Mistakes made now, lessons for later

We lost to Miami because Joe missed 15 of his 23 shots. Because Josh Smith had five turnovers. Because Al Horford stayed in foul trouble. Because Marvin Williams and Mike Bibby all but disappeared from the boxscore. Because the bench players stink. Because Mike Woodson can’t coach. Because the Hawks are the Hawks. Because Wade gets calls. Because, because, because.

Good thing we’re just fans. If the team thought like this, they would be ripping themselves apart. Whatever your favorite reason from those mentioned above (or whatever ones you can come up with), I disagree. I think we lost because we allowed them to win. Because we lost focus and made a couple of crucial mistakes, one right after the other, that gave the Heat all the opportunity they needed to take the game back. Feel free to disagree, because I’m not saying I’m right. I just think the usual stuff just isn’t going to cover it this time. Why? Because despite all that was happening or NOT happening right for the Hawks, they still had that game. Two turnovers, back-to-back, did them in. What of Wade? Sure, he was hot. But not hot enough. What about the crowd? They were noisy enough, but the Hawks kept shutting them down.

For every Heat basket, there was a Crawford basket, a Horford rebound, a Smith defensive play, something. The Heat made it close, riding the one-man superstar wave known as Dwyane Wade. But they weren’t close enough until the Hawks tried to force passes into the teeth of the defense on consecutive possessions. Until the Hawks quit capitalizing on offensive rebounds. After that, loose balls didn’t bounce Atlanta’s way. Defensive rotations went horribly wrong. Shots clanged off the rim. The looks on the faces of the Hawks players became desperate, and not the kind of desperation that breeds ultimate survival. It was the desperation of a team that knew itself to be beaten.

Having said that, it’s much better for the Hawks to be delayed from getting win #41, than it is to learn the hard way in the playoffs, right? That game had more than a bit of a playoff feel to it. It was intense. Back and forth things went, with neither team looking like it was about to give in. I was glued to my seat on the couch, unable to pull myself away for the usual in-game quick hits on the blog. Then it all went to pieces in a matter of seconds. How does a team that is so good at taking care of the ball DO something like this in a tight game? What happened? Where did the seemingly sudden lack of focus come from? Was it a lack of focus, or something else? This pointed to something that the Hawks may want to think on. It’s not how few turnovers you have in a game. It’s when those turnovers happen. It’s not how many shots you hit in the game. It’s when you hit those shots. Let’s examine that closer by taking two of the team’s key players from that loss. Josh Smith had 5 turnovers. He’s had that many before, even in decent wins. What hurt was that two of them happened when the game was tight, one of which helped set off a domino effect that led to the Hawks’ demise. Am I blaming him for the loss? No, but he did contribute to it, along with some bad shooting.  Then there is Joe Johnson. It’s easy to complain about an 8 for 23 shooting performance. But Joe was 5 for 8 in the first half. He was doing fine before shooting 3 for 15 in the second half, including several 4th quarter misses. Now, had that been reversed, could we really complain? What if Joe had gone 3 for 15 in the first half, then gone 5 for 8 in the second half? Might we be talking about a different conclusion to the game? Possibly, but blaming him for the loss is as silly as blaming Josh or any one person. To note, there have been several subpar shooting games for Joe, in which he did come back and shoot much better in the second half or the 4th quarter of a game, including several where such a performance delivered a win.

At the same time, we can’t ignore what mistakes do for the other team. Is there anything worse than a star player being on the top of his game, and getting the foul calls? Seems like the answer would be “no”, right? Well, there is something worse. It’s when you add a second, or even a third player to the mix. It’s when that second or third guy gains some confidence and begins to perform and produce better than usual. Better than he has been all game. Better than you expected. For the Heat, that guy was Michael Beasley. When the Hawks began turning the ball over and missing defensive rotations, it allowed Beasley to get good looks at the basket. And when he hit them, his confidence soared. All of the sudden, neither he nor Wade could be stopped or contained. Up until that point, Wade’s supporting cast couldn’t provide enough support. He was in a battle by himself, and despite herculean efforts, he was losing. Take note Hawks. When you have the other guys shut down, KEEP THEM SHUT DOWN.

But it still stands. The Hawks should now know how a few mistakes can be so costly. In the playoffs, it’s a game lost. Maybe even a loss of homecourt advantage, if the situation is right. Or, as in the case with Michael Beasley, you give a dangerous player some confidence and momentum, which can come back to bite you throughout the rest of the series. Better to learn this in March, rather than late April.

 

HAWKS VS KNICKS

Speaking of learning experiences….the Knicks have provided the Hawks with a couple this season, beating them twice in the Highlight Factory. While the Knicks own this season’s series 2 to 1, it was that one loss to the Hawks that happened in Madison Square Garden. Can the Hawks even things up by winning there again? While they’re at it, the Hawks also have an opportunity to take that road record north of .500 again. Winning in New York sets them up for a bit of momentum…or a crash. If they beat the Knicks, then even a loss to the Wizards on thursday only drops them back to a dead-even road record. However, a loss puts more pressure on the contest in Washington, as a second consecutive loss means not only a three game losing streak, but being 2 games under .500. While it’s never a good time for a tail spin, this late in the season is one of the worst times. And let’s not forget about that #3 seed. Boston has retaken the spot for the time being. Time to get it back!

No More Nate

The good news is that the little fella no longer graces a Knicks uniform, so he won’t be lurking on the bench, waiting to destroy Atlanta’s perimeter defense. The bad news is that he now wears Celtics green, and we’ll be seeing him again. But no sense borrowing trouble until it’s time. While “Krypto-Nate” won’t be in the house, there is this cat named Tracy McGrady who now plays for the Knicks. McGrady isn’t the same guy who used to blow up teams for 30 or more anytime he chose, but he’s no pushover, either. Meanwhile, rookie Toney Douglas is also MIA, and the Knicks are playing with a fairly short rotation. The Hawks would be hard-pressed to find a better setup. But that’s just it, is this game a setup? New York just lost to Toronto (who is playing well), and New Jersey (who blew them out). They know they can play with the Hawks, as long as the Hawks let them in the game.

Go Big!

Is there a better team to tee off on in the post? David Lee is a player, but the next best thing down low is Al Harrington. Both guys will produce in the form of points and rebounds, but they have no chance against Al Horford and Josh Smith. So, the Hawks should go in to them until the Knicks collapse the defense in the paint. When that happens, the two of them can make the Knicks pay with their passes out of the post to the perimeter shooters and/or cutters. Easy gameplan, right? Uh…..maybe….

The DREADED “Z” Word….

While some of us are envisioning double doubles for our frontcourt, the Knicks are having the same daydream. Only for them, it’s an outright nightmare. So you know what Mike D’Antoni is going to do. That’s right, employ the Zone Defense. It’s like Atlanta just loses its natural born mind when that happens. Here is another golden opportunity for the Hawks to practice beating this defensive ploy, because they are SURE to see it in the playoffs, as many of you out there in blog land have noted! So what will Mike Woodson and the Hawks do when this happens? Shoot a pile of “appetizing jumpers” and hope they go in? Or make the extra pass, send cutters through the middle, and penetrate by any means necessary?

The Hawks have to learn to finish games in the strictest sense of the word. No better opportunity to practice that, then against a much weaker team.

140 comments Add your comment

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
2:17 pm

O’Brien,

I said “people,” not “Woody.” ;) The world would really be up sh!t’s creek if the world was run like the Hawks are coached…

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

Regarding Woody “regressing”, I’m not buying it. I think expetctations have increased. Think of ALL of the “requests” that HAVE been answered. Last year, we were dependent on guard play and 3-points shots. Right? Are we this year? No. We recently won a road game with Joe, Jamal and Biby combining for 35 points. Why has Josh’s assists increased? Because we are running sets where he is the primary play-maker… he is a point forward by design not accident. Al has had several 20 points games since the ASG because he is now a featured scorer in the offense. Do the guards sometimes forget him? Sure, but hasn’t that also happened with the Magic and Lakers this year? That’s right, Phil Jackson has had to deal with an unbalanced shot distribution and bigs being ignored in games. Is he considered a “good coach”? Is he regressing?

How easy is it for you guys to change the way you do things? Could you brush your teeth with the opposite hand that you usually use for 10 conscutive days without making a mistake? Could you change around your dresser drawers and never go to the old sok drawer and find your underwear? Could you remember to wash your feet first in the shower without making a mistake? Change is hard. Even if you have someone yelling at you, change is hard and it doesn’t happen overnight. I bet if you chart the monthly shot distribution over the course of this season, you would find that this is a very different team… more balanced and with better “asset utilization”. Yes, it could be better but it’s okay to acknowledge that change has in fact happened.

I won’t worry about losing to small teams like the Warriors and Knicks because I don’t think we will face teams that can play small ball like that in the playoffs. And for all of the Avery-talk, he is the coach of the worse playoff defeat in NBA history… Mavs vs. Warriors. No thanks, not even for a weekend.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

Nire,

I was not talking about the ASG ability to pay but there willingness to pay for more talent. I have yet to see them pay the luxury tax or use their salary exceptions (bi/annual) and I’m not saying they should but if they have guys that are under contract and become ineffective on the court, will they be willing to sign other players (i.e. take on more payroll) to be competitive? Heck, they are only carrying the league minimum of rosters spots now, so it does concern me if they resign Joe to a max deal and what type of impact that will have on the roster going forward. Will we have to continue to watch the demise of Bibby while depending on him to interval piece in a quest for a championship or will they replace him with better talent rather even if they have to eat his contract if they can’t trade him? Those are my concerns not the fact the owners sound financially. I could careless less about their bank accounts or assets. All I care about is their
commitment to building a Championship team….

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
2:49 pm

If JJ does leave, and the Hawks take a step back, we should still be in a position to compete for a playoff spot next season (even if its not top 4) as long as ASG and Sund are willing to spend the money, and spend it wisely.

If JJ leaves, we have our mid-level, bi-annual, and about $6-$10 mil (depending on salary cap) salary cap space to sign some bench players. And we would insert Crawford into the starting spot. And if we can improve the PG spot, that will also help.

AJ,

So are you putting most of the blame on Avery for losing that playoff series, and not much blame on the players? So how much blame does Woody deserve when the Hawks lose, and how much is it the players fault?

The biggest mistake Avery made (in my opinion), is he changed his lineup to match up with Golden State, instead of forcing Golden State to adjust to his style of play, he adjusted to them. Isnt that what Woody and the Hawks have done both meetings against GS this year? We try to play the way GS plays, and look what happened in both games this season?

I admit that I am skeptical of Avery because he had 2 consecutive first round exits, and his team blew a 2-0 lead in the NBA finals (although the refs helped the Heat out), but I wouldnt put all the blame on him for the GS debacle.

I would rather give Byron Scott a try, because he has a better track record. Unfortunately, if he was the coach, and I’m analyzing him every game, my opinion might change lol.

As far as Woody regressing, part of that is I think the players are tired, and just not as focused as they were earlier in the season (where is the defensive intensity that our defensive minded coach has constantly preached). And I think Woody has not helped keep the players fresh, because he does not handle his bench well, and he does not make many adjustments.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

Melvin,

Unless you think that the Spurs, Magic, Heat, Pistons, and Cavs owners are all less-than-committed to contending, you need to give the “ASG isn’t committed” line a rest. You, like most people, seem to think that the cause-and-effect relationship goes from spending tax-level money –> championship contention. In reality, it goes in the other directions – teams don’t get payrolls that enter the luxury tax until AFTER they make a deep playoff run. The only teams that can afford to go into the luxury tax before they make a deep playoff run are the Knicks, Lakers, and Celtics – ie the three teams in the NBA that have both large, hardcore fan bases and huge media markets, so that they get massive revenues even when the team is doing poorly. For every single other team in the NBA, they have to make do with paying just below the tax until the team makes an unexpectedly deep playoff run. Dallas, Portland, and Phoenix didn’t pay the luxury tax until after they made the Conference Finals. All the other teams that have paid the tax since the system was implemented – Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, and Orlando – didn’t spend enough to pay the tax until after they made the NBA Finals.

Also, there isn’t a single contender in the NBA that doesn’t have a seemingly overpaid player on board. The Magic have Rashard, the Cavs had Wally and Hughes, the Jazz Kirilenko, the Nuggets Martin, etc. No roster is perfectly constructed, and if you spend wisely on your role players and draft well, you can contend while spending less than the tax threshold even with some overpaid vets.

Anyway, unless you are saying that all those teams have management that isn’t committed to building a championship team, give it a rest.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
3:09 pm

O’Brien,

The mid-level and bi-annual exceptions act as cap holds. There are also un-renounceable cap holds for the rookie minimum for every empty required roster spot. So if you have 7 players under contract and your payroll is $8M under the cap to start the offseason, you effectively have zero cap space unless you renounce your right to use the MLE and BAE because ~$2M is taken up by the minimum salary cap holds, another $2.5M by the BAE, and another ~$5-5.5M by the MLE. In other words, you can’t use both your MLE and cap space unless you subtract the amount of the MLE from said cap space.

The Hawks will go into this offseason with $47.6M in payroll and 8 players under contract. That means that they will have a minimum cap figure of $49.5M after the mandatory 4 minimum salary cap holds are factored in. The BAE will be $2.1M. Assuming the cap is around $55M, that will translate to an MLE of ~$5.2M. The cap will likely be somewhere from $53M to $56M – and if it’s higher, the MLE will be higher too because the MLE varies directly with the cap. So no matter what, the Hawks will effectively be working with zero cap space going into the offseason, even if they renounce both JJ and Chills (which would mean we couldn’t even sign-and-trade them – we would have to let both walk for nothing) or let both sign elsewhere. So if JJ leaves, we still will only have the MLE to work with.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
3:15 pm

Actually, misprint there – the MLE varies with average salary, which usually varies directly with the cap (though not in exact proportion). It’s the players’ maximum salary that varies in proportion with the cap. The good news about all the big-time expiring contracts this year is that the new contracts will be much lower, which means the average salary will be a bit lower, which means the MLE will be a bit lower. It still won’t drop too much, though – I’d say $5.2M is the lowest it would be, and $5.5-5.7M is the most likely range.

In any case, yeah – even if we let Chills and JJ walk for nothing, we still won’t have anything besides the MLE to play with.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
3:59 pm

nire,

Thanks for breaking it down. In that case, Hawks would take a HUGE step backward if JJ leaves.

Even if we keep JJ, I hope Sund explores all his trade options this offseason (including Jamal).

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
5:56 pm

OB, Avery changed his starting line-up and changed his strategy during the Warriors series. He was so worried about what the Warriors do well that he forgot to focus on what the Mavs do well. And the Mavs were the #1 seed and Warriors #8.

If Woody comes out and starts Teague and Evans (among others) in the first round of the playoffs, you bet your toes I will be screaming from the highest pine tree that dude is a straight idiot. If the Hawks come out in the 1st round of the playoffs and start bombing 3s and ignoring their bigs throughout the game, I’ll be screaming. That would represent a fundamental change in their personality. I’m not talking about running a few full-court traps or adding some back-door cuts… I expect and hope to see those kind of modest changes. Avery decided to take the Western Conference’s top team and change their mode of operation to counter the #8 team. In a 7 game series. He thought that over 7 games, the stuff that got them the top seed would fail against the #8 team.

I don’t blame him for the Miami series the previous summer… that was some Dwayne Wade marketing campaign gone nuclear. But tha Warriors series, yeah. Would you expect Mike Brown to panic and change the way the Cavs play because he is freaked out about playing the Bobcats (who have handled them this season)? Not likely.

richbrave

March 10th, 2010
5:56 pm

So how has JOE SMITH done this season, HAWKS fans?

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
6:04 pm

Nire,

Stop trying to twist my words to support your lack of an argument. I said this “All I care about is their commitment to building a Championship team”.

And you interpret as this “you need to give the “ASG isn’t committed” line a rest””.

Hmmm, I wonder why you didn’t cut and paste my statement like you usually do.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
6:20 pm

The comments below is from Josh Smith website. I wouldnt dare post this on MC blog. Too many FANATICS over there..LOL

Smoove Says:

March 10th, 2010 at 5:36 am
@Tena’se……First and foremost I have to understand that it’s a business and Joe has to do what’s best for him and his family. But I think the family atmosphere that we’ve created here and the chemistry over the year will eventually lead him the re-sign with the Hawks.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
6:32 pm

Astro,

Just as I suspected. Chandler caught Josh off guard…

bolox Says:

March 9th, 2010 at 11:54 am
I wish you had put that last dunk right into chandler’s face, but luck was not on your side yesterday night.

Smoove Says:

March 10th, 2010 at 5:49 am
@bolox……..I know right, I never saw him.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
6:38 pm

Melvin, let’s hope that next time, he will be on the look-out for a defender that is jumping in his face.

Check out Rick Kamla’s advice to Hawks fans:

http://www.790thezone.com/instantreplay/Episodes.aspx?PID=1346

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
7:08 pm

Melvin,

As should be obvious, I was paraphrasing you (something I do frequently), and substituting your exact words for my paraphrase changes absolutely nothing. My whole argument applies with equal force to your statement questioning their commitment to winning a championship, and it’s pretty funny that you think otherwise.

Here, I’ll substitute your exact words. If you question ASG’s “commitment to building a Championship team” because you have “yet to see them pay the luxury tax,” then you also have to concede that the same is true of Dallas, Portland, Phoenix, Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, and Orlando. Because none of those teams went into tax land until after they made a run to the Conference Finals or NBA Finals.

How is that a lack of an argument? Do you have anything to counter with besides nitpicking how I paraphrased you?

As for the bit about them not using the exceptions. First off, teams rarely use the BAE. It’s just not an efficient exception to use because there are only a few players in the league who will play for the BAE that won’t play for the vet minimum. A grand total of 5 teams used the BAE this year, up from 4 the year before, and 4 the year before that. The teams that use it typically are rebuilding teams that are stuck over the cap (this year, Minnesota and Indiana) and teams that are paying the luxury tax (this year, Boston, LAL, and Orlando) – you almost never see it used by contenders or semi-contenders that are under the tax threshold because it’s a pretty inefficient exception for teams working under a budget.

As for the MLE, they DID use $4M of the $5.5M mid-level last summer to sign Flip and Mo. This year they did not, but that’s because using the mid-level this summer would have put them into the luxury tax – which is the reason Denver didn’t spend the mid-level in the summer of 2008 either, nor did Cleveland/Utah in 2006, Miami in 2005, etc. The Hawks did spend the MLE when they had room under the tax threshold, and didn’t when they didn’t.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
7:13 pm

And PS – the Hawks did offer the full MLE to Rasheed, which people often seem to forget. If Sheed had happened, and assuming that signing Sheed for the MLE would have meant we would have meant no Joe Smith, we would have been $100k under the tax threshold going into the season with a 13-man roster, which would have left us screwed had the team suffered an injury that forced it to sign one more player. Thus, signing Sheed might have meant trading the rights to Teague and signing an undrafted FA instead in order to make sure we didn’t go over the cap (just look at how Utah and Wash dumped young draft picks this year to get under the tax threshold). Take that as you will.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
7:33 pm

nire,

I forgot that Rick Sund offered the MLE to Sheed. I tell you what, Sheed has looked bad this year, so I’m glad he didnt sign with us.

Rick Sund gets an A+ for the Crawford trade, and he did well landing Flip and Mo (although I think he gave Mo one year too long). but other than that, most of his moves have been questionable. He lost Chills to Greece, and resigned Marvin, Bibby and ZaZa (all have regressed this season).

I hope they turn it around, because the Hawks need them to play well.

AJ,

Yeah, I was confused as to why Avery would adjust to a #8 seed. But lets keep in mind that Dirk (who was named MVP that year) struggled against GS that playoff series too. He shot 4-19 from 3 for the series, and 38% overall.

Since Josh is known for blocking people’s shots, I’m surprised he didnt see Chandler. Chandler made a good play though, and thats the kind of block that Josh usually makes, and he usually doesnt miss those dunks. Next time, I think he makes it.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
7:58 pm

Nire,

You didn’t paraphrase anything I said. You simply implied your own meaning to create an argument. There’s nothing to defend. So quit trying to change the talking points…. I said if the ASG sign Joe to a max contract, I wonder what kind of impact that will have on the roster going forward. If the Hawks can build a championship caliber team around Joe with him having a max contract, than great. If not, then they may need to consider a different viewpoint going forward.
This has nothing to do with what other teams are doing or have done in the past. I want to see a championship team here in Atlanta and I think this current team is not far from that level. Some of us do not have a 2nd, 3rd, etc favorite team to cheer for…

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
8:01 pm

OB,

Similar to what Big Ray said, mistakes made now are lessons learned for later.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
8:37 pm

Has anyone notices that with Bibby’s current production – with the exception of the GS game @ ATL it would be difficult to get as little as we are getting offensively if we replaces him with West in the starting line up whilst getting a lot more defensively?

Bibby doesn’t handle the ball beyond carrying it accross the half court line then giving it to JJ to handle. West would probably be able to do that.

Since Bibby’s shot is complety off, he can’t even execute the pick and roll effectively with Al and Josh since the defender is not afraid that he shoots over him and are able to add pressure to the player who is rolling, eliminating the spacing necessary.

I am not saying that starting West at the PG slot is the solution. I just wanted to illustrate that right now almost anything is better than what we have.

If Bibby does not find his shot again consistently it’s very difficult to justify giving him more than 15 minutes per game.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
8:57 pm

Vava, seriously. I think that you are a good observer of basketball but you really take things too far. So you have not seen any evidence of Bibby’s ability to set-up his teammates? You see absolutely no value in him as a floor leader? You don’t ever see him run pick and roll with Al or Josh, you never see him run a fast break? If he’s not hitting his jumper, he is of no more value to this team than an NBDL player. Is that your perspective?

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:06 pm

Melvin said on MC’s blog:

Memphis is beating the Celtics so bad that the Boston crowd is booing them in the 1st half… Rudy Gay is killing them…

Now, y’all remember who predicted Doc’s firing. And also remember Kendrick Perkins’ quote from a few weeks ago “I think this team is bored”.

BTW, MC’s blog is like a cesspool of Hawk hatred.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:16 pm

Astro,

It was so bad at one point even Tommie Henson (Celtics Broadcaster) gave the Grizzy a compliment. I damn near choke on my food….

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
9:27 pm

AJ,

Milwaukee beat the Celtics last night, and Boston should have lost to Washington a few nights ago (Wiz blew a double digit 4th quarter lead). The Celtics think they will be able to turn it on during the playoffs. The Pistons thought the same thing a couple seasons ago, and they couldn’t.

To be honest, I think Bibby’s floor leadership is overated right now. But I will admit that the offense is more likely to flow better when Bibby is in the game (although that does not always translate into points). But how effective is the pick and roll with Bibby if he is not making his shots?

In my opinion, the problem is Woody needs to realize when Bibby does not have it, and cut his minutes. Against the Knicks, Bibby played 22 minutes, although he was getting abused defensively, and he had only 1 point.

Against Miami, Bibby played 30 minutes, had 6 points and 1 assist.

I would limit Bibby’s PT to 15-20 mpg, unless he is contributing, and I would give more minutes to Teague. Since February, there have been 10 games where Teague has gotten 7 minutes or less of PT.

I think the more consistent PT Teague gets in the game, the better he will be. The more PT Bibby gets is the worse he looks.

And our record since February is only 10-7. i dont think we would have been worse off if Teague had gotten more time.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:32 pm

And the Celtics crowd is booing again. I’m loving it.. Boston commentators aren’t even commenting on the game (LOL)… Heck the Grizzy could be up by 30 if they can get OJ and Conley to pass the damn ball…

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:36 pm

OB,

I’m with you Brotha. Give Teague some more mins… Heck it’s bad enough that Woody admits that he uses the switching defense to hide a certain player. Now that player offense production has falling off… Good thing I didn’t disclosed any names…

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:46 pm

Astro,

Uh huh, Tommie Henson (misp) just said that the Celtics problems is not coaching. He said “matter fact, I know its not the coaching”. He thinks the team is not playing hard enough…

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:49 pm

Oh my Tommie just said that he think the Celtics are incapable of being a championship level team. He said they dont have that extra ump that’s needed….LOL

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:54 pm

Melvin, don’t choke on the popcorn. Nooo, not the popcorn.

Hey, I am not suggesting that Doc SHOULD be fired, but we’ve all seen this movie before. GM mortgages the future for immediate success. They win a title and then they break down like wet toilet tissue. GM decides “I better figure out a way to look good again” and fires the head coach and brings in a local legend. If the players aren’t “playing hard” it’s either because the okd guys can’t get it up anymore (aren’t there little blue pills for that) or the young guys are lazy. In Hawksville, the team would be suffering from “fatigue”. Of course, there’s always a chance that somewhere between game 55-70, teams simply get tired and are trying to catch their second wind. Lakers and Cavs each lost 3 in a row in the last 10 days or so. But it sounds better to find someone to blame rather than suggest that even professional players can find themselves tired after 60+ games (even if they get perfect rest from a quality bench and genius coach).

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
10:03 pm

OB, here’s the scenario, it’s a tight game, 5:00 left, Hawks up/down by 2. Time-out on the floor. Woody has Al, Josh, Joe and Jamal ready to hit the floor. And he asks each of them individually, “who do you want me to send out there with you?” Yeah, I know that there are factors like match-ups, who’s hot on the oppposing team, who’s hot on the Hawks, etc. But ignoring that for a second… which player would all of those guys most likely want to join them in trying to deliver the victory?

I don’t want players to choose the head coach but I think players know who has the goods to help them win one game. I’ve been disappointed in Bibby’s play but I still believe that he brings a quality to his teammates that no one else brings… and if those guys believe in him, that’s good enough for me. I think in the scenario I provided, Bibby gets chosen 8 of 10 times, regardless of all of the other factors. And likely, based on what those guys have seen in practice, shoot-arounds, team meetings, film study, lockerroom chats, airplane/bus rides, etc., Teague gets chosen 0 times. Obviously, pure speculation on my part, but that’s how I see it.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
10:19 pm

AJ,

If its a tight game with 5 minutes left, then I say go with Bibby.

But if its in the 3rd quarter, give Teague a chance. Recently, most of Teague’s minutes have come in the first half. Is he not good enough to play in the second half?

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
10:21 pm

Melvin,

I used your exact words in my second post and made the same point. You questioned ASG’s “commitment to building a Championship team” and “willingness to pay for more talent.” But you’re still saying that I “implied my own meaning” to your own words? What did I miss?

This has nothing to do with what other teams are doing or have done in the past.

BS.

I didn’t change the talking points. You said that you question ASG’s “commitment to building a Championship team” and “willingness to pay for more talent.” The evidence/basis that you presented for that argument consisted solely of them not paying the tax/MLE/BAE. I simply pointed out that your “evidence” is flawed because the same “evidence” would also force you to question the “commitment to building a Championship team” and “willingness to pay for more talent” for most other contending teams too – all of them except LA and Boston, in fact. Therefore, your conclusion does not follow from the evidence you presented unless you also concede that Dallas, Portland, Phoenix, Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, and Orlando were all questionable in their “commitment to building a Championship team” and “willingness to pay for more talent” prior to their respective conference/NBA finals runs.

I addressed your conclusion, your evidence, and your reasoning. You just don’t have an answer, apparently.

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
12:01 am

Nire,

I didn’t know (or just forgot) that Flip and Mo signings was from MLE/BI monies. However, I noticed you didn’t show me where the Hawks paid the luxury tax or address why the Hawks decided to carry 13 man roster. I wonder how many other playoff teams better yet, let’s stay with the teams you mention. How many of those teams are carrying a 13-man roster into the playoffs? You simply took 1 or 2 lines of my post to create the basis of your argument which totally ignored my point. My original point express my concern for what type of impact would re-signing Joe to a max deal have on the roster. A very valid question/concern if you take the history of this franchise into account under the ASG being that they use their MLE/BI once and never paid the luxury tax.

niremetal

March 11th, 2010
12:18 am

Melvin,

I DID address that part of the post – did you not see me talk about how every contending team has at least one overpaid player on the roster, even ones below the tax threshold? The whole bit about Rashard, Wally/Hughes etc? Did you not see me discuss how the Hawks have large expiring contracts every year between now and 2013, which will give them cap flexibility? That was my explanation as to how the Hawks could spend below the tax and still contend. But like my counterargument to your continued BS about

The Hawks didn’t even have the MLE/BAE available to them before 2008 because they were under the cap until that summer. The Hawks signed Speedy in 2006 using nearly all available cap space, spending more than they would have if they had used the MLE instead (and as I explained above to O’Brien, you can’t use both the MLE and cap space unless you’re way, WAY under the cap). After the Hawks blew up the roster in 2003-2004 and got the payroll down to near-zero, they have increased payroll every year, using cap space as it became available in 2005 and 2006, standing pat in 2007, using the MLE in 2008, and trading for Crawford before the draft this year (a move which increased the Hawks payroll by $2M). That pattern is exactly what every team that is rebuilding goes through. The Hawks now are spending what every contending team spends – they are within $5M of the tax and have a couple overpaid players.

As for the roster spots – the Magic carried 13 on the roster going into the 2008 playoffs. The Jazz and Blazers did the same last year. Teams that are very close to the tax frequently leave the last two roster spots open. It is not at all uncommon.

Again, the Hawks are doing exactly what all non-BOS/LAL/NYK teams do until they make an unexpectedly deep postseason run. Your attempts to avoid that reality are just amusing at this point. But I really do enjoy watching you twist in the wind.

niremetal

March 11th, 2010
12:19 am

* But like my counterargument to your continued BS about questioning the ASG’s commitment to winning a championship, you continue to ignore or avoid discussing the things that are most inconvenient for you.

niremetal

March 11th, 2010
12:30 am

Oh, and one last thing: For every thing that the Hawks don’t do that would allow them to have a higher payroll, they do something to increase payroll that most other teams don’t do. For instance, I’ve said this before: the Hawks actually would not have been able to do the trade of Acie and Speedy for Crawford after July 1 of last year due to the fact that Speedy was due for a big annual paycut on July 1 (his contract is frontloaded) while Crawford was due for a big annual pay raise on July 1 (because his contract is backloaded). Today, we’d have had to throw in another ~$1M contract to get the deal done. Presumably the Warriors wanted to do the trade before July 1 for that very reason – they wanted to get the savings from Speedy’s imminent paycut. The fact that the Hawks basically ate $1M to ensure the deal got done says something.

In any case, you’d think that the fact that the Hawks are now spending almost exactly what Dallas, Portland, Phoenix, Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, and Orlando spent before their finals runs would convince you that ASG has the means and the desire to spend what it takes to win. But you insist on living in 2006. Have fun there.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2010
2:08 am

Astro Joe ,

1) Like many of the Josh complaints, the “JJ is fatigued” comments are from last year, and the year before. I recall them quite clearly, even if you don’t. They had some validity. However, with Crawford’s arrival and the improvement of Al and Josh, people have forgotten about how many minutes Joe plays. Last year, he played 39.5. This year, they have had the whopping reduction of 1.4 mpg, down to 38.1. Funny that with that “HUGE” (insert Astro Joe sized dose of sarcasm here :) ) reduction in minutes, JJ has gone from “tired” to “unclutch.” Yeah, I know. People were calling him unclutch last year. But this year, there are no defensive cries of “he’s tired and has to do everything.” What can I say, people are funny….

2) Denying Josh’s issues, past and present, is one thing you’ll never be able to accurately accuse me of. Retorting against what I felt were biased comments against him, or outright ridiculous exaggerations? You bet. No different than you defending Woodson, regardless of your motivations. For the record, I have and do believe that Josh’s high ankle sprain did affect his play last year, and that he did come back from injury a little too early. That is in no way the same as saying it is the sole, or even the main reason for his lack of production. Nor have I ever said such a thing. It’s certainly no more unreasonable than saying a coach performs and makes the decisions he does because he hasn’t gotten a contract extension yet…is it?

3) I don’t recall you saying anything unreasonable about Smith. Therefore, none of what I said was directed at you. Complained about his play a lot? Of course you did. Everybody did (even me, his part-time apologist).

4) but that won’t change the days he was shooting 25% from 3.

No, it won’t. But it’s a shame if the player can get past those things, yet fans can’t. Kind of like talking about Woodson’s overall losing record while he presides over a team that is on it’s way to it’s second straight winning season. Ehhh…it is what it is, and always shall be.

4) I think you’re right about Joe Johnson. He’ll go where his agent points him. Done deal, wherever the deal is done.

Sautee ,

It’s not that nobody is talking about the energy crisis. It’s that the people it will affect the most don’t get to hear what is being said. Until decisions have been made, that is.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2010
2:14 am

Nire ,

Spending nearly what those other teams have spent clearly doesn’t mean getting to where those other teams have been or are going. Money isn’t the difference between the Hawks and all those other teams you mentioned. You know the difference….’nuff said…

Big Ray

March 11th, 2010
2:14 am

New blog up….

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
10:37 am

Amen, Big Ray.