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

doc

March 8th, 2010
3:06 am

cant resist …..first

vava74

March 8th, 2010
6:55 am

We failed because we had key players tired.

They were tired because Woody exhausted them against GS and tightened the rotation against MIA, in particular during the second half.

It still puzzles me why Woody doesn’t go big when we face a team playing undermanned in the middle.

MIA was left with Magloire, Anthony and Haslem (and Beasley). Why didn’t we go big against this line up?

Or at least, why didn’t Woody keep up with the bigger line up in the 4th with Marvin in? Joe should have gotten a breather – since he was/is sick.

Marvin was not playing particularly well BUT he was boxing out and rebounding, something we lacked to end the game.

lameexcuse

March 8th, 2010
8:21 am

Looked like Marvin was hurt. Any word?

O'Brien

March 8th, 2010
9:00 am

Ray,

It is better to find out now than in the playoffs. But what if it’s the same mistakes we’ve made before? It’s like deja vu all over again.

Didn’t Miami play some zone? Didn’t the Mavericks play some zone? Didn’t we lose earlier to the Knicks when they played some zone? We still haven’t figured out how to overcome the zone defense.

We have seen Wade go off against us before (in last year’s playoffs, Woody ignored his assistants when they suggested we double team Wade). I know he goes off on a lot of teams, but I would have liked to see a defensive strategy that forces him to give up the ball more.

And once again, our starters played basically the entire fourth quarter (on the second night of a back to back). I feel like this has happened a lot recently. If he was not hurt, where was Joe Smith the second half (he had 8 pts, 2 rebs in 7 minutes in the first half)? Inconsistent (second half) use of the bench by Woody, again.

I dont want to blow this loss out of proportion, because the Heat also beat the Lakers a few nights earlier, while this was a back to back for us, and JJ might still be under the weather. I just feel like we’ve lost games like this too often. How many losses does it take for us to learn?

When the game gets tight (and jump shots are not falling), we lose focus, or have a silly turnover, or miss a defensive rotation, or take bad shots. We need to fix it.

And in terms of offense, this is the 12th game this season where the Hawks have scored 19 points or less in the 4th quarter. Our record in those games is 2-10. So even though we average a lot of points, we’ve struggled in the fourth quarter (especially against playoff teams, so what can we expect in the playoffs)?

Hawks need to beat the Knicks to get back on track, because if we lose, the Wizards game would be a must win. And the Wizards gave Boston all they could handle (in Boston) last night, leading by double digits midway through the 4th before blowing it.

I look for tonight’s game to be one of those high scoring games for the Hawks, and I think we blow the Knicks out.

doc

March 8th, 2010
10:21 am

ray, knicks are a lottery team now playing for position there rather than in the standings is my guess. i think before we project our total wins for the season we need to evaluate what teams have truly laid down and rolled over to get a better take on what to expect. any loss to one of those type teams suggest how fatigued this team is. if they cant keep it up against those types then they are running on empty and need the juices flowing to bring their a-game.

there is no way to consider either of these teams beating us right now no matter if it is home or away. these should be a lock. it is also the type of team marvin better show up for like he did against a few lack luster teams only to falter. is it woody’s pep talk or quality of opposition?

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
11:13 am

Doc,

Agreed but the Knicks do not have a 1st round pick this year. I’m sure they probably planning their summer vacations but some of those guys will be FA (TMac,Lee,Harrington) so I expect them to bring their A-game b/c they will be looking for a contract this summer.

OB & Vava,

Agreed. I think the Hawks lost to the Heat b/c of fatigue. I think the meltdown in the 4th was due to tired legs. I pointed out during the clock delay at the beginning of the 4th that Woody should rest Josh and Joe to start the qtr. It wasn’t a coincidence to me that Joe/Josh was unable to execute successfully during crunch time in the 4th. I could see the fatigue starting settled in around the middle of the 4th as guys were taking plays off and making costly turnovers. Even Miami coach knew that DWade couldn’t play the entire qtr as he was on the bench to start the 4th. Yep, Woody was taking to school by a 2nd year coach. I know that most coaches like to stick to their game plan but Woody is one of the most stubborn coaches I have every seen in any sport. He does not deviated from his game plan at all. I can’t think of a single game that I saw him coach in the last 3 years where he made an in-game adjustment, scheme or personnel wise. No Plan-B Woody (NPBW).

doc

March 8th, 2010
11:22 am

melvin, thanks for the correction. now as to the a game losing to nets? maybe it will be about individual play rather than team ball that will be their downfall. just as bad a situation is my guess.

doc

March 8th, 2010
11:54 am

interesting read on what is going on in the laker locker room. sound familiar?

http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/03/07/gasol-has-inside-perspective-on-lakers-recent-woes/

i_am_soulstar

March 8th, 2010
12:06 pm

JJ hurt the team with his shots in the 4th quarter. And I don’t just say that to say it. You could see it on his face that he was frustrated with getting his shot and that shot not falling in the 4th. But what kills me is if you miss 3 or 4 in a row, don’t take more difficult shots. If you got it going, then fine. But if you’re cold, recognize that, put pride aside, and keep the ball moving for the good of the team, especially if there’s someone else on yopur team that can’t miss (Jamal Crawford).

And Bibby over Marvin in the 4th? What was that about? Marvin could have really made the difference with his D, and this isn’t hindsight, this was foresight with 8 minutes left and me wondering why in the world Marvin is on the bench.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2010
12:39 pm

Melvin,

I think Woody’s mindset is to play his starters (or at least 4 of them) for the entire fourth quarter. It did not work against Phoenix, it did not work against GS, and it did not work against Miami. And I’m not sure if it will work in the playoffs.

Woody needs to have a better pulse on this team. He needs to realize when guys have it, and when they dont. He needs to realize which plays are working, and which ones are not. He takes too long to make adjustments (if any), but he is always able to point out what went wrong after the game.

Somebody made the comparison of Bobby Cox and Woody (maybe it was AJ), and they do share some similarites. I hope I’m wrong, but I think another similarity will be thay they will be good regular season coaches, but struggle in the playoffs, because every decision gets magnified.

i_am_soulstar,

Check out doc’s link. It’s a good read. The interesting part to me was:

““Kobe is a great player, the best offensive player out there … but at the same time, we need to find some balance with our interior game, develop it a little more, moving the ball and changing sides,”

Gasol said gingerly, knowing he was treading on sacred territory by questioning Bryant and the offense of coach Phil Jackson. “We need to get focused on that a little more, to find balance, to find some flow.”

doc

March 8th, 2010
1:07 pm

o’b that is exactly what turned my eye, along with gasol saying he believes the game is to be played from the inside out and he is good at finding open players a good post up player. i just about left the rest of the article out to quote what you did but found some of the other comments very close to what we say here, or at least folks not just grinding their own agenda and speaking rationally. well almost rational as being at the liars table means from the get go, you are not rational. ;-)

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2010
1:10 pm

KevinA on the other blog mentioned that Horford and Smith are 2.3 in FGAs since the ASG… so maybe that balance has started. At the same time, the zone is what is stopping the low-post game with Horford and Josh. Teams aren’t using that defense to stop Joe, Jamal and Bibby from shooting, they are using it because of all of the points in the paint. It is also effective because our defense has not been great lately… hard to set-up a zone defense after you have missed a shot and the hawks have rebounded… make a bucket and suddenly, a zone becomes much easier to install. So part of defating a zone needs to be to eother defend better or at least push the ball upcourt after made baskets. Not to neccessarily shoot the ball but just to pressure the opposing team to react as the zone requires all 5 defenders to get back.

I missed the end of the Heat game, were those late game turnovers committed because they deviated from the iso-sets at the end of the game?

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
1:52 pm

Astro,

Not that I recall. The turnovers by Josh and Crawford came from deflected passes (although seem like both guys were trying to tread the needle). But I still attribute the meltdown to tired legs. Like someone said earlier, Marvin did not play in the 4th. Joe Smith was perfect in the 1st half and did not stiff the court in the 2nd half (although he got hit in the nose in the 1st half).

OB,
I don’t follow baseball, so I’m unaware of Cox coaching style. You make a good point about Woody wanting to play the starters the entire 4th. This is unusual b/c I don’t see any other coach using this technique. I know Woody’s mentor/ex-boss Larry Brown has a tight rotation but he does rotate his guys in the 2nd half. I don’t understand Woody strategy with the short rotation. It doesn’t help develop players and it’s a major wear and tear on his main guys. For a guy who has been associated with the league as long as he has, I would like to hear him explain his philosophy player rotation b/c all I see is a few guys being overplayed while the others guys are unprepared when call upon.

doc

March 8th, 2010
2:17 pm

o’b i know i made that comparison of cox and woody but AJ may have made it as well as we are frequently on the same page …. right AJ….. heh heh ;-)

doc

March 8th, 2010
2:27 pm

btw, that was my take on the post season prospects for the post season as well O’B. i admire what cox has done but as far as managing the game there have been three better at least, since he came in now managing the dodgers, the tigers and the cardinals. an argument would be given to the managers of the twins and angels as well. maybe cox isnt even in the top five of todays managers in my opinion. i doubt he would slide beyond top ten but players dont quit on him and love to play for him and that sounds like woody to me. both struggle with in game decisions.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2010
2:42 pm

Melvin,

Part of Cox’s coaching style is he sticks with his regular season guys no matter how bad they’re playing. And during the playoffs, if a starter is struggling (pitcher or hitter), Cox will stick with him way too long, even though he has a reliever he can bring in, or a pinch hitter. And Cox always seems to be late with his adjustments in the playoffs.

But yeah, most coaches rest their star players at the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 4th. But not Woody, he expects his guys to play most of the minutes during the first 3 quarters, and then turn around and play the entire 4th quarter, while still being energetic and able to execute.

If Woody wants to play them for the entire fourth quarter, then he should give them more breaks during the first 3 quarters, so they will have more energy down the stretch.

Tired legs lead to missed shots, slow defensive rotations, lazy passes, and it can hamper your decision making.

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2010
3:36 pm

doc, yep, uyou and I agree on that one. Cox was recently quoted as saying that he kept playing Schaefer despite his troubles and that in hindsight, it was likely a mistake. I posted the qoute over here and asked “who does this sound like”?

Of course, the other side of that coin is that Cox has built a fiercely lowyal following amongst his players because he treats them like grown men, always expects views them with optimism (even when they aqre stinking up the joint) and maintains an even temperment across the long, long season.

No doubt, Woody needs to find a way to rest his finishers. Jamal often plays around 15-18 straight minutes in each half as he often enters in the 1st/3rd quarter and leaves at the end of the half. But honestly, how many minutes will the top 5-6 players on each team will average during the playoffs? I’m guessing a number that is much closer to 38-40 than 32-34 (excluding blowouts).

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
6:26 pm

Where the heck is ARIOSE. I missed that dude at the liar’s table… Big Ray, we may need to send out APB on him. Sir-Link-A-Lot aka SalimFan where are you?????

joBjo

March 8th, 2010
7:04 pm

tonite I want Bib to run the offense and hit 3’s. Smoove, you hit the boards and play D and go to the bucket. Marvin hit your shots and play d and hit the boards. Al keep shooting. Joe you just be Joe. Craw go for 50!

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
7:17 pm

I am soulstar ,

I could see JJ’s frustration as well. And I can certainly understand the idea of “well, 4 or 5 misses in a row is a reason to stop shooting.” However, JJ is a scorer. And we still needed for him to score.

To me, it’s not necessarily that he needs to stop shooting, particularly if others aren’t making shots, either. It’s that he needs to find a way to keep scoring when his shots aren’t falling. There’s only one way to do it: get to the line. And Joe’s absolute favorite shot (the jumpshot) isn’t a way to do that, unless he’s going to do what Paul Pierce does. Pierce sticks with the jumpshot as well. JJ tries to create space so he can get the shot off. Pierce tries to create contact, so he can get to the line. THE LINE. It’s the only place you can go to shoot, and be certain that you’re wide open from a decent distance. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Now before everybody starts piling in on how JJ doesn’t get calls, I understand that. But take two things into consideration:

1. How many times JJ goes to the basket.

2. How many times JJ tries to create contact. You don’t have to go to the rim to get it, either. I have zero love for Paul Pierce, but the guy knows how to create contact by simply duping a defender into jumping into him (or at least looking like it) when he goes for a jumper.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
7:23 pm

Astro Joe ,

I find it amusing that you would ask if the turnovers in the Miami game came from deviating from ISO sets. Gee whiz, I wonder where you were going with that one…

Doc ,

Never bet on things like that. Madison Square Garden is still a basketball Mecca, and losing there is never good. The Knicks don’t care about the lottery nearly as much as they do this summer’s free agency. If the Hawks think this is a lock for a win, then they’ll get beat. If this was a throw away year for the Knicks, then why are we down 2 to 1 on the season series?

Melvin ,

I think Ariose is pretty busy with school right now. However, I’ll try to let him know his blog mates are inquiring after him, and see if I can coax him back to the wonderful world of canniblo…er…blogging…

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
7:30 pm

Doc ,

Great link to the Lakers drama, that was some good reading. What? Kobe’s not perfect? Say it ain’t so…I think we figured that one out some time ago, and while we’re having false epiphanies, it would seem that even a HOF coach and his perfect offense can have issues. Never heard of the concept around here, or at least some would have you think that nobody around here does.

Of course, that’s not the first thing I think of when and/or if the Hawks lose a game they should have won, or a playoff series, for that matter. Nor have I lost sight of the fact that we are not competing for a championship yet, much less for consecutive years. I find no joy in such articles, as they are information on a team that I do not cheer for, but I suppose if you have “Hawks, employee #2″ tattooed on your butt, then you will rejoice in the idea that arguably the game’s top player is just as human as the next guy in the league. As if you needed proof…

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
8:06 pm

Josh playing Point Forward….LOL

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
8:39 pm

Doesn’t look to me like NY’s laying down, Doc

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

This looks worse and worse. And clearly bad defense leads to bad offense. The question is, what has happened to the defense? They were better than this last year, and they’ve had another season to learn the switch defense.

And don’t even try blaming this all on Jamal Crawford’s presence. If you do, you’re opening the door for someone else to shoulder the blame…and he will, in the end…

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
9:59 pm

Horford nearly bailed us out.

Can’t wait to hear the sermon on “bouncing back”, because I haven’t seen us “bounce back” in a while now. Even the recent wins have come with caveats for the most part.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2010
10:06 pm

Ray,

I wonder what can the Hawks learn from this loss that they havent learned all year?

We lost 3 games to the Knicks this year. Unacceptable.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
10:10 pm

O’brien ,

Good question. I was hoping that this wasn’t the type of lesson they would be learning tonight, but it appears that my fears were very real…

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
10:12 pm

I rather take a lucky win over lesson learn loss any day…

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

And to “bounce back”, what will the Hawks have to do? Beating Washington won’t cut it, by itself.

Meanwhile, I see a few Hawks Haters have become embarrassed of themselves on MC’s blog. They’ve changed their names. Hilarious.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

Melvin ,

Absent the lucky win, you have to take something from the loss. A lesson learned, I would hope. But my hope is running thin.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2010
10:16 pm

I do not like what I see from this team, or this coaching staff. The defense has gotten progressively worse. The offense has gotten progressively predictable, stagnant when faced with certain defenses, and uncontrolled altogether when in tight situations. Progressively, I say. Why?

We’ll see what happens in Washington before I spout what I want to say next. Or, I may not wait. Stay tuned…

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
10:24 pm

Ray,
I’m just so sick with it right now… These guys don’t look like they are learning anything. These losses look like ground hogs day. SOS- same old same… Offense becomes stagnant and guys are gasping for air as Woody decides to play certain guys for the entire 2nd half. Like I said previously, Woody is too stubborn to try a new wrinkle. He prefers to stay with the same thing that works 60-70% of the time.

Melvin

March 8th, 2010
10:32 pm

This team needs/needed a shake up. That why I wish would had added a player at the trade deadline….

I don’t think the Hawks will catch Orlando now. They better hope the Celtics falter down the stretch in order to capture the 3rd spot… Heck, what am I thinking, they need to focus on staying in the 4th spot…

vava74

March 8th, 2010
11:11 pm

Marvin had no role in our loss. He played defense, boxed put and hustled.

His shot was off but he had no responsibility on the loss. As soon a he got in for Bibby in the 4th we improved our game to the point of being point blank from a win.

Woody has maxed out his ability and is Noe riding the backs of the players.

We have a good and solid group which is not correctly aligned. There is no logic or consistency in our rotations.

Why bring Bibby back when we were being abused by NY’s back court?

And the switching defense? Does it take a lot of brain to realize that when a team is hot from 3 point land and has quick guards we cannot rely on the switching defense? F**K!!! Any retarded can see that we are constantly getting torched from 3 point land on account of the switching d.

Anyone remotely talented from outside has a chance for a career day against us and when we face guys that are known to be dangerous from the outside we are bound to be torched:

practically all the Magic perimeter players had multiple treys against us, JR Smith drilled 6 or 7, Curry ditto two times, CJ Watson and Ellis also had a few, Galinari had an almost career night, Kidd drilled at will, Jeff Green hurt us as well from the outside along with Durant, Harrington scored 28 points during a first half, Decquan Cook had a field day, Nate exploded in and out, Varejao(!) scored from 3 point land, Rudy in Atlanta almost gave the win to Portland with a series of uncontested treys, Peja looked young and healthy again … From scrubs to stars, almost everyone has a field day against us…

YOU SIMPLY CANNOT USE THE SWITCHING DEFENSE ALL THE TIME AND IN PARTICULAR WHEN THE OPPOSING TEAM IS STARTING TO GET HOT FROM THE OUTSIDE.

YOU NEED TO MIX IT UP.

I will not even dwell too much on the offense. I think Woody is not using JJ properly and is undermining his skills. It’s his task to spare him for the last minutes and reserve both the energy and the random design of the ISO for the last minutes instead of featuring it from the tip off.

By the time that we need JJ to bail us out (or try to) he is tired and the defense is already perfectly addapted to his play. It gets less effective as the minutes pass for both reasons.

Just think about it: even a fairly average defender (individually) or defense (collectively) starts to pick up signs and moves along the game and adapt to JJ’s ISO game. It’s only natural.

for whom the bell tolls

March 9th, 2010
3:47 am

The bell tolls for he who speaketh these words and leaneth on his own understanding which is nil.

“But what I’m telling you guys is that if you guys will just consistently do what we’re asking you to do on defense, we’ll win games. I don’t give a shit about the offense; you guys can score more than enough points to win games. The offense isn’t the problem. But you have to get stops on defense, and if you’ll listen to what we’re telling you, I promise you’ll get stops. The shit works, okay? The shit works, but you guys just have to have the pride and the heart to buy into it and do what we’re asking you to do every time down the court.”

O'Brien

March 9th, 2010
8:40 am

Hawks should not have lost this game. Doesn’t Woody realize that the switching defense does not work all the time (especially against teams with good perimeter shooters)? He needs to be able to adjust. Amd what’s up with the players not giving the effort on D?

Maybe Woody needs to talk to Marvin, Bibby and ZaZa (who were all resigned by Sund this past offseason) every week, because they seem to have gone back in their shell. Marvin and ZaZa are still young, and they might turn it around. But Bibby is old and slow, and we still have him for 2 more years after this one.

The good news is that the Hawks play up to their competition, and they play down to their competition, so I expect a better showing in the playoffs, because I think they will be more focused then.

I’m starting to wonder how much of our problems are fatigue related. It’s been a long season, and guys have played a lot of minutes. Is it starting to catch up to them where they dont have the energy and focus needed to keep their defensive intensity up? Could fatigue be contributing to our inability to make shots in the 4th?

niremetal

March 9th, 2010
9:46 am

All wins and losses in basketball are team wins and losses, but last night’s loss was the epitome of a team loss. Down the stretch, the Hawks stopped doing the things that had worked well for them earlier, and kept doing the things that weren’t working. D’Antoni had exploited the switching defense all game long (how many times did our PG end up covering Gallinari or Lee?), but we stuck with it down the stretch. We had not been shooting well from the perimeter all game long, but kept shooting jumpers late in the game. In a three possession sequence, Joe took a contested deep 3, Josh took a long jumper, and Josh took a contested running 9-foot jumper after trying to create something off the dribble – and none of those are things that were working.

The Knicks are undersized and soft in their interior D, which we had exploited all game long by pounding the ball inside. On the other hand, everyone on the floor for them at any given time can knock down jumpers, which they had done all game. So why did our late game strategies seem to bear no relation to the Knicks’ well-known strengths and weaknesses?

This wasn’t even a matter of D’Antoni out-generaling Woody. D’Antoni didn’t even have to make adjustments because the Hawks never made a big enough run to put the Knicks away. That’s the most frustrating thing – a vastly less talented team than ours won without ever having to tweak their gameplan.

vava74

March 9th, 2010
10:30 am

nire,

what you say in your post is a very simple depiction of our situation and it speaks volumes of woody’s inefficiency as a coach.

d’antoni, who is no genius, did not even had to do too much to win the game.

woody had to do (simple) adjustments but didn’t.

O'Brien

March 9th, 2010
11:29 am

Lets face it. Woody is who he is. And he will win or lose coaching the only way he knows how. Preaching defense and rebounding, switching every game every time every player, and ISOs.

No adjustments, and little bench utilization unless he has bench players who are capable of starting for other teams. Which is interesting, because wasn’t our bench supposed to be a strength? Didnt our players and Woody publicly admmire the veterans on our bench, and how good it feels to have capable backups?

I wanted to get you guys thoughts on the JJ comments from espn dailydime.

‘If a certain someone, like maybe this certain guy in Cleveland, accepted a max offer from the Knicks and wanted Johnson as a sidekick, Johnson would be willing to sign for less than the maximum.

“I’ll sacrifice,” Johnson said.

OK, Joe. Then what would be the best-case scenario? “My number one choice? I don’t really know,” Johnson said. “I do not know what LeBron’s going to do.”

I think JJ could put up HUGE numbers in D’Antoni’s system, especially if the Knicks also get Amare or LeBron (or Bosh). But is that good enough to leave the Hawks (who should be a perennial top 4 team in the East) to play for a team that will be probably be competing for spots 5-8?

niremetal

March 9th, 2010
12:05 pm

The Knicks will not be competing just for 5-8 if they land JJ + LeBron or JJ + Bosh. I said awhile back that the Hawks might have to do more than just offer JJ the most money to keep him here; they might have to offer him his best shot at a title. And to be honest, without a deadeye 20ppg runningmate, he might not have that here. Our best hope might be to try and convince Bosh to come here, which would necessitate convincing Toronto to accept a sign-and-trade to make the salaries work. To do that, we would probably have to give up some combo of Crawford(expiring)/Smoove/Horford, because Toronto almost certainly wouldn’t want to take on the contracts of anyone else we have. And as much as I love them both (my b’day was last week; my girlfriend got me an autographed 8×10 of Horford as a gift, to go alongside my existing ones of JJ and Josh), we couldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on that deal. Chris Bosh is a franchise player, and the best offensive big man in the game today. We become the East’s frontrunners if we have both Bosh and JJ.

I love the Hawks’ roster right now, and with the perfect coach and perfect system they might be able to win a title. But we don’t have the perfect coach and system, and we aren’t going to get it anytime soon. So we might need to make a big move to keep JJ, or else consign ourselves to losing him and going back on the bullet train to mediocrity.

O'Brien

March 9th, 2010
1:07 pm

I think the coach of the Hawks will also influence JJ’s decision. I wonder if he will give a ringing endorsement to Woody?

I look forward to this offseason, and it will be interesting to see what happens after LeBron makes his move.

Melvin

March 9th, 2010
3:52 pm

If JJ decides to leave this summer, I think the Hawsk need to change directions in philosophy. Don’t resign Woody. Build around Josh and AL. Try to off load Bibby (good luck) and Marvin. I would like to see them pursue someone like Rudy Gay maybe a S&T package around Marvin. At least Memphis will get some value in return instead of letting the Knicks, Nets or Clips sign him for nothing in return. Also acquire a more dynamic PG like Devin Harris and finalize a deal with Chills either trade or resign… Just my thoughts no matter how realistic they may seem to others…

O'Brien

March 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

Melvin,

If JJ leaves this summer, look for the Hawks to insert Crawford into the starting lineup, and use the money they have available to add a couple bench players. And if Woody is resigned, look for more iso Jamals to replace the isoJo.

However, depending on where JJ goes, maybe the Hawks could work out a sign and trade too (eg, David Lee and piece). I’m with AJ though. If the Hawks resign JJ, I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade Crawford.

Sund will be evaluating Woody at the end of the year, and I hope the ASG will evaluate Sund. Trading for Crawford was great, but resigning Marvin, Bibby and ZaZa is not looking so good (especially if they dont show up in the playoffs).

I just dont understand why Sund gave Bibby that 3rd year. It would be nice to trade for Devin Harris or Darren Collison (the irony is that Woody would probably start Collison, but 50 games ago, I doubt if Collison would make it off Woody’s bench), but their effectiveness will also depend on who the HC is.

Astro Joe

March 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

Ob said, No adjustments, and little bench utilization unless he has bench players who are capable of starting for other teams.

So aren’t you focused on Teague? Because every other bench member has started at some point for another team.

Evans, Joe Smith and Zaza don’t need to grow, learn how to start, play extended time to figure it out nor any of that stuff. They just need to perform. And thankfully, they have improved over the past 4-5 games but each struggled for the majority of this season.

Take a look at the play-by-play of the last two minutes of last night’s game. Y’all wanted someone other than Joe taking the shots at the end of of a tight game. Well, there you have it.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=300308018&period=4

Melvin

March 9th, 2010
4:34 pm

Astro,

It was your Team leader who missed the game tying free throw so dont act like he was an incidence bystander in the lost…

Melvin

March 9th, 2010
4:34 pm

It was your Team leader who missed the game tying free throw so don’t act like he was an innocent bystander in the lost.

O'Brien

March 9th, 2010
6:31 pm

Astro,

None of our bench players (except for Crawford) would be starters at this point in their career.

The last 3 games, Josh played 45, 43 and 40 minutes, while Joe Smith has not played the last 6 quarters (and played 7 minutes the last 3 games combined). Sure, Mo Evans gets minutes, but they’re mostly as the backup SF. And we know about Teague.

My point is I dont think Woody does a good job of utilizing his bench effectiveley. How many games have we seen where 4 starters play the entire 4th quarter, only to falter down the stretch?

I’m not just talking about Teague getting minutes, I’m talking about the bench as a whole.

Astro Joe

March 9th, 2010
7:14 pm

Melvin, but it was YOUR team MVP who missed 4 shots in the last 2 minutes.

Sautee

March 9th, 2010
7:55 pm

I am completely comfortable with Josh or Al taking shots late in the game. It’s the ONLY way they will grow, win or lose. And there’s no denying that this will be THEIR team in the near future.

Astro Joe

March 9th, 2010
8:22 pm

Sautee, I don’t disagree with that position. But I do disgree that we are supposed to ignore the growing pains. If dude misses 4 shots in the last 2 minutes of a close game, why not acknowledge it and accept it as a neccessary lesson? Don’t sweep it under the rug and look for someone else to blame.

Astro Joe

March 9th, 2010
8:25 pm

I’ll even add that part of the growing of Josh and Al as co-leaders of this team is accepting blame when things don’t go right. If they want to step up and co-lead a top team in the East, they need to be prepared for the same scrutiny that other team leaders get from their fan base.

Melvin

March 9th, 2010
8:52 pm

Astro,

But you want to make it as if one person loss the game instead of acknowledging the fact that it was a team loss. I noticed how you conveniently pointed out the missed shots but ignore the fact that same player created a charge and steal basically within that same 2 min stance. So that’s two turnovers by the Knicks that resulted in two extra possession for the Hawks that was all created by the same player you want to point the finger at.

Astro Joe

March 9th, 2010
10:02 pm

Melvin, Josh didn’t lose the game. And Joe hasn’t lost games in the past 4.5 years, but that never stopped folk from highlighting game-ending misses as opposed to acknowledging that Joe was often one of the main reasons we had enough points to have a chance to win in the last few seconds. Ever read a complaint about Iso-Joe or Joe isn’t clutch? What’s good for one should be good for the other. Like I said to Sautee, I am truly comfortable with Josh growing as a late game option. And I am even more comfortable with Al in the spot. I just find it interesting when those guys fail, that it is Woody’s fault or someone else did wrong. Josh has been mostly very, very good this season (I did cringe when he took that late jumper after being so good at scoring in the paint in the previous possessions). And I probably tend to highlight the shortcomings because there is SO much love/excuse-making that goes on for Josh.

Some past highlights include “it’s okay for him to yell at his coach because his coach is an idiot”. “He only takes 3s because his coach has him standing behind the 3-point line”. “He only takes 3s because his teammates wait until the last second to pass him the ball”. “He grabbed 0 rebounds after the 6 day All-Star break because his ankle was bothering him”. “He missed the dunk attempt because he was tired from the previous 3 games”. “He’s young”. “He didn’t play in college”. “He should not have been in the game to heave a shot with 6 seconds left because he is a poor free throw shooter”. “At least he’s trying to make something happen”.

So yeah, I am probably a little uneven in my criticism in my misguided attempt to balance out the apologists who come up with some of the previous… uh, perspective. That and I truly believe that accountability does more to help a person grow than excuse-making.

niremetal

March 9th, 2010
10:25 pm

And there’s no denying that this will be THEIR team in the near future.

Actually, yes there is denying that.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
3:49 am

Astro,

funny how you ignore the elephant in the room.

the starters have been subject to extensive minutes and it’s pretty logic that our 4th quarter slumps are caused also by the fact that they reach the money time exhausted.

Woody initially acknowledge that he made a mistake in PHO by playing only 6 guys during the entire second half.

Then he recanted and has been doing almost the same thing, giving only cosmetic minutes to the bench in the second half.

Joe Smith had 8 points and 3 rebounds in 6.44 minutes against Miami and then has been sitting in the bench for 6 quarters in the row.

During those same ) quarters, totalling 72 minutes, Josh must have played around 65 minutes.

Yes, he missed the winning dunk, but it was pretty obviousvthat it happened on account of his legs being dead.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
7:54 am

This should be Al and Josh’s team in the future, but you never know.

Josh has played a lot of minutes the last 3 games (45,43, and 40), but there is no way of knowing if Josh missed the dunk at the end because he was tired. Maybe he miss-timed his jump, maybe he was thinking about getting blocked, maybe Chandler made a good play…too many unknowns to blame it on being tired.

That being said, I wish Woody would give Joe Smith more PT though.

How about them Clippers? They fired Dunleavy as the GM (a month after taking away his coaching duties), but they released a statement to the media about it BEFORE letting Dunleavy know that he was fired. How classy was that?

Big Ray

March 10th, 2010
8:11 am

That darn elephant sure can be inconvenient. Especially when he starts farting….

Astro Joe ,

In your quest to balance the Josh Smith apologist comments, I think you forgot the other half of the conversation.

I remember the “excuses” made for Smith. I made some of them. But what of the other stuff said about him, that so many people are now so willing to sweep under the rug of? How about “this kid has no basketball IQ” , “he’s got no handles”, “he does more to hurt than team than help it”, “we lost another game because of Josh”, “please trade this guy”, and so on? Seems to me that many of the “excuses” made were merely what most comments are: retorts to somebody who has an opposing point of view.

One man’s excuse is another man’s reason. Do we not make excuses for every player? “JJ is tired”, “Marvin is the odd man out”, and what not. I can’t recall the number of times I heard about JJ being tired, or being tasked with doing everything on both ends of the floor, as an excuse (or rather, a retort) every time he was criticized for something. But all of that is in the past. I don’t think we can balance the present, much less the past.

I can also remember a million sales/corporate work analogies used to retort against any criticisms of Mike Woodson, but we won’t go there…. ;)

big will

March 10th, 2010
8:16 am

why want coach start giving jason c playing time. Im sure we will need him in the playoff. the same way he wanted big z to started in the rotation with josh,and al. you can started working the same rotation with jason. it would shake up tyhing in the playoff. i fear jason will not be ready we all know you don’t get better unless you started getting playing time. game time keep you in shape your time and awareness will be their. you got veterans on the bench its time to get them prime and ready to play in the playoff and give the starter more rest so they will be fresh when the playoff starts…..

Big Ray

March 10th, 2010
8:27 am

AJ ,

This still bugs me a bit:

And I probably tend to highlight the shortcomings because there is SO much love/excuse-making that goes on for Josh.

But isn’t he playing mostly pretty dang good this year? You did say so yourself. And most of the excuses you mentioned are from past seasons, not this one.

That and I truly believe that accountability does more to help a person grow than excuse-making.

Sounds good, but accountability to whom? The fans? Heh…this accountability precept is much like statistics. Everybody applies it to whom they choose, as they choose. There is nothing “across the board” about it. There IS no balance. Of course, this will spark an argument (let’s be honest, we don’t “discusss” much around here) as to what is actual “accountability”, and what is unfair criticism.

When Joe Johnson is criticized, is it accountability? How about with Mike Bibby? Mike Woodson?

When a player or coach is praised, are we cutting back on our accountability and nearing the dreaded “love/excuse making” territory? Are we worried about taking the love spotlight off of a player because we don’t think he’s being held accountable enough on a blog, and therefore his growth might be hindered?

I think it all comes down to the same thing it always does: there is no balance.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:26 am

Astro,

I’m sitting back reading with popcorn in hand….:)

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:30 am

Ray, you’re right, most of the excuses are from the “bad Josh” years. But we still get some from this year. Maybe you didn’t read several posts that suggested it was somehow Woody’s fault that he throw up that shot against the Warriors when we played them on the road. No, it didn’t lose the game but it was clearly a bad decision that didn’t help the team. Instead of accepting that Josh needs to improve his late game decision making, some suggested that one of the team’s best passers shouldn’t be on the floor for the last possession of the game. That Woody made a bad decision to have him in the game. Huh? Joe has played the most minutes over the past 3 years of any Hawk… I don’t recall many people suggesting that late game failures were related to “fatigue”. Instead, he is labeled as not being clutch or not being elite.

And yes, I also attempt to “balance” the Woody criticism. Maybe some would consider it being a contrarian, but I gladly stand on the opposite side of many debates (especially when I perceive a bias is being applied). If we all violently agree on a topic, these blogs are about as exciting as a Jason Collins highlight reel.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:31 am

Melvin, you’re my hero!

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:43 am

As I watched the 2nd half of the Lakers/Raps game last night, I noticed Bosh played more C than PF. He guarded Bynum when he was in the game. That got me to thinking that possibly he could play C for the Hawks. I can see where He and Josh could coexist on the court together. They both could rotate playing the high and low-post game. Outside of Howard and Ming, I don’t see a major match up problem the Hawks would have with Bosh playing center. Oh well it was just a thought as someone mention that Joe would probably resign if they acquire a player like Bosh. I think the Raps would prefer a package built around AL vs. Josh b/c Bargnani and Josh would be too light of a frontcourt. And No Sautee, I’m not trying to run big AL out of town… Now Bibby and Marvin is a different subject.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:44 am

Ray, one more thing, many of the “bad Josh” complaints were valid at the time. To say dude didn’t have issues is to deny the marked improvement in his play and decision-making this year. I don’t think you can give him credit for the maturation associated with his elimination of the 3-point shot without acknowledging the ridiculousness that he shot over 300 3-balls in 3 years. I don’t think that I ever said “Josh is an awful dribbler and will be an qawful dribbler until the day that he is dribbling his oatmeal in a nursing home”. Who knows, one day he may shoot 35% from 3… but that won’t change the days he was shooting 25% from 3.

Much like a girl can truly be unattractive in March/April of her sophomore year in high school only to return in September looking like a straight dime-piece, so can a young player transform his game (Marvin?). But honestly, when have we ever seen such a transformation this late into a player’s career (without a significant increase in PT)? Maybe someone like nire can think of an example, but I can’t.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
9:51 am

Melvin, I think Joe is gone. Or said differently, I thnk Joe will go wherever his agent tells him to go. If you read those old articles, his agent seemed to be pretty tight with BK and he “delivered” Joe to a losing team (Hawks) from a winning team (Suns). I think he will have significant influence on where Joe signs this season… not just negotiating the dollars but influencing where he signs. And according to the NYC papers, his agent is alos close to Walsh (interesting considering that BK is a disciple of Walsh, so maybe there is an Indiana connection between the 3 guys).

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
9:59 am

Astro,

I’m not sure how much stock we should put into the New York media. Those guys love to go overboard with things. I can see Joe resigning here but I think it’s going to cost the Hawks a Max deal. Whew, Joe making around 25 mil (see Manny T breakdown on Bradley blog) at age 35 is scary….

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
10:06 am

Good point on NYC media… they’ve been known to get a few things wrong in the past.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
10:20 am

AJ,

At one point, there was a rumor that Walsh was considering hiring BK as one of his assistants, although it never materialized.

JJ’s agent is the agent for TMac, and he is close with Walsh, so if TMac looks decent, and NYK can bring in another star, I would not be surprised to see JJ sign with the Knicks and his old coach.

If the Knicks get Lebron, I think JJ goes to the Knicks too. And even if the Knicks only end up with Amare and JJ, think of the nimbers JJ would put up in NY and D’Antoni’s system?

Melvin,

I really hope JJ stays with the Hawks, because I think we take a step back if he leaves, but we can take another step forward if he stays. But I am concerned about that 6th year on his deal. How many of these stars who got max deals (length and dollars) always end up handicapping the team the last year or 2, especially if the deal runs out when they are older.

KG and Ray Allen come to mind. And the ASG does not have the money like some of these other owners to overcome a max star during the last couple years if they’re not performing. And with the amount of minutes JJ has played, I am concerned about his legs during year 5 and 6 of his next deal.

Bucks beat Boston last night. Bucks are 10-2 since the all star break (Bogut is actually playing well and looking like a top pick). If the playoffs started today, they would be the Hawks first round opponent.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
10:28 am

AJ,

First, I remember plenty of people saying fatigue played a role in JJ missing late-game shots. Second, it’s only Schultz, Bradley, and a relatively small number of Joe’s haters among Atlanta fans who say that JJ is “un-clutch.” I’ve never seen a single quote from a coach or legit basketball writer that describes him that way, and only a couple of the regulars around here say that.

Melvin,

The good news about the NBA is that as long as the trade rules remain roughly the same, the last year of a contract is a throwaway – the value of an expiring deal makes it relatively easy to move even the most massive of expiring contracts, as we see multiple times every year. So really, as long as JJ is productive at age 34 (and given that he doesn’t rely on his athleticism pretty much at all, the odds of that are actually quite good anyway), his contract won’t be a huge albatross.

That also is, incidentally, why I remain unconcerned about Bibby having a 3-year deal. He’ll be making a couple clicks below the mid-level next year (which is the going rate for a spot-up shooting backup anyway) and the year after that he’ll be an expiring. You really have to believe that Bibby is utterly useless as a player in order to think paying him $5.5M next year is too much.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
10:41 am

OB,

I’m concern about Joe resigning as well (see my contingency plan above). If he walks then I think that should set off a domino effect starting from finding a new coach to building the team around AL and Josh.

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
10:54 am

Nire,

The only thing that worries me about Joe, Bibby or any contract that the Hawks have signed is that, we don’t (seem to) have the type of owners that could swallow a bad contract and not let it impact them on signing other players. I think the Hawks have been very fortunate up to this point that most of there players have been able to produce (exclude Speedy) to a level to justify there contract. However, under the current CBA rules even a bad contract becomes an attractive asset at some point but do they have enough $$$$ to maintain until then???

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
11:01 am

nire,

The problem with trying to trade said max player during the last year, is to find a team that is offering the pieces you want and be willing to take your max player off your hands. Those teams are usually bad teams who want the salary cap space.

Boston was looking into trading Ray Allen, but they couldnt find a deal they liked. It took a 3 team deal to allow the Rockets to get what they wanted for TMac. I think the Hawks options will be limited during that last year.

And as far as Bibby’s $5.5 mil being the going rate for a backup spot up shooter, the problem is Bibby is not very good at spot up shooting right now, his defense is poor, and he is our starting PG.

Boston gets way with having their players struggling but they have a very high payroll. If JJ has a max deal with the Hawks, and he is struggling (or injured), what kind of players will the ASG have around him to help out?

Melvin,

If the Nets get the #1 pick, I wonder if we could swing a trade for Devin Harris, where they get Bibby (and another piece or pick) to be the backup to John Wall.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:02 am

nire, I think it hurts when 100% of the local paper’s columnists say that a player isn’t clucth. I understand that the player has an option to ignore the media, but who doesn’t want to work in an environment where they feel appreciated?

OB, Joe will most likely finish his next contract as a SF and not a SG. That’s what Q-Rich is doing now and I think Thunder Dan retired as more SF than SG.

nire, what will be interesting is the coming CBA and how that will affect moving maxed players at the end of their contracts. If the cap is around $45M and top salaries are capped at $10M (just to throw out arbitrary numbers), then moving around $20M+ deals would seem to be more challenging than in today’s world.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
11:08 am

I think JJ will stay if we hire a new HC which he feels may takes us further (not necessarily a top shot name).

If we only go 1-4 in the second round (assuming that we get there winning a series against the most likely #5 seed MIL) and Woody is re-signed, I think JJ will feel that this is as far as can go over here.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:10 am

I’ve been looking in my crystal ball and it tells me that Tony Parker may be available in about a year-and-a-half. Spurs are on the decline and don’t have anything of value except Parker. And even though it seems like he’s been in the league for 15 years, I think dude is only 27.

And my crystal ball also says that Doc Rivers will be fired if the Celtics don’t make it to the ECF and replaced with Kevin McHale. But Doc is a Bloomingdale’s coach and we only shop at Target.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
11:13 am

Also, assuming that JJ is leaving, our best move would be to sack Woody now and try and get someone who could bring a breath of fresh air into the team.

For a short tenure (just until the end of the season), I would even consider tending an offer to Avery or Scott.

They could accept such short offer knowing that this could be a nice opportunity to make a good run with a pretty decent ball club.

If we had success, we would sit and negotiate a longer contract, if not, both parties would look at their options.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
11:17 am

Melvin,

I don’t know how many trillion times I have to say “the owners’ personal wealth and the ownership battle has zero impact on the team’s finances.” I’ll just copy something I posted over on Hawksquawk awhile back. The reasoning about why the ownership dispute doesn’t affect the team’s finances applies with equal force to the owners personal wealth. The short version of the story is that the only thing that affects how much the team can spend is how much money the team makes from basketball operations – ie ticket sales, sponsorships, radio/TV contracts, and revenue sharing from the NBA.

The operating agreements that all owners have to sign with the NBA (and, I presume, the NHL) basically ensure that the assets and liabilities of each team are completely shielded from exposure to the effects of litigation involving the owners as individuals. The leagues HAVE to make sure the teams’ assets and operating revenues are shielded, or else you’d see a half dozen major pro sports teams per decade become defunct because their owners went bankrupt. The overwhelming majority of revenues (and losses) stay with the team and the NBA, not the owners – the owners basically gain or lose money only upon selling their stake in the team. In that sense, you can think of owning a stake in an NBA team as somewhat like stock ownership – the ups and downs of the company don’t show up on your tax return unless you realize gains or losses (or earn a dividend, which are pretty stingy in the NBA because most teams lose money, so virtually all revenues have to be reinvested into the league).

When the idiot judge in Maryland tried to order a freeze on the Hawks signing new players and initially ruled that Belkin could buy out the Hawks for a box of Cheerios, that was the only time that the basketball operations was affected. It lasted all of 2 weeks, because Stern stepped in, wrote the judge, and basically made her realize that what she ordered was at odds with the owners’ agreements with the NBA (not to mention common sense). Other than that, the court stuff might be distracting, but it doesn’t affect the team’s financial constraints. David Stern would have been demanding that the team be sold if that were the case, because the NBA is second only to the NFL in terms of how short a leash the owners are on.

The reason ASG doesn’t spend more is the same as for all other teams in their position: The Hawks don’t sell enough tickets or draw big enough TV crowds. That certainly DOES affect how much a team can spend, though not to the same degree as it does in the NHL and MLB because the NBA has a larger pot of shared league revenues. The Hawks have never been a big draw and they’ve never had a loyal TV following. Thus, they don’t earn as much money as some other teams. Thus, they don’t spend as much. Ta-da.

In short, as long as the Hawks’ ticket sales don’t plummet, they will be able to maintain their current payroll amount without issue. And keep in mind that Crawford is expiring next year, Bibby the year after, Josh the year after that, and Marvin the year after that. Although I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, it’s a pretty safe bet that all are likely to get significant paycuts or be cut loose altogether once their contracts run out, especially considering that the new CBA will likely demand lower player salaries. So the payroll is NOT likely to increase during that team, even with the big paydays coming for Horford and JJ. If you do the math, even max extensions for JJ and Horford would likely allow the Hawks to stay under the tax threshold under the current set of rules, and Horford is likely to be signed under a new set of rules that almost will certainly limit how much he can make.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:18 am

Vava, your thought would require some fairly deft timing. Would Joe only sign if Woody goes (regardless of his replacement) or would he actually want to wait to find out who is replacing Woody? (Seriously, would he be thrilled to play for Lawrence Frank? Doubtful). If he waits too long, will the teams with money spend elsewhere? If you’re Sund, do you rush the coaching hire to satisfy Joe or do you conduct “an exhaustive search” knowing that the free agent dollars are drying up and it puts Joe in a more difficult situation to sign elsewhere (which either creates a better contract for the Hawks or a sign and trade opp for Sund)?

The balance between Joe and Woody will be interesting to watch… especially if either decides that their decision is connected to the other.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
11:20 am

Astro,

There is no way the Celts will fire Doc unless they fall in the first round.

They know that their roster is glued together with scotch tape and that although they might still manage to squeeze a good run out of them, the most likely outcome will that they will not reach the ECF.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
11:22 am

Astro Joe,

I have a feeling that any new cap-and-tax rules will be “phased in” so as not to kill teams with large existing contracts on their books. Neither the league nor the players’ union would benefit if the teams that sign LeBron, Wade, Bosh, JJ, Amare, Boozer, etc this summer are all hamstrung under the new CBA. After all, the NBA wants the teams with superstars to compete for titles.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:23 am

nire, you can borrow my crystal ball next time your in town. Which the crystal ball says will happen in the summer.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
11:23 am

The Celts are in the opposite situation we are: their main players are all going down and ours are either at the top (JJ) or going up.

Our prospects are not good, but although you dislike my opinion, I really feel that the responsibility lies with Woody.

I really believe that with a good HC this group is a “seven game series in the second round” material and possibly ECF.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
11:30 am

vava,

I’m not a Woody fan, but no way should the Hawks let him go until after the playoffs (even if JJ is leaving). We still have a chance to be the #2 seed (although #3 is more likely), and a new coach would bring new offense, new chemistry issues etc. Its too late in the season that make that move.

Let’s see how the Hawks look in the second round. If they are competitive, and win a couple games in the second round, bring Woody back (but make him hire an offensive coordinator).

If they lose in the first round, or get swept in the second round, let Woody go. And I would love to have Doc. Didnt the Hawks have a chance to hire him some years ago, but he was out of their price range?

As for when JJ resigns, I think he will wait until LeBron signs before making up his mind. If LeBron signs with the Knicks, there will be a good chance JJ will go there. But he will probably wait and see which big name FA signs where before he makes up his mind (unless the Hawks offer him the max deal u front).

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:30 am

nire, I understand that (want teams with superstars to compete for titles). But could other teams trade for high salaried players from the previous CBA? Said differently, they will want the Cavs to compete for a title but will they make it easy for the Cavs to acquire Arenas in 2 years whenhe is making over $20M? Or would the rules restrict the acquisition of pre-2011 contracts? I don’t know, it would seem strange if in 3 years, one team has 2-3 $20M+ players under rules where there aqre no more $12M contracts. I’m sure if I thought about it long enough, I could figure out a compromise, but initially, it feels like they have to draw a hard line somewhere that would limit pre-2011 CBA deals in excess of $xxM.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
11:33 am

Astro,

I think Sund is already convinced that Woody will not manage to take us further than the second round and that we will not be competitive.

IF and I now think that we are talking about a big IF we do get to the second round, we will lose 1-4 at best.

Consequently, Sund will indeed rush to speak with JJ in order to know IF he is considering leaving and what are his thoughts.

Sund’s best option would be to CONSULT with JJ before hiring the HC to get his “approval”.

I know that many around here think that JJ likes Woody because he gives him the rock and allows him to go ISO. That might be true to some extent, however, I really think that JJ likes better winning than holding the rock and that he feels that Woody has taken us as far as he is able to.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:40 am

Vava, what many people forget is that GMs are also trying to keep their jobs (see Dunleavy). The Celtics are NOT going to get better next year. They are old, getting older and have limited options because of cap issues. So you know what would make Boston happy? Watching a guy from their glory days return to the sidelines. They will likely ignore an aging team while hoping that a local legend can milk one more run out of them and then eventually lead a new group of Celtics to the promised land. And Ainge gets to keep his job.

I don’t view this roster with the same optimism as some others. I don’t care what HOF coach is working the sidelines, at some point, players matter. Mike Brown, Doc Rivers and SVG are not the best coaches in the Eastern Conference, yet they have sent the last 4 teams to the Finals.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
11:46 am

Vava, JJ left D’Antoni and more winning to come to the Hawks. Maybe things have changed, but playing for a player-friendly coach on an exciting and winning team didn’t make a difference once before. It’s one thing to give Joe a max contract, it’s another to “consult” with him when hiring a new coach. I like Joe, but I wouldn’t give him that much influence over this franchise.

If Sund chooses a new coach, I’d much rather have him do that with very little (if any) player input… it’s his job to hire a head coach and he isn’t a first-time GM.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
12:00 pm

AJ,

I think Kevin McHale would be a good fit in Boston. He is a legend there, he gave KG to Danny Ainge which was a big reason why they won the championship, and KG would probably sign off on it. Plus McHale did a decent job as coach of the Timberwolves. So I like how you’re thinking.

That being said, the only way Doc MIGHT be fired is if the Celtics lose in the first round. And even then, they might give him one more year considering the injuries.

Although our roster is not that good, I think a coach like Jerry Sloan could get more out of this team than Woody does. But I dont know which coach is available who might be able to do that. But sometimes a change is good.

Harpie

March 10th, 2010
12:07 pm

Everything that’s wrong with this team is because of Mike Woodson – he is an IDIOT.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
12:30 pm

OB,

There are many situations in which teams make moves at the trade deadline to shake things up, sometimes to try and extract as much as they are able to from an expiring player who they know will walk off or will be too expensive to re-sign.

This would be a similar move. JJ might be walking so this could be our last opportunity in at least a couple of years time to contend (if JJ walks, we will probably take a couple of steps back).

In many occasions these moves are risky, from a chemistry point of view, and fail, but there are also a few examples of success.

With Woody we will almost certainly finish #4 seed with a very meager possibility of finishing #3.

#2 is completely out of our reach with the current set up. We will continue to lose against playoff teams consistently and give away games against bottom dwellers.

Hence, I would try to extract the most out of this group instead of risking what seems inevitable: a poor playoff run and JJ departing.

Sautee

March 10th, 2010
12:36 pm

The new CBA is going to have to take into account the quickly shrinking supply of oil. Some say that within the next 5-10 years (some even say TWO years), demand for oil will outstrip the supply. What happens to professional sports when gas goes to $8 gallon and cross-country flights cost $1200 to $1500 or more?

One thing for sure. You will NOT have many sellouts.

Do the leaders of the sports world have the courage to face up to this?

I’m foreseeing a league where there are no East / West regular season games. And teams may have to revert to the baseball model and play a series of games in one arena. It’s going to be a vastly different sports world ten years from now.

And NO ONE is even talking about it.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

Astro,

Both Doc and SVG are superior coaches to Woody. Brown, not really since he gets the benefit of living as Lebron’s assigned coach.

With this I am not saying that Doc and SVG are terrific coaches and to be perfectly honest with my own words, I thought that Woody ability was better than Brown and similar to SVG at the beginning of the season.

Unfortunately, contrary to what happened with our roster’s organic growth, I am not seeing ANY positive evolution by Woody in some of the most critical aspects of his job: managing the roster and structuring a rotation, making in-game adjustments, correcting past mistakes, evolving our playbook…

Now, I would gladly swap Woody for SVG or Doc.

As for JJ having or not any weight in the choice of the coach… well, I think you are not realizing that in the event that JJ walks away, we will not have the cap space to replace him with similar talent.

Consequently, we will probably plunge to .500 territory.

JJ is like gold for us, as important to the Hawks as Lebron is to the Cavs.

Their talents are not equivalent, but their importance to the team success and for the organization is, in particular because we cannot replace him.

JJ is top 10 talent in the NBA. The top 10 talent in the NBA is all, either under contract, or beyond our cap space reach.

So, would l consult JJ on the signing of the coach so I could successfully re-sign him? DEFINITIVELY, even if that meant keeping Woody (who I would fire as soon as we lost 3 games in a row during next season) :-D

vava74

March 10th, 2010
1:10 pm

Sautee,

The reports on the diminishing oil reserves are grossly exaggerated.

Brazil, just to give you an example, have found vast (I mean really vast) reserves of oil which are, however, in deep areas of the ocean and imply a considerable cost of extraction.

Consequently, they are releasing the info of their discoveries at their own pace so they can keep the price at a level which allows them to have profitable (+-$70 a barrel).

I know that the emerging countries – China for instance – are introducing millions of consumers per year who will increase demand, however, the news about the reserves have been used mostly to keep oil prices high.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
1:32 pm

vava,

Even if we wanted to hire Avery right now, I doubt if he would take the job until after the season so he can see what else is available. And he would not sign a contract that runs only for the remainder of this season.

Plus, what if we replace Woody with Avery right now, and then the Hawks get swept in the second round? JJ probably leaves, and we take a step back anyway. And it will not send a good message to other coaching candidates that we let Woody go this late in the season. Other coaches (and media) hold Woody in high regard.

If the Hawks were going to make that move, the trading deadline would have been the time to shake things up. Not now. Woody will not even shake up his starters this late in the season (most winning coaches don’t).

Doc is a superior coach to Woody, but I’m not sure about SVG and Mike Brown. SVG had Wade in Miami, and he has a pretty good roster with the Magic. Mike Brown has LeBron, so I dont know how good of a coach he really is.

I agree that the team could use a shakeup, but Woody utilizing his bench better will be enough of a shake up if he can also make in-game adjustments (although nothing in his history has shown that he can do those things).

But ultimately, the playoffs will determine Woody’s fate, and it might also determine JJ’s decision.

The Hawks would probably prefer JJ to resign before they hire another coach (if Woody isnt resigned). That way, they could get JJ’s feedback.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
1:40 pm

OB,

We will have a poor showing in the playoffs and that might push JJ out.

Signing someone to try and make a better run could send the right message to JJ: that the ownership is looking for better results.

I don’t see why Avery or Scott would not take the “risk” of coaching this team into the playoffs. I think they would jump in immediately (at least one of the two) since anyone coming in would have a good opportunity to make a splash.

As for Woody having good recognition… ummm… haven’t you heard how our offense is described: “dribble dribble dribble bad shot”?

Woody has not done a bad job: I would give him a B- or a C+

The issue is that with someone who would give us an A, we would be really fighting for the #2 seed, the ECF or maybe beyond.

vava74

March 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

And if you actually look back into the pre-season, I posted an assessment of the HC talent pool in the NBA and back then I gave Woody a B- buy I was betting on Woody GROWING as HC as the season progressed.

He seemed to have made some small strides in the early going but now he has regressed dramatically. His second half rotations are the sign of a cowardly, insecure and un-resourceful coach.

niremetal

March 10th, 2010
1:46 pm

Heh…I really don’t think anyone can say with certainty what will happen as far as resource price and resource consumption in the short or long term.

Personally, I just shrug at doomsayers at this point. Paul Ehrlich sold millions of books in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s talking about how we all were going to starve to death and/or face severe shortages of non-renewable resources by no later than 1970. Then he pushed it back to 1980. Then 1990. And so on. If we start running out of oil, airlines will buy engines or converters that allow them to use natural gas or ethanol. Or solar panels/wind in flight (I’m actually somewhat surprised that hasn’t caught on…you gotta figure there’s a plentiful supply of both at 35k feet). Etc. It’s been that way since the dawn of time: If people can’t do what they’ve been doing according to Plan A, they quickly figure out a Plan B and keep rolling on. Here’s my favorite little article on that:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffsimon_pr.html

I don’t doubt that we’ll have supply shocks at some point, Sautee, but I don’t think it’ll be catastrophic in the long run. On the aggregate, people always figure things out.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
1:59 pm

nire,

“If people can’t do what they’ve been doing according to Plan A, they quickly figure out a Plan B and keep rolling on.”

I thought plan B was to try harder at plan A.

vava,

Two things have happened this season. I think Woody has regressed, and other teams are aware of the Hawks issues, so they try to exploit it, while BWAF does nothing to counteract.

But I still say let the playoffs be the deciding factor, and if we offer JJ the max, I think there is a strong possibility that he will stay.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
2:04 pm

I once heard a prediction that ultimately, sports would ultimately be filmed at a TV studio-like venue and fans will simply pay to watch games on the desired screen. As television technology increases (e.g. HDTV) and issues with communting to the live action becomes more problematic (e.g. commuting prices, parking, on-site crime, etc)… a strictly televised sports world becomes more of a possibility. We’ve already seen the number of tickets sold at movie theaters dip dramatically over the past 5 years… even before the economy dipped. Folk would rather enjoy a movie at home iusing available technology for a very good movie-watching experience than deal with the prices of going to the local multiplex.

Vava, I understand that we don’t have the cap to replace Joe with a top-notch player. But we would in the following summer (when Jamal’s contract expires). Would Sund rather tread water for one year, allow Al/Josh to grow more and then take a big jump forward the following summer? If we spent a portion of the available cap space on a pick and pop center who could give us 20 minutes a night (like what Z could have done for us), would that be enough to keep us in the playoffs while we wait for 2011 to grab a big-time FA?

I don’t think that Sund needs to give Joe the keys to the executive restroom and a parking spot next to Mike Gearon to “save the franchise”. If handled correctly, we shouldn’t experience more than a 1-2 season decline and the decline should NOT put us back in lottery-land.

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.