All-star festivities and other noise

So, how is everybody doing on all-star weekend?

If you’re like me, you’ve put more effort and attention on something else. Namely, Valentine’s Day. A full living room suite of furniture, a restructured garage, one glitzy expensive card, some chocolate-dipped strawberries and….wait a minute. Did I even get anything today? Maybe I’ll have to settle for watching the All-Star game in peace. Heh. We’ll see. Truth be told, I didn’t care to watch Steve Nash prove to the young guns that his fundamentals are sharper than theirs, or Kevin Durant win a game of HORSE, or Nate Robinson be given the Slam Dunk Contest again just because he’s short (okay that was a low blow…uh, no pun intended…really, I mean it), and I still haven’t read to see who won the other stuff. But I will watch the game. Maybe. I might get waylaid by a romantic movie instead. Ah well. That’s what the DVR is for. I do regret missing the Rookie/Sophomore game, though.

Two Hawks For Once

So much of this game isn’t serious, but in the end both sides do want to win (bragging rights and all that) and you always want the guys representing your favorite team to win. So, here’s to hoping that Al Horford doesn’t look star struck out there or try to do too much. On the other end of the spectrum, here’s to hoping that Joe Johnson doesn’t go scoreless like last year. Unless of course, he just doesn’t take any shots. Then again, does any of it really matter? What DOES matter is that the Hawks have representation twice over in the all-star game this year. When is the last time that happened? To be honest, I really couldn’t tell you off the top of my head. Maybe next year it will be three Hawks in the all-star game. Maybe not. Who knows? By the way, I came across an interview article with Al Horford on Hoopshype.com. In it, Horford talks about producing more on the offensive end. Well, that’s one way of saying it, anyhow. To be honest, it’s sort of a short interview (nothing at all wrong with that) , and Al is nicely diplomatic (nothing wrong with that either. But the part about his offense is what caught my attention. Here’s the link:

http://blogs.hoopshype.com/blogs/barrigon/2010/02/13/al-horford-i-think-i-can-be-a-go-to-scorer/

Trade Stuff

As usual, things are pretty quiet in Hawksville when it comes to trade rumors and what not. There was a quick byline on one site mentioning that the Hawks had some interest in Kurt Thomas, but as usual, all quiet on the western front, as they say.

In fact, more noise has been made about two of the “Big Three” making moves in the East, or about Joe Johnson’s impending free agency at the end of the season. So will the Celtics make a swing for Antawn Jamison? I wouldn’t put it past them. But perhaps the juicier and more dramatic move is the “eminent” deal that will bring Amare Stoudamire to the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Cavs make that move, it’s clearly to do one thing: win a championship this year. Will it work? That’s another story. But if there’s any truth to the rumor, or even just the desire of the Cavaliers to do such a deal, it has to be because they want to jettison one large, slow center, and add a quality big man who can score. How that works is Mike Brown’s headache. Seriously, would you want to be him after a trade like this? You get another all-star added to your team, one who will be reunited with Shaq (whom he didn’t play so well with in Phoenix) and who might add chemistry issues. Oh, and if you don’t win it all with him, your job’s in danger. Believe it…..

Back In The Saddle

When the Hawks come back from the all-star break, it’s business as usual. Better yet, it’s a bucket of cold water. They’ll embark on a 4-game western conference road trip that may just give them more than jet lag. It all starts against the Clippers, but that game will be followed by visits to Phoenix, Golden State, and Utah. The good news is that the Clippers don’t scare anybody on a good day, and the Hawks already have beaten them once. The bad news is that they are potent enough to beat the Hawks if they come in too rusty or nonchalantly. Golden State is a shoot-out waiting to happen if the Hawks don’t keep it under control (but they can win easily if they play their game). The two toughies figure to be Phoenix and Utah. Phoenix has gone 6 and 4 in their last 10 games, and like the Hawks, they lost one right before the break. However, they have two things the Hawks hate to face the most: a good point guard and plenty of guys who can hit it from the outside. The Hawks have one thing that Phoenix hates to face the most: Jamal Crawford!

All that being said, the biggest test will be against Utah. Right now, they’re the second hottest team in the NBA  with a 9 and 1 record in their last ten games. Only the Lebrons are better (10-0). I don’t know what Jerry Sloan has those guys drinking, but something tells me it’s better than what Bugs Bunny was selling in Space Jam. Sloan’s crew is normally quite disciplined, but these guys are playing like they want the playoffs to start tomorrow. Are they going to keep it up, or will the heat fade a little as the normally tough second half of the season looms? Hard to tell.

Anyway, back to the all-star game and the hijinks that are sure to come. Who wins this time, East or West?

130 comments Add your comment

vava74

February 14th, 2010
7:41 pm

I saw Kurt Thomas give Howard. Good run on both defense and offense just a few weeks ago.

Excellent touch from 15ft which draws D12 out and on defense a lot if savvy and good strength on the lower body.

I hope that it is more than a rumor since he would be an interesting pick.

vava74

February 14th, 2010
7:45 pm

And why the hell isn’t RandMo playing in the NBDL to get some rythmn before we give him a fair try to some real minutes?

Even JT0 should get some playing time in the NBDL whenever the sachedule allowed it.

The Lakers did that a couple of years ago with Farmar. Since JT0 is only getting 3 minutes here 10 minutes there he would not be tired if he got some playing time.

Maybe that would get his shot and his floater back to form…

vava74

February 14th, 2010
7:50 pm

I hope that JJ is able to play well this year in the ASG. As a starter he should try do something which can give him and the Hawks more favourable exposure.

The same goes to Al.

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

Cross-posted:

There is no such thing as a good defensive match on Howard. There is no correlation between height, strength, or any other feature of a defender when it comes to stopping Dwight from getting his. There is not a single solitary player in the NBA that we can trade for that will provide us with a better chance of stopping Dwight 1-on-1 than the guys we already have on the roster. In the past year, he has thrown Camby, Haywood, Kaman, Rasheed, and Perkins around like children’s toys at one time or another, and has put up his average against Shaq. Some of his worst games in the past year have come against such fearsome defensive big men as Dan Gadzuric, Al Harrington, and Hilton Armstrong. His single worst game of the past two years came against Emeka Okafor, who is perhaps the most comparable player to Horford in terms of physique and skill set in the whole NBA.

As with Shaq in his prime, the key to dealing with Dwight has to be not letting him dictate the game plan. Making trades specifically designed to stop a single player pretty much never works, as the huge number of moves that NBA teams made in the past 15 years supposedly to stop Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan indicate. Hawk n the Ham hit on the one strategy of dealing with Dwight that seems to work – do your best to get him in foul trouble. That means taking the ball right at him, and don’t sweat it if you get blocked 4 of the first 5 times (or if he fouls you 3 times and the refs don’t call it).

The key isn’t to acquire some second-tier big man, and the fact that Horford is an All-Star should tell you that there aren’t any first-tier ones out there either. The key is not let the other team dictate the game plan (but good luck with that as long as you-know-who is coach).

vava74

February 14th, 2010
8:33 pm

Nire,

I thinking about a pick up involving little loss from our side.

Thomas is heavier than Joe Smith and more crafty than Zaza and still commands some respect from the refs allowing him to play good defense without getting called for every contact.

Collins is out of shape but knows how to defend, unfortunaly whenever he playa he is being treated as an anedote regardless of how good he actually performs: just two simple examples: against the cavs he drew a clear charge on Shaq and got called for a defensive and against Howard he had a perfect strip and was called for a reach in.

So, I would like to have Thomas around.

vava74

February 14th, 2010
8:38 pm

Nowitski has the look of a choker even on a game like this… He may shake that off but I’m sensing a 2for10 night for him

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
9:15 pm

Van Gundy is a jerk. He played Howard the entire 1st qtr. Does he know that this is a All Star game?

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
9:21 pm

Van Gundy is even a bigger jerk for playing David Lee (a replacment) before Horford…

eman

February 14th, 2010
9:27 pm

I can’t believe that we pass on Daron Williams and pick Marvin!!! LMFAO

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
9:32 pm

Howard shoots the 3 ball. Like it or not, Shaq, but Howard is the new Superman. He can’t be stopped with anything but foul trouble, he loves the spotlight, and he’s doing ridiculous things in the all-star game.

I’m bored with this already.

For the record, I’d love to have Kurt Thomas around.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
9:33 pm

eman ,

Don’t get me started…

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
9:35 pm

Stan Van Gundy IS a jerk. All the time…

eman

February 14th, 2010
9:39 pm

Think about this team with Daron Williams at point. If we put Childress in at SF, we could be the best team in da east. Dam, We made a bad mistaken taking Marvin!! I WOULD TRADE MARVIN TWO FIRST AND Teague for D william.

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
9:47 pm

Watching Durant or Horford play in their 1st ASG in their 3rd year in the league, I wonder will folks start criticizing the Blazers for passing on them….

vava74

February 14th, 2010
9:51 pm

Eman,

if we had selected Deron, all our following picks would have been different since our record would have been different.

this means NO horford and no trade for Crawford since we would not have drafted Acie.

So, just give it up. It’s a pointless exercise which could be replaced with jay about any different proposition. What if we had won the lottery instead of getting #3? what if… What if… If you want to play that game, play it properly.

And yes, I love Deron’s game.

kiki

February 14th, 2010
9:51 pm

Al Horford: 5 minutes, 6 points, 3-3 FG, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal, +12. Yup, he do not belong there!!

vava74

February 14th, 2010
9:52 pm

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
9:58 pm

You got it, Vava.

And yeah on SVG. Horford responding to the SVG shaft in the right way, though. Both Hawks acquitting themselves nicely in the game so far, when they get the ball that is…

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:00 pm

I am talking about right now not in da past. I would trade Marvin and two first round picks as well as Teague or Bibby. I would have Mo start until I can get another SF or play JJ at Three. We need to move Marvin bc he not going to make it here!! I think in two years he will an all star player for another team, but not in da A!!

vava74

February 14th, 2010
10:04 pm

Wanting And being able to get it done are two different things.

Yes Marvin is not playing as we would like but adding a guy who averages 25ppg to the Hawks instead of Marvin would not mean that we would get 14ppg more.

There is a limited number of touches available during the 48m.

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
10:06 pm

eman,

You might be right. But a team would have to pry Deron from Utah only from their cold, dead hands.

Melvin,

I’m gonna reserve judgment on the Oden pick for a long time. Because if Oden ever gets his health in order and keeps cutting back on his fouls, he might be the kind of inside defensive presence that every contender needs. With the Blazers’ core the way it is (and was), I still think Oden was the right pick. I think the Blazers have the right set-up to win a title in 2011/2012. If that happens, it’s tough to fault them for the Oden pick.

People don’t slam the Rockets for passing on MJ to pick Hakeem. And while Oden is no Dream and Durant is no MJ, all will be forgiven if the Blazers win a title thanks in large part to Oden.

vava74

February 14th, 2010
10:07 pm

So, it is not just replacing chips and all goes well

Right now I think that we definitively should get Woody to improve his game.

The personnel we have is good enough, however we are not taking advantage of its potential.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
10:07 pm

Eman,

Not to rain on your parade, but it’s impossible to talk about right now if the past were different. On the flip side of the coin, it’s easy to say “well if we drafted this guy, then we wouldn’t have that guy.” True. But you cannot assume who else would or would not be on the roster, how much better or worse the team would have been, or which free agents would be attracted to coming here. And we can’t trade picks in the past and then turn around and read the future.

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:09 pm

If we run, there will be more shots for everybody and D will does not add scoring but his up temp style along with his great passing; The hawks will be the best team in the east!! Bet it!! All we need his 16 and 10 from him!! LET MARVIN GO PLEASE!!

jlewis

February 14th, 2010
10:09 pm

Big Ray

Do you work for the AJC? If you don’t, you should, you really provide some good analysis. Cunningham seems to be a populist and doesnt understand the game as well. If I hear ISO Joe one more time i’m going to scream, it’s not ISO Joe, the Hawks offense IS ISO’s they include Horford, J Smith and Crawford. They need more ball movement, but thats the system, not the players.

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:11 pm

I would make this trade now!!

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
10:13 pm

Vava ,

It’s true that wanting to do something and actually getting it done are two different things. It’s also true that we aren’t getting everything out of what we have. We’re not there yet.

Nire ,

I agree. I still think you pick the center who screams “franchise cornerstone”, health notwithstanding. Don’t know if he will ever get healthy and stay that way. We’ll see.

And your forgiveness theory makes plenty of sense. If only it will apply to our past draft scenarios…

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:14 pm

Lets make a trade for a Big Man or get a pg that is reliable!! Folks, the hawks are right back form which they started no center and no pg. These are the too weakiest position on the team!!

When JJ leaves, this team will drop from the top of the east to the bottom!! Bank on it!! Lets make a move now bc the nurture is not promise!!

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:16 pm

The Future is now, tomorrow is not promise!!

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
10:16 pm

Eman,

Are you watching the All-Star game. If not, you should, because OUR CENTER IS PLAYING IN IT.

vava74

February 14th, 2010
10:21 pm

eman,

Al is an All Star center.

Sometimes it seems that he does not protect the basket but that is correlated with the switching defense gets him to go out and switching to smaller players in the perimeter and away from the basket.

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:21 pm

He is not a center!! He is 6-9 and 3/4!! Check his draft measurements!! I love Al but we need to add a center that can container D Howard!! We will be out the playoffs each year in the second round!! Bank IT!!

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
10:21 pm

jlewis ,

I really appreciate the props. However, I’m just a fan like you who loves this game and loves these Hawks. I host this blog, but it could just as easily be you writing this stuff. I’m not even a journalist (I have a completely different career/profession).

As for Michael Cunningham, he’s a pro. I respect him and what he brings. He has more insight than I do, he’s the beat writer, he’s close to the team. I think he has more understanding of the game than it would seem, but he’s not there to impress people with his knowledge of the game. He’s doing his darndest to bring us, the fans, whatever inside scoops there are to be had, and something to chew on/talk about. I understand it may seem like he’s a populist, but he’s also working his way in (which has to be harder than we think it is) halfway through the season. If he came in spouting his own view of the game we’d have to rename him Jim Rome. :lol:

However, I think that you have it nailed: It’s not ISO Joe, this offense does indeed run off of ISO- Whomever a lot of nights. There isn’t much flow sometimes, especially if Bibby isn’t in the game. Josh Smith helps with this, though. At the same time, you have to understand something: “ISO Joe” is a catch-phrase. It’s a hot button topic. It gets people talking. And that is one of the big keys to blogging. Get people talking. Cunningham knows what he’s doing…. ;)

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
10:22 pm

Alright, who gave Eman all those Red Bulls? :)

eman

February 14th, 2010
10:24 pm

I love this team with all my hear!! I am a true ATL ALIEN!! I want this city to win something badly!!

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
10:36 pm

Heh. If I were Stan Van Gundy, I’d say this to Lebron:

“Hey. You, D-Howard, and D-Wade. Y’all stick to the alley-oops and stuff. Stop jacking the long balls. You only have one real shooter on the floor, and his name is Joe Johnson. Need an actual jumper hit? Pass it to him. The rest of you can stick to the high percentage crowd pleasers. Time-out over…”

jlewis

February 14th, 2010
10:41 pm

I know Ray, thats why I said Populist, he knows what he is doing. However, he is the beat writer, that doesnt necessarily mean he is close to the team, I’ve found the closer you are, you’re actually farther away because the team will only let you see so much.
He gets the same breaking news we do, if he is getting it quicker, he’s not doing his job, so there really is no insight.

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
10:41 pm

I see the Jerk (SVG) decide to play Lee over Horford again in the 2nd half. After Horford had a productive 1st half…

Hawk Str8Talk

February 14th, 2010
10:55 pm

GM Sund did an interview with us bloggers and the answer to the reason RandMo & JT0 aren’t playing in the D League is here …http://www.hawkstr8talk.com/2010/02/grizzlies-heat-chat-with-rick-sund.html

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
11:11 pm

Evidently, it was just too much for Lebron to stomach. You know, the idea of passing Horford the ball when he was open…

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
11:15 pm

Hawk Str8Talk ,

Thanks for that link. Gooood stuff….

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
11:19 pm

Nire,

How much cash can be included in a trade? I thought it was like 3 million.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
11:21 pm

Hawk Str8Talk,

I wonder. Did Sund actually miss the point of the question about the team’s identity, or was he just being a politician? After all, the team’s identity may not necessarily be a final thing now. And with Joe’s impending free agency, the identity changes, no matter how you slice it. Or, maybe he’s not satisfied with the identity that this team seems to display, and has some changes in mind (obviously not by the trade deadline though). You never know.

Next question. It’s interesting to hear that Sund feels the team is better than he thought it would be. Perhaps he is referring to one thing, maybe to several things. Maybe it’s the way Josh Smith is playing, versus how he’s been in the past. Maybe it’s how good Jamal has turned out for us. Maybe it’s something else. Wonder if any of it has to do with coaching? Has Woody proven something to him that he didn’t think he could, or is Sund surprised that the team is doing so well with Woody doing things the way he has in the past?

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
11:26 pm

Melvin,

Yes, $3 million. But including cash does not alter the salary cap figures involved, same as future picks.

Big Ray

February 14th, 2010
11:31 pm

JJ and Horford acquitted themselves well in this ASG. When they got to play, that is…

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
11:35 pm

Yup, Ray. Hawks players got shafted by SVG in this one.

vava74

February 15th, 2010
6:26 am

HawksStr8talk,

Thank you, good stuff.

I still disagree: Woody seldom goes 12 deep so if we were constraint to have on a given game only 11 guys in uniform, no one would even notice.

Also, I mentioned that we should try to fit a few appearances in the NBDL whenever the schedule allowed RandMo and JT0 travel to meet the affiliate team, play and get back in time to suit up for us.

Tiring? Yes, but they are both under 23.

vava74

February 15th, 2010
7:03 am

O'Brien

February 15th, 2010
8:11 am

Good games by Horford and JJ, considering we knew who would be taking all the shots and getting all the PT.

Ray,

By the time the Hawks get to Phoenix, they might be without Amare, so that should make it a little easier for the Hawks (although we’ve lost to teams with players out).

If I’m Cleveland, I’m making that trade for Amare. Big Z would probably get bought out and eventually resign with Cleveland anyway. And if LeBron signs off on it, I’m making that move.

After all, the goal is to get LeBron to resign this offseason while winning a championship. Amare gives them another offensive weapon, although Mike Brown would have his hands full with Chemistry and PT issues.

The key question for me, is would you rather trade for Amare, or trade for Jamison? If I’m Cleveland, I prefer Jamison. He would be under contract for 2 more years, whereas Amare can opt out this offseason, and I’d be concerned about Shaq and Amare co-existing.

As far as the Rick Rund interview, the part I found interesting was “he didn’t think we could be this good and that expectations have probably changed a bit”. Does that put more pressure on Woody (and the players) in the playoffs?

And I agree with his assessment that we lacked toughness last year, but I also think we lack toughness this year too.

vava,

Agreed. Morris does not get much PT anyway, so I would send him to the DLeague. And isn’t somebody always in a suit anyway? I like the idea of sending Teague because that would give him some practice running a team during a game, and he could work on his shot making. It’s not like he gets much PT anyways, even if Bibby is struggling (unless its a blowout).

Daniel

February 15th, 2010
8:41 am

vava- you can’t shuttle players back and forth to the D-league that are under a NBA contract.