Feelin’ good in Texas

Remember when the “Texas Triangle” was a source of consternation for us? Remember when we would talk about getting one “surprise win” out of the three contests on the road against Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas? Wait, wasn’t that just last season?

As it stands now, our Atlanta Hawks have to be feeling fairly good about Texas these days. While the visit to the Triangle didn’t come all at once this season, the Hawks are already good for two out of three, with a grind-it-out win in Dallas back on the 5th of December, and a more substantial and convincing win in Houston just two nights ago. Now all the Hawks have to do is defeat the San Antonio Spurs tonight, to make the vanquishing of the Triangle complete. Will they pull it off, or will we be singing “Two out of three ain’t bad….”? Either way, if you don’t think this is yet another sign of a team that is significantly better than it was last year, then consider the fact that the Hawks didn’t win a single one of these three daunting road games last season. How’s that for perspective?

 

More All-Star Noise

Everybody on every site seems to be getting their opinion in on the All-star selections, both the starters and the reserves. Ok, so that’s nothing new. What is interesting of course, is all the talk of Josh Smith and Al Horford as guys who deserve (or don’t deserve) consideration for reserve slots. The fact that they are even talked about in these circles is a testament to the growth of their games, as well as how that growth relates to the success of this team. John Schumann (did I spell that right?) of NBA.com has already stated his case, more for Horford than for Smith. Hawks Beat writer Michael Cunningham notes the opinion of YahooSports’ Kelly Dwyer on his blog. I just recently read another article on NBA.com, this one by Vince Thomas of SLAM Magazine (and also commentator for ESPN, at times). His is a different take than most I’ve seen, as Horford gets no mention, but Smith gets plenty of love. Here’s the link: http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/vince_thomas/01/26/allstar.picks/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1

Well, the all-star reserves will be announced tomorrow. While I’m sure we all expect to see Joe Johnson get the nod at guard, what do you think Smith’s and Horford’s chances look like? To toughen things up just a bit, which Hawks big man do you think deserves it more, and why?

 

HAWKS VS SPURS

It seems that we refer to each game against a quality opponent as a test, doesn’t it? Is it that we still don’t quite yet believe in our own team, or are we just recognizing the number of opportunities for the Hawks to succeed where they have inevitably and predictably failed in the past? Maybe it’s something else entirely. But, as cliched as it may have become, I have to say it again: the game against the Spurs tonight is yet another…..test.

What You Might Remember

Oh, there’s no doubt that you remember. You can’t forget, even if you wanted to. No, I’m not talking about that December 10th loss to the Spurs in San Antonio. I’m talking about the one we lost to them in OUR home on March 25th. The one where Tim Duncan didn’t even play. The one where Tony Parker hit 18 of 25 shots enroute to a 42 point outing, and a 10 point victory. In OUR Arena. Any of you out there still as unhappy about that one as I am? Let’s hope the Hawks are, too.

Speaking of unhappy, the Spurs are fresh off of three straight losses to Utah, Houston, and Chicago. Guess what? All three are home losses. It seems the Spurs are no longer as invulnerable at home as they once were, a chink showing in their armor. Though I haven’t followed the team closely enough to know for certain, I really can’t remember the last time San Antonio lost three in a row at home. It was just simply unheard of. Nevertheless, Atlanta can take nothing for granted here, as the Spurs are still 17-9 in their own castle, and always an opponent to be reckoned with.

Key Matchups

Tim Duncan is one of the best big men in the business. You can use a variety of adjectives to describe him, but why bother? They’ve all been used enough times already. Suffice it to say that Duncan is STILL averaging essentially 20 and 10 per contest, without the fanfare or pomp and circumstance of other players. Even with more popular names in the league these days, and Duncan pretty much an elder statesman, is there a more steady/potent force down low? I really don’t think so. Drawing the dubious assignment of guarding Duncan will most likely be Al Horford. This will prove to be a good matchup, as the younger center tries to slow down the older one, ironically enough. At the same time, Horford’s burgeoning offensive game will be tested and taxed by Duncan’s STILL all-NBA level defense. Speaking of defense, Horford won’t mind a little help from cohort Josh Smith, when Duncan gets the ball.

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli are what worry me most in this game. These two guards are penetrators extraordinaire, and the Hawks perimeter defense is suspect most days, and just plain awful on others. Joe, Bibby, and Jamal will have to dial it up several notches to keep these speed demons from shredding the Hawks defense. If they don’t, Josh and Al will be stuck cleaning up the mess, and if you ask me…..that spells foul trouble. Is San Antonio a team that Coach Mike Woodson can employ his switching defense against, or will it be a disastrous idea?

Darkhorse vs Darkhorse

My picks here are Richard Jefferson and Dajuan Blair. George Hill is a nice young player, but he’s 6′2″ and he’ll be facing Joe Johnson. That should make for a bad night for Hill.

Jefferson, on the other hand, is a guy who has taken to his role well. He’s not been the same, arguably since he’s been separated from Jason Kidd. But don’t fool yourself. He has a lot to give, and despite his recent struggles, he can still hit it from the outside, and get to the rim. Opposite him is Marvin Williams, who’s game seems to be on the rise, as he finds his niche. Marvin has the size and lateral quickness to bother Jefferson and keep him under control. On offense, Marvin need only hit the occasional open shot, and slash to the basket for easy points off of passes into the post.

Dejuan Blair is a physical chunk of humanity that excels at one thing: rebounding. He’s not a good scorer (work in progress) and is terrible from the free throw line. However, you have to keep a body on him at all times, and use whatever advantages you have to outwork him for the rebound. Most nights, that still doesn’t work, as the rookie forward is averaging nearly 7 rebounds per game, in just 18 minutes of work each night. Still, the Hawks have to find a way to keep Blair near or at his average. Anything more, and he becomes a game-changer, especially if he is doing the bulk of his damage on the offensive glass.

84 comments Add your comment

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
8:37 am

Ray- I am actually more concerned about tonights game BECAUSE the Spurs have lost three in a row at home. You know they will be focused and aggressive tonight. Don’t want it, not predicting it, but could be in for a rough one tonight, esp. with the Hawks maybe coasting after Rockets win.

I like both Smith and Horford for the All Star game (obviously). Tough to choose between the two. Josh has a greater “all star” impact on several games (like Houston) but he has also had a greater number of disappearing acts. Horford has fewer highs and fewer lows, but consistency at his position is a premium. Besides who at the 5 should go in the East? After Howard its kinda wide open, Shaq? (no thanks), Perkins?(give me a break) everbody’s favorite Lopez(shouldn’t your team actually win some games?) There is obviously more competition at the 4 spot for Smith, but the selection will probably be made as forward/centers. What time is the announcement tomorrow?

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
9:00 am

Ray, put mein the “2 out of 3 ain’t bad” camp. I am going to enjoy watching the Fundamental Battle… between Duncan and Horford.

GeeMack

January 27th, 2010
9:50 am

Big Ray

I’m with you…we look at these games as “big test” because our team has failed so miserably in the past. Also the fact that we are in position to overtake the Celtic for 2 place gives these games extra meaning.

Concerning the all stars. I think Josh deserves it more. We have heard the term “as goes Josh so goes the Hawks” alot as Hawks fans, for that alone he should be an All star. I would not go with Al, because Shaq should be an all star until he retires as long as the other centers are not clearly better and Al is not clearly better than Shaq.

KevinA

January 27th, 2010
10:08 am

Josh wants to be an All-Star and when he plays with high energy on defense he can carry a team. When Josh plays well the team usually follows. How long the Josh express tracks, I don’t now, untill he slows down I like our chances. If the big’s get 20 -25 shot attempts and more than 6 assists, I like our chances.

The guards have been streaky during parts of games but overall have shot well with a decent FG% the last few games. They have not shot us out of games. It is key to hold Parker to 20 instead of 40.
One player you didn’t mention is DeJuan Blair. ZaZa and Joe smith may be to slow for him.
This is our best shot in a decade to get a win. Let’s get-er-done. Go Hawks.

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
10:26 am

Gee- Al is crushing Shaq in minutes, points, rebounds and double double’s. When does he get the nod?

fudd21

January 27th, 2010
10:28 am

Im with Gee Mack in the 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, but even with saying that I’m expecting a victory tonight.

As far as the all stars go, I would like to see them both (Josh & Al)get in, but have a funny feeling neither will get in. Daniel you mentioned Shaq and said no thanks. But I would find it hard to beleive that Cleveland would have the best record in basketball and only get 1 person in the all-star game. So I think despite his anemic numbers I think he will get in and Horford will get snubbed.

In regards to the forwards I think Bosh and Pierce are locks. That leaves the other forward spot to Granger, Josh, Lewis, and Iggy. I would to see Josh there but its hard to overlook the type of numbers that Granger is putting up. Plus he was voted in last year and I beleive his numbers are similiar.

As for the guards I think JJ and Rondo are locks. I think the other guard spot comes down to Vince, Ray or Rose. I personally don’t like any of them and would like to see Crawford selected. I think he has made a huge impact on the success of our season thus far and should finally be rewarded as such. It’s a shame that AI is on the team cause he is taking a spot of someone deserving.

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
10:30 am

I hope Josh makes the ASG because, well, frankly, I’m not sure how he may handle it if he doesn’t make the ASG this year. I still think that his 0 rebound performance in the first game after last year’s ASG was fueled by his disappointment with not being a part of the festivities. If he makes it, I think his performance will increase with the inverse affect if he is left off.

fudd21

January 27th, 2010
10:45 am

I’m sorry I typed Lewis but I was thinking Captain Jack.

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
10:53 am

fudd21- In terms of the Shaq/Horford comparison, to me clearly has had a more impactful first half of the season, but given the Shaq star power and Clevland’s best record you are probably right.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2010
11:24 am

Astro Joe,

I am on the other side of the coin. Josh came into the season saying he wanted to be an All-Star, and DPOY. If he doesnt get selected this year, maybe that will motivate him even more, so he can show people that they made a mistake leaving him off.

I think both Al and Josh deserve it, but I think Josh is more deserving because of his impact (in different ways) on both ends of the court. But with the quality of forwards out there (Pierce, Bosh, Gerald Wallace, Granger), Josh will have a tough time getting in, but I think Horford makes it.

Ray,

2 out of 3 aint bad, especially when its the Texas Triangle. But I will be disappointed if we dont win tonight, because:

1) The Spurs are older and more vulnerable than they’ve been in a while
2) If Hawks win tonight, that means Woody still has a good chance at coaching the All Star game

When Parker went off for 42, we didn’t have Crawford, and Woody (and the players) did not do a good job defensively. Crawford, JJ and Mario should see time defending Parker (he would feast on Bibby), so I dont think TP has a monster game.

Hawks will need to stay on Roger Mason, and not give him open looks. And if Al struggles guarding Duncan, maybe Collins will get some minutes. RJ has struggled, and I think him and Marvin will be a draw (assuming Marvin continues his good play). Blair to me is the wildcard. We have to box out, but if Blair has position, I say foul him (hard), and send him to the line.

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
11:29 am

I meant Al has had

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2010
12:06 pm

O’Brien,

“RJ has struggled, and I think him and Marvin will be a draw (assuming Marvin continues his good play).”

Let’s not go overboard now. RJ is having the worst season of his career and still is scoring more points, shooting a higher percentage from the field and the 3 point line and averaging more assist than Marvin. Marvin is a better rebounder, but I’m sure Jefferson is not asked to rebound with Duncun in the paint. We will be more than lucky if that matchup is even, and it probably won’t be able to be measured, as I’m pretty sure the spurs will match Jefferson up on Joe defensively, and leave their worst or smaller defender on Marvin.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
12:14 pm

Astro Joe and O’brien ,

I feel you. Two out of three against the Texas teams on the road is surely an improvement. Even if a loss carries with it a pang of disappointment. I’d still like a win, and am hoping heavily for one (not expecting, just hoping), because this team is now capable of earning it. If we lose, how we lose will matter to me.

One of the things that bothers me about the Spurs is their long-standing ability to make it through adversity. We’ll see what happens.

Not sure how much of a difference Crawford makes when we’re talking about guarding Parker. From an offensive standpoint, well that’s a different story altogether. I’ve noticed Crawford’s defense getting better here and there, however.

KevinA ,

I did mention Dejaun Blair. Last two paragraphs of the piece, under “Darkhorse vs Darkhorse.” And I agree that Pachulia and Joe Smith have their work cut out for them. However, never underestimate the wiles of a veteran….Smith may have a trick or two up his sleeve, and Collins is available as a big body.

I think the main thing is to not let him do more than his average. If he gets a double double, we could be in some trouble. Okay, that silly rhyme wasn’t intended…. ;)

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
12:23 pm

OB, I hope you’re right. But I see Smith as more of a whiner/sulker when things don’t go right as opposed to a fighter. Let’s hope that we won’t have to find out and he gets a linen invitation to the All-Star Game.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
12:29 pm

Rod ,

I think the general consensus is that Marvin vs Jefferson (as you said, if that matchup even happens) would result in a draw if these two elements are in place:

1. Jefferson’s recent struggles continue.

2. Marvin’s recent display of decent production/performance continues.

And really, we’re just talking about this game, not overall. Marvin has clearly never been the kind of player Jefferson has for any significant stretch of time. Ever. And I doubt he ever will be, to be honest.

At the same time, you’re right about Jefferson still scoring more and shooting a higher percentage. Consider this, though: As you say, Jefferson is probably not asked to rebound so much with Duncan and others around. By the same vein, Marvin is not asked to score so much with JJ, Jamal, and Smith around. Am I making excuses for Marvin? No, this is just how it looks to me from a statistical standpoint.

Jefferson is shooting roughly 1.5% better than Marvin, and averaging 2.5 more points per game. Jefferson is the better scorer without question. Those percentage margins show just how bad he really is struggling.

doc

January 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

reprise from last blog as this fits this blog as well:

doc
January 26th, 2010
9:40 pm

nice read on who should be on the all star team as additions. yup our boys are well represented. got to love the comments about al and josh and our perimeter “defense”.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Picking-the-Eastern-All-Star-reserves;_ylt=Ah4pruVjSplMlPz62.UcTce8vLYF?urn=nba,215576

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
12:39 pm

Astro,

I hear what you’re saying, but I’m hoping that he is maturing, and growing out of that. As well as he’s played, he has to know that the ASG is not all about what he may think it’s about. There is a certain amount of “popularity contest” element here. He has only to listen to Mike Bibby, who put up some hellacious stats in his better days, yet never got an all-star nod.

I know he has whined and sulked about plenty of stuff, but he has made progress in that area (though he really, really has to work on that ref stuff). We’ve seen evidence of this growth this season, where he has struggled, been fouled (with no call), been in foul trouble. Yet still he has managed to make plays on both ends of the floor, and grab rebounds. Last season’s Josh Smith wasn’t doing that. Last season’s Smith wasn’t fighting for rebounds and blocking out like he is this year.

Does he still have a long ways to go in some of those maturity areas? Yeah, mostly with the refs. But I see him being a leader on defense, and smarter on offense. No more yelling/cursing the coach or arguing over offensive plays. No more sulking when he goes to the bench because he’s in foul trouble.

If he doesn’t make the ASG, yeah I expect him to be unhappy. But I also expect him to have some perspective and work all the harder for it. My only worry is that he gets the wrong things in his head about what he needs to work on, and starts doing things that don’t help the team or him (read: start shooting more jumpers).

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
12:46 pm

Now back to the couch for more meds and a bit of rest. Got to save up my strength (and coherence) for the game tonight.

Doc ,

Nobody told me that an adenoidectomy, reduction of turbinates, and myrengotomy (or however you spell that nonsense) was gonna be this much of a pain in the noggin. These splints they’ve sewn into my nostrils are KILLIN’ me! :(

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
12:54 pm

Ray- sorry to here you are laid up, does that explain why you suggested that Josh shoot MORE jumpers???

doc- thanks for the link, the guy kinda gave Joe a backhanded compliment though.

Rod- You really took O’brien statement to imply something about the Marvin’s abilities vs. Jefferson? Do you have some sort of an agenda….oh, wait, nevermind.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
1:08 pm

Daniel ,

“My only worry is that he gets the wrong things in his head about what he needs to work on, and starts doing things that don’t help the team or him (read: start shooting more jumpers).”

Dude, I am NOT suggesting he shoot more jumpers. I was saying that I worry that he will get the wrong idea about what he needs to work on to become an all-star, assuming he doesn’t get the vote. Perhaps the pain medication led me to use the wrong terminology, however. I should have put “for example” instead of “read”. Sorry to give you that impression! ;)

Having said that, he does need a better jumper. Which is not the same thing as shooting more jumpers.

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
1:09 pm

whew- thanks for clearing that up for me, I thought the medication had made you totally lose your mind there for a minute.

GeeMack

January 27th, 2010
1:16 pm

Daniel

Horford numbers are better than Shaq’s, but crushing Shaq? Al plays about 12 min more, and grabs 3 more rebounds and scores 2 more points. I would love to see Al make it, but like you said star power counts in the NBA and Shaq has that.

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
1:19 pm

plays 12 more minutes of defense, leads the break, etc…
I keep reading pundits that say that Lopez will get the nod even over Shaq. We will see. I wonder if the AI vote will make the NBA more leary to trot out an aging star? They did it for Shaq last year in Phoenix. It will be very interesting.

GeeMack

January 27th, 2010
1:22 pm

doc

Thanks for the link. Daniel, I’m with you that was a back handed comment.

Big Ray

You are right Josh has gotten better each year he’s been in the league. Even the ref bashing I have seen him over the last few games try to controll that aspect as well.

GeeMack

January 27th, 2010
1:25 pm

Daniel

There are 2 center in the East that get the nod over Al IMO….Howard and Shaq (because he is a legend ONLY) However if Al had David Lee type numbers then I would put Al in over Shaq.

doc

January 27th, 2010
1:27 pm

ray, surgery is surgery dude. dont ever believe the doc that says it wont hurt!

it is going to take time so relax and take and ummm enjoy the drugs.

still feeling optimistic for a magical year folks. 2 or 3 in the all star game would say we have arrived, will need to figure a way to keep those three for the long term. i still say josh’s numbers at the end of his career are going to be mind boggling, said it when the sixers blew it in getting brand instead of josh and reiterate it here we are terribly lucky to have such a dedicated young player on our side. love al and was one of jj’s first and foremost supporters even though his iso is about as old as josh taking 3’s.

go hawks!

Daniel

January 27th, 2010
1:29 pm

Gee- just for fun then: No Shaq, do you go with Al, David or Brook?

doc

January 27th, 2010
1:32 pm

those ball dont lie guys are really off the chain in their comments and usually hit the nail on the head. glad you enjoyed it as it is informative and entertaining as well.

it is kind of like ray ray. anyone remember his skits he used to do before he went big time as blog captain?the guy used to have a very good sense of humor until the psychodrama blog queens with multiple personalities infected his brain.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2010
1:34 pm

2 Interesting links on the other blog.

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/2010/01/season-long-theme-josh-smiths-shot.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/01/21/midseason.roundtable/index.html

My two cents: I’m glad Josh has basically eliminated his 3 point shot attempts. But looking at the “nimbers”, he also needs to reduce his 2 point shots even more (especially the ones right inside the 3 point line). Imagine what percentage Josh would shoot if he eliminated jump shots all together?

And given how much less the Hawks are spending (compared to Celtics, Cavs, and Magic), the fact that we are neck and neck (records wise) makes our first half that much more for us to appreciate (which is what AJ has been saying).

Rod,

I just meant for tonights game (we know Marvin is not on RJ’s level), their numbers could be a wash.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2010
2:36 pm

Blog monster ate my first post, so I’ll try again.

Two good links from the other blog.

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/2010/01/season-long-theme-josh-smiths-shot.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/01/21/midseason.roundtable/index.html

My two cents: Josh needs to cut down his 2 point jumpers to no more than 1 per game. Imagine what his FG% would be.

And then considering the Hawks are spending $20 mil less than the Celtics, and $15 mil less than Cavs and Magic, the fact that we are almost neck and neck (records-wise) shows what a great job the Hawks and Woody have done (which is what AJ has been saying).

O'Brien

January 27th, 2010
2:45 pm

O'Brien

January 27th, 2010
2:50 pm

I’ve been trying to post a couple links but blog monster keeps eating it. There are 2 links on the Woody eyebrows blog, one from hoopsonion and one from sportsillustrated.

From hoopsonionblog (talking about Josh and his 2 pt jumpers),

“That comes out to 2.7 jump shots per game which is at least 2 jump shots per game too many because Smith still can’t make that shot. In fact, he’s well below his (already low) career field goal percentage on two-point jumpers. He entered the season a 36.2% two-point jump shooter but has made only 27% of his two-point jumpers so far this season.”

My two cents: Josh needs to cut down his 2 point jumpers to no more than 1 per game. Imagine what his FG% would be.

And from the si link,

“The Hawks are limiting themselves to 13 players while maintaining a $65 million payroll — $20 million less than the Celtics and about $15 million cheaper than the Cavs or Magic. In these disparities the Hawks find themselves in the role of the Minnesota Twins trying to match up against the Yankees — meaning they won’t have the manpower to deal with Cleveland, Boston and Orlando if all of those expensive contenders are healthy”.

My two cents: Given our limited resources, the fact that we are almost neck and neck (records-wise) with the big 3 shows what a great job the Hawks and Woody have done (which is what AJ has been saying).

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2010
3:18 pm

Daniel,

“Rod- You really took O’brien statement to imply something about the Marvin’s abilities vs. Jefferson? Do you have some sort of an agenda….oh, wait, nevermind.”

Actually, the response was directed at O’Brien, who has similar beliefs about Marvin, and has stated them also.

” RJ has struggled, and I think him and Marvin will be a draw (assuming Marvin continues his good play).”

How else should that be interpreted? I stated that if Marvin plays Jefferson to a draw, we would be lucky considering that Jefferson has been a much better player during his career, and he is having the one of the worst seasons in his career, and is still better. Maybe you are the one with an agenda. My agenda is that I want the Hawks to win a championship period. Marvin will not help us do that by not being able to defend his position and averaging 10 ppg in an offense where he is left wide open most of the time, period.

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
4:06 pm

Ray, no doubt. Josh has matured on the court. Still, he clearly WANTS an ASG appearance badly. In this case, both can be true… he can show maturity AND sulk if he doesn;t get the ASG nod. If he comes ALL the way from a 0 rebound performance after last year’s ASG to asking ‘Nique at the beginning of this year “how do I get in the ASG” to responding like a grown man if he doesn’t get in… well, that would be remarkable, laudable and fantastic. But that may be asking for too much in one short calendar year. By the way, Vicatin (or however you pronounce it) doesn;t work for me. Tequila, well…

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
4:09 pm

OB, yes, that is exactly what I have been saying. Competing at a high level requires a bunch of moving parts, including financial support from ownership (and fans). As in pretty much each and every category with the Hawks, things are getting better but I don’t view any of those key categories as having met the target. But the sum is much better than the individual parts, which is why I try to stay away from dissecting each and every player, play and coaching decision. Because if ANY team/player/coach is evaluated under that same microscope, they will surely lack in perfection.

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2010
4:22 pm

Big Ray,

“Consider this, though: As you say, Jefferson is probably not asked to rebound so much with Duncan and others around. By the same vein, Marvin is not asked to score so much with JJ, Jamal, and Smith around. Am I making excuses for Marvin? No, this is just how it looks to me from a statistical standpoint.”

I know you are not feeling well today, but Marvin was asked to improve his game when he signed his new contract. He has not done that. Probably because he is incapable of doing so. Here is the quote from Sund when we resigned him.

““Marvin is an important part of our core, and we’re very pleased to keep him in a Hawks uniform,” Sund said. “As one of our talented and versatile young veterans, he’s shown improvement every year in the league, and we look for that trend to continue. A big priority this summer was to retain as many of our free agents as possible and keep our nucleus intact, so Marvin’s return is significant for us.”

Notice the LOOK FOR THAT TREND TO CONTINUE statement. That trend has not continued so far this year. For the good of the team, I am hoping that he has a much better second half of the season, but as you have heard me say many times, I will not hold my breath waiting.

vava74

January 27th, 2010
5:48 pm

doc,

I don’t think Big Ray is the kind of guy to “enjoy the drugs”… even legal ones… :-) and I don’t know what type of medical advice is that…

In relation to Rod:

Lay off people: he has already went far off his “limits” when he acknowledged that Marvin had a good game against HOU, so give him a break.

We already know his “hoopinion” about Marvin so don’t mess with the bull…

He already earned my respect by being fair to Marvin at least this once proving that he was able to praise when due! I thought that he was a lost case and now my hope that one day he will buy a #24 Hawks jersey with “Williams” on his back is now growing again!

vava74

January 27th, 2010
5:49 pm

“in its”

vava74

January 27th, 2010
5:58 pm

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
6:16 pm

Astro Joe ,

I can’t argue with that line of thinking. Maybe I’m just hoping too hard, and expecting too much. I can’t stop hoping, though.

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2010
7:32 pm

Ray, keep hope alive.

I remember hearing Dennis Scott say last year that Josh never approached he nor ‘Nique about improving his game. So it was notable that he went to ‘Nique about the ASG. It suggested to me that he REALLY wants to go. And when you REALLY want that GI JOe with the Kung-Fu grip and you end up with a dorky Ken doll… well, it can be hard to control your emotions. OK, having bad memories of Christmas, 1976. :(

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:34 pm

Rod ,

Ha ha, blame it on the meds, but my opinion has nothing to do with that. :) As for your Rick Sund quote…

Can’t argue with that too much. I remember quotes from Woody and JJ as well, where they expressed the desire to get Marvin Williams producing more on the offensive end. But you know what? I never thought it was very realistic thinking, and Sund didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have expected any GM to say. Notice how Sund wasn’t specific in his expectations, but Woody and JJ were.

Seriously, I didn’t think any particularly significant improvements were realistic. Now, I can’t say I expected Marvin’s output to go DOWN, but I didn’t expect it to go up. Why? Well, what about his game last season suggested that he would suddenly blossom into a guy who would put up 18+ per game this season? Didn’t you say you weren’t going to hold your breath? Here are some other things that crossed my mind when Marvin was re-signed:

1) Josh Smith was drafted #17, Marvin drafted #2. Josh Smith was offered a lot more (45 million) back when everybody was calling him names and begging Knight to trade him than Marvin was signed for. In the end, Josh got offered 58 million by another team, and the Hawks pounced on it right away. Even in a down economy, that’s still 21.5 million more than Marvin was signed for. Doesn’t that tell you something about the organization’s expectations?

2) Marvin has never been a consistently aggressive player on offense. He just isn’t. Leading me to the next thought:

3) Woody’s team runs a guard-heavy offense. Last season, everybody but Horford was getting more shots than Marvin. That included Flip. So how does Marvin get more shots when a guy like Jamal Crawford gets added to the mix? Just how good would Marvin have to be, to even get the opportunity to produce more in the way of scoring? Better than you say he is, and certainly better than expected.

4) Even though the economy has taken a downturn, the contract Marvin was signed to pales in comparison to that which Josh Smith was signed to. Josh was drafted #17, and Marvin #2. Josh was offered more (back when most people were constantly calling for him to be traded and calling him every name in the book), 7 million more to be more exact. The Grizzlies offered him 58 million, and the Hawks pounced on it immediately. Yet Marvin got 21.5 million less. That alone tells me what this organization truly expected from Marvin, particularly in comparison to Josh. It wasn’t just about what the two players have been able to do. It’s also about what those in the know thought they could do.

So not only am I not surprised about where matters stand now, I have no need to hold my breath. As for his stats taking a downturn, that’s another story.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:47 pm

Now do I think Marvin has to become a more reliable and capable scorer if needed? Yeah, I do. And in some games, he has become exactly that. But this promotes a chicken vs egg argument that just can’t be won. Rarely do we turn to Marvin when others are struggling. When we’ve made a concerted effort to do so, he generally comes through. But we don’t. Why? We have Jamal. Who are you going to go with? The guy who has never averaged more than 14 a year, or the guy who has proven he can score about 20 a game, bad shooting percentage and all?

On the subject of David Lee….

I can appreciate what dude does. Those figures he has put up for the Knicks have been nice. I’d love to see Horford get 19 and 11 like Lee does. However, folks are acting like Lee has been playing this way.

I think it’s no coincidence that Lee’s numbers made a healthy spike when D’Antoni arrived in New York. His rebounding numbers have always been good. He was a 10 and 10 type of guy, then along comes D’antoni. Also, certain other players have departed, giving him all the opportunity he needed. Let’s be honest, there’s only one other guy on the team who is going to score anywhere near the post on most nights, and that is Al Harrington. Harrington spends plenty of time on the perimeter as well, though. Furthermore, almost nobody else gives a rip about rebounding on that team. Several guys get between 2 and 5 boards per game, but nobody comes close to Lee. He’s the only true rebounder on the team!

At the same time, what would Al Horford do on a team like that? Something tells me he would be able to put up similar numbers with no problem. I like David Lee plenty. But I don’t think his numbers are representative of some sudden bloom. Again, could he do that on THIS team? Not only is my answer “no”, but I’d say the same thing if he played on any number of other teams. Seriously, you may as well label him a 20 and 10 player with those stats. Would he be that kind of player anywhere else?

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:49 pm

Astro ,

That has to be one of your best analogies yet. :lol:

Sautee ,

Saw your calls. Sorry, but I still don’t have a voice. At all.

vava74

January 27th, 2010
7:50 pm

Big Ray,

Isn’t your #1 virtually identical to #4? The meds must be good!

vava74

January 27th, 2010
7:54 pm

Astro,

Are you sure that you are not a serial killer??

I think you could write a scrip based on that and take that idea to Hollywood… :-)

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:56 pm

David Lee: 356 shots made on 643 attempts.

Al Horford: 248 shots made on 425 attempts.

That’s 9.8 attempts per game for Horford and 14.6 for Lee. So basically, 5 more attempts per game means just over 5 more points per game for Lee, and it’s Horford who shoots the higher percentage.

Despite all of this, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Lee get the nod while Horford watches the ASG on tv.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:57 pm

vava ,

The idea here was emphasis through repetition….

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
7:58 pm

It’s kinda like saying “did I mention they paid Josh a lot more money than marvin?”

Big Ray

January 27th, 2010
8:02 pm

Interesting mid-season report card for our Hawks on NBA.com. Reader beware, they aren’t kind to Mike Bibby.

http://www.nba.com/2010/reportcard/midseason/hawks/index.html