Turning the page

Wow.

I just got back from reading Sekou Smith’s (the Hawks awesome beat writer) blog, and….I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this many well-wishers for guys who were looking to make the Hawks squad out of training camp. Is that really how far things have come? I mean, we talk about the evolution of this team, this organization, this coaching staff. But how about this fan base? Have we evolved along with this team as well? I think most of us can agree that we’ve complained about plenty of things in the past. And there are some things we STILL complain about. We’re fans. We pay for a product, we all want to see what we want to see, and we all have an opinion, though that tends to vary from person to person. Still, seeing that many people posting actual heartfelt replies about guys who we knew were longshots to make the roster says something. Maybe this entire Hawks culture is changing. Maybe we as fans are turning the page.

Uh, okay. Let me pump the brakes on that one. Fact is, the regular season has yet to start (7 days!!), and we have yet to see a win or loss that truly matters. So I guess I’ll have to save my half-way blissful pontifications for later and get back to reality. First, let’s congratulate Othello Hunter on making the cut, as it were. Although, if I’m Hunter, I’m not breathing a sigh of relief until the ink dries on a contract with my name and Sund’s (or whoever signs the official contracts) on it. Still, in the spirit of good will, let’s give him the official fan “welcome back.”

In the meantime, Mario West’s “feel good” story has come to an end, at least here in Hawksville. I think we all hope that it continues somewhere else in the NBA or overseas at the very least, but without a more developed offensive game….well, it had to end sometime. And unlike in times past, it would seem that this says more about the direction and progression of this team than it does about the front office’s ability or inability to effectively manage assets. Sorry to see you go, ‘Rio. Best of luck elsewhere. Turn your page man. Don’t let the book close, just because this chapter is over.

Moving right along, let’s take a look at the remaining preseason games. The Hawks have Miami on tap tomorrow, and Orlando on Friday. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, it should give us a few clues. Most teams, if not all, aren’t too worried about wins and losses in the preseason. What they are worried about is how well they get into their sets on both sides of the court, and how well they execute. It also gives them a chance to find out if they can use new or improved weapons. In the case of the Miami Heat, one of the keys will be Michael Beasley. Is he serious about the game now? If he is, and he dedicates himself to his craft, Miami becomes more dangerous. If not, then watch the Heat take a slide backwards and possibly struggle to make the playoffs. Other than Beasley, I’m not too interested in any other South Beach threats. Jermaine O’Neal is as slick as they come in the post, but he’s an injury away from doing what he normally does. That, and I can’t see Spoelstra motivating him nearly as effectively as Riley would.

Then there’s Orlando. The general consensus is that they will win the Southeast division. After that, it’s a question as to how far they can go, given that Boston is healthy (for the moment) and Cleveland has added Shaq and some more-important-than-you-think role players. What we get to find out on Friday is just how smoothly does this team work? Sure, we know all about Dwight. He’ll get 20 and 15 on any given night. But does Jameer facilitate nearly as well as Hedo did? We also know what Vince can do. Does he have enough space to operate in with Rashard Lewis and Jameer doing the bulk of their damage from the perimeter? What happens the first time somebody gets uptight about minutes or touches, and Van Gundy begins shooting his super-sized mouth off? The good news for Orlando is there will be no point guard issue. Jameer is clearly the man for the job down there. The bad news for US is they have even more weapons than they did last year, with some help for Dwight down low (don’t know about you, but outside of a Hawks uni, I did NOT want to see Brandon Bass in our division). They Magic are deeper than they were last year. So are we. Question is, whose depth will be more effective? One might easily say Orlando on paper, but the fact is, how effective the bench is depends partially on how effective the starters are. If our guys can play well together and exploit mismatches, then our reserve unit can cause problems. If not, the whole thing can tank.

We will also get a glimpse of something else in these last two games: how we play on the road, particularly against two divisonal opponents. Hey, no team likes to take a shot to the dome at home, even in the preaseason. The competition may not be at regular season level, but I’m sure both teams that we are about to face would like to make statements. We served notice last year about coming into the Highlight Factory. Now we need to serve notice that we can take it from opponents in their own back yard. Time to turn that page, and begin a newer, more successful chapter.

84 comments Add your comment

A Quest Called Tribe

October 21st, 2009
10:00 pm

Who wrote this drivel? This is horrible. And it’s not even in grey!

Don’t y’all hate Ray as much as I do?

I know I hate him as much as I do. Both of us.

Hate hate hate!

A Quest Called Tribe

October 21st, 2009
10:01 pm

Oh yeah, FIRST!

niremetal

October 21st, 2009
10:04 pm

In the meantime, Mario West’s “feel good” story has come to an end, at least here in Hawksville. I think we all hope that it continues somewhere else in the NBA or overseas at the very least, but without a more developed offensive game….well, it had to end sometime.

I’ll always wonder why he didn’t just shoot that corner trey 1000 times a day so that he could take on a Bruce Bowen type of role somewhere – ie defensive stud, and will occasionally make you pay if you leave him open on the other end. If he can do that and keep up his intensity on D and his relentless crashing of the offensive boards, he’ll land himself a steady NBA job someday.

don’t know about you, but outside of a Hawks uni, I did NOT want to see Brandon Bass in our division

I’m not too worried about him. Seriously. He was backing up a superstar in Dallas, and superstars’ back-ups normally look better than they really are (not unlike his teammate, Marcin Gortat). He’s pretty strong and athletic, but unlike Josh and Al, he doesn’t have the elite level of athleticism and strength that is needed when you are undersized for a frontcourt position. He’s a good piece off the bench, but he is most definitely not someone who should be a starter, and I actually don’t see him as anything to lose sleep over.

That being said, Orlando definitely is stacked. They are one of the few teams who probably could lose two starters and win 50 games.

doc

October 21st, 2009
10:09 pm

good theme of forging ahead ray. we must make our mark with consistent play, multiple contributors and winning over half the games on the road to achieve what i think we are capable of. really excited about the up coming season.

first, after the scroll.

doc

October 21st, 2009
10:11 pm

close second

Big Ray

October 21st, 2009
11:07 pm

“Tribe” ,

:lol: Made my day, I’m tellin’ ya.

Nire ,

Totally agreed on Bass from the talent perspective. If dude was true starter material, the Hornets would have never let him go. It’s not that I think he will terrorize the Eastern Conference. My issue is that we always seem to have trouble with energy guys like, that come off the bench. He’s kinda like Reggie Evans in a way: gets rebounds, makes the hustle plays, etc.

We’ve always had problems with guys like that. Hopefully that changes, as part of the problem has been our starters not matching the intensity of a reserve like Bass. And up until now, we haven’t had the kind of reserves that have been able to match it, either. I can see Hunter doing that sort of thing if he gets the minutes.

Bass isn’t by far who we should be most worried about when we’re playing Orlando. But you can’t ignore a guy who might get 6 rebounds in 4 minutes. Have to keep guys like him and Gortat from matching or exceeding the production and effectiveness of our starters/bench guys.

blonju

October 21st, 2009
11:28 pm

big ray,
good perspective. brandon bass played for dallas not new orleans. orlando is deep, but do they have the chemistry? the hawks have positioned themselves to suprise a lot of folks if we stay healthy. we should have kept ‘rio over othello just because of his energy and the fact that the players like him. othello is a long way away from being an effective backup – he needs to get tougher and more agressive out there. thanks for the blog! rise up hawks fans!

KevinA

October 22nd, 2009
12:28 am

If there is a possible negative at the start of the season is that Woody may be as dumb as Van Gundy. How in the heck do you not feed Howard more than anyone else on the team. Like a bunch.

For Woody how do you not do the same thing with a mixed bag like Josh, Al and Marvin.

What did Gundy say to Carter – go for it – wrong.

What did Woody say to Crawford – go for it – wrong.

Both teams have the same identy problem – they don’t take advantage of their strengths.

One last time, (of course I am lying) Crawford showed me passing skills that can transform the team. Give me that 9-10 assists a game and you – my man – are the next star.

Hope tribe doesn’t read my stuff.

JSS

October 22nd, 2009
3:21 am

Big Ray, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments… I have been disheartened by the personal attacks flying around lately… Geez, it is only October!

Blonju…
Bass played his first two seasons in New Orleans (as they were splitting time post Katrina in OKC)… He then played the next two years in Dallas.

I guess I’ll stop asking questions on both blogs, It seems I’ve somehow run afoul along the way… I will comment from time to time… I’m looking forward to opening night… Loyal Hawks fan since 1968… JSS

O'Brien

October 22nd, 2009
8:11 am

I hope Woody has turned the page as well. We are deep and filled with established veterans, so I hope he sticks with his minutes reduction plan, and I hope he has developed an offensive identity (less iso JJ, and preferrably one that has the Hawks running more).

Daniel

October 22nd, 2009
8:44 am

Ray- Nice post. I was thinking the same thing about the Hawks fan base yesterday. We still have some of the same ole, same ole…. “Woody doesn’t develop players, Woody doesn’t run an offense, etc…” but for the most part the blog has gotten a lot deeper with insight and less with trite drivel. Heck, I even saw truth serum with some reasonable posts lately. I think we have come a long way. And, I hope that although we disagree from time to time we are all in this together.

I am going to disagree and agree with Nire. Gortat is definitely overrated and got a ridiculous contract. He is overvalued by his playoff performance. But, Bass is definitely the real deal. Yes, he backed up in Dallas, but he will get to play along side Howard in Orlando. His relentlessness will cause other teams fits, because he will be playing off Dwight’s double teams and defensive rotations.
I have been on record as saying that his pick up was the best off season free agent move this summer. And yes, I am including Rasheed Wallace.

Daniel

October 22nd, 2009
8:46 am

Dang, I wrote a nice post and it was eaten.

Daniel

October 22nd, 2009
8:51 am

Alright here goes…
Ray, I was thinking the exact same thing about the fan base yesterday. We have come a long way. Yes, we still get some of the same ole drivel..”Woody doesn’t develop players, Woody doesn’t have an offense, etc….” But, for the most part the regulars have more to say and people are realizing that even if we disagree we are still on the same team. Heck, even truth serum has written some reasonable posts lately.

As far as Bass goes, I totally disagree with Nire on that one. Yes, Gortat is a good example of an overvalued player. His contract is ridiculous, (Adam Keefe). But, Bass playing alond side Howard is going to cause a lot of problems for teams. His injury and physicality will compliment Howards inside game beautifully. I have been on record saying that the Bass pick up was the best free agent move of the off season (not named Artest) and I am including Rasheed Wallace.

Westurd

October 22nd, 2009
9:05 am

I’m never been this pumped for opening night or the season before………….also, bought a packaged deal this year from a buddy for 15 games. I think there will be an intensity and energy this year that has been lacking most other seasons……Just from the blogs being written this summer you can sense the excitement. GO HAWKS, SEE YA WEDNESDAY WHEN YOU WHOOP UP ON INDY!

Daniel

October 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

Nire, you are wrong and Ray is right.
(I am being controversial today)
Gortat is way overvalued, totally agree there. But, Bass is going to do some work along side Howard. I think it is a great fit. In fact, the Bass pick up was the best free agent pick up this off season (excluding Artest), but including Wallace.

lexluther

October 22nd, 2009
11:33 am

Big Ray don’t worry. Tribe hates you because he ain’t you!! Man keep doing what you’re doing. You need haters to let you know you’re doing a good job. ONE!!!

newkid

October 22nd, 2009
12:03 pm

So it seems Sekou was correct about Sund limiting the roster to a baker’s dozen coming out of camp. Big Ray, aside from the obvious financial incentives associated with a lean 13 approach, and the flexibility to add pieces during the campaign, what do you suspect are the pros and cons of this move? Could it be a ‘trend’ that survives the current economic downturn, or is it simply a financial ’strategy de jour’?

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 22nd, 2009
12:30 pm

Enter your comments here

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 22nd, 2009
12:56 pm

Sorry pressed the enter key by mistake. Now I know where the Enter your comments here comes from.

Anyhow, finally someone who congratulates Othello and welcomes him back into the fold. From following the team during the off season as well as the preseason, I gather that Othello earned that last spot. So I really don’t see what the problem is unless guys feel that Siler, Mario, or Sims earned the spot. I don’t know go figure.

I don’t know Bass’ game so I can’t speak on that! I do know that Orlando’s undefeated in the preseason 7-0, it’s gonna be interesting to see if our Hawks can destroy their perfect preseason record on Friday. Finally a road preseason game that we can watch on ESPN. But first Miami tonight on 790 the zone.

Mario was definitely a fan fav. and you can tell it. There was just something about Mario that just pumped the crowd up. Imagine how hard it was for the Hawks to make the decision as to who to keep or let go. Siler, Mario, and Othello with one spot left. That’s a hard decision until you look at it from a who earned the spot point of view.

So the roster is set for 2009-2010. I can’t wait to see this team in action when it really counts on October 28, 2009.

niremetal

October 22nd, 2009
1:31 pm

I just hope that Woody isn’t so stupid that he thinks we need to make a “statement” with either of these last preseason games. No. One. Cares.

He should be mixing and matching lineups to see how well players mesh and trying to give burn to guys like RandMo and Hunter who won’t get much during the regular season. If any of our starters go more than 32 minutes, he’s a fool.

MannyT

October 22nd, 2009
1:54 pm

JSS–I call it canniblogging. Some folks just blog to feast on others. For example, I never look to a sports blog for grammar insights. I know I make mistakes either from typing too fast or just not staying on top of the most correct way to write a thought. If that disqualifies people from liking sports, most venues would be closer to empty than full. Life goes on. Stay with the blogs if you like them and just scroll past the hate.

Mz. Hawkdafied–never apologize for being interested. The AJC loves the fact that we are interested enough to pump up their internet stats. It allows them to charge more for online ads. Your oops might actually make the paper less unprofitable.

Nire–cosign that get a jumper thing for Mario. Maybe this cut is the best thing for him to retool his offensive game for the long haul.

I don’t think Woody loses his mind this early in the year…however I do recall Pat Riley getting carried away years ago and playing Magic 40 minutes in a preseason game just for that fake win. It will be nice to see the Hawks on national TV on Friday even if it is preseason.

Ray–I could save this for the prediction blog, but let this thought pass through the mind. Boston’s age shows. They play well enough to win division, but not well enough to dominate. Hawks don’t outdo Orlando, but show they have the depth to be a serious challenge. End result–we don’t win SE, but we do have 3rd best record in East after Cleveland & Orlando…winning more games than last season 50 something. (Disclaimer–this requires Woody to figure out his situational player mix to take advantage of the competition.)

All this is fluff until Wednesday…except for the part where I come up with a dominant fantasy team on Saturday to show Samuel and the folks that I can handle myself…statistically ;-)

BWAF

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
1:56 pm

JSS ,

Run afoul? Where? Man, do yo thang! Enjoy your comments/questions/etc. Seriously. :)

Daniel ,

Sorry about that blog monster. Whenever I log into WordPress, the first thing I do is check the spam filter and “pending” filter. But I have to be logged in to do it. If I’m not, then I can’t see what’s missing or what got gobbled by the monster. For some reason, your stuff got labeled as spam. I have no idea why the blog monster thought your comments smelled like “Viagra” and “Cialis”, who have been spamming the crap out of me (77 times in the last three days or so, holy nether region octane boosters Batman!). Is somebody trying to tell me something? Boy did they ever get the wrong guy! :)

As you can see, both of your attempts are now on board. My bad…bad monster that is…

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
1:59 pm

MannyT ,

Razor-sharp insight from all sides, as usual. Like the prediction, and agree with the caveat. Catch y’all around game time. Canniblogging should have your copyright on it. Almost mentioned it in the post, but didn’t want people to get jealous of you cameo-ing in two blog posts straight… :lol:

G-Money

October 22nd, 2009
3:57 pm

Great article. I am happy that we have progressed to the point that it really is a tough decision to have to terminate our relationship with these types of players. I wish them all well in their future endeavors.

MannyT

October 22nd, 2009
4:04 pm

No worries about the cameo. I don’t want people to think we have the same blog agent ;-)

Hopefully you will make a few games early in the season before the bandwagon latecomers fill the seats and push the long standing fans aside to get on TV with their foam fingers.

Newkid, I think the lean 13 might be a major topic in the next collective bargaining agreement. The players got bigger rosters but now the owners are not using the roster size. I suspect mostly to save money. If they needed a roster spot for a trade in the past, they just cut a min salary player.

Found this peek at the Nets finances. It might shed light on how much the recession is hitting the NBA.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/33226894

BWAF

newkid

October 22nd, 2009
4:34 pm

MannyT, when most teams play 10 or fewer guys, I’d love to hear the argument the players association makes in support of a ‘higher than 12′(or 13) minimum roster size. I could see the owners arguing that if the league is to expand to Europe in the next 5 years or so, requiring owners to retain players beyond 12 or 13 per side is unnecessarily diluting the talent pool available to populate the 5 or 6 teams needed to make expansion to Europe a realistic possibility without sacrificing product quality. And if the owners can show that fielding 5 or 6 quality sides in Europe will lead to the sort of league-wide TOTAL revenue expansion that would yield salary caps well in excess of $75M per side, I think the players association stays quiet on the lean 13 concept.

Sautee

October 22nd, 2009
4:47 pm

Ray,

Nice piece. I always figure that a fan base grows and contracts, but I hadn’t thought of it getting smarter. VERRRRY INTERRRESTING!

MannyT

October 22nd, 2009
5:53 pm

Newkid,

Recall that rosters used to be 12 and there were rules for injury replacements. Some teams had 3-6 guys on te injured list. There were often questions about how injured a player was when you needed to bring a good player back and the end of the benc guy caught a knee condition or mild sprain. The wise men of both sides agreed to raise the roster size and eliminate the injury list.

If I look at it impartially, I figure you want at least 10, possibly 12 to have a 2 team scrimmage. If you have injuries, you need more. If you need to simulate specific skills on another team, you may need more players to have your starters go against a bigger (or smaller) than normal sized team.

If I represent the players, I’d look at the roster sizes across the league. If most of them are 13 at the start of the season, I start mumbling, collusion, anit-trust, and things that bring federal pressure on the owners. I offer to help expand revenues for a slight increase in the revenue percentage (or change in the calculation that brings more revenue into the count.)

If I represent the owners, bad economy is my banner. I push for lower maximum salaries, so I can afford to pay more players at the other end of the bench.

No use of Euros required. :-)

BWAF

niremetal

October 22nd, 2009
6:31 pm

I think that setting up Euro franchises is highly unlikely. The biggest killer is simply the time difference between the West Coast and Europe – 9 hours to Spain/Italy/France, 10 to the Balkins, Greece, and Turkey (which are the biggest areas for hoops in Europe), and 11 to Moscow. That will be absolutely killer for players to endure. And that’s not even getting into the logistics and expenses of traveling between multiple foreign countries, coordinating with embassies, etc.

What’s much more likely is that the NBA enters into some sort of agreement where there is a summer Euro vs. NBA playoffs – say the Final Four from each play in a series of round robins to determine seeds followed by single-elimination games (think the ATP World Tour Finals), all taking place at a pre-determined location each year.

Sautee

October 22nd, 2009
9:05 pm

Holy hell, Josh is 1-10 from the foul line.

Time for that sports psychologist.

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
9:26 pm

Sautee ,

I was just thinking that. Can’t see the game, so I can’t see Josh’s “form.” Whatever it is, somebody better fix it quick. Of all the things for him to be limited by… Not being able to hit free throws negates any smarter moves/better shot selection that he is already showing.

niremetal

October 22nd, 2009
9:38 pm

My biggest concern: 34:30 on the floor for JJ, before the preseason is even out.

Like I said on Sekou’s blog: And so it begins…

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
9:48 pm

Nire ,

Woody said he was going to keep the minutes down for his starters in the first 4-5 preseason games, then give them more minutes in the last two preseason games, just to get them ready for regular season minutes. It was scripted. Besides, after 5 seasons of 40 mpg, 34 and a half should be a walk in the park. ;)

Seriously, if this is typical of what JJ plays during the season, we should be grateful.

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
9:53 pm

Of course, I’m not holding my breath on that one just yet. Besides, this is the guy who says he tells Woody that he doesn’t need to take him out (which is something Woody has never argued with in the past…time to start arguing).

Now, if JJ had been averaging 34 mpg during the entire preseason, I’d be bothered. Fact is, he was getting around 20 or so, so not a big deal. On the flip side, I really liked his stats today. Shot well and passed well.

niremetal

October 22nd, 2009
9:57 pm

Ray,

(Disclaimer: The anger in this post is directed at Woody, not you)

The whole point is that this ISN’T the real season. Right now, coaches are SUPPOSED to use a 12-man rotation. They are NOT supposed to play anyone 34+ minutes. There is no freaking reason to play JJ 34:30 in a preseason game. Wade played 29:12 because even freaking Spoelstra is smart enough to realize that these games mean nothing. LeBron had 28:57 last night – and that was his preseason high.

I mean, come ON. If he’s not going to even give the man 14 minutes of rest now, do we REALLY think he’ll be able to keep him at under 38 minutes per game in the regular season?

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
10:01 pm

Dunno, Nire , which is why I added the caveat that I’m not holding my breath. Dude marches to his own little drum beat. We’ll see, won’t we?

niremetal

October 22nd, 2009
10:03 pm

And sorry Ray, but it’s the coaches job to pull players, not a players’ job to pull themselves. I’d love for you to find me 10 All-Stars in the past three decades who voluntarily took themselves out of a game because of fatigue. Not gonna happen.

This is from an email I sent to a certain other fellow blogger this year:

(Background: When I was in high school, I was the last guy on the end of the bench.) And I would be a little miffed that guys would stay in the game even when they were running on fumes. But you know what? I would not hold it against the PLAYER if he stayed in. Players have pride, and the special ones pretty much by nature have even more pride. I would never, ever blame the player for not taking himself out. Because you know what? A player who takes himself out is viewed as a little less of a man for doing so.

I think you realize that’s true on some level. But don’t just take my word for it. Read Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam. One part talks about how when Bill Walton was playing injured, he kept looking over to the bench, hoping that a coach would catch his eye and take him out. But they never did. So he kept fighting through it, because he knew how it would look if he took himself out for what he thought was just a nagging injury (turned out it was much more serious, but that’s for a different part of the book). People would say he was unwilling to play through pain, etc. So he kept going much longer than he should have – and aggravated the underlying injury in the process. And I don’t think anyone will say that Bill Walton was a selfish player.

Even Tim Duncan isn’t immune. When Popovich was resting him on the second night of back-to-backs this year, Duncan was none too happy about it. Objectively, he had to realize that having him out on the floor that much was not good for the team in either the short-run or the long-run. But TD didn’t want to sit. That’s how top-level players think. In high school, they were the guys who ran until they threw up, and then they ran some more. You HAVE to have that kind of drive and desire to play every second of every game to reach the levels that those guys play at.

That’s why it has to be on the COACH and the coach alone to know when to bench his players. Because I don’t care what sport it is – all of the truly great ones and the vast majority of the “very good” ones will never volunteer to leave the game.

Big Ray

October 22nd, 2009
10:04 pm

And after Sekou’s article, the whole minutes thing (though clearly not a one-sided coin), is still on the head coach. It’s aso a trust thing between the coach and player, but this is a problem that needs to go away and stay away. Guess we’ll see if it’s gone yet or whether old habits are still alive.

Bourbonandcoke

October 22nd, 2009
11:21 pm

the niremetal is king of stats

Bourbonandcoke

October 22nd, 2009
11:22 pm

the niremetal should have his own show and call it “trying to get the last word”

Melvin

October 22nd, 2009
11:33 pm

I agree with Nire. There’s no excuse for playing Joe or any other starter more than 25-30 mins in preseason. To make it worst, JJ plays 34 mins on the first night of back to back games. Also, we couldn’t afford to keep Siler or Sims for one more day being that Collins and ZaZa was unable to play tonight or better yet, why did he play RandMo? Why burn out your key guys in preseason is beyond me but not Woody….

junebaby

October 23rd, 2009
8:56 am

HELLO…, i am trying to find info on this Sergey Gladyr guy. does anyone have any ideas on his game, or is the inclusion of him on the roster a misprint? i haven’t read anything about him during the entire preseason. a 2nd rd pick, is his roster spot guaranteed? does he have any game? inquiring minds would like to know!

Big Ray

October 23rd, 2009
9:10 am

junebaby ,

I don’t think his roster spot is guaranteed, but the men to ask are Niremetal and MannyT . Whichever comes around first is sure to fill you in.

Interesting article that Najeh posted a link to on Sekou’s blog. I’ll post it here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=granderson/091022&sportCat=nba

Two interesting paragraphs include the author’s astute mention of Crawford’s passing effect when he was a Knick. The other was a quote from Woody:

“”Our bigs love him,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “I knew he could score, but he can also run a team. On pick-and-rolls, he’s dropping the ball off for easy buckets for our bigs, where in the past they might not have gotten the ball.”

Okay….on the one hand, that speaks quite well of how Crawford is fitting in with his new teammates. On the other hand, it says something about the guards we already had…and it’s coming from Woody. A few things here.

1) I find it odd that the “new Hawk” most heavily criticized for being a ball hog is the one who is first mentioned as someone who sets the big men up well (something we’ve been needing and screaming for, for a while now).

2)I find it equally odd that Woody is the one saying this. Woody, are you saying something about your boys (JJ, Bibby), or are you telling on yourself again? Or both….

3) After watching JJ drop 8 dimes against Miami last night, I’m less inclined to jump on his case about getting his frontcourt allies the ball.

4) Crawford isn’t the only guy who has consistently gotten big men the ball. Teague has done it as well (ask Zaza, he’ll tell you). Many were worried about how Teague and Crawford would do with the team chemistry thing. If you ask me, they improved it, maybe by leaps and bounds (we have yet to see a regular season game, so I’m not going to bank on this just yet). What will this do for Bibby and Joe? Will it rub off? Seems to be, as Horford has certainly gotten more touches in the last game or two.

5) This is a offensive concept we’ve been wanting to see for some time now. Does Woody finally “get it”, or has he been planning on this style of play for some time? If the latter is the case, what was the hold-up?

What do you guys think ?

I already know what some people are going to say, and about whom …. ;)

niremetal

October 23rd, 2009
9:17 am

junebaby,

Because he is an overseas player, the Hawks gained the exclusive right to sign Gladyr by drafting him in the second round. The Hawks did not need to sign Gladyr to a contract right away and have not doneso. In fact, the Hawks could conceivably hang onto Gladyr’s rights forever without ever signing him, as they have done with Alain Digbeu (who is coming to the end of a middling career in Europe) David Andersen (whose rights were traded to Houston this summer), and Cenk Akyol (who is still playing in Turkey).

Up until this year, Gladyr had been playing in the Ukrainian League, which is not at all a high level of competition – it’s a third-tier league in Europe. It wouldn’t have been smart to sign him without seeing him at a higher level of competition. So the Hawks drafted him and set him up with a team in the Spanish Premier League, which is one of the most competitive national leagues in the world (along with China, Greece, Italy, and Russia). Like all NBA teams, they’ll keep an eye on him over there for awhile, bring him over if he pans out and we have a need for a player like him (like the Spurs did with Ginobili), trade him if he pans out but we don’t have a need (like the Spurs with Scola or the Hawks with Andersen), or never do anything with him if he doesn’t pan out at all (like with Digbeu and, so far, Akyol). Gladyr just turned 20, so the Hawks can certainly afford to wait a year or two or three to see how he holds up against better competition before deciding on what to do with him.

The consensus scouting report on him is that he is a pretty athletic shooting guard with a great stroke from the outside. The Spanish League’s season started last week. He led his team – Basquet Manresa – in scoring in each of their first two games, but had a bad third game. From hereon out, his team will play about once a week through February.

Here’s his Eurobasket profile, which will have his cumulative statistics for this season:
http://www.eurobasket.com/player.asp?Cntry=ESP&PlayerID=69279

Sautee

October 23rd, 2009
10:15 am

Wow Ray, that’s a VERY interesting quote from Woody.

Wow!

I’m gonna have to chew on THAT for a while. Doesn’t exactly laud Bibby and JJ, eh?

KevinA

October 23rd, 2009
10:25 am

Olympiakos – Chills 28 min 15 pt’s 7-12
http://www.eurobasket.com/player.asp?Cntry=GRE&PlayerID=31080

Ray,

5) This is a offensive concept we’ve been wanting to see for some time now. Does Woody finally “get it”, or has he been planning on this style of play for some time? If the latter is the case, what was the hold-up?

lol Does Woody finally “get it”, At least during preseason.

What will this do for Bibby and Joe? Will it rub off? Seems to be, as Horford has certainly gotten more touches in the last game or two. The Crawford effect. I said it first.

Maybe Woody is just as surprised an I was on the way Crawford is playing and performing. Like any smart coach he is using “the Crawford effect” to his advantage.

OR, he reads our blogs. lol Whatever is happening, it’s all good. Once the regular season starts we will find out if this new style of play is smoke and mirrors or the NEW Hawks.

It seems like the Hawks may put it all together all at once or at least has the potential to.

KevinA

October 23rd, 2009
10:38 am

nire, Ray or anybody

Do you think JJ “hit’s the wall” because of injury, to much playing time or just the effects of a long season. Do the other stars really play less minutes in close games? Is the difference in star minutes more to do with blow outs? Do you know links to articles that deal with this subject?

Melvin

October 23rd, 2009
10:42 am

Big Ray,

I don’t think Woody intend was to throw Bibby/JJ under the bus, I think he’s flatterd by Crawford’s talent. Crawford does bring that skill to break guys down off the dribble to score or pass that this team didnt have in the past. Most of our previous guys was unable to do that on a consistent basis. Because of that, our bigs will be the beneficiary of some easy baskets. Oh yeah, look like JTO has that same ability as well.

niremetal

October 23rd, 2009
10:42 am

I think Woody is just pleasantly surprised that a bench player is doing that – certainly Flip did not get guys passes like that last year, and that’s probably Woody’s frame of reference.

Bibby got guys the ball off the pick-and-roll PLENTY last year and put them in a position to score, despite certain people’s memory to the contrary. He’s still one of the best pick-and-roll PGs in the league. As for JJ, I only saw the pick-and-roll run with JJ very, very rarely last year. That makes sense, because opposing coaches usually guard JJ with a better and taller defender, so it’s just not as effective a play to run with him because the defender covering JJ is usually pretty tall, so it doesn’t create mismatches. So I doubt that Woody’s frame of reference was Crawford versus Bibby or JJ, so much as Crawford versus Flip or (most likely) Crawford versus what Woody expected Crawford to be.

junebaby

October 23rd, 2009
1:49 pm

NIREMETAL…, thanks for the information on Sergey Gladyr. thats exactly what i was looking for. this brings up the question; were the hawks so unsure they would find real value with that 2nd rd pick, that they didn’t even try? it would seem that they could have used that pick on a proven talent(college player), and sat him at the end of the bench if necessary, and allowed him to develop his skills until next year!