Minus Zero, Wizards challenge Hawks

Remember the preseason hype?

Gilbert Arenas was coming back to the hardwood. The Wizards were going to be so good. The Hawks were going to battle THEM for the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference this year, NOT the other way around. The Wizards were going to challenge, and possibly go further. But it was not to be. Of course, the national media wanted Agent Zero back so bad, they kept pumping it up. Agent Zero isn’t talking, and it’s a good thing, they said. Agent Zero this, Agent Zero that. But the wins just weren’t coming. Agent Zero was what it was always about, what it has always been about. After recent events that I’m sure everybody is now aware of, the Age of Agent Zero may have finally come to an end in Washington. It’s too soon to tell, really. But a new era may be dawning.

This team is determined to make things up to their fans, as evidenced by the seemingly heartfelt pre-game speech made by Washington forward Antawn Jamison a night or two ago. These guys want to restore some respect and competitiveness to their names. They want to become the Wizards again, not Zero and his band of ball players. That alone makes them dangerous. Could it be that this team finally presents a true challenge for the Hawks now, minus Zero?

 

HAWKS VS WIZARDS

Even as fans, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of “oh, we should beat that team with no problem.” So it can be for players, I’m sure. Washington may as well be our polar opposite in the win-loss column, as they stand at 12 and 24, with us soaring at 25 and 13. But they are also a team that has recently beaten the Orlando Magic. Oh yea, THOSE guys. The ones we can’t even compete with. So what, you say. That doesn’t prove anything. They also lost to the Pistons and the Hornets. Um, so did we. Which leaves one to thinking that maybe the Wizards match up rather well with us….minus Zero, that is. The question is, will that matchup be in our favor, or theirs?

 

The Guards

With Arenas out indefinitely, the Wiz will probably go with Randy Foye and Mike Miller, bringing Nick Young off the bench. Foye is a fairly quick combo guard with decent size, who can also draw fouls on his way to the basket. In his last three games, he has averaged right around 20 points per contest. His assist numbers for the season have been anything but impressive, but in the last two games, his playmaking ability has resurfaced. Suffice it to say that Bibby will have his work cut out for him. Bibby struggled in the last meeting between these two teams, though his assist/turnover numbers were pretty good (7 to 1). Bibby will have to shoot well AND help keep Foye from penetrating at will. If not, then the job will fall to Joe Johnson or the switching defense. Or, we could see a heavy dose of Jamal Crawford. Whether or not Teague sees any significant time remains to be seen. The same could be said of the improvement of his shooting percentage….

Off the ball, the Wizards are at an assumed disadvantage. When they’re not stuck trying to figure out how to guard Joe Johnson, they’ll be chasing after Jamal Crawford. Wizards head coach Flip Saunders may dig deep and have veteran Deshawn Stevenson guard Joe or Jamal if either is lighting up Young and Miller. Or, he may have to switch Caron Butler onto him. Either way, the matchup should be in the Hawks’ favor.

The Bigs

In the last matchup, Al Horford traded performance statistics with the bigger, taller Brendan Haywood. While Haywood outscored Horford 19 to 10, Horford outrebounded Haywood 12 to 9, and blocked 5 shots, to Haywood’s 2 rejections. The difference was at power forward, however, where Josh Smith was more than Fabricio Oberto and Andray Blatche could handle. His 8 rebounds nearly matched the combined efforts of the two Wizard players (9), and added to a Hawks overall advantage of 47 to 40. In addition, Marvin Williams added a solid 9 rebounds of his own, to go along with 10 points. Caron Butler played only 17 minutes and didn’t muster much in that time period (I think he incurred an injury, if I recall correctly). But somebody was missing from the party. Antawn Jamison, to be exact. Washington’s resident 20 and 10 man will be present for THIS contest, and he promises to be a load. While Jamison and Smith share near identical rebounding numbers, there is a bigger difference in scoring. Jamison has dipped below 20 points in just one of his last nine games, and has recored better than 25 points in 5 of his last 6. It’s not just that he can score, it’s that he can score from anywhere he chooses, as 37% shooting from the three point arc will attest to.

Truth be told, the individual matchup between Antawn Jamison and Josh Smith may just be the most pivotal one of the game. Or, it may not. What do you think?

Bench Mob and The Suits

What with the latest “developments”, Flip Saunders finds himself in an unenviable position. Mike Woodson may not be happy about his contract status, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t want to trade places with Saunders right about now. Yes, sometimes your grass is definitely the greener side. In any case, Woodson’s rotation is fairly well set. Saunders? Not so much. Anybody in the starting lineup could spend more time on the bench in this game if things aren’t going so well, and anybody expecting to get splinters may find themselves getting significant minutes. So, comparing benches is probably a bit difficult to do. Instead, let’s discuss who we figure will make the biggest contribution from the bench.

My pick is Andray Blatche. Nick Young might be a more exciting and daring pick, but he is less consistent with his shooting stroke, and will be facing two veteran guards who are prolific scorers. Blatche on the other hand, can be a matchup problem. A near seven footer with a good shooting stroke out to about 20 feet, Blatche can put up 10-15 points rather quickly and efficiently. He brings with him decent rebounding (over 5 a game in less than 23 mpg), and decent shooting (47% from the field, 76% from the line).

Bottom line, the Wiz are hungry for respect and would like to shed the bad vibes associated with the recent drama and all the losing. Meanwhile, the Hawks have to be happy about their recent mastery of the Celtics. For now, they have to re-focus on being consistent, and beating the teams they should beat.

 

One to Watch Out For

As usual, there is one guy who can really turn a game. He may not score 40 points, or grab 20 rebounds. He may not get 15 assists. But he’ll hurt you in so many not-as-obvious ways, and his effect can be felt well beyond his position. Who is that guy for the Wizards, that the Hawks need be wary of?

Here, my pick is Mike Miller. Why? Miller is pretty good at ball movement, and when he gets hot, he’s hard to stop. On defense, he’s no star, but he’s opportunistic in the passing lanes, so no lazy passes around this guy. Don’t sleep on this guy. Having only played 11 games this season, and averaging just 9 points a game, Miller may not seem like much of a contributor. However, he is also starting in each of the games he has played in, and getting over 28 mpg. The real kicker? Miller is shooting 58% from the field, and 60% from the three point line.

66 comments Add your comment

E-doggy

January 13th, 2010
4:13 am

FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E-doggy

January 13th, 2010
4:14 am

SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E-doggy

January 13th, 2010
4:14 am

AND THIRD!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

vava74

January 13th, 2010
6:04 am

Today’s thought:

What if “Ken Strickland” was in fact an alias used by Woody’s wife??

vava74

January 13th, 2010
6:09 am

And “Rod from College Park” an alias used by Marvin’s mom?

MARK

January 13th, 2010
7:27 am

YOU TALK LIKE THE WIZARDS ARE A GOOD TEAM. ATL IS GOING TO HAND THEM THEIR AZZZZZ ON A SILVER PLATTER.

Fundamentals

January 13th, 2010
8:31 am

The Wizards have pieces capable of beating anyone. We can’t let down. We need to beat them down from the outset. Give them no chance to gain any confidence. We’ve got to take care of business tonight!

Astro Joe

January 13th, 2010
8:59 am

I’m worried about Earl Boykins. No, seriously.

Fundamentals

January 13th, 2010
9:07 am

He’ll most likely have a Nate night & we’ll all gripe about not using Teague’s speed or Mario for D. Hopefully we’ll take care of business and keep scrubs where they belong – in the L column.

Khao$

January 13th, 2010
9:52 am

I agree with those who worry about the Wiz. While it should be a given that we beat them, games versus the Knicks, Hornets, and Pistons give me reason to be concerned. We should win…but nothig is a given

Astro Joe

January 13th, 2010
10:15 am

nire, surely you were not suggesting on the previous blog that Cheez Whiz isn’t part of a heart-healthy diet?

Anyone believing the Bosh for Bynum (Andrew) rumor floating around the blogosphere? Imagine if we look up and suddenly have Howard, Lopez and Bynum in our conference for the next 5+ years. YIKES! Where’s Lorenzen Wright to save the day?

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
10:15 am

Kudos to Niremetal for sending me a note about the Wizards. Mike Miller has sustained a calf injury, and will be out for about a week or so, according to an article posted last night on Yahoo Sports.

Mark ,

It’s not that I think they’re a good team. Clearly their record would suggest otherwise. But they can be a dangerous team for US. Is New Orleans a good team, particularly without Chris Paul? Is New York a good team? How about Detroit? All teams that we lost to….

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
10:18 am

Or, I can just say that I echo Khao$’s statement…

AJ ,

Now where are your manners? You know you’re supposed to include Hawks players in all trade rumors! Forget Bynum for Bosh…how about Bynum for Josh? Pardon me a second, I gotta go get my flame suit….the heavy duty one…

niremetal

January 13th, 2010
10:38 am

All-Star caliber seven footers only come along only 2-3 times per decade. Right now, Bynum is the best 7-footer in the NBA who was drafted this decade, since Yao is hurt and Dwight is 6′11. Bynum is also just 22, which would make him the youngest player on the team not named JT0.

If Bynum could ace a physical, I’d probably trade either Josh or Al for him. But I would be nervous as hell that we would be making a trade akin to the Magic trading Ben Wallace for Grant Hill.

MannyT

January 13th, 2010
11:28 am

The Wiz can play this as a nothing to lose opportunity. They lost to Detroit last night. There is enough psychological damage due to the Arenas situation.

Because the gun issues are so serious to the league, they cannot even blow off steam by laughing about the situation. Almost like a powder keg under pressure. I expect them to go wild every now and then on the court as it is one of their few ways to blow off steam.

Lest we forget, they beat Orlando last week. Wizards beat Magic. Is that like a 12 step addiction anonymous thing?

The analyst in me is amused that subtracting zero from something makes such a big difference…but it does.

vava74…your original toady’s thoughts/what ifs would be the ending to a blog version of The Twilight Zone!

BWAF

vava74

January 13th, 2010
12:17 pm

Manny,

I am glad that someone acknowledged the effort I put into generating a meaningful contribution to todays blog!!

Bynum for Al?? NO THANKS!!!

I would never trade a injury prone, playboy bunny carrier 7 footer for a stand up blue collar guy like Al. NEVER

The same applies for Josh, since Bynum will NEVER bring to the table the (often miss guided) enthusiasm and passion Josh brings.

It’s far easier to pay for an in house shrink to monitor Josh… or better still… an hypnotist:

“…at the count of 3 you will no longer complain to the refs and will focus on cleaning the glass as if there is no tomorrow… 1… 2… 3…”

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
12:42 pm

Vava is on fire today….LOL….

Astro Joe

January 13th, 2010
1:12 pm

Phil Jackson and Josh Smith? Josh Smith, Ron Artest and Phil Jackson? Josh Smith, Ron Artest, Lamar Odum and Phil Jackson?

Marcus

January 13th, 2010
1:45 pm

BigRay,
this is indeed a trap game much like DET (minus 3 starters), NYK (anytime, esp. w/Nate Robinson coming off of long layoff) and any game vs. CHA in 2008-2009 season. THIS is where we either beging to show maturation (soundly beating teams we SHOULD beat) or more of the same from 2008-09 (head-scratching mid-season losses to CHA and NYK)

Big B CH 99

January 13th, 2010
2:14 pm

I’m just thrilled that the Hawks brought back Mario even if it is only for 10 days. He’s my favorite NBA player, I love his heart, and the fact that he specializes in doing something that many NBA players don’t believe in: Playing D.

Daniel

January 13th, 2010
2:43 pm

To Big Ray and others:

Here is the other way to look at it. Sure any team can lose to any other team. Even NJ has three wins. But, how does worrying about that help? Is the fans confidence or concern affect the players attitude and attack? NO!!!

There are enough games that I worry about.. How do we beat Orlando? Will the refs allow us to beat Clevland? I refuse to worry about a “trap” game from the lousy no good wizards.

richbrave

January 13th, 2010
3:20 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, I blasted the WIZ faithful with the truth. The WIZARDFS would only be improved to the extent that MILLER, FOYE andf OBERTO made them. They were slightly better until FOYE and MILLER went out with injuries. Only OLDberto was available to carry the load until FOYE and MILLER returned. In MIKE’s case, very briefly I might add. FAB buckled under the strain, but no defense RANDY is back, and holding up his end of the bargain offensively at least.

Note to HAWKS players.

Stay up on RF and he folds. He needs space and unimpeded forward motion to successfully stroke.

You will see little resistance in the face of determination tonight. JAMISON dropped 31 and had 10 boards last time out, yet was minus two overall. The only mistake the HAWKS can make is to not get up on them early. Come to play right off the bat, and it’s an easy win for the home-team.

Melvin

January 13th, 2010
3:40 pm

I think Foye is the guy that’s most likely to win the Nate Robinson award. He’s quick and can shoot it. Bibby may need to wear ankle supports tonight. Between Foye and Boykins, they will run him all around the court. Oh I forgot, our SG defends the other team PG’s…

niremetal

January 13th, 2010
4:32 pm

niremetal

January 13th, 2010
7:13 pm

Mario should change his jersey number to 30. That way, his theme song could be Rio Rio Three-Oh.

niremetal

January 13th, 2010
7:14 pm

Sorry, with all the puns about gun-toting Wizards, I had to change the pace a little bit :)

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
7:47 pm

Four things I notice right off the bat.

One, I didn’t know I’d miss Mario this much.

Two, Marvin is playing his butt off. Whoever slipped the RedBull in his gatorade needs to do it again.

Three, the ball movement and off-ball movement has been pretty nice.

Four, Woody has gone to the bench early, despite not having a big lead. The bench has responded by extending the lead.

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
7:50 pm

Daniel ,

You’re right. Worrying about it doesn’t help. Not respecting the other team doesn’t help either, which is all I’m asking the Hawks to do. :)

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
7:53 pm

He’s not going to get away with that very often, particularly against the better players in the league, but NICE block by Jeff Teague.

All the same kiddo, learn to stay in front of your man.

chuckw/deadjournalist

January 13th, 2010
8:14 pm

Damn nice to have ‘Rio back. After the first couple of possession the teams energy picked up significantly. It’s amazing what having a guy running, cutting, being his normal ‘Rio self will do for a team.

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
8:53 pm

Shut up, Josh.

Refs called Mario out, just let it go….

Melvin

January 13th, 2010
9:19 pm

Astro JOe,

Make sure you watch UNC/Clemson game tonight. Trevor Brooker(#35) is that tweener forward that you are looking for. He also added a jumpshot (about out to the college 3pt line) to his game this season. Good rebounder, banger and scorer in the post…

Big Ray

January 13th, 2010
9:27 pm

Heh….short bus crew is on their thing tonight, I see. Imitation…it’s the most sincere form of flattery.

Anyway,

Very nice game by Marvin Williams. Josh nearly got a triple double. It would be a quadruple double if you count the number of whines after a foul call as a statistic. Despite his scoring issues, he had a hell of an effect on the game.

Joe did his thing, and Jamal shined right along with him. Big Al held his own despite foul trouble and limited touches. It was great to see Mario back in the fold and doing his thing.

Teague looked pretty good for the most part. I won’t say anything else, as it tends to start a pi$$ing match about the usual subject….

Wizards challenged, Hawks had some lapses in judgement but put them away. I’ll take that “W.”

Melvin

January 13th, 2010
10:33 pm

Josh didnt shoot well at all tonight and still almost had a triple double… 10pts 11rebs 8ast and 1 blk… And some folks question his Bball IQ… Ha,ha…

niremetal

January 13th, 2010
11:16 pm

Denver puttin the hurt on Orlando. Looks like we’ll be just 1/2 game back after tonight!

richbrave

January 13th, 2010
11:18 pm

I see the HAWKS made it harder than they had to. I didn’t watch. Had two other options tonight.

richbrave

January 13th, 2010
11:19 pm

MELVIN:

Plueeze, don’t get too excited. It WAS the WIZARDS after all.

Melvin

January 13th, 2010
11:41 pm

rich,

I sure rather beat the Wiz then lose to them… Hey, they did beat the Magic, a team that the Hawks are 0-2 against…

richbrave

January 14th, 2010
8:08 am

So, go beat the MAGIC next time.

Big Ray

January 14th, 2010
8:14 am

Sour grapes, richbrave ? ;)

Fundamentals

January 14th, 2010
8:27 am

How can richbrave comment if he didn’t even watch the game.

Fairweather!

If you can’t endure the entire Magic loss looking for some signs of hope you don’t need to be on this blog.

Last night was ugly, but the W goes to Rio & the 2nd unit.

chuckw/deadjournalist

January 14th, 2010
9:05 am

Last night was ugly – but at least this time they found a way to win (unlike NYK, CHA, etc.).

Woody rarely does something that is surprising but he did something in the second half that got me. No, it wasn’t playing ‘Rio that much. It was that Teague didn’t get burn. As well as he played, I thought he would have gotten at least a few minutes in the late 3rd. Woody is already shortening that bench (with the bigs having an off night should RandMo at least get a couple mins?) like it was the play-offs and that isn’t going to bode well for the second half.

Back to ‘Rio, because he’s the Scott Hastings of a new generation, I think Woody will try to get him 7 to 10 mins a game in the upcoming because a) he’s a good match-up with PHX and OKC but also because b) you know Woody wants Sund to see how valuable he is on the court.

My only concern is that the second unit really doesn’t have consistent scoring outside of Crawford – and with ‘Rio out there you know better teams are going to basically play 4 on 5. If ‘Rio can show that he can his a mid-range jumper of if he can finished better than in years past other teams will at least have to think about him.

Finally, to only be two dimes from the triple-double, didn’t Josh Smith seem almost invisible (minus the big block)?

JSS

January 14th, 2010
9:37 am

Hello Fellow Hawk fans and Big Ray (the Dean of all moderators)

As many of you know, there has been a great tragedy in Haiti… Blogger “Ted Striker” and I are asking you to get involved in aiding the victims…

I set up a Facebook cause page for the Haitian Relief effort
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=426507305332&ref=search&sid=819343849.3665709771..1

Hey all of you Tech and UGA fans!!! Step up to the plate!!! Tell me what you think!
Thanks to “Ted Striker” and Big Ray for letting me post on his blog…

vava74

January 14th, 2010
9:58 am

A win is a win!!!

I couldn’t watch the game and please correct me if I am wrong but… didn’t Woody do what everyone (including me) has been clamoring him to do?

It seems that he identified a possible match up problem and coached: didn’t he use JT0 against Boykins?

Boykins, although getting old pretty fast, is still a quick dynamic little fellow who can get hot and score a bunch of points if he sees a “crack in the wall”.

HawksFan11

January 14th, 2010
10:23 am

Yeah, Woody coached in the second quarter. He went to the bench with only a 3-point lead (17-14); gutsiest move I’ve ever seen him make.

When Crawford, Teague, Mario, Joe Smith, and Collins sat down, the lead was 20. Then, in typical fashion, Woody went to sleep, and when he woke up, the lead was only 2.

Yeah, a W is a W, but the way the Hawks go about it night after night, working on pure emotion and not strategy/adjustment, is a recipie for early exit. We’ve seen it time and time again, as soon as the refs get into theirs heads: Game over.

vava74

January 14th, 2010
12:48 pm

Big Ray

January 14th, 2010
1:30 pm

niremetal

January 14th, 2010
3:10 pm

“I don’t give a sh*t about the offense; you guys can score more than enough points to win games. The offense isn’t the problem. But you have to get stops on defense, and if you’ll listen to what we’re telling you, I promise you’ll get stops.”

Everyone catch that? Bear that in mind come April and May when we face better defenses and coaches who DO give a sh*t about BOTH sides of the ball on a nightly basis.

niremetal

January 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

Melvin

January 14th, 2010
3:49 pm

It’s funny how Woody prides himself on defense or label himself as a defensive minded coach when he didn’t play a lick of defense as a player. Woody was known for his nice jump shot (Is there’s a coincidence that the Hawks have a jump shooting oriented offense). Now that he’s a coach, he has become a defensive guru… Yeah, ok.

Rod from College Park

January 14th, 2010
5:06 pm

Dumb statement by Woodson especially considering the fact that we lost in the playoffs last year because we could not score, and obviously we can not win by defending Lebron or Dwight better, because of the superstar factor. They will get all the calls in the playoffs and we won’t, so I would think that he might want to adjust that strategy. We will have to outscore these teams to be successful. Al and Josh will not be able to defend Shaq and Ilguskus, or Howard in the paint no matter what they do. We will have to outscore these teams to be successful in the playoffs.

richbrave

January 14th, 2010
5:16 pm

HAWKS fans:

The latest segment of “AS THE WIZARDS TURN.”

“Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was charged Thursday with felony gun possession, a crime that carries a maximum five years in jail and a fine, authorities said.
The charge was announced Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District.
Arenas’s attorney and prosecutors had been negotiating a plea deal during the day and it was not immediately clear whether the filing of charges was a part of the deal. Court officials said they had been told to prepare to have Arenas in Superior Court on Friday.”

“D.C. and Arlington police searched the home of Washington Wizard Javaris Crittenton Thursday morning looking for a gun he reportedly used in a locker room confrontation with teammate Gilbert Arenas, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Police did not find the gun at his Arlington home in the 7:15 a.m. search, one of the sources said.”

My prediction. ARENAS is found guilty of a misdemeanor, gets a suspended sentance, has to do more community service than he already is, and pays a heavy fine. The indeterminate NBA suspension is given a limit, another fine, and finally whatever the WIZARDS want to do with him. But he stays. And he plays. That contract is untradable, and not voidable at this point. Nothing less than a felony conviction will suffice for that. Ain’t happenin’. The franchise has to deal with the poison pill that contract represents for the next four and one-half seasons. There is a player option before the 2012-2013 season. Think GIL will exercise it? Me too. 20.5 mill that season.

JAVARIS skins out of the mess with nothing but here-say evidence against him. The brandishing a loaded weapon will not prove out, but CRITTENTON will never wear a WIZARDS uni again. And his 1.45 mill is up at the end of the season.

There’s a very good point guard coming onto the market soon HAWKS fans, if you’re interested. Personally, if I were a GM, I would consider it.

richbrave

January 14th, 2010
5:25 pm

Fundamentals

January 14th, 2010
8:27 am
How can richbrave comment if he didn’t even watch the game.

Fairweather!

If you can’t endure the entire Magic loss looking for some signs of hope you don’t need to be on this blog.

Last night was ugly, but the W goes to Rio & the 2nd unit.

FUNDAMENTALS:

I live in the D.C. area. They don’t telecast the HAWKS on Mid-Atlantic cable t.v. So no, I didn’t watch the HAWKS-MAGIC. But when they’re on TNT or another national hook-up I do if I know they’re on. That is, when my local boys are not playing like they were last night..

Thanks RAY. I put this comment on you. Hell no. I’m a HAWKS fan too. I just want them to get that raggdy-azz MAGIC monkey off their back.

Astro Joe

January 14th, 2010
6:34 pm

I guess no one has ever stood in front of employees (or children) and used hyperbole to stress a point, huh?

Here’s my guess, by the time an NBA player makes it to the pros, he’s probably had 10+ years of offensive coaching. When you watch rookies in the league, most likely they have decent offensive skills and very, very few defensive skills. And if you take the time to read the article, you see how the coaching staff stresses weakside defense and how to read the opposing team’s offensive set (think like a MLB) to ensure that you are in a a better position defensively. All of that seemed like pretty heady stuff… not likely taught in high school, AAU nor most college games.

Lastly, players will develop their offensive games with assistant coaches and player development types (like Mark Price). But when Marvin goes to UNC, Smith goes to Hakeem and Horford goes to play for the DR, they are not likely focusing on team defense. So Woody “over-compensates” with that type of statement to drive home a point. When my father said “I will kill you if you bring home another D”, I always assumed that he was speaking in that manner to drive home a point. I understood the difference when I was 10, I’m guessing that the Hawks understand what Woody is doing as adults. Or maybe that’s why Salim kept shooting those mid-court shots, because he thought that Woody wouldn’t care. Oops.

Sautee

January 14th, 2010
9:33 pm

AJ,

On one hand, that’s a plausible scenario.

On the other hand…….. maybe it explains why Josh could take eighty-something threes last year (at 27% or whatever) with no accountability.

Big Ray

January 14th, 2010
10:11 pm

Richbrave ,

You put WHAT comment on me? Hey, all I said was “sour grapes” because I was teasing you. Guess I won’t be doing that again….. ;)

Rod ,

I have to agree with you on those statements by Woody. At the same time, I now have more respect for what he’s trying to do defensively. I still don’t think he has quite all the personnel he needs that naturally fit that system, and I think there are some personnel on the team that specifically DON’T fit the system, no matter how much they “buy into it.” But that’s just my opinion.

Astro Joe ,

I can see that as a plausible scenario as well. But I’m not sold on the idea that this is 100% hyperbole either. Woody and his staff clearly spend a great amount of time on his defensive schemes and what not. Maybe it’s easier to pin the offensive stuff on one of his assistants, I don’t know. What I do know is that the inconsistencies on offense are rarely answered for. Woody can always tell you what went wrong defensively. Anybody doing an interview or chronicling what goes on in practice or whatever always mentions what he has to say about defensive mistakes.

When it comes to offense, about the most I’ve heard is “we didn’t make shots”, or “I’ve got to find a way to get player A to score more”, or “we couldn’t get the ball down low so easily against the zone, so the jumpshots looked appetizing.” So because you ran up against a zone, a much lower percentage shot looked appetizing? What was appetizing about it? Why didn’t you look at ways to beat the zone besides throwing up a bunch of appetizing, low percentage shots? It bothered me because it seemed like there wasn’t much mental effort involved there, nor any concern about executing on offense.

I get your point about coaching defense and how players get plenty of offensive coaching. Well, that’s only natural. If you can’t score early on, you don’t get to play much unless you do something else really well. Like defend and rebound. With coaches like Billy Donovan and so many others, there is clearly some defense being taught plenty in college. Note how Woody said he didn’t have to treat Al as a rookie because there was so much that he already knew how to do defensively. AAU is a different deal altogether….

Anyway, this is not to say Woody doesn’t know anything about NBA offense or the strategies thereof. It’s just to say that I think there is something that can be chalked up to hyperbole. And there are some things that can’t be.

richbrave

January 14th, 2010
11:30 pm

Richbrave ,

You put WHAT comment on me? Hey, all I said was “sour grapes” because I was teasing you. Guess I won’t be doing that again…..

Not much understanding right now here in D.C. locker room. Sorry RAY.

wordsmithtom

January 15th, 2010
4:41 am

Richbrave,
I hear you on Critt; he is now “damaged goods” around the league; who needs that! Yet to be seen the extent of his problems with the law. He’s young, and this could be a “wakeup” or a sign of more trouble ahead. Knowing Josh Smith likes him could make a “rehab” possible. Does concern me that Hawks have built a roster of “high character” guys; why mess that up? Main reason I didn’t want them to go after AI. If Critt is seen as a “gangster”, would that impact our chemistry? Potentially. Also, have we determined Teague is not the guy at point? He’s not ready now, but he has talent, and you can’t coach up his speed.

Notwithstanding the talk about Johnson being our “allstar”, this is Smoove’s team. I think GM should be talking to him about Critt to see if he passes muster. Arenas is a self-admitted goofball, not a “gangster”. Still, this kind of horseplay, in light of the “gangster” image problem overhanging professional sports is a real concern. Atlanta is a small market city. A sports franchise in a small market can’t afford to carry “bad boy” “gangstas” on its books. Too many families don’t want their kids emulating this crap. Maybe Boston can get away with it, but it won’t sell in Atlanta.

Marcus

January 15th, 2010
6:30 am

Ray,
If we bring it every nite, we can do this. I still count 6 “winnable” LOSSES we have had and hope that the 2nd half of the season eliminates those:
Turkey Day vs. ORL
Loss @ DET minus 3 starters (next game after ORL debacle)
Both home games vs. NYK
OT loss to CHI @ CHI (mid December)
Game 2 of CLE back-to-back

Astro Joe

January 15th, 2010
7:36 am

Sautee, and that is why I often argue that Woody allows more player freedom than maybe he should (at least offensively). I still think that the classic Bibby “well get him out of there ” comment was less about Woody calling a play with Smith standing 23 feet from ther basket and more that Bibby was telling Woody to use his coaching authority and tell Smith that he can’t stand (and shoot) 23 feet from the basket. Freedom for Smith, frustration for everyone else (Bibby and fans included).

Ray, we certainly runa very elementary offense which likely isn’t too hard to defend. Atthe same time, it is supported by the emphasis on low TOs and stellar defense. I honestly haven’t spent enough time watching other offenses to know how much of Orlando (as an example) is scheme vs. talent. I don’t hink that the Celtics nor Cavs operate world-class offenses… Cavs have iso-LeBron and Celtics have pick & roll assasins. But Woody has also created a “system” that has allowed 6 guys to score in double-digits for like the last 3-4 years, allowed Flip and Jamal to have exceptional seasons without much assimilation and has provided Smith and Horford room to grow as offensive players. If we won the shot-clock game and Joe hit that lay-up in Chicago, I think we’d like feel a lot better about this offense right now.

JSS

January 15th, 2010
9:26 am

A not so brief update on Haiti…

Amidst all of the death and destruction, here is some GREAT news from Haiti… My nephew-in-law Jean St. Val’s family is alive and OK… These are the type of stories that we are trying to accomplish for even more families around the world… Please give and keep up the good work!!! Thank you!!!

And for those of you who have not visited us on Facebook at AJC Bloggers for Haiti Relief, please do so… We DO NOT seek contributions directly, we provide links to resources, charities and Non Governmental Organization known as NGO’s (cleared by the American Institute of Philanthropy), and updates on the ongoing relief efforts… Feel free to use you own networks and connections, but please join the group if you can so we can keep you more readily updated…

HawksFan11

January 15th, 2010
9:31 am

Astro Joe

Great post, very insightful. Bibby is right on point (pardon the pun) about Woody, and for that matter,te entir coaching staff. Not one of them says a word to a player coming off the floor, the players just take a seat on the bench and try tofigure it out fr themselves. It is legal to coach/teach during the game, isn’t it?

Lastly, if we had a real systematic offense, it, and not little things like one shot clock malfunction or one missed layup (after 7 other ISO miscues) would determine the outcome of the game.

JSS

January 15th, 2010
9:46 am

I put a note of THANKS over on the Wizards/Hawks to all of you good people!

JSS

January 15th, 2010
9:48 am

Ewww!!!! $8 hours without sleep does that to a guy!

My BAD!

JSS

January 15th, 2010
9:49 am

“48″ hours

Sautee

January 15th, 2010
11:31 am