full NBA salary and he still takes up one of the 15 roster spots. If we don’t sign the player to an NBA contract, other teams are free to sign him whenever, even if he plays with our D-League “affiliate” (Anaheim, which is also the D-League affiliate for the Clippers).

And honestly, I have no idea whether a player gets better experience playing games in the D-League or playing in practices in the NBA. It probably depends on whether he’s starting on the D-League team and on how well the practices are run on the NBA team. My natural inclination is that it’s usually better to play in both practice and games against fringe-NBA talent than it is to just practice against real NBA talent. But with the depth we have now, who knows…maybe it’s better to keep them traveling with the team.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
2:41 pm

I’ll also admit that this is all influenced by The Breaks of the Game, a book I read on an injury-ravaged Blazers team from the ‘79-’80 season. You could only dress 10 players a night back then, and they had to scramble and sign a Continental League player just to fill out those 10 spots at one point. They too many undersized guards, way too many PFs, not enough wings or Cs, and consequently had guys playing out of position for much of the year, which led to more injuries (which happens more often when you have PFs chasing around quicker wings and trying to muscle up against bigger Cs). Wasn’t a pretty season…

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
2:57 pm

Nire, thats fine, but when has Othello ever proven he can play SF? I’ve been calling for an extra wing this whole summer(or at LEASt Flip so JJ can swing to the SF if need be) Obvioulsy Rick has other plans though. I’m just looking at the current possibilities that Rick has given us based the players that he has signed for training camp. Othello has never played SF and he has no credentials as a great peremeter shooter(despite what Sekous says….he says he improved, but where was he coming from in the first place? Bad to tolerable? Good to Great?). So, i’m going to assume he’s still an undersized PF unless Sekou et al. informs me otherwise. If we look at him in that light(as an undersized PF) then we can obviously do a lot better(like I said, he’s no Brandon Bass). Siler and/or Sims(23&10) are clearly better fits at PF/C than Othello.

Lets not rule out the possibility of Rick only signing one training camp FA (Likely Siler) if Woodson doesn’t like what he sees from the rest. That leaves the door open for Sund to still go out and Sign a wing(Green, Stackhouse, or Wally Sczerbiack) that’s probaby what Woodson prefers anyway knowing him.

I cannot accept Othello as a wing when there are tons of players out there better suited for the job that we can aquire for roghly the same price…..BTW, aren’t the players talking Campionchip? Somehow I don’t think Othello fits with that mold.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
3:00 pm

*championship

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
3:05 pm

Also, I seriouly doubt we sign one of those guars. Especially Dixon(i’m not even going to go there lol…). Teauge is going to embarass them all anyway(just like he did during the minicamp). If we need a third guard, PDX has plenty of them. We can just trade for Patty Mills….he’s be a nice 3rd guard (even though we need size lol) ;-)

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
3:07 pm

*guards

*Teague

BTW, he wouldn’t embarass Mills in Training Camp…..and Mike Wilks is 31….

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
3:11 pm

Tweets From Hawks PR man Arthur Triche:

“Finally, some scrimmage action will take place…guaranteed! Why?? Because the officials are here”

“Blue Team (mostly starters) beat the White Team, 43-30 in 2 quarters of scrimmage Saturday. First unit looked real good, no surprise there.”

“Johnson led Blue unit w/10 pts, Smith had 9, Bibby 8, while Garrett Siler had 7 for the White team. Woodson said he would go 3 qtrs Sunday.”

“Teague didn’t score in his first action, was paired with Jamal Crawford on the White squad.”

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
3:46 pm

Ariose,

Hey, you’ll never see me call for us to go after Wilks :) . My take is that we need a combo forward, a swingman, and maybe a combo guard – ie we need guys who can switch between the 4 smallest positions on the floor. The reasoning is simple: Right now, we’ve got 5 guys under contract who we would expect to be able to provide minutes at PF/C (Horford, Zaza, Collins, Joe Smith, and RandMo), 4 guys at PF (Josh, Joe Smith, Horford, RandMo), but only 3 guys at SF (Marvin, Mo, JJ), 3 at SG (JJ, Crawford, Mo), and 3-4 at PG (I know you can name those :) ).

You can argue that Josh should be counted at SF if you want…but then you have to accede to counting Marvin at PF because Marvin played significantly more PF minutes than Josh played SF minutes last year. Again, check that 82games link – according to it, Josh spent zero time at SF last year, your memory to the contrary notwithstanding ;) . And that makes perfect sense, because it has become pretty clear, I think, that on both ends of the floor, Josh’s tools make him a nightmare around the basket for opposing teams, and an unpleasant dream on the perimeter for us (even moreso than his perimeter offensive game, his on-ball perimeter D is atrocious). So the idea that he can be expected to play minutes at the 3 HAS TO END.

As for Hunter, from the sounds of the way he was playing during minicamp, Hunter has worked hard to turn himself into a combo forward. His issue was never that he didn’t have the athleticism to play the 3…like with Josh, the question is one of finesse, touch, and handles. The summer coverage made it sound like he improved his jumper and his handles significantly.

Anyway, I have a feeling he will at least survive long enough to play a few pre-season games, and we’ll see how he’s doing then. If he doesn’t look capable of providing minutes at the 3 and if the Smiths stay healthy through camp, then I will reluctantly agree that he should be cut.

In any case, we have absolutely, positively, and in every freaking way NO NEED for another player whose only positions are PF and C.

I’m really not trying to pick on you, Ariose, and I think you know that. This all really dawned on me when I was in Italy and I looked at our post-Collins signing roster and that 82games link. I consciously forced myself to divorce from the past and realize that it’s no longer 2004-2007. Josh isn’t a wing, we don’t need bigs, and ASG has spent the money needed to fill out the entire 12-man active roster with 11 vets and a first round draft picks, all getting guaranteed money before training camp had even started – that last part was something that even I, the eternal defender of ASG, didn’t expect to happen.

The time for big man projects is over. The remaining spots need to be taken by people who might actually be needed this year. 4 guys would need to get hurt before Woody would be forced to play Siler or Sims, if they were on the roster. Only 2 guys would have to get hurt before Woody would be forced to play Mario West or (if he can play SF) Othello Hunter, if they were on the roster.

Maybe we need to send all our fans into a hypnosis chamber…that might be the only way to get everyone to realize that the face of this team has totally changed from 2-3 years ago.

cp

October 3rd, 2009
3:53 pm

How is Siler or Sims better than Hunter? Hunter has actually played in real NBA games. He has been talked about all summer from guys on the team and guys who cover the team as a player that has improved greatly. He also played well in those two NBDL games from last season. I fail to understand how two guys, one who has never played an NBA minute, are better than a guy who knows the system and is getting praised by a coach who rarely gives any young guys and type of props. Ariose im with you on some things but I don’t get your stance on Hunter at all. Gardner was putting up 20 a game when he played in the NBDL too so should we bring him back also? Even Sund was talking about how much he liked Hunter and how he could be a diamond in the rough if given time and opportunity. I still think Hunter and Siler make the team.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
4:25 pm

Nire, I have no problems admitting that we are stocked at the PF/C position. But, like I said. What has Rick given us to work with in Training camp? Ray, asked me who would be a “Diamond in the Rough” out of the training camp invitees. I just call it like I see it. Siler & Sims are better prospects with more potential than Othello Hunter and Mario West. Now looking OUTSIDE of who rick filled our trainig camp roster with, there are TONS of options. I do not think the best option is on the trainig camp invite roster. Like I said, Stack, Green, or Wally would be ideal. BUT looking at the traing camp roster: I’d either go with Siler, Sims, or Frank Robinson. We could ALSO use Siler/Sims in trades….I think their size would be appealing to some teams looking to deal(likely a team dumping a bigger salary but want youth in return).

As far as Josh not being able to play SF, we just going to have to disagree. I’ve said many times that the best use of his “skills” and the position that maximies his ability is the PF position, BUT if need be, i’d rather have him at SF than Othello Hunter ANYDAY and I think most would agree with me there.

I know what you’re thinking. From an offensive standpoint that’s a HORRIBLE idea. I agree, but look at our personell. He ONLY has to play the SF role on the defensive end. Al Horfod and Joe Smith (our other resident Power Forwards) are BOTH significantly better shooters than Josh smith. So, on OFFEENSE, Josh can park his butt in the paint where he belongs and Joe Smith or Horford can pick and Pop with our guards on the peremeter. This does not leave us at a disadvantage either b/c it will be Smooove and whoever the Center(Zaza or collins) is at the time down in the paint collecting offensive rebounds etc. Problem solved. This also gives us an advantage. Al/Joe Smith gets a Big out of the paint on offense while Smoove gets to rebound/score against his smaller Wing counterpart. Win/Win

…..and I dont care what 82games said. I know smoove played minutes at SF last season dammit! SEKOU KNOWS THE TRUTH!!!!! 8-O

:-D

I left Mario off, he can play SF I agree, but Rick is really slipping what about Stack? What about G.Green($800K!!!!)

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
4:29 pm

You forgot the ($800k!!!!!!!) on the first pass, Ariose ;)

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
4:30 pm

CP, he did play well in those NBDL games, But did he average 23&10 in the NBDL like Sims did? I aagre, Hunter has potential, but like Ray said, this is a better training camp (player-potential wise) than we’ve had in a long time. I just thinks there’s bettter prospects than Othello. I could be worong, It’s just my opinion. I’m open to being wrong, whater makes the team better is what I want. But right now, without any real scrimmage action to pull from i’d have to say that Siler/Sims > Othello Hunter.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
4:41 pm

Nire lol….I just like Rick i’m slipping ha.

cp

October 3rd, 2009
4:47 pm

No he didn’t because he was busy being in the NBA. I feel you Ariose but I still don’t see how either are better projects. One guy put up 23 and 10 in the NBDL but still couldn’t stick on a roster. I’m sure if we would have left Gardner or Othello down there they would have put up monster numbers too. The fact that Woody is praising Hunter is enough for me. Like I said the coach, players, and guys who cover the team are impressed with him. I haven’t seen those comments about the other two. But we will see who does make the team. Its crazy how we are actually debating who will make the last two roster spots lol. In years past these guys would have been the 7th or 8th man off the bench. My how times have changed around here.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
4:52 pm

Cp, I agree lol. It’s really sad hehehe… But it’s a good problem to have. Regardless, I still say we win 55-60. That’s my nuber and i’m sticking to it ;-)

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
4:55 pm

CP, you might be right though. Plying against Josh Smith and Al Horford in practice every day probably has othlello way more prepared than Sims is. Nire, is probably right though, I just need a hypnotist to get rid of this lingering big man sydrome i’ve aquired over the last 5 years.

Ariose

October 3rd, 2009
5:33 pm

“Jones finished the game with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in 25 minutes. He was able to get to the line and also showed the ability to hit the 12-15 foot shot from around the free throw line. Very nice debut for the big fella in front of the home fans.”

http://www.indycornrows.com/2009/10/2/1067100/bulls-104-pacers-95-plenty-to

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
6:04 pm

Yeah, Indy is a good fit for Solo with its uptempo game and help-heavy D (read: no one can defend one-on-one, so there’s lots of opportunities for blocks).

We’ve seen the same thing play out here – once Marvin stepped up his D, Josh got a lot fewer blocks simply because he had fewer opportunities to get blocks. Josh’s D didn’t backslide this past year; he just didn’t need to flex his shot-blocking muscles as much as he used to.

Yet another reason why whoever created the box score should be shot.

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
6:14 pm

I hope we didn’t dump Jones for salary cap issues = trying to free it up for JJ. I understand Joe Smith/Collins has seasoned experience but at some point youth makes up for experience. Jones really never hurt us with limited playing time and if he works out for the Pacers it will be hard to swallow.

Did ya’ll forget to comment on the defense of the guards allowing JJ at the #3? Lets lay the line in concrete. Will they be good enough at defense or are you willing to back down a little from the great expectations of Crawford and Teague. Not willing to get in to blood here. Just pointing out differences in opinions. As always I am interested in yours.

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
6:27 pm

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
2:23 pm
Again – the problem is that if any two of the four players I mentioned get hurt (Mo, Crawford, JJ, Marvin), we will have NO ONE left on the roster who is capable of playing the 2, and NO ONE who played more than a handful of minutes at the 3 last year. Not one player.

When I suggested we resign Flip – just in case – I was inundated with comments that we were already overloaded at these positions. Now Larry Brown is happy to have Flip who can play the #1 or #2 spot for hardly nothing. West is and will not be the answer – Flip could have been. Yep – would have cost a million. Million well spent.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
6:34 pm

Solo’s salary in 2010-2011 is just $1.5M and expiring to boot, which would make it a piece of cake to unload in a trade, so it’s really not a cap concern. It’s never too hard to sell teams on acquiring young, cheap big men with expiring contracts. Even if that weren’t the case, the “cap hold” rules mean that we’re saving pretty much no money in cap/tax space by not signing Solo.

If Solo succeeds in Indy, it will speak much more to Woody’s failure to utilize him than to any cap concern issues. If he’d played 15 minutes a game here and shown something in those minutes, the Hawks wouldn’t have felt the need to go out and ‘replace’ Solo with a couple veteran. As it stands, he played sporadically and usually for less than 12 minutes when he played at all. And even when he did get in, I don’t think he saw a single play run for him.

Remember the story when Solo left that said that Sund and Woody sat him down and told him bluntly that he wouldn’t get any more PT than he did in the past, even if he stayed. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about why he didn’t get re-signed.

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
6:45 pm

Mercy GA comes back, wild game

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
6:47 pm

Like I said, hard to swallow. Nobody said Woody was perfect.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
6:57 pm

Kevin,

As to Flip…

First, getting a combo guard was third on my list of priorities (after combo forward and swingman).

Second, I’m talking about a training camp guy who can play in an emergency, not a rotation player. Which leads to…

Third, the issue with Flip for ME at least was less “he’s too expensive” than “every minute he plays will be a minute that otherwise would have gone to Teague.” I have no problem getting a training camp guy who will play behind Teague and only get PT in garbage time and if disaster strikes.

But – and this is the final and biggest point – Flip would never have agreed to such a role. He is coming off a career year, and I can’t imagine he’d ever accept the role of 3rd guard off the bench. Remember this isn’t NBA Live…we can’t just offer a player a contract and get him to take it.

That was my thing. If I were Sund, I wouldn’t bring in Flip if he was going to take minutes from Teague. And Flip wouldn’t have agreed to come here and take on a role without those minutes. So there was no plausible way to get him here without stunting Teague’s growth.

That’s also, by the way, why I’m heavily opposed to Wilks. I definitely could see Woody giving Wilks the minutes that could have gone to Teague, simply because Wilks is more ready to contribute right now and Woody tends to be shortsighted…

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
7:25 pm

I should follow my own lead from the other blog and temper my certainty-tinged “Flip would never have agreed to such a role” to just what I said after that – I can’t imagine that he’d accept that role. But I do think that is a pretty safe bet…

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
7:29 pm

I disagree with you on the reasoning of not signing a player because it might slow another’s players development. To me that is nuts. No offense. Like mentioned before, this is not NBA Play station, it’s a mans game. For all we know Teague may be great or an Acie washout.

You have an excellent point that Flip may have not wanted to sign with us because of potential playing time. I wish we could ask Flip that question. In a fair world, Bibby/Crawford /Flip/Teague would all fight for minutes based on performance and execution, not preconditions.

I just saw an interview with Chauncy Billips. He mentioned taking 4-5 years before finding himself. Who else fits into that category for the Hawks? Josh/Marvin/Chills/ZaZ/Al? We are still looking at upside potential.

I do not blame Sund or Woody. Maybe the reason we can’t do all the deals has something to do with the fact we are losing 20 mil a year. Us bloggers don’t know all the facts. We just have to make educated guesses.

niremetal

October 3rd, 2009
7:43 pm

Well, in any case, I think the money was better spent shoring up our big man depth. Like many have said, it’s a very good sign that we’re now arguing about who should take the 12th and 13th spots on the roster…

KevinA

October 3rd, 2009
7:53 pm

Can agree with that.

Big Ray

October 4th, 2009
12:05 am

Heh.

The originator of the box score need not be shot, Nire . :)

If it weren’t that, it would be something else. You know the deal with stats. They are always going to help or convolute any view of a player.

Big Ray

October 4th, 2009
12:10 am

Thanks once again to Ariose for his link to the Dime Mag write up.

Big Ray

October 4th, 2009
12:13 am

From that link sprang THIS one, which should make interesting reading for any NBA fan, specifically Hawks fans, and even moreso for fans of Al Horford:

http://dimemag.com/2009/08/five-centers-to-watch-for-2009-10/