As we wade through the slow-moving quagmire that is the NBA preseason, the mind of the impatient Hawks fan needs something else to feed on. Oh sure, there are the usual arguments and discussions that we continue to hash over, while complaining on occasion about the repetition that many of us continue to perpetuate. Ironic, eh?
Really, we should be glad that we are impatient. In the not-so-distant past, there was little anticipation of the beginning of the regular season (except for the diehard fan who willingly succumbs to that once-familiar illusion of eternal summer hope). In fact, it was more often a resignation, an acceptance of the inevitable pain of regular season reality, and preposterous postseason pipe dreams.
But now? Oh, not now! Now we strut into the face of the regular season, knowing that our team IS a bonafide playoff team. Now we move forward, not hoping to sneak up on success. Now we talk of levels of success, and what is needed to attain each new level thereof. But you never forget where you came from. And sometimes recognizing the past and appreciating what was, helps you appreciate the present, and prepare you for the future.
Having said that, views of both the past and possibly the future are a welcome distraction while we argue back and forth about preseason performances and similar subjects (and you know we’ll get right back into it after this). And so, I submit to you a couple of themes by two of our very own Hawks faithful. One is of the past, one of both the present…and possibly the future.
First, written by Ariose, an “Ode to Flip” of sorts:
Remembering Ronald “Flip” Murray: The good, the bad and the Hot?
I know, I know. Atlanta Hawks beat writer extraordinaire Sekou K. Smith has already given Flip his mandatory “going away” blog. But in all honesty, that was more of a “Kicked to tha curb” type of sendoff Blog-Z style; and that’s fine, that’s exactly what we Hawks fans needed at the time. We needed a hard dose of reality, or a swift smack in the face (figuratively speaking of course). We haven’t had a player of Flip’s caliber in a long time. The fact that a player of his skill set had to come off the bench for us last season speaks to how far we’ve come as a ball club in the last few seasons. Think about it, if Flip were here at the beginning of the 2007-2008 campaign (pre-Bibby era), who would have started ahead of him? Tyronne Lue? Anthony Johnson? Oh how times have changed, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the direction this team is headed in.
Now that Flip has moved on, and before the regular season starts up, I think we all need to take some time to really appreciate the job that Flip did for us, and the great player that he was. Let’s face it; the guy was a straight up goon. A one-man bench mob, that got what he wanted, anytime he wanted it on the court. Flip was a pit bull on offense and defense. At 6′4″ , he had no problem guarding bigger shooting guards, and there aren’t too many that got the better of him well, aside from our newly acquired reserve shooting guard, but that’s a story for another day. He never met a shot he didn’t like. I remember John Hollinger saying that Flip Murray was the only reserve in the NBA who had the same amount of shot attempts as a superstar during the course of the season, but didn’t produce like one. Like every player, Flip has his flaws, <a href=”http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-23-80/A-Shooting-at-Flip-Murray-s-House.html”>But behind his stoic resolve, a cold hard dose of reality lies in wait.</a> By the time defenders know what’s happened it’s too late, he’s coming at you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop him.
Now as I’m sure you Hawks fans know, there are three different types of Flip. There’s Cold, Luke Warm, and Hot. Cold Flip is something no one wants to see. It was the difference between the Hawks being labeled as not having a bench whatsoever and us being labeled as having a decent bench. Flip is going to put up shots, but if they’re not falling, somebody in that starting lineup better be hot. Then there’s the Luke-warm flip or Mortal Flip as I like to call him. He will hit some shots and he will miss some. He gives you a punch off of the bench but it’s still just a regular day at the job. Then there’s Hot Flip, my pride and joy. Hot Flip is just Filthy, Sick-nasty. You can’t stop him, and all of those superstar attempts turn into superstar buckets. It’s truly a thing of beauty.
Flip is one of those types of players who sneak up on you just to let you know exactly who you’re dealing with. <a href=”http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2009/04/slamadaday-flip-murray-on-lou-williams/”>I think super Hawks Fan Lang Whitaker said it best with this piece in Slam.</a> That’s just vintage Flip right there. We’ve seen it before, I know you’ve all seen the infamous <a href=” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDfhTENn-z0 “> Kirk Hinrich incident </a>
So as we turn the page on an Era and move into the Jamal Crawford Chapter of Hawks History, make sure you take the time to relive and appreciate the greatness that was <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-bRUdZK52M “>“Hot” Flip </a>
I don’t think Flip Murray could ask for a much better send off from a fan. Nice work, Ariose.
Up next is a thought or two from avid Hawks fan VaVa74, who supports our birds of prey from Portugal. We’ve all talked on the blog quite a bit about who the Hawks have invited to training camp, who might make the roster from camp, and who might get signed from elsewhere. Throughout this, VaVa74 had some interesting insights on what he would like to see, not just here in Hawksville, but in the NBA in general. He writes the following about “…the NBA’s failure to create a real minor league system and how there is
no real mechanism available for teams to sign prospects and develop raw
Now this does pique one’s interest to an extent, as MLB has it’s farm system, of which there are various levels of “minor league” development. Even the NFL has practice squads. Not quite the same as a minor league system, but arguably even better for both team and player alike. VaVa74 went on to express his mild consternation thusly:
“…The fact that when you sign a player and place him in the NBDL counts for the roster spots and the cap is in my opinion ridiculous.It is evident from the discussion held on Sekou’s blog that there are very few players which made the jump from being un-drafted to the level of NBA rotation.
I personally disagree that a player that went un-drafted is unable to take it a step further due to lack of talent/quality: many individuals blossom later than others and take longer to reach their ceilings.I think that this does not happen because their training/learning cycle is interrupted when they leave college and outside the NBA there are very little opportunities to develop their games within an environment specifically designed for that effect.
There is certainly a lot of raw talent which could be developed out
there, specially guys who either took the step to the pros too soon and
the ones which did not meet the academic minimums to keep/get scholarships.”
Interesting indeed. Isn’t this what David Stern and the NBA owners were supposed to be thinking about when they created the NBAD-League? Do you think it’s working, and why or why not? Will it ever work?
And one more time for Flip, ladies and gents. It hasn’t been often in recent years that a player has left the Hawks not only on good terms, but also having contributed significantly to a season that was a bonafide success. We wish you well. But not when we play the ‘Cats, heh heh!