….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!