Don’t look now

But here come the Cavaliers.

What’s that you say? I skipped the Pacers game and the Cavs aren’t due for another three days?  I have something to say about Indiana, but honestly….is it the Pacers that are on your mind, or the Cavaliers? Be honest. I know what’s on my mind. Hawks versus Cavs, and chance to go in one of two directions before the season’s half. Yes, I know that with today’s game against the Pacers, and both Cavs games, it will only make 31 games for the Hawks. And All-Star weekend takes place several games down the road yet. However, how the Hawks do against the Cavs (and in the next 13 games overall) can determine , in part, how they end the first half of the season. And rather than look at how we compare to the entire Big Three, we’ll just look at the leader of our division, the Orlando Magic.

Having been dismantled by a very good looking Celtics team, the Orlando Magic stand at 22 and 8, just one game ahead of us. Of course, they just finished a somewhat rough spate of games, wherein they faced the Heat, Blazers, Jazz, Rockets, and the aforementioned Celtics. The schedule gets presumably easier after they revisit Milwaukee (no longer a guaranteed win), with games against the struggling T-Wolves, Bulls, Pacers, Raptors, and Wiz, before making a trip to The Highlight Factory. After that clash (oh please, let it be a clash this time, not another Magical slaughter), Orlando faces a 4 game road trip out West, featuring games against the Kings, Nuggets, Blazers, and Lakers. Conceivably, the Magic could be looking at record of 31 and 10 by the time they reach 41 games (the true halfway point in the season). But I’m picking them to get shocked by a Milwaukee squad that only lost to them by two the last time they played, get beaten by us for the first time since early last season (I hope), and get taken out on the road by both the Nuggets and the Lakers. The Blazers game is a tough call, though they have what it takes to knock just about anybody out at the Rose Garden.

So how do things look for the Hawks? Well, there is that game against the Pacers. Following that is the back-to-back against Cleveland. The Hawks then play two out of three at home (New York and New Jersey) , sandwiched around a visit to Miami. Next is a brutal trio of  games. Boston (in the ATL), then Orland0, then Boston again, with those last two being road games. To get to 41 games total, the Hawks round it out with contests against the Wiz, Suns, Thunder, and Kings. So how will the Hawks do, considering no win in the NBA is guaranteed? Hard to say, but so much of this starts with Cleveland. Worst case scenario, the Hawks lose both games and widen the gap between them and Orlando (and the Big Three overall),  possibly even spanning into a tough losing streak or breaking the rhythm of consecutive wins (something the Hawks have matched the Magic in, with just a single losing streak this season). Take one, and a good measure of confidence is gained. Take both, and things can change quite a bit! All things considered, could the Hawks find themselves at 30 and 11 in 41 games?

Well, enough projecting and speculating on my part, though I certainly want to hear everybody else’s thoughts on the matter. For now, let’s talk about the Pacers.

HAWKS VS PACERS 

The last time these two teams met, it was the first game of the regular season for the Hawks. It was a game of discoveries, if you will. The Hawks disovered that Al Horford could score, Josh Smith could pass, Mo Evans has some shooting touch, their offense was much more potent, and their defense needed a lot of work. There were some highlights in the game of course. Danny Granger put on a scoring display that showed last year’s numbers were no fluke. Al Horford absolutely destroyed the 7′2″ Roy Hibbert to the tune of 24 points and 16 rebounds. Joe Johnson was in early all-star form. In the end, the Hawks won by 11.

Semi-Happy Returns

The Pacers are no doubt glad to see Mike Dunleavy come back, especially with Danny Granger out. While I’m sure he’s enjoyed getting all the looks he can handle, there’s nothing like another guy who can take some of the pressure off  of the main scorer and make plays at the same time. Dunleavy is just that kind of guy. Too bad for the Pacers, Granger hasn’t been around to complete the picture. Dunleavy actually made his  season debut back on November 28th, and has been slowly working his way back into game shape since then. December 14th marked his return to the starting lineup. After reminding folks that he is a very credible scoring threat (and all but a guarantee at the charity stripe), Dunleavy has fallen on hard times the last three games, totalling just 21 points. Having spent most a long time on the inactive list (including most of ‘08-’09), Dunleavy hasn’t yet returned to the form he had in ‘07-’08, where he showed himself to be a triple threat man (19.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists).

For the Hawks, a healthy Joe Smith would be nice, particularly with starting power forward Josh Smith going through a stretch of foul trouble. Smith took a little while to get into regular season game shape, and has received spotty minutes. However, when he has gotten good minutes, he has proved most invaluable. If Smith is ready to play, that immediately gives coach Mike Woodson a security blanket for those times that the younger Smith is having a rough time with the officials.

Foul Play

There are two guys that probably won’t be sending Christmas cards to any NBA officials. They would be Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Johnson has recommitted himself to going to the basket for the most part this season, and what has been his reward? Well, a better shooting percentage has been nice, but less than 4 free throw attempts per game? Joe averaged a somewhat anemic 4.58 attempts per game last year. This year, it’s down to 3.8 per game. What’s worse is that the fouls don’t seem to be any less frequent, even with Joe not facing as many double teams. What gives? Either way, Joe should get some relief against the hapless Pacers, who will probably be drawing straws on who gets to guard him (something tells me there will be more than one short straw in that drawing).

Josh Smith seems to be catching it from both ends. Not only does he get called for more fouls on the defensive end than he deserves credit for, but he also gets a little Joe Johnson treatment. The bad part is that it takes the much-needed Smith out of the game, and affects his mental approach and play when he IS in. Josh has to figure out a way around this and toughen up mentally. Otherwise, both his absence AND his presence will be a problem for the Hawks. It may seem like a harsh assessment, but the truth of the matter is that Josh has become leader defensively, and the team’s free safety, strong safety, and middle linebacker, all rolled into one.

The Usual Suspects

The Pacers will look to Troy Murphy for rebounds as usual. But they’ll also look to him for scoring, what with Danny Granger out (not sure when he’s due back) and Mike Dunleavy struggling. Murphy tends to do much of his damage from the outside, but is not above cutting to the paint for an easy basket and possibly an added free throw. It will be on Josh Smith to make most of his shots from the perimeter, but make them heavily contested shots. He’ll also have to battle Murphy on the boards at all times, concentrating on keeping him from getting offensive rebounds for easy put-backs and other second chance opportunities. On the offensive end, Smith has to use his superior quickness and athletic ability to make Murphy work, and draw him into fouling. This automatically negates Murphy’s scoring and rebounding skills. He won’t be able to contribute either one if he’s sitting on the bench in foul trouble.

Mike Dunleavy is probably due to have a decent-to-good game, and he has all the tools to do so. Capable of scoring inside and out, Dunleavy has some savvy and is quite capable of making plays for others here and there. Marvin Williams will get another chance to help out on defense and rebounding. On the offensive end, Williams can give Dunleavy more of a workout than he wants, if he’s aggressive, and if his teammates get him the ball. Neutralize Dunleavy, and the Pacers will be left with Murphy, who will have his hands full with Josh Smith. Cancel out both, and the Pacers have to rely on their guards and center Roy Hibbert.

Hibbert played well against the Spurs and the Bucks, but was overwhelmed against the aggressive Boston Celtics. Prior to those three games, he wasn’t much of a factor against Memphis, Charlotte, Washington, and Orlando, not scoring in double figures in any of those four games. As big as he is (7′2″, 278 lbs), Hibbert is neither a great rebounder or an intimidating defender. Although he has averaged 1.8 blocks per game this season, he gets beaten by quicker and more determined opponents in the post. On top of that, Hibbert has managed to grab double digit rebounds in just five games this season. Al Horford can and should beat Hibbert to the boards like he did earlier this season, and should have plenty of scoring opportunities to boot. The Hawks would do well to take advantage of Horford’s ability to beat Hibbert down the floor, and his quick moves in the post.

Indiana will also rely on guard Dahntay Jones to step up his game in place of Granger. Jones is not a great shooter percentage wise, but he can get the ball in the hole. He played well against us last time, and could prove to be a bit of a problem if not defended aggressively. On the other hand, he will likely draw the task of guarding Joe Johnson, which will prove to be a full-time job and possibly a futile task. Johnson has recently upped his assists and is about as good a playmaker as there is at the 2-guard position. And that’s when he’s not dropping 20-something points on you.

Okay, so the Hawks may be thinking as much about Cleveland as we are (okay, maybe it’s just me), but they cannot look past the struggling-yet-competitive Pacers. They may have lost 4 straight, but none of those losses have been absolute blowouts, such as the one the Hawks suffered in Denver. The Pacers have lost to the Spurs and Bucks by a total of 5 points. They lost road games in Memphis (13 points)  and Boston (9 points), suggesting that they can keep a game somewhat close. The Hawks need to treat them the same way they did teams likethe Raptors: beat them down early on, then rest the starters for a quarter or so. And get ready for Cleveland!

92 comments Add your comment

doc

December 26th, 2009
7:35 am

Big Ray

December 26th, 2009
7:44 am

doc

December 26th, 2009
7:48 am

heh heh it is nice to be first in something. not really.

you are too good ray to get this out, back from a vacation and slamming the keys. good thoughts.

though we might drop off the big three pace over the next eleven games a 6 and 5 record might be reasonable considering the forces we have to deal with. i was more confident about our chances with the cavs until i saw how they dismantled the lakers on top of using and abusing the suns to stop two good home winning streaks. so if we end up with a record of 28 and 11 at the halfway mark i will consider it a success, below 26 wins a definite concern about their trajectory.

still quaking at how impressive the cavs were last night. geez, they were good and just mentally tough.

doc

December 26th, 2009
8:05 am

another point of concern, we might overlook the pacers but our guys better not. 4 of the 8 losses this year have been to sub .400 teams. hard to consider as we have watched them throw down some others with going away blow out wins. over the next 11 games want to see some grinding and mental toughness, this means especially you jamal, josh and marvin. who are our grinders?

FIRE MIKE WOODSON EXPRESS

December 26th, 2009
10:18 am

THESE TWO GAMES WILL TELL YOU ALOT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WOODSON. I THINK THE ARTICLE FROM LAST WEEK WAS ANOTHER KISS ASS ATTEM BY BRADLEY (WHAT A IDIOT). LET’S FACE FACTS PEOPLE THE HAWKS CAN’T BEAT THE GOOD TEAMS. (0-2) THE NEXT TWO GAMES.

Truth-Serum

December 26th, 2009
10:22 am

OK, this will be an excellent measuring stick for all those who said shaq is wasted, spent, and convinced management to show no interest in him, Jermaine O’neal, Marcus Camby or any effective center.

Back to Back, will measure whether we can close the gap with a powerforward playing center against one of the three teams that matter.

I was always taught to expect the worse but hope for the best. I expect that the Cavs will win both games, one of which will be a blow out. I think we will be forced to shoot outside and their defenders will be able to contain our sharp shooters because Shaq will man the middle allowing the perimeter defender to slant their man in his direction and over compensate to the reverse side. We will become tired and heartless and not penetrate with any success and settle for the low percentage shots.

I hope Im wrong. I hope we dominate the middle, penetrate frequently and open up shots on the perimeter for our sharp shooters. I hope shaq gets old fast and needs help in the middle freeing up crawford and JJ who rise up to the Occasion.

Truth-Serum

December 26th, 2009
10:24 am

doc You got funny math. How many wins have been against sub .500 teams? Thats a better indicator.

jhan

December 26th, 2009
10:40 am

Merry Christmas to all! Keep up the good work Ray – I haven’t posted much this year but still manage to read occasionally.

Hawks need to keep their eye on the real goal – creating nice team chemistry & producing in the playoffs.

Go Hawks!!

doc

December 26th, 2009
1:01 pm

truth not when you are sizing up the competition tonight … the question is why fall asleep on those teams and are we tonight is my point.

Fire Woodson

December 26th, 2009
1:18 pm

If we win the back-to-back against the Calves, I expect an extension.

Suckers.

MannyT

December 26th, 2009
1:39 pm

did doc get a heads up on the post? I don”t think I have ever seen him first…hmm :-)

The Hawks cannot afford to slip up tonight. These “easier” games need to be won. Between now and Groundhog’s Day, the next chapter of “how formidable are the 2009-10 Hawks” will be written.

Hopefully the fans will step up now that football season is ending. I was a bit surprised to see how poorly we are doing on home revenues after having such an improvement in ticket sales.

from http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/18850386
The Atlanta Hawks (15-6), long challenged in the attendance department but off to their best start in a decade, have seen a league-high 26.8 percent increase in net gate receipts – to $468,036 per game, up from $369,157 at this point last season. Atlanta is selling an average of 10,573 tickets per game, up from 7,900 at this point last season.

BWAF

doc

December 26th, 2009
1:44 pm

truth, as a surgeon i took a very different tack, expect the best and plan for the worst. still kind of live my life that way.

not an unlikely scenario as your worst expectation against the cavs. i hope that woody can come up with a game plan to counter your worst case scenario.

of course we can always fall back on the idea that marvin can shut down lebron. heh heh, sadly that is woody’s approach thus far. would rather see jj on lebron to see how he could handle the big fella and see what happens playing crawford longer minutes while juicing up zaza to take some fouls on their bigs. maybe even joe smith will be back by then to help out on lebron. it will be interesting to see if woody tries a new wrinkle this time or will be stuck in old patterns. he might just remind me of bobby cox in that regard.

Atl Resident

December 26th, 2009
3:08 pm

FIRE MIKE WOODSON EXPRESS

December 26th, 2009
10:18 am
THESE TWO GAMES WILL TELL YOU ALOT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WOODSON. I THINK THE ARTICLE FROM LAST WEEK WAS ANOTHER KISS ASS ATTEM BY BRADLEY (WHAT A IDIOT). LET’S FACE FACTS PEOPLE THE HAWKS CAN’T BEAT THE GOOD TEAMS. (0-2) THE NEXT TWO GAMES.

Ummm, the Hawks did dismantled the Celtics earlier this year. No Further comment.

Truth-Serum

December 26th, 2009
4:47 pm

Doc, I must say, that you and I have different perspectives but sometime end of with similar conclusions….

This is not one of them.

Nothing we have can or will stop Lebron. Yes, that’s laughable for Marvin or JJ. If lebron’s talent alone was enough to win it all for the Cavs there would have been no need to pursue Shaq. Lebron understands the importance of having control in the lane and under the basket as a necessity to winning. Almost everyone I know gets that. But then, most of the guys I know are cultish about basketball and are 2nd or 3rd generation basketball people or fans. Were not new to the game.

I remember the days when they’d say let Michael Jordan score 40 and they will still lose because there was no Toni Kukoc, Bill Wennington,Bill Cartwright,Luc Longley or will Perdue. None of them were great scorers but more than able to defend the post and the lane.

Joe smith is a decent player and a hard worker, but he is just a power forward. Of the centers that were needed to help Jordan win the title how many of them were 7fters whose strength was defending and altering shots?

We have no defense in the paint. We can’t stop anyone. Yes, at the end of the day Horfords numbers may match the number of their center, according to box score. But when they need a basket they will isolate against horford, which contrasts with how Horford gets his baskets which is on breaks and garbage points. I’m not dishing Horford, he’s a very fine power forward and we are lucky to have him on this team. But the reality is this game will be won or lost in the trenches.

I hope we can match up. Lebron will get his.

doc

December 26th, 2009
5:21 pm

truth, remember some were saying marvin was doing a good job on lebron last year?

right now we are putting our best 5 on the court, well maybe 3.5 if you count marvin and bibby. ;-)

got to use the horses you got.

it will be interesting to see the outcome.

doc

December 26th, 2009
5:39 pm

nope manny t, that was why i couldnt resist the urge, shocked to be in a position to do so. heh heh

guess i should have done the routine of you expect to be here so dont get excited, like most pros do, eh?

Truth-Serum

December 26th, 2009
5:52 pm

Did not the take a broom to us?

I see your point about the 3.5.

Im still having a hard time accepting that we did not get physical with Denver. We should have put some guys on the seat of their pants more than once. Believe me we need to be alot more intimidating and forceful if we are going to have any hopes.

I do know that we have to play the hand dealt to us, and Im ok with that. Lets not have unrealistic goals if that is the case. Yes, I expect Sund to play poker and do a Jerry West. Cause a four player trade.

Heres what people are afraid to hear: To get something youve got to give up something. Are you telling me that NJ would not give up lopez for Horford and a 1 round pick? How about Moe Evan Zaza and collins plus a 1st rounder? Im just saying we have trade bait enough to go on the market and get what we need. While Horford and or Zaza or Evans would be missed, we oould still have a very healthy chemistry with out them. Acutually the only two that I see losing would cause the competitive level of this team to decline is JJ and Josh. We could easily overcome the loss of Horford, bibby or Marvin….Teague any one?

Truth-Serum

December 26th, 2009
5:53 pm

*Didnt they take a broom to us?

MannyT

December 26th, 2009
6:19 pm

doc, it was more of a jamaal crawford moment. for all of the time you have posted, have you REALLY never been first?

The Hawks are playing better, but they have yet to get to that swagger that says we are going to take you out. Nothing personal, just business. Teams that play the Hawks see a talented group that they might be able to knock off their game. Maybe an enforcer type would help. In the old days it would be a Mahorn or Oakley. Barkley was the oddity in that he was his own enforcer.

Hopefully we will have good vibes for tonight. Go Hawks.

In the meantime, something for Ray to ponder on the $$$ side of the NBA. Why so many Christmas games in a bad economy? I never recall having 5 games on Christmas. Does the NBA really think that more NBA games on Christmas is a better idea? Less focus on the main games and more people that need to say I am leaving Christmas activities to attend a basketball game. Don’t think this pig will fly in the long term.

Just thinking out loud.

BWAF

O'Brien

December 26th, 2009
7:00 pm

Truth,

Agreed. And thats one problem I have with the Hawks. Last year, it seems like we gave up a lot of dunks. This year, its like we are afraid to give a hard foul. It looks like we give up a lot of And 1’s too. I wish the Hawks would adopt the Bad Boys mentality when other teams drive into the paint. Make them earn it at the line.

Cavs put a beatdown on LA yesterday, and Boston beat Orlando in Orlando (w/o Pierce). Hawks should have no trouble beating Indy, especially coming off a blowout loss.

Big Ray

December 26th, 2009
7:02 pm

Doc ,

I haven’t made it back yet. I wrote this blog from my in-laws’ computer. The one we bought them for Christmas…. :)

Jhan ,

Good to hear from you. I know you’ve been busy.

Truth Serum ,

Your point, however long-suffering, is well-taken. But let’s think about this for a second. Here are a couple of thoughts to chew on:

1) Do you think Brook Lopez is a starting-caliber center? The Nets sure do. In fact, they feel that he is a franchise center. And right now, he is one of the few things they can hang onto in these dark days of their franchise.

2)The Hawks stand to win around 50 games this season. I think we may agree on that, yes? They won 47 games last season, and they ended up with the 19th pick in the draft. The more you win, the lower your first round pick is likely to be, which means if the Hawks improve on last year’s record, then they’ll likely end up with a pick somewhere in the 20s.

3)What guys play behind Lopez? Josh Boone, Sean Williams, and who? Which of those guys starts in Lopez’s place if he’s out with injury or traded away? How well do those guys perform? Are any of them starting caliber centers?

4)What kind of team trades their starting franchise center, that THEY drafted, for a power forward and a first round pick that is likely to be lower first round? Better yet, what team trades all that for LESS (the other trade offers you suggest).

I’m not trying to disagree with you or rain on your parade, but there is nothing about the deals you have suggested that should tempt ANY team that was lucky enough to draft a guy who can start at center for them for the next 10 years, and is already showing signs of all-star capability. Seriously. Why would a team trade the sure thing for the very thing that you despise? You know, a power forward masquerading as a center, a backup center who belongs on the “Hamburger squad”, a rookie pg who is nowhere close to being good enough to start….

I’m just saying…

Big Ray

December 26th, 2009
7:10 pm

Also, Cleveland took a broom to us when we were missing two starters and had no bench (well, not one that played anyway). I believe we still would have lost to them, but we could have taken a game or two at home if nothing else. Shaq is not the difference for Cleveland right now. It’s Lebron doing his thing and his teammates managing to keep up every now and then (that and Lebron has learned more about when to score, when to make plays for others).

Sorry, but Shaq just isn’t the same (though he’s trouble enough). The man is averaging 10 points and 7 boards in 23 minutes per game. Hardly the dominating presence we once knew. Does he help? Yes. But he’s no longer a dominator, or he’d be playing starter’s minutes, Lebron or no Lebron. Instead, he’s playing limited minutes and putting up Marvin Williams type numbers. Just what the Cavs need, probably. I envy the Cavs, because they can start either him or Ilgauskas, and bring the other off the bench.

MannyT ,

I saw that game, too. Scared me to death. And none of it had to do with Shaq.

niremetal

December 26th, 2009
7:26 pm

Box Score Sucks Rant #1022: Josh Smith just got credit for an assist that Marvin made.
Box Score Sucks Rant #1023: Josh Smith did not get credit for a steal that was forced by him (Bibby took possession, and therefore got credit for the steal).

Truth--Serum

December 26th, 2009
8:49 pm

Im not making a suggestion, im just trying to open narrow minds who think that we cant get a legitimate center. Like I said a quality GM would find a way thats all im saying.

Shaq was brought here for a purpose and that is a half courts set not the run and gun that the Cavs play in their mix. if you double the times the numbers would also increase. So what are you telling me, as a part time player he is average nearly a double double? I dont know what you are smoking but I dont want any! Thats a impact and he will be fresh in the late rounds of the play offs. Hes only here for the half court set. In and out, believe that!

I guess I over estimated you as a thinker. I guess youve never been around a owner or gm that made trades when there did not appear to be any trades possible.

What is laborious or long winding is your narrow scope that cant see past the moment. You do lack vision, and your understanding of the game leaves a lot to be desired.

Truth--Serum

December 26th, 2009
8:53 pm

Shaq was brought to Cleveland for one purpose

doc

December 26th, 2009
10:36 pm

truth, we will talk at the end of the season whether it was worth it for the cavs, you know mission accomplished. being a shaq fan it wot hurt me a bit to see it happen either.

tonight, it seems we can be proud we have a motor guy like horford that is starting his career and is still rising. seems i remember a couple of centers from back in the day that werent wilt or jabbar, as those guys only come once in an eon for any franchise, that were able to play and werent the traditional 7 footers. until we get them then we will have to win one with a small center like they did in detroit once in the jordan era and once in the recent era. i guess woody will have to scheme and coach em up like he did in detroit.

before you throw horford away, i would think horford is going to fill a bit more and become a force down low on offense and defense out of smarts and effort. if not we can get a real 7 footer like koncak …. yuck, to say we have one. i like my team. now let us see if they can hold court on tuesday. i will be there loud.

Big Ray

December 26th, 2009
11:01 pm

Truth Serum ,

I bring logical points and you suggest that I am incapable of using my brain? I don’t take your attacks on Sund personally, because I don’t know the guy. However, I notice that you talk about making trades where there don’t seem to be any. Sund tried to acquire Chris Kaman last year, using Speedy’s contract and some other assets, but it never got the go ahead (I’m guessing that because the payroll was already $67 million, largely because Bibby was in the last year of a contract that was paying him roughly $15 million per year).

This is also the same guy who managed to turn Speedy and Acie Law into Jamal Crawford. I suppose that trade was one that everybody saw coming? NOBODY saw that one coming except the guys who were involved in the business details.

So what GMs have you been around that made such bold or irrascible moves that you are talking about?

I never said it was impossible to get a center. I said it was very, very unlikely we would be able to acquire Brook Lopez under the terms that you suggested. I’d say that I’m sorry that you feel that I’m no thinker, but the fact is, I am what I am regardless of what you say. And I’ve never suggested that YOU couldn’t think. So much for decency.

As for disagreeing, it is what it is: NOT a big deal.

In the meantime, I’ll take another road win, even against a bad team. I’ll also take 25 points, 19 rebounds, and 5 blocks from our center. I’m sure somebody will find a way to discredit it somehow, but you just don’t get those kind of stats in the NBA, especially against bigger guys, and playing out of position.

Congrats, Hawks! Team and coaching staff did their jobs.

Big Ray

December 26th, 2009
11:07 pm

Shaq was brought here for a purpose and that is a half courts set not the run and gun that the Cavs play in their mix. if you double the times the numbers would also increase.

Funny, I though that was exactly what I was saying. I said Shaq helps, but he doesn’t dominate like he used to. Hard to understand how this got muddled.

However, doubling Shaq’s minutes (and therefore the production)? I have no idea where this idea came from as far as the previous conversation. He does not, never has, and never will average 46 minutes per game. I don’t even know where that argument came from. Why don’t we just say the same thing about Marvin, making him a 20-point per game scorer, essentially?

Sautee

December 26th, 2009
11:13 pm

“Are you telling me that NJ would not give up lopez for Horford and
1 round pick? ”

“Im not making a suggestion, im just trying to open narrow minds who think that we cant get a legitimate center. ”

Yeah, right. Didn’t seem at ALL like a suggestion, eh?

Sautee

December 26th, 2009
11:30 pm

In our last five games, our “undersized” center has averaged 17.2 pts., 12.4 rebounds and two blocked shots. He shot 67.6% from the floor

In Brook Lopez’ last five games he’s averaged 16.2 pts, 10 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. He shot 46.6% from the floor.

Enough said.

Big Ray

December 27th, 2009
12:07 am

Damn straight, Sautee .

Thomas

December 27th, 2009
12:12 am

This blog sucks.

Kiki

December 27th, 2009
12:35 am

It’s hard to attack “the undersized one” after a performance like this one. Maybe tuesday, Horford critics, or maybe not…

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
8:04 am

“In the meantime, I’ll take another road win, even against a bad team. I’ll also take 25 points, 19 rebounds, and 5 blocks from our center. I’m sure somebody will find a way to discredit it somehow, but you just don’t get those kinds of stats in the NBA, especially against bigger guys, and playing out of position.”

I’m glad we won too!
It’s kind of funny how you answer the same question every week, and then, it comes back again next week.

T. Murphy F 28:37 9-16 1-3 0-1 -25 2 10 12 2 1 1 0 2 1 19 (please note that these numbers are for 28 minutes and this is a no name forward running wild in the paint against our “center”?) these all star like numbers against Horford are consistent ,and consistently coming from off brand type players.

Looks like the other power forward was equally offensive. I’ll say this and then I’m moving on. Horford is very weak defensively and his numbers (not that they are impressive) are derived from other power forwards playing center. He is very ineffective when facing the three in front of us. The question is not how well he does against scrubs but how well he does against quality players.

DUH?

As far as the accomplishments of some of the great GMs in history and great trades that they have accomplished; I’m sorry you missed the past two decades. The time it would take to get you caught up and extend a tutorial is not available to me right now. Sorry. Suffice it to say that there is another level that the game is played at that’s not on the court, but in offices and board rooms. Boston and Lakers have a history of making outstanding deals off the court that reverberate throughout the NBA and often establishes a domino effect.

I apologize for questioning your knowledge. I guess I assumed that…..

Doc, I appreciate you and your optimisms. I hope you have a wonderful experience at the game. I hope you are right about Horford. My analysis is that he is as good as he gets. Centers that dominate like say a Moses Malone (not a 7fter), come into the league with exceptional talent. I had some idiot question me about my position that Horford is the same this year as he was last year, so he went and pull the year long stats and they were pretty much unchanged.
There is a difference between talent and skill. Talent is natural, God given ability. Skill is learned or acquired. There are two positions on a team that should be natural positions, pg and center. That’s my analysis.
I hope you are right and I am wrong. That would make me very happy. I like Horford…as a P/C not a C/P. I agree with the experts who say that Horford is not the solution at center for the hawks. I rate him high as a power forward but not as high as Josh.

Happy holidays.

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
8:08 am

Big Ray you have an excellent blog page and your articles are very well written.

Thanks for that.

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
9:11 am

“Horford is very weak defensively and his numbers (not that they are impressive) are derived from other power forwards playing center.”

If THAT’S the case for Horford, then it’s the same for all of those “dominating centers” that you keep saying we should acquire. Why don’t you see Shaq’s or Lopez’ or Bynum’s stats as “derived from other power forwards playing center.”?

Oh was that an inconvenient question? ;-)

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
9:53 am

NBA.com: Al Horford gets praised often for being “older” than his years. Where did that come from?

Mike Woodson: From Billy Donovan and winning those two back-to-back titles [at Florida]. I told Al as a rookie, “I’m not going to treat you like a rookie.” Because he was doing things on the floor, especially from a defensive standpoint, that you didn’t have to teach.

Hmmmm…. seems like Woody thinks Horford is just fine on defense.

Maybe someone disagrees with Woodson (gasp!)

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
11:08 am

Sautee,

I have a can of raid…..hide.

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
11:10 am

There is a difference between talent and skill. Talent is natural, God given ability. Skill is learned or acquired. There are two positions on a team that should be natural positions, pg and center. That’s my analysis.
I hope you are right and I am wrong. That would make me very happy. I like Horford…as a P/C not a C/P. I agree with the experts who say that Horford is not the solution at center for the hawks. I rate him high as a power forward but not as high as Josh.

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
11:10 am

There is a difference between talent and skill. Talent is natural, God given ability. Skill is learned or acquired. There are two positions on a team that should be natural positions, pg and center. That’s my analysis.
I hope you are right and I am wrong. That would make me very happy. I like Horford…as a P/C not a C/P. I agree with the experts who say that Horford is not the solution at center for the hawks. I rate him high as a power forward but not as high as Josh.

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
1:57 pm

The Hawks are 21-8 with Horford as starting center.

21-8

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

Truth-Serum

December 23rd, 2009
7:12 pm

“The answer is blocks

The question is what is a major tool used in protecting the middle.”

“mystery, where is horford the center?”

He’s right there where we want him to be. And he blocked FIVE shots against the Pacers.

As of right now, the Hawks are 5th in the league in blocks which is better than Boston, Cleveland, LAL, Denver AND Orlando.

That’s right, in using that “major tool to protect the middle” the Hawks are BETTER than all of the elite teams they are vying with. Here’s the link:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=teamstatmisc&sort=blks&league=nba&season=2010&seasontype=2&avg=pg&order=true&split=0

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
2:01 pm

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
9:53 am

NBA.com:” Al Horford gets praised often for being “older” than his years. Where did that come from?”

Lets assume that you are humbly admitting your ignorance and therefore deserve an answer. Lets give you the benefit of doubt and say that you dont already have a preconceived answer and are seeking truth.

Horford was considered to be more advanced and polished coming from college than his some of his team mates because he went all four years to college and was a started who gained valuable experience that put him ahead of others at that time frame. Josh, Marvin and now Teague have limit or no (josh)college experience. Marvin was drafted as a freshman in college and teague in his second year. I caution to put teague in a league with Marvin and Josh because they were drafted very high and teague was the 11th guard taken in draft, which is often the sign of a project more than a sure fire, lets start him and build around him type that describes the other two.

This is a double edge sword because more is expected of the higher draftees than is expected of teague.

As I have mentioned before and the satistics you offered confirmed. There is not much change between horford this year and last. I personally believe he is about as good as he gets.

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
2:07 pm

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
3:53 pm

Horford is #21 amongst players and number 15th among Centers. Call me back when he is a top 5 enforcer at the center spot like Josh Smith is at the power forward spot.

Dwight Howard , ORL 30 34.9 76 110 2.53 3.48 .69
2 Josh Smith , ATL 29 31.3 70 84 2.41 3.71 .83
3 Brendan Haywood , WAS 28 33.2 64 79 2.29 3.31 .81
3 Greg Oden , POR 21 23.9 48 84 2.29 4.59 .57
5 Marcus Camby , LAC 29 32.4 62 65 2.14 3.17 .95
6 Kendrick Perkins , BOS 28 27.7 58 83 2.07 3.6 .7
7 Tim Duncan , SAS 25 32.1 51 47 2.04 3.05 1.08
8 Erick Dampier , DAL 22 27.5 44 69 2.0 3.5 .64
8 Brook Lopez , NJN 30 36.6 60 98 2.0 2.62 .61
10 Samuel Dalembert , PHI 29 24.3 57 94 1.97 3.88 .61
11 Andrew Bogut , MIL 22 33.3 42 79 1.91 2.75 .53
12 Chris Andersen , DEN 29 23.0 54 67 1.86 3.89 .81
13 Joakim Noah , CHI 28 34.9 52 90 1.86 2.56 .58
13 Emeka Okafor , NOH 28 29.1 52 77 1.86 3.06 .68
15 Roy Hibbert , IND 28 22.8 49 95 1.75 3.69 .52
16 Andrew Bynum , LAL 27 31.7 46 85 1.7 2.58 .54
17 Anthony Randolph , GSW 27 23.3 41 81 1.52 3.13 .51
18 Marc Gasol , MEM 29 35.4 43 104 1.48 2.01 .41
19 Joel Przybilla , POR 30 22.7 43 95 1.43 3.03 .45
20 Joel Anthony , MIA 26 15.3 37 56 1.42 4.45 .66
21 Al Horford , ATL 29 34.0 41 82 1.41 2.0 .5
22 Elton Brand , PHI

niremetal

December 27th, 2009
5:19 pm

Horford was considered to be more advanced and polished coming from college

He left after his junior year. Three years.

I caution to put teague in a league with Marvin and Josh because they were drafted very high and teague was the 11th guard taken in draft,

Josh was drafted 17th, Teague 19th. And Josh was the 8th forward taken (9th if you count Okafor – and I’m guessing you do since you’re so insistent on Horford being a “natural” PF).

Horford is #21 amongst players and number 15th among Centers. Call me back when he is a top 5 enforcer at the center spot like Josh Smith is at the power forward spot.

Well gee, doesn’t having an elite shotblocker at one low post spot make it less necessary for the other to be an elite shotblocker? Or was the big drop in blocks for David Robinson once Duncan came along just a coincidence? As was the drop in blocks for Bynum after Gasol arrived? Or how Camby’s blocks went up when Nene got hurt and down when he got back (and down even more when he got traded to the Clippers and played alongside even more shotblockers)?

Oh wait, I forgot. You’re an idiot. My bad.

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
6:17 pm

Truth-serum,

The question that I posted was not MINE, it was part of an interview with Mike Woodson on NBA.com. Therefore your smarmy remark about my ignorance is totally trumped by YOUR ignorance in not being able to figure it out.

You personally believe he’s as good as he’s going to get, but ignore the fact of his 15 double-doubles in 29 games this year, next to 20 double-doubles in 67 games last year. Explain please how that’s not an upward curve?

You’re slanted view of his stats keeps you from noticing that while the numbers themselves aren’t hugely higher, the PERCENTAGES are.

For example you make fun of his 2.5 point increase (11.5 to 14.0) without seeing that it’s 21.7% HIGHER than last year. When you were defending Woodson you talked a lot about the kind of return and increase he had in wins, and how in the business world, he would be praised for that return. Well how about a 21.7% increase in production? Wouldn’t that be highly praised in the business world?

By the way, here’s a quote from Mike Woodson:

“I have to get him more touches,” said Woodson. “If we can get Al at about 12 or 13 points and double digit rebounds…then we’re talking.”

As of today: 14.0 pts, 9.9 reb. Horford is playing exactly like his coach expects him to. So why is that not good enough for you?

Last year you criticized Horford’s shooting %, saying it was too low for a center.

This year Al has raised his shooting % from .525% to .590%, which is a 12.4% increase. How would THAT be in the business world? But do we hear one word from you? No, it’s all “there’s not much change between this year and last”

And, once again, if Horford’s stats are “derived from other power forwards playing center”, then why even post that list of shot blockers since the VAST MAJORITY of those stats were when they were up against those same “other power forwards playing center”? Somehow Horford’s stats alone are discredited?

Only if you are a hater.

And I still don’t understand how you incessantly defend Woodson, yet TOTALLY disagree with HIS CHOICE for center on his roster. Makes NO sense unless your defense of Woodson is a lie. Because you CAN’T have it both ways. Either you back Woodson totally or you do not. If you DON’T back him totally then WTF is all the nonsense you give Ken Strickland?

I’m sure, knowing you, that you’ll dodge the questions and try mightily to change the subject. Good luck with that.

Truth-Serum

December 27th, 2009
7:02 pm

Some times you have to play the hand thats dealt you. Horford is the center by default not by design.

You minimun stats that you quote are a padded now because of the Indiana game. Prior to that game the numbers were less impressive than they are.

I do think woodson has done a fine job and I think hes a fine coach. That doesnt mean he is not a players coach,(you might want to look that up,)nor does it mean hes not loyal. Lastly I would coach differntly, use different rotations and elevate different personel. Thats would be my style. Its his team so he coaches his style and he is successful with Its.

Yes, Its rather ignorant to think I cant be an indepentant thinker just because I think woodson coaches with in the teams strenghts and liabilities. What do you expect him to say….Horford is Fd up? get the hell out of here? Yes, you come across to me as very ignorant.

You constantly talk to me although I normally dont speak to you. I do that because i dont respect your knowledge of the game and I find you blinded by your agenda. How many of the professional scouts that have voice a similar view about Horford lack of defensive talent, have you written and told what woody view is? let me help you…None. My view is not an esoteric view, but is a widely held one. Rather than deal with the reality of that you pursue me like a b!tch in heat. I have a girlfriend.

Please go away.

Listen, Ive made my point on the subject. Good luck to you have a nice day.

Back to my Big Ray Rule.

Sautee

December 27th, 2009
7:44 pm

Hypocrite Alert!

This is Truth-serum’s reply about the contradiction of attacking others who criticize Woodson, while disagreeing with Woodson about his Center:

“Lastly I would coach differntly, use different rotations and elevate different personel. Thats would be my style.”

He would coach differently from Woodson but he incessantly rails at Ken Strickland for EXACTLY the same thing he says HE would do. Use different rotations. Elevate certain personnel.

HYPOCRITE!

And notice, all, that he REFUSES to answer the questions I’ve raised.

Again.

Because he can’t without showing himself to be……… a hypocrite.

Again.

Big Ray

December 27th, 2009
8:49 pm

Truth Serum ,

Wow. Didn’t know I missed the past two decades. I know why you won’t discuss the GM decision-making and which GMs you’ve been around that have been so much better than Sund has in his whole 1 and a half years here in Atlanta. Find me a GM who has made a great move, and I’ll show you a bad move by the very same GM. But this is perhaps not an argument worth pursuing, as my main purpose here is to write a blog, and then exchange opinions with everybody else. Trying to prove myself right about everything is NOT the objective, and totally impossible, as I’m wrong about plenty of things.

I have said since the very minute we drafted Horford that I really like him as a player, and that I felt he was a natural power forward, rather than a center. Said the same thing about Tim Duncan. Yet, here the man is doing a hell of a job as our center.

And I do NOT believe for even one second that Mike Woodson is patronizing Al Horford in any way. I believe that Woodson is quite happy with Big Al. Perhaps I missed the last two decades as you say, but I sure didn’t miss the fact that Woody and his boss at the time (Larry Brown) did not at all have a problem with a 6′8″ 240 pound Ben Wallace playing center, alongside a 6′11″ Rasheed Wallace, who loved to hang around the arc and take shots from the perimeter.

You can tell me all day long that Wallace is a natural center, and I will tell you two things right back: 1)When he was in Washington, he was listed as a power forward. 2)If Ben Wallace is a natural center, then he’s also a naturally undersized one, being a bit shorter than Al Horford. So if Woody isn’t complaining, it’s because he HAS no complaint. Unless of course you wish to call him a liar or somebody who tells one person (the GM) one thing, the media something else, and the player something else altogether. In my book, that’s a manipulator. Only problem is that sooner or later, one party hears what you told the other party.

Woody seems to be far too honest and honorable to do that kind of thing. But hey, who would have ever thought up such an outlandish and preposterous explanation for why he never has a bad word to say about Horford anyway? :)