I know it’s just preseason, but….

….But Mike Bibby is shooting lights out. As in, he’s shooting like the lights are out, and it’s dark as David Stern’s gaze when somebody mentions NBA officials. Come on, Mike. Less than 31%, and half of your attempts from 3 point range…again? It might just be preseason, but I don’t like how this looks one bit. Not after watching him fade down the stretch last season. Not after watching him take more shots than guys like Horford and Josh (although, they did miss games). He’s a pro and still one of the deadlier shooters in the league. Let’s hope his shot doesn’t get to be like his defense.

….But, Garrett Siler isn’t getting much burn. And when he is, there isn’t a whole lot of production. Of course, as some note, the boxscore only tells you so much. But the lack of playing time bothers me. Shouldn’t he be getting more time, considering that it’s the preseason, and Woody is highly unlikely to play him anymore during the season than he did Randolph Morris last season. Not with veterans Jason Collins and Joe Smith around. Speaking of which, how bad of an idea is it to keep Siler? Sure, we don’t need him much now, but what about next year? Something tells me the one-year-contract vets we have at the moment won’t be here next year. And there’s no telling who we’ll get to replace them. And unless Morris impresses, he won’t be here either. Is taking a chance on Siler really that bad of an idea? The worst he could turn out to be is a bigger, taller, stronger Sheldon Williams, whom the championship-contending Celtics didn’t mind signing. Wait, Garrett didn’t deserve that…

But, Jeff Teague looks pretty good. The kid is freakin’ fast. I’m talking Indy 500 fast, and he loves, I repeat, LOVES to get to the hole. While he’s doing that, he’s also getting to the line more than anybody else on the Hawks roster. Okay, I know what you’re going to say. He’s playing starter minutes, and most teams aren’t playing their starters too hard. I don’t care. The kid has been to the line 30 times in 4 games (that’s an average of 7.5 times a game), and has connected 25 of those times. He’s averaging around 15 points and 5 assists, so you know he’s not just a shot-happy ballhog. Yeah, it’s just the preseason. But I already like what I see, despite a jumper that might need some work.

….But, Joe Johnson is a smokin’ hot 57% from the field. Take that for what it is. Dude’s shot is on, and he looks to be totally at ease out there.  He’s not even trying. That spells bad news for anybody who will be tasked with guarding him. Especially if they don’t have any help coming.

But, Zaza is scoring like it comes naturally. Seriously? Oh yeah. Chalk it up to aggressiveness. Chalk it up to plenty of help from Teague. Chalk it up to whatever (besides telling yourself it’s just the preseason), but Zaza was putting up over 13 points a game in 20 minutes per game work, before he was held out against Memphis with a sore hip. And feel free to laugh at me, but from the highlights I’ve seen, he looks smoother (read: less akward) on offense than I’ve ever seen him. Say what you will, but what kind of impact will it have if he plays like this during the regular season?

….But, Josh Smith is shooting poorly from the free throw line. There is nothing impressive or comforting about an 11 for 18 performance, preseason or not. And I don’t care that this is up 3 percentage points from last year’s debacle. If he doesn’t get back to around the 70% he was shooting before, somebody ought to either fire Mark Price, or hire somebody else to help him fix whatever his malfunction is. It’s not like he’s always been a horrible free throw shooter. He was better than this a couple of years ago, which is what’s so mystifying. What gives? More than half of us want him to park his butt down on the block, and there are more fouls to be drawn down there. But it’s going to do nothing but hurt us if he goes to the line 7 or 8 times a game, and only connecting on 3 to 5 attempts. Come on, Smoove!

….But, I’m sick to death already of the Lebron James commercials. No, I don’t hate Lebron James. I like the guy (even if I don’t like how he acted when he bowed out of the playoffs last year, or that whole ridiculously stupid “Lebron got dunked on in a game nobody cares about, but we can’t let the public see this” situation). Want to check the highlights from a Hawks preseason game? You’re forced to watch a Lebron commercial first. Trying to see the “top 10 blocks of last year” video? You must watch the Lebron commercial first. Then Lebron was featured in half of the “top 10 blocks” plays! Arrrrggghhhh!! Enough Lebron already! It’s JUST the PRESEASON!! I mean, these aren’t even the throroughly enjoyable “The Lebrons” commercials!! Headlines on the front page: Lebron has the flu, and the entire team is going to be tested for H1N1. For cryin’ out loud..!! Okay, sorry for all the yelling. But I feel a bit overdosed already. Continuing on with Hawks stuff…

….But, Marvin still looks like Marvin. That’s not a bad thing. And yes, he appears to have worked on his handle just like he said he would. That spin move he showed off was nice (did Rod see that one? Heh!), and there have been some other plays (like the alley oop he threw down, and some other dunks). Last year, he got himself a three point shot. There is no denying the guy has added elements to his game over the years. Yet there seems to be no surge. He still puts up 13-14 points per game. No one has stepped up alongside Joe Johnson as a bonafide, consistent upper level scoring threat, making guys like Flip Murray (and now Jamal Crawford) an absolute necessity. And it is probably preferable that such a threat come from somewhere in the frontcourt. Marvin seems to have the tools, but lacks the fire. Of course, it’s not just that. For this to work though, Woody has to run plays for Marvin, Joe has to get on him/encourage him with dilligence, and Marvin….well, Marvin has to want it. Otherwise, he’s going to remain a great role player, and the third/fourth/maybe even fifth option in the starting lineup.

….But, the Hawks are scoring around 103 points per game despite the fact that no starter is playing more than 24 minutes per game. Marvin has been the 24 minute guy, with JJ playing around 20, Josh playing 22, Horford 20, and Bibby about 17 minutes. Even better, the starting backcourt isn’t responsible for the bulk of the point totals. Rather, it has been the frontcourt and bench players who have produced. Yeah, tell me one more time. It’s just the preseason. But if this sort of thing can carry over into the regular season to a proper degree, then we have real hopes for a better team, due in part to hopefully less injuries and a lot less fatigue. Want a comparison?

Last year, Woody made a big point of burning his starters for bigger minutes in the preseason, and publicly made statements about the need to win during those games. Things have been a lot different this year.

….But, I don’t think I’ve seen Joe Smith or Jason Collins one time yet in a game. Are these guys going to stay hurt? Locker room influence is great and all that, but we didn’t sign these guys to give us depth on the injured reserve. I sure hope they can get healthy and ready.

….But, Juan Dixon might have a better shot at making the roster than Mario West. The very thought of that might drive some people crazy (you know who you are), but it could be true. We know what Mario brings. And despite that 3 pointer he hit against the Grizzlies, the guy is not know for effective offense of ANY kind. Is this team at the point where a “sic ‘em” player is no longer needed as much? Dixon may not blow your socks off with his abilities, but if you feel the need for another backup guard who can run the team and not make any noise if you just leave him sitting on the bench, he fits the bill. Then again, so does Mike Wilks. The jury is still out on this one, but the winds of change, however small, may be coming.

So what do you see from the preseason games? Are the above observations overblown, or underrated? Who gets cut from the team next? Love or hate the heavy dose of Lebron-ism? Sound off!

61 comments Add your comment

Ed

October 15th, 2009
4:06 am

Good stuff Ray. The issue with Marvin has always been the combination of his passiveness and Woody’s refusal to run plays for him.Unfortunately that may not change this season unless Teague forces his way into significant playing time as he will setup the front court.

Juan Dixon is a definite upgrade over Mario and a much better choice than Mike Wilks who doesn’t bring enough of an upgrade to replace Rio. In short spurts West is the better option, but if something were to happen to one of the frontline guards, Dixon is the better choice as a short term replacement.

gasportsfan

October 15th, 2009
4:20 am

Yeah Big Ray i do think you are making way to much from the preseason…This time of year is an opportunity to fine tune the roster to see who will ultimately make the team so i wouldn’t make to much out of preseason games because that’s just what they are…i do like the idea of seeing what can Juan Dixon contribute (yeah and you are right a lot of people won’t like that…looks like West’s time where may be over)

jj

October 15th, 2009
4:41 am

With these replacement refs,it’s possible that rooks like JT and others like JJ that don’t usually get the LJ and DW calls will benifit.We shall see and I hope Bibby don’t turn out to be a Chipper Jones.I hope Woody surprise me and really expand his rotation.This Hawk Team could be SPECIAL.

NY Hawk

October 15th, 2009
7:28 am

If Collins can actually play, I’d like to see either he or Zaza move into the starting lineup, and have Josh come off the bench. We’d have a sick second unit with Teague, Crawford, Evans, Smoove and Collins. They could come in pressing and pushing the pace to wear down the opponent, so that in the fourth, Bibby and Joe can have their way with the tired opposition.

dap01

October 15th, 2009
7:43 am

Good article Ray. I have a feeling that Teague is going to help provide more rest for Bibby than Bibby may want. Good combination.

The Truth

October 15th, 2009
8:03 am

On point Ray; you stole way to much thunder here especially the part about Bibby. I notice the same thing. I have been wondering whether the Teague factor has affected his game. Of our 5 starters, Bibby is playing the least minutes as a consequence of Teague fine performance. Say it ain’t so, but should the vet but concern?

The Truth

October 15th, 2009
8:35 am

Ray
However, I think you might have been a bit hard on Marvin.


As I compare these stat numbers,
Marvin numbers look identical to Josh numbers if not slightly better when you factor in the apple-to-apple free-throw percentage. These numbers suggest that of the starters, Marvin is tied for the 2nd highest scorer on the team behind JJ after 4 games.

Maybe there is a higher perceived expectation placed on Marvin that hasn’t translated yet due to his higher draft selection. If that is true, than the Marvin argument lives on.

Daniel

October 15th, 2009
8:35 am

Nice Blog Ray,
I will take on a couple of your points.
1) I am most concerned about Josh’s free throws. You can look at that in the preseason, when if anything they should be coming easier. Losing 4-6points per game on missed FTs will come back to bite us.
2) I don’t share your fears with Bibby. His shot is off right now, but we are not talking about some rookie with confidence issues. He just seems to be in cruise control right now, which is exactly where he should be. So, Truth, naw he knows what his game is.
3) Marvin- will he or won’t he, that is the question. He is the difference between 4th or 3rd in my opinion.
4) What is up with Smith and Collins? Should we be concerned?

Daniel

October 15th, 2009
8:39 am

I don’t get the Siler hype (yes, he is big) but so what. We don’t need to waste a bench position on him. Let him work the D-league, get some playing time and prove he has the heart to play. If we didn’t have Randolph already under contract, I would take him, but we can only waste one spot on the bench.

Mario over Dixon: Does a back court of Bibby, Teague, Johnson and Crawford need more defense or offense? To me the answer is obvious.

Sautee

October 15th, 2009
10:20 am

Daniel,

Re: Siler…..I think Ray is concerned that unless we sign him he wouldn’t necessarily BE there next year, when we are likely to let Morris go. And we can’t just “stash” Siler in the D league without signing him and losing a roster spot (as I think you already know).

With Collins AND Morris not likely to be here next year either, it’s something to be concerned about. Not a HUGE concern, but something to consider.

As far as Mario goes your theory is sound, BUT, ‘rio only plays short minutes so it’s not like he has major impact. I can see both sides of that argument. It MIGHT come down to how well they think Crawford could handle the point in a pinch.

Remember that Flip’s game suffered when he ran the point, as it robbed him of some of his aggressiveness.

Blindog

October 15th, 2009
10:25 am

Nothing matters until Woodson is gone! It has been proven he can’t develope young talent[Acie Law] and the truth be told the veterans [Josh Smith] don’t care for him either!With the talent we have, my grandma could coach this team into the play-offs but to get to the next level we need a better coach! WOODSON MUST GO !!

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
10:37 am

Not being able to see the games so far is a problem. lol Do you know the style of play with Teague in the line up? Are they pushing the ball and setting up the offense faster?

Bibby getting off to a slow start may be a good thing, (as long as JT plays so well). As we have discussed before having our team getting into offensive sets quicker has always been a problem. With JT, “Just To” quick, getting more burn might naturally fix this problem. I hope. All the talk of JJ and his role may change with JT passing to the first one down the court.

One of the Hawks biggest assets is being able to finish on the break and one and play. To often in the past we ignore this obvious advantage and walk the ball up the court. Push it JT, push it. It will be nice to have a PG that can keep and reward his team mates that are willing to run.

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
11:09 am

ZaZA just wants his starting job back. Nice to see the big man working on his game.

….But, I don’t think I’ve seen Joe Smith or Jason Collins one time yet in a game. Are these guys going to stay hurt? Locker room influence is great and all that, but we didn’t sign these guys to give us depth on the injured reserve.

Sims and Siler prob wore the old men out. I wonder if Joe Smith or Jason Collins would have won the battles for jobs if they were invited to camp without being signed. Hmmmmm we’ll never know.

In a less political world with smaller ego’s I would love to see ZaZa start against the bigger less mobile centers. Or maybe even Siler/Collins. Kinda like a use up a few fouls by the bench early and save Al for the last 3 quarters.

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
11:15 am

Oh, and the Heat preview on NBA.com, they say that Wade, Jordan, and LeBron led the only 1-man deep playoff runs in recent memory.

Tim Duncan still gets no love. Ilgauskas in 2007 and Oakley in 1987 were both better than anyone on the Spurs in 2003. His supporting cast consisted of a bunch of has-beens (David Robinson in his last year, averaging 8.5ppg), not yets (the VERY unreliable and then-useless on D Tony Parker, rookie 8th man Manu, plus Stephen Jackson in his first decent season), never-will-bes (their fourth leading scorer was Malik freaking Rose), and Bruce Bowen. That was just as much of a “one-man team” as last year’s Heat, the ‘07 Cavs, or the ‘87 Bulls, and Duncan led them to a freaking title. Not just the Playoffs, like those other teams. A TITLE. But Tim Duncan isn’t a marketable star, so nooooo, he isn’t worthy of mention on NBA.com.

Clueless jackasses.

Melvin

October 15th, 2009
11:39 am

Great blog, Big Ray. You took the words right out of my mouth or head when it comes to Lebron. I’m sick of him already. I hope we beat the brakes off of Cleveland. And you know we are going to see those silly pregame garbage rituals that him and Shaq will be doing on a nightly basis. Enough Already. He has won anything yet, so if you want to crown him than crown his @$$…
I’m not worry about Smoove, I believe he’ll hit those FT’s when needed the most. Agreed, about Siler. He’s a low risk gamble with possibly high rewards.

Daniel

October 15th, 2009
11:39 am

Nire- I am with you that Duncan has to be the most overlooked superstar, ever. But, dang man let it out.

Sautee- I reall don’t think we have to sign Siler because he will get snatched up by some other team. I mean the guy has been out there for anyone to take a flier on and no one has. I could be wrong, but we will see.

KevinA- I wonder the same thing about Smith and Collins.

BlindDog- you sound like you still have the opinion from 2008. If you really think that Acie Law was not “developed” by Woodson, then you have no idea about basketball at all.

roan st

October 15th, 2009
11:58 am

Marvin Williams will always defer to his teammates. He doesn’t have that super drive to be a an allstar type player. Marvin is a great 3rd or 4th option player and he certainly doesn’t hurt the team being out there but he will never be a star. Dude is a pretty good player but not worth the #2 overall pick in the draft when there were better options available. Heck is not even the best small forward from his draft class with the emergence of Danny Granger. Hawks fans will wonder year after year when Marvin is going to break out and I have feeling that he will always be what he is right now.

Al Horford is also similar to Marvin in the fact that he is already near his ceiling as a player. The guy is just not a scorer and he is way undersized to be a center in the NBA. Is he really even 6-10? Because he doesn’t look any taller than Josh Smith if you ask me. Al is a 10-8 guy and sure he can improve his stats incrementally but what you see now is about all your going to get.

Jeff Teague brings a big smile to my face. Folks I don’t want to put the cart before the horse but Teague may finally erase the nightmare of passing on Paul and D. williams. You have got to love this kids tenacity at attacking the basket. This is where he is different than Marvin Williams. Marvin in year 5 will still defer to teamates but Teague looks like he will take full advantage of his opportunities to attack when he is on the court. He will be a great change of pace from Bibby and hopefully Woody will get this kid the minutes he needs.

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
12:01 pm

They thought Mark Martin was washed up. May win Nascar Cup this year.

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
12:19 pm

roan st,

Your only as good as your team mates and coach. If CP3 were our pg do you think Marvin would have trouble getting the ball? If Stockton were playing for the Hawks would we be discussing iso plays? I respect Bibby and his game and he was a big factor in getting us into the playoffs but he is not what I would call a perfect fit.

Last year Bibby made himself the 2nd option. This year he should drop to 5th option. Marvin and Smooth are clearly the #2 and #3 with Al being the fourth. If this happens maybe the “star power” will shine. Where JT fits in I am not sure but, for this team to go to the next level he may be the reason.

Trainwreck

October 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

I sadly have not been able to actually see any preseason games, so stats and ajc recaps are really the only insight I’ve gotten. Preseason numbers are great, and you definitely cannot discount things like poor shooting/bad shooting/apparent team chemistry etc. However you probably don’t have to worry about veterans like Bibby that much, I’m more confident that he will turn it around when games start meaning suomething. Also, I know it’s a totally different sport but the Falcons looked great in preseason and especially on offense, but it took them a while to really show it in the regular season (although they were still winning). So I will wait until the regular season to pass any further judgment.

roan st

October 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

“Your only as good as your team mates and coach”. Marvin has a much better supporting cast than Granger, yet granger averaged 25 points per game last year. Marvin won’t assert himself is why Bibby and others have passed him on the food chain. Look how Teague is attacking the basket and he is only a rookie. If Marvin stepped up his offensive game and looked to score and attack then Bibby and others would look to get him the ball more. Its up to marvin to take his game to another level. Its certainly not the fault of his teamates that he has failed to live up to the lofty expectations of being the #2 overall pick. Marvin is a good player but if he is going to take that next step he must take the bull by the horns.

The Truth

October 15th, 2009
1:08 pm

Ray

One more thing: You make a very valid point with this statement:

No one has stepped up alongside Joe Johnson as a bonafide, consistent upper level scoring threat, making guys like Flip Murray (and now Jamal Crawford) an absolute necessity

As I think about how the Hawks roster salaries are distributed starting from the highest:

Joe Johnson – $14,976,754
Josh Smith – $10,800,000
Jamal Crawford – $9,360,000
Marvin Williams – $7,500,000

To your point, it begs the question, what about Josh Smith? It would seem from a salary prospective that it is more his burden (to step up) then Marvin? I’m not suggesting that Marvin gets a pass, but Josh has to be included in this conversation as well. When we start talking about who should be the Robin to Batman, from the salary angle of things, it’s got to be Josh Smith. Much have been made about Josh growth potential, it maybe time for Josh to polish-up his game and take it to the next level.

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
1:40 pm

roan and KevinA,

I think you’re talking across points. Granger plays on an awful, awful team. So the coach draws up lots of plays in which Granger gets the shot. He doesn’t have great teammates, but he did have two solid point guards (Ford and Jack) who were more distribution-oriented than Bibby. If Granger and Marvin switched places, my guess is that the Marvin would score ~19ppg instead of 14 and Granger would score ~16ppg instead of 25. Of course, I have no way of knowing this, but Marvin seems to be a player who takes on whatever role is asked of him. When JJ went down for a couple games and he was asked to take on more of the scoring load, he stepped up and put up JJ-like (hell, BETTER than JJ-like) numbers. Of course, that doesn’t even address the fact that Marvin blows Granger out of the water when it comes to who is a better defender (although as on offense, that might be as much a reflection of systems and roles than it’s a reflection on the players themselves).

There’s a chicken and egg problem when it comes to “assertiveness.” Does Marvin not get the ball because he’s not assertive? Or is he not assertive because he does not get the ball? Considering that Marvin doesn’t call the plays and that Marvin (as I said) did get more assertive on offense when JJ went down (and more assertive on defense all year round), I lean towards the former.

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
1:41 pm

Daniel

October 15th, 2009
1:41 pm

.Truth- I think as long as Josh stops taking 3 pointers and gets a decent FT percentage (what is up with that) He will take that step.

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
2:42 pm

Not so much as talking across points, more like roan st and I just disagree. I had incremental hopes for more of a team offense, in fact nire thinks I am nuts because of my take on attempt distribution. JT gives me more hope this change in style of play can take place much faster. Then our eggs will look much closer to chickens.

KevinA

October 15th, 2009
2:48 pm

The Truth,

I am with you concerning Josh except Marvin has equal responsibility. I think they can both handle it. The best team ball is exhibited by the Spurs. They have no ego’s – they pass to who is hot and utilize every one.

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
3:36 pm

If he doesn’t get back to around the 70% he was shooting before, somebody ought to either fire Mark Price, or hire somebody else to help him fix whatever his malfunction is. It’s not like he’s always been a horrible free throw shooter.

I think we need to hire someone, and that someone should be a sports psychologist. Josh says – and I believe him – that he’s hitting the FTs in practice and, as Ray said, he used to hit them with a solid percentage in games. The problem is that he goes through these stretches where he is struggling, or he’ll have just a bad game (like that 5-10 a couple nights ago). (Warning: I’m about to use stats for the first time in awhile! A good illustration is what happened last year. Josh had that awful 5-week run from January 23 to March 6 during which he shot 28 of 77 from the line. That’s 36.4% – more than 5% lower than Ben Wallace’s career average (which is the worst career average in NBA history). During the rest of the year, he shot a mediocre-but-not godawful 64.9% (183 of 282). His average in December – the month before his bad stretch – it was 70%.

I don’t think he has Steve Blass/Mark Wohlers-level issues that will haunt him for the rest of his career. But I think that just as Wohlers’s issues were in an area outside Leo Mazzone’s expertise, so Josh’s occasional lapses at the line are in an area outside Price’s.

All that being said, I think Josh will be fine. But if he ends up having another stretch where a bad game at the line turns into a bad week, I think Woodson and Sund might want to call in the psychological cavalry.

cp

October 15th, 2009
4:28 pm

I like what I have seen of Teague so far. I think he will find his jumper but is kind of struggling with the NBA range right now. Its great to see him attack the rim since his shot is not falling like he wants it to. I like what I see from the starters. Pachulia and Hunter have been pretty good off the bench. At first I thought Mario could easily beat out Dixon seeing just how poorly Dixon played last year for Washington but other than the first pre season game, Mario has done pretty much next to nothing while Dixon looks like he wants a roster spot. I know Mario brings this energy and whatever but Its nice to have some production to go along with it. I would feel better having Dixon than Mario if one of our guards gets hurt…. I’m not worried about Joe Smith. They are playing it smart and not using him until the last few pre season games. I’m not happy about the Collins signing though. That guy is so out of shape he makes Eddy Curry look like a workout warrior. And how did RandyMo get a 2 year guaranteed contract. I wonder who he has pictures of.

junebaby

October 15th, 2009
5:52 pm

good points guys…, but remember that all these guys were drafted by Billy Knight. and, if i remember correctly, his philosophy was to have about a 10 man rotation with each averaging about 10-12 ppg. at the time these players were drafted; chills, smoove, marvin, acie, sheldon, salim, etc. etc., he thought he would run the same type team as his memphis teams. similar offense with better players. it just didn’t work out, as that’s not the kind of system woody was comfortable with. and once he added jj and bibby, there was no way that system could work. anyway, those are my thoughts! somone help me out with this!! pls.

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
9:48 pm

MannyT

October 15th, 2009
10:07 pm

I’ll comment after a watch a few LeBron commercials ;-)

Big Ray

October 15th, 2009
11:04 pm

Truth ,

I actually wasn’t trying to be hard on Marvin at all. Those comments were directed at the yearly expectations of him “taking that next step.” It’s never really been about the tools. He has them. What he hasn’t had, he’s added. The guy has become a better player every year, and I don’t care what ANYBODY says about that. He became better defensively. He extended his 3-point range. He’s worked on his handle. And every time, he’s been successful. Yet, he produces nearly the same results each year. That was why I brought it up. Disappointment in Marvin is based on expectations. Due to the way he naturally defers, I don’t expect him to do more than he does. As to his draft position, it will always unfairly haunt him. Marvin didn’t pick himself 2nd overall in the ‘05 draft. Billy Knight did.

But there is also the point of HOW to get Marvin to be a more potent contributor. Marvin has to want it. Woody keeps talking about him taking that next step, but I still don’t see Woody running plays for him, so that’s empty talk. JJ says they have to get him to contribute more. JJ, you are team captain and team leader. Encourage him. Cajole and adjure him. Otherwise, your talk is every bit as empty as Woody’s. Want him to get after it more? Give him the ball. Early. Often. And if Woody keeps calling ISO play, tell him to cram it up his arse like Bibby does. You can do it. You’re the man.

In truth, the bigger burden IS on Josh Smith to be the one to step up next to JJ. The contract, as you mentioned, only supports that argument.

But it’s not just his scoring. Josh needs to become Shawn Marion-like (although the three point shooting isn’t necessary…as he correctly noted, based on the 3-point threats we already have). In other words, shoot a good percentage from the field (no less than 49%), grab double digit rebounds or damn close to it, and provide 17-19 points per game to go along with his typical 2+ blocks, a steal or so, and a couple/few assists. I think that’s optimally what we want/need from Josh.

Big Ray

October 15th, 2009
11:19 pm

Daniel ,

Excellent replies. As far as Smith and Collins, I was being a bit precocious in my assertions. I figured that Woody and his staff were simply getting those guys acclimated to his system, and wasn’t too worried about putting them on the floor in preseason. However, for a more complete explanation, see Sekou Smith’s article on Joe Smith.

KevinA ,

Whenever you can, watch the highlights of the Hawks’ preseason games on NBA.com. You’ll get to see some of the guys in action. I’ll say this: Teague has a good deal of speed, and pushes the ball pretty hard. If there is somebody to pass the ball to in a good spot, he’ll do it. If not, he is capable of beating the entire defense to the rim. Even when a defender manages to get in place, he is not deterred in the least, either finishing or drawing the foul. When he’s on the court, our bigs will get the ball, and the defense will be on it’s heels. Well, once he gets used to the regular season that is. Nothing replaces speed and a nose for the basket. And brother, he has exactly that.

As to Mike Bibby, I think a lot of people get slightly the wrong impression. As his career assist numbers will tell you, he is not a prototypical pg. In fact, he’s a shooting point guard that feeds off of big men who are skilled with the ball. Bibby’s best years were with guys like Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, and Brad Miller. Each of those guys was a threat on offense, and each could pass well, whether it was to each other, or out to a wing/perimeter player. Bibby literally fed off of those guys. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a decent pg, but that system (Adelman’s system) is where he’s best. And not to take away what he can do, but I think it’s also why he never made an all-star team.

Here in Atlanta, Bibby has big men who can pass and score. No, they aren’t the same caliber or same type of players as were in Sacramento, but each can handle and share the ball. One major, fundamental difference. Woody’s offense calls for the majority of the scoring to come from the backcourt. To borrow from Nire’s currently favorite analogy, this presents yet another “chicken and egg” situation. Does Woody not involve the frontcourt nearly as much because he figured they aren’t or weren’t ready, or were/are those guys not ready because he hasn’t involved them?

A couple years ago, I would have leaned toward the former with Josh and Marvin. Not anymore. They’re as ready as they’re ever going to be, if you ask me. Involve them more NOW, when they’re able to make strides at the age of 23/24. Same with Horford, who I believe was ready to score more LAST YEAR. Do it now before you completely wear out Joe Johnson.

Big Ray

October 15th, 2009
11:27 pm

Roan St ,

Good to see you around again!

Your comments on Marvin seem spot on to me, but they also seemed to be a bit conflicting. You say that Marvin will always defer to his teammates and lacks the star/superstar drive to do more than he is. Then you say that in order for him to get to the next level, he must take the bull by the horns. I agree on both accounts, but the former cancels out the latter. If Marvin doesn’t have it in him, then he ain’t gonna grab them there horns! :)

Seriously, I agree and think that Marvin is going to remain in the role he’s in. And that may be best for this team. We can’t reasonable expect Marvin to step up and be the threat next to Joe, and expect Josh to do exactly the same thing, and expect Horford’s role to expand greatly as well. There has to be some give and take, some ebb and flow. Maybe we’re seeing it already, I don’t know.

As for the draft status, I maintain the opinion that where guys are picked says more about the hype surrounding them coming out of college (or wherever), and what organizations think about them. No player in the draft chooses how high or low they are picked. And I don’t think they should work towards goals based on their draft position. Yes, he was picked #2, but does that mean he has to spend his career trying to justify it? By the same logic, would we want Teague to play like a #19 pick? Right now, I’d say he’s outplaying half the lottery picks, and I LIKE that. Anyway, just my opinion on the draft status….

Big Ray

October 15th, 2009
11:38 pm

Did a quick check and it appears that in the preseason at least, Teague is outdoing guys like James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Johnny Flynn, etc. The only player doing as well so far is Blake Griffin. Huh.

vava74

October 16th, 2009
3:24 am

Big Ray,

You need to ask Nire to do a “pre-season evaluation” of all rookies so we can rank Teague properly.

I think he is easily in the top 3 (DeJuan Blair is also rocking for the Spurs and give his draft position, he is surprising).

vava74

October 16th, 2009
3:25 am

KevinA

October 16th, 2009
7:03 am

Big Ray

October 15th, 2009
11:19 pm

A couple years ago, I would have leaned toward the former with Josh and Marvin. Not anymore. They’re as ready as they’re ever going to be, if you ask me. Involve them more NOW, when they’re able to make strides at the age of 23/24. Same with Horford, who I believe was ready to score more LAST YEAR. Do it now before you completely wear out Joe Johnson.

Ray,

Couldn’t agree with you more.

KevinA

October 16th, 2009
7:13 am

niremetal

October 15th, 2009
3:36 pm

Josh may or may not need a psychological cavalry. Great post. I do think when he is missing free FT’s it weighs on his mind and slows his aggressiveness. We lost several games last year because of poor FT shooting. With Josh – like Howard, these guys are just to good to let it affect their games. I hope the Hawks spend more time encouraging aggressiveness than harping on misses. Like you pointed out, it’s a mental thing. The second bit of advice would not to read our blogs. lol They would tear any good man down.

niremetal

October 16th, 2009
9:23 am

Assuming he stays healthy and Dunleavy is as smart as I think he is, I think Griffin should easily win ROY. I honestly don’t know enough about the rest of the rookies to handicap them since I don’t follow college ball.

The only other prediction I’ll make is this – I think David Andersen will do better than expected because Houston’s frontcourt is the thinnest in the NBA (Andersen is the only player on their roster who is 6′10 or taller) and Adelman’s offense is tailor-made for a sweet-shooting big man, even if he can’t play a lick of defense. So I think Andersen should average 13 and 6.5, and might even get as high as 15 and 8. People will then start screaming for Sund’s head for daring to let this precious gem go, ignoring the fact that the Rockets will be a sub-.500 team and the fact that in Atlanta, Andersen would be the 2nd big man off the bench getting 12-15 minutes a night, whereas he’ll be the starting center getting 30 minutes a night in Houston (ie Zaza is better than Andersen). Also, nevermind the fact that the cash we got in the Andersen trade is what’s allowing us to brush closer to the luxury tax this year.

But be forewarned – five months from now, people will be saying that Sund made a collosal blunder in trading Andersen for a second round pick and a buttload of cash.

niremetal

October 16th, 2009
9:28 am

Oh, and honestly – it’s a toss-up as to whether I’d prefer to have Andersen or Joe Smith as our second big man off the bench. I’d probably take Joe because while Joe is old, Andersen is no spring chicken (he’s 30) and the fact that he has a more reliable perimeter shot than Joe Smith is offset by the fact that Andersen is a sieve on defense (apologies if I just offended some sieves).

Should we have held out for more than what we got for Andersen? Well, I probably would have insisted that the second round pick be unconditional, but I honestly don’t think we could have gotten anything more than that for a 30-year old foreign player with no NBA experience.

vava74

October 16th, 2009
10:21 am

Nire,

I think you must be missing your morning coffee!!!

Unless Joe Smith goes down with a season ending surgery, there is absolutely no question that his contribution on a 12-15 minute a night basis will be far superior to what Andersen would bring to the table.

Andersen has exactly 0 minutes of NBA experience and is a typically Euro-ball center: a softy with range (a bankrupt’s version of Okur) and helpless on one-on-one defence.

People complain that Marvin is not aggressive around here, how would they like a guy who is 6′11 and will not average more than 7,5 rpg even if he plays 32+ minutes per game?

Also, if Bogut is already a semi-bust, why would someone playing as his backup with the Aussies would be any good? Specially when he is coming over to play in the NBA close to his 30th birthday?

His maturity and shooting touch will make him useful but he could never bring to the table what we need for our backup front court: experience, man-to-man defence and size/weight to fight Howard and Shaq and we got that with Joe and Jason.

nunna yo biznezz

October 16th, 2009
11:58 am

Daniel,i kinda agree with blinddog..
Woody,did nothing for Acie Law,Thomas Gardner,Othello Hunter,and if we expect to see anything of Teague this year,its probably gonna be from the sidelines or on another team..

Woody has not patience for the developement of younger guards…None at all!!

And,he will give the same ole’ lame excuse about not having a bench on why johnson,bibbs,and smoove all will be looking at 40+ minutes a game by game #16..

And,with the big men in camp,we can now match up with the orlando’s,clevelands,and boston out of the east…

Sautee

October 16th, 2009
12:02 pm

I know it’s just preseason but…..

Big Ray is BRINGIN” IT!

Good writing, bud.

MannyT

October 16th, 2009
12:49 pm

Back from all the LeBron commercials and the Falcon Air fiasco of yesterday.

Remember, you were not getting Andersen for the minimum. Smith gets over a million and the league pays for part of it. If Anderson get the exact same money, the Hawks pay it all. While Andersen might be a better option in year 2 (assuming Smith doesn’t stay here), he would also impede the growth of your young big men off the bench (RandMo, Siler?) for multiple years.

BWAF

Dwayne

October 16th, 2009
1:17 pm

Mick Vick is wa better than Matt Ryan….oooops….sorry, wrong blog.

MAD-DONNA

October 16th, 2009
2:58 pm

No one has stepped up with Joe, because no one else has the heart that Joe has…and that’s not saying much about having heart! Imagine how much more elevated Joe’s game would be, if he had an “attitude”!

Big Ray

October 16th, 2009
9:41 pm

Nire ,

We’ll have to remember your prediction when it comes true. :) No really, I think you have it pegged: Andersen will look good in Adelman’s offense and some people will want to crucify Sund for perceived bad asset management. All too often there is no concept of “if you can’t use it, trade it for something you CAN use.”

Sautee ,

Thanks, man.

MAD-DONNA ,

I don’t think it’s a lack of heart. Joe has a combination of skills/talents and playing (not to mention good coaching before he came here) that the other guys just don’t have. He’s already come into his own. The others are just now really doing so.

Big Ray

October 16th, 2009
9:41 pm

Dwayne ,

It’s not a problem. But you’re way wrong anyhow. :)