Trap games and the “Triple P”

Last night’s game against the Detroit Pistons was a nice reminder that the Hawks can indeed blow out inferior opponents. Did the Hawks need such a reminder? Maybe, maybe not, but it sure was a nice treat for us, the fans.

Improving their home record to a sterling 26 and 7, the Hawks go on the road Tuesday to play the Nets, and follow that up with a trip to Toronto the very next day. While back to back games are no joke, much less on the road, this isn’t exactly the toughest two game stretch for a good team. Win both, and the Hawks can go two games over .500 on the road.

Eyes on the Race

The win against Detroit puts the Hawks a meager half game above the Celtics, who face the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers in Quicken Loans arena this afternoon. Cleveland is 28 and 4 at home, one of the few teams that has a better home record than the Hawks, so by the end of the day, we could have a larger (though still tenuous) lead at the #3 spot. Stay tuned….

 

HAWKS VS. NETS

While the fabulous free agent summer of 2010 probably is enough to keep the Nets’ front office distracted from all the losing, it can’t be doing much for the players and coaching staff. With New Jersey trying to avoid the worst season record ever (have they done so already? I don’t even know what the worst record is…), a sense of desperation has set in. But will it be enough to even be competitive with the Hawks?

In the first matchup, the Nets lost to the Hawks by 23 points in Phillips Arena as 7 Hawks players reached double figures in scoring, including rookie point guard Jeff Teague (12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals). Some argued that such a lopsided loss was due to New Jersey was missing five rotation players, and the Nets sought to redeem themselves with a fully healthy squad in their second trip to Phillips Arena. However, the Hawks decided to drive the point home enroute to a 30 point victory this time around, behind performances by Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.

Center of Attention

Brook Lopez is the centerpiece of the New Jersey offense, and the man whom the Nets will build around (although, who they manage to nab in this summer’s Sweepstakes will make for an interesting twist to the storyline). After getting snubbed for the all-star team this year, and watching rival center Al Horford get his first bid to the Big Game, Lopez just might try and make this matchup personal. Or, he may be more concerned with trying to get an 8th win for the season. Either way, the matchup has been pretty close between the two this season. The 7′0″ (prototype) Lopez has averaged 15.5 ppg and 10 rpg against the Hawks, while the 6′10″ (undersized) Horford has put up 12 ppg and 9.5 rpg against the Nets. Not too shabby, considering Lopez is quite often his team’s first offensive option, while Horford is the Hawks’ fourth offensive option most of the time (though he is third on occasion). Another intriguing matchup would be Josh Smith vs. Yi Jianlian, but it seems that Yi, who was more effective against the Hawks than most, will be missing due to injury. The Nets will be hard pressed to stop the versatile Smith, who dished out a season high 11 assists against Detroit.

In the backcourt, the Nets have no clue how to stop Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford. They may not be able to handle Mike Bibby or even rookie Jeff Teague. While Devin Harris is a talented load, and Courtney Lee is improving, the Nets really are at a disadvantage here.

So which matchups do you think will be most pivotal (no pun intended…well, maybe a little bit)? Which Hawk will have the best game? Which New Jersey Net will shine the brightest in what is otherwise a very dark season?

 

THE TRIPLE “P” (Possible Playoff Preview)

 

With most teams having between 16 and 19 games left in the season, the playoff picture isn’t quite set just yet. The Magic still give chase to the Cavs, despite a 4.5 game deficit. The Hawks are in a very tight battle with the Celtics for third place. After that, things get pretty dicey. The surging Milwaukee Bucks have gone 9 and 1 in their last 10 games, losing only to…guess who? Your very own Atlanta Hawks. However, the question remains whether or not they can sustain their late season run and keep possession of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Close on their heels are the Bobcats and Heat, both of whom are just two games behind. Trailing by 3 games are the Toronto Raptors, who haven’t been able to keep up the level of play that had them sitting in fifth place just a couple/few weeks ago. Can the Raptors, who have gone 2 and 8 in their last 10 games, get back to form, or will they end up having to settle for trying to keep Chicago from pushing them out of the playoffs?

Interestingly enough, the change in position in the standings amongst the teams competing for the “lower 4″ playoff seeds has been as much about losing as it has winning, and the explanation seems to come best by examining how each team has performed in their last 10 games. Toronto looked good before losing 8 of their last 10, going from 5th to 8th. The Chicago Bulls also lost 8 out of their last 10, sliding from as high as 6th or 7th, down to 9th place, currently out of the playoff picture. On the winning side, the Bucks have gone 9 and 1 in their last 10, as mentioned above. The Bobcats, who were out of the playoff picture for a few moments, have gone 6 and 4 in their last 10. Both teams put 5 game winning streaks on the line today. Amidst all the winning and losing, the Miami Heat are the only team that have broken even at 5 and 5, which has been good enough to keep them at 7th in the East.

Is Miami sliding backwards, having been the 5th seed last season? Does Dwayne Wade and his supporting cast not have enough anymore? Jermaine O’Neal is a mild bit of help, but Michael Beasley is nowhere near what the Heat need him to be yet. Or is it that the other teams (Charlotte, Milwaukee, etc) are really significantly better than they were last season? I’m thinking it’s more the latter than it is the former, though obviously a bit of both.

Getting back to Toronto…

The Hawks need to pay attention to opponents like the Raptors as the season nears its end. Why? Possible Playoff Preview. Anything can happen in these last games. The Hawks could end up losing 3rd place to the Celtics while the Raptors could go on another run and recapture 5th place, making for a first round matchup. Or, neither could happen. The likelihood of either scenario is debatable, but possible. But what do YOU think will happen? Will the Hawks stave off the Celtics? Will the Bucks and Bobcats prove to be the toughest of the pack of teams in the lower four seeds, proving themselves to be first round matchup nightmares? This is something we’ll have to keep an eye on, and continue to talk about until the regular season is over.

145 comments Add your comment

Fresh

March 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

FIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh Baby I’m FiIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRSSSSSTTTT!!!!!

*Singing*

Fresh

March 14th, 2010
2:38 pm

I though it didn’t matter whether or not the Hawks finished third? I though they atleast need to finish ahead of Orlando to get a 2-3 seed matchup?

O'Brien

March 14th, 2010
2:49 pm

Ray,

Anything is possible, but I think it is very unlikely that the Magic will catch the Cavs, and I think it is unlikely that the Hawks will catch the Magic. However, we should hold Boston off for the 3rd seed (especially since we have the tiebreaker).

As for the Hawks opponent in the first round, I dont think it matters. Regardless of who our opponent is, we can beat them easily as long as we do what Woody has been preaching. Defense, and rebounding.

That being said, I think Charlotte would be our toughest matchup. Larry Brown is a good coach, and the Bobcats can get hot from the perimeter. So I think they would be the most challenging of all the 5-8 contenders.

I mentioned this on the other blog, but I wanted to say it here too. How does the Dallas Mavericks go from winning 13 games in a row, and then lose by 34 to the Knicks in Dallas. How does that happen?

O'Brien

March 14th, 2010
2:59 pm

AJ,

Jarvis Varnado has 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks against Kentucky. Dude has been a monster on the boards (rebounding and blocking shots) the last 3 years.

NBADraft.net has him going 37th to the Knicks (and they compare him to Theo Ratliffe).

Melvin

March 14th, 2010
5:11 pm

OB,

Jarvis Varnado look very litmited offensively and light in the pants. But he does have good length and leaping ability…

Melvin

March 14th, 2010
6:01 pm

It’s going to be interesting to see which big(s) are to be in the playing rotation in the playoffs for the Cavs once they have everyone healthy. Shaq, Big Z, Jamison, Varejao and Hickson. I think the Hawks matchup better if they dont play Big Z and Shaq extend mins.

dstdeelite

March 14th, 2010
7:45 pm

I understand why we want the 3rd seed, but then again I don’t know why we want the 3rd seed. If we make it pass the first round, we’d have to play Orlando. I don’t want any parts of that. I’d take my chances with LeBron and the refs. Still a long shot, but we’re slightly more competitive in that matchup.

Astro Joe

March 14th, 2010
8:25 pm

I missed all of the college games as the Mrs. said something about “family time”… which is code for “we’re leaving the house and you’re coming too”.

I’m not sure about the Theo comparison, but I’d take it. I was thinking more like Birdman Anderson or even a poor man’s Kenyon Martin. Again, I believe in using late, late 1st round picks to draft a specific niche. I think finding a rotational player anywhere after pick #20 is a successful selection. This team can use a quality weakside defender off the bench so that our team leader doesn’t suffer from fatigue.

Melvin, I agree, he is not built for brawling… more for speed. I wouldn’t ask him to do anything offensively but run the floor, catch alley-oops and put-back offensive boards. Pretty much what Birdman does after 5-6 years in the league.

That said, I wouldn’t object to Booker or any other big tweener… as long as they have an appetite for crashing the board. That’s one of the reasons I like Varnado, he seems to know how he will make his money and is willing to do the heavy lifting on the defensive end.

Melvin

March 14th, 2010
9:27 pm

Astro,

Unless a big name player (Brackins)slip on draft night, I would like to see us draft a SF and hope Paul George is still available when the Hawks make their selection.

Check out his link. Marvin you are put on notice.

http://www.nbadraft.net/players/paul-george

O'Brien

March 14th, 2010
9:40 pm

Melvin, Astro

If Varnado is projected as a late first/early second, I would be fine with the Hawks taking him, because he fills a need. Someone who knows that his role will be to rebound and play defense.

As for a SF, I would prefer if we just resign Chills, and make him our backup SF. But if not, then I agree that we should get a bckup SF, because I dont want Mo Evans to be our backup Sf again,

I’m watching the Reggie Miller vs the Knicks Special on ESPN. I wish our bigs would develop a mentality like the Davis brothers, or Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason.

I know the game has changed, and you can’t get away with that rough type of play, but I’ve always thought that our front court is too soft. We give up a lot of points in the paint, we give up a lot of layups, and we give up a lot of dunks. And we give up a lot of soft fouls (especially ZaZa).

We should be able to give a hard foul without giving up a flagrant. We need to let teams know that if they come down the lane, they will get fouled. make them earn it from the FT line.

Marcus

March 14th, 2010
10:00 pm

@ O’Brien
I like Venardo too….had my eyes on him since mid-season as a possible fit. I guess we are covered (by Jamal and Teague) if JJ flys the coop, but I wonder if we are gonna draft for the eventuality of his departure or for frontcourt depth?

Astro Joe

March 14th, 2010
10:00 pm

Melvin, young man looks nice, real nice. He is more like the Jeff Teague pick…. the “best available player at a need” kind of guy. He will take some time to develop but could one day be the “steal of the draft” like Josh Smith was. But for me, I’m not interested in “swinging for the fences”. I want a 3 or 4 year college player who is mature and ready to join the workforce. Someone who knows which piece of the car they have responsibility for assembling and won’t come in and try to “pimp the ride”. I support finding a player to compete with Marvin during the summer or better yet, add a pick and pop center and try the “Big Z” design that Woody envisioned.

If we max out Joe, we better be sure out our next few draft picks because our free agency money would be virtually dry.

Astro Joe

March 14th, 2010
10:03 pm

OB, Anthony Mason? In today’s NBA? The current players would either demand that Stern suspend him every other game for taking their lunch money or babies like Wade would simply quit the game. Today’s brats wouldn’t want any part of Mase.

Melvin

March 14th, 2010
10:21 pm

OB,
In a prefect world I would love to see the Real Number 1 (Chills) in a Hawks uniform again but I’m coming to the realization that we may be beyond that point now. Hopefully we can get some value in return for him like a rotation player and/or draft picks. But Im with you, I prefer to sign Chills back.

Astro,
I think that kid has the talent to step on a NBA and be a rotation player from day 1. If he or Brackins is not available, I’m all for picking Booker or the best available player. I’m not totally sold on Varnado. I’m okay with picking him in the 2nd round pick. I wouldnt mind seeing the Hawks take Dexter Pittman. Now he’s a big (huge) man with alot of talent. If he could get his weight under control, he has potential to develop into a dominant force at the next level.

What yall think about signing Kwame Brown to the Jason Collins spot for next season?

Big Ray

March 14th, 2010
10:36 pm

Good grief. Still a ways before the season ends and the playoffs begin, yet we’re talking about the draft?

Y’all sure keep it live in here!

MannyT

March 14th, 2010
11:15 pm

Nine.

The record for NBA futility is 9-73 by Philly.

NJ has won 7 games this season.

Now I return to paying minimal attention to the Hawks until my bracket is filled out.

BWAF

Astro Joe

March 14th, 2010
11:28 pm

Big Ray, only because of all of the college ball over the weekend. For me, at least, I ONLY watch collge ball with a “scouting eye”. Likely a force of habit given the fact that I was forced to watch the college game in hopes of findiong this franchise’s savior. It is GREAT not to have to discuss that aspect of it… now, we’re just debating about rotational players.

Melvin, I am fully aware that my draft stratgey for the Hawkswill likely be yet another minority opinion on my behalf. But I’m not looking for any projects, just give me a solid double done the 3rd base line and I’ll be a happy camper late in the 1st round. Swinging for the fences sometimes results in a strike-out.

I’d roll the dice on Kwame… for very, very, very little money. Same with Etan Thomas.

Astro Joe

March 14th, 2010
11:37 pm

http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/boxscore?gameId=300730096

Melvin, Varnado had a nice stat line against 2 lottery-bound frontcourt players (Cousins and Patterson) today in the conference finals. A very productive game against an elite team.

Big Ray

March 14th, 2010
11:52 pm

Astro Joe ,

It ain’t bothering me a bit. And I like the way you think, regarding the use of late first round picks. Maybe we can get a guy like this.

It is GREAT not to have to discuss that aspect of it… now, we’re just debating about rotational players.

Agreed.

Big Ray

March 14th, 2010
11:53 pm

MannyT ,

Thanks for the info. Go forth and bracket some more…

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
7:25 am

Ray,

With the Hawks being off, and the 5-8 spots being in a state of flux, we were looking (further) ahead.

I’m with Astro. The Hawks dont need a home run. Assuming we give JJ max money, we will need draft picks and players who can come in and contribute right away, so a solid double is fine, given we pick late first and late second.

The thing I like with Varnado is he put up great numbers (rebounding and blocked shots) for the last 3 years, and he wasn’t doing it in a mid-major conference. He did it in the SEC.

Would Kwame Brown sign here to fill the Jason Collins role/minutes? I dont think so. He would probably want at least Joe Smith type of minutes.

Hawks in sole possession of the 3rd seed, given Boston’s loss to Cleveland. Orlando is looking tough, so Hawks may just have to settle for the 3rd seed. I would like to see us beat Orlando the next time we play them in ATL though, especially since it will be at our house.

And on NBA fastbreak, Bruce Bowen said the most likely upset in the first round would be Bobcats over the Hawks (3-6 matchup right now).

vava74

March 15th, 2010
7:55 am

I think we will lose at least 1 of the 2 games and my hunch goes to the NJ game.

They are not as bad as their record shows (they are pretty bad but if they had 13 to 15 wins no one would be surprised).

If Harris is healthy and clicking he will run circles around Bibby and penetrate at will.

Brook is due to have a big game against us: his stats are better than Horford’s this year in the games against us solely on account of more minutes played and some extensive padding against our deep bench, however, he does has the ability to cause us problems and have a big game.

Yi is soft, but his size and outside touch make him dangerous against our switching defense.

But more than the Nets, the biggest factor are the Hawks themselves: after a decent trashing of DET, they are bound to relax and play below par.

MannyT

March 15th, 2010
8:11 am

My psychic hotline crystal ball says you folks are debating the fate of Marvin Williams.

I’d imagine that the best player available when the Hawks draft will not be a dominant big man. The next likely option is a great athlete that will back up Marvin. If this player ends up being much better than expected, Marvin and his salary get traded to save some $$$ next season.

This next season will be the most likely one to move him aside from his expiring contract year. His salary decreases as Sund was wise to know he needed $$$ to sign Joe.

BWAF

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
8:23 am

O’brien ,

What bothers me about the Bobcats is that they generally play tougher than we do. Not only that, but the playoffs is not just a matchup of talent (which they have enough of to pull off an upset), but a matchup of minds. Larry Brown vs his protege. Bobcats know what they have to do against us: use their size and fight hard for rebounds, play zone defense, and shoot from the outside. Brown knows how our switch defense works. He’s probably the original author of it. Having said all that, the Hawks are still the better team. They’ll have to figure out how to FOCUS from game to game, though.

Vava ,

We do to the Nets what Orlando does to us. That’s the good thing about it, as they have come nowhere close to beating us. Yi won’t be around for this game. He’s injured.

Devin Harris is good, but notice how he hasn’t completely trashed us without a 2-guard in the game with him like Vince Carter….

nunna yo biznezz

March 15th, 2010
9:11 am

O’BRIEN,
lets not forget,that we have another super kentucky wildcat on the bench who also tore up opponents while he played there,and right now he is in street clothes and on THE BENCH..
THE ONE AND ONLY RANDOLPH MORRIS!!
some people might say that if woody gets a contract extension that he will lighten up and play rooks and bench players more? Naw Son!! he did not do it the past 3years so why think he would give this dude any time?

i say,that if woody is to be your coach and you are the GM,then u need to trade your draft picks for vets..

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
9:38 am

I think the Hawks will have a chance to win all the games against the Bobcats. However, we will struggle in a couple fourth quarters in Charlotte, so we would still win 4-2.

Sund did a good job with the decreasing salaries, and thats a good thing, because what Marvin is giving us could be had from sombody making at least $2 mil less. Hopfully between now and next year he will figure out a way to be more consistent (why are we still saying that 5 years in?).

If he can play really good defense and knock down the open 3 from the corner, and be active on the boards, then he will be worth it. But if not, get him outta here, and get somebody who will do the same job for less money.

If the Nets get the #1 pick (John Wall), would they be interested in trading Devin Harris? And if so, would the Hawks be interested in trading for him? If possible, I would.

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
9:52 am

Devin Harris can sore 40 points against the Hawks and we will still win by 20.

Hawks have always been a little “cocky”. I recall that almost every time Sekou used the word “swagger” we’d end up losing the next game. Bobcats, however, have always played like a hungry team… even going back to the Bickerstaff days. They’ve always played with tremendous effort even if they only had a plastic spork to fight the battle. Jackson is one of those guys who looks great from the other side of the street. But just like he is good for a Captain Jack clutch performance, he is likewise good for a 3-13 performance, 6 turnovers and boneheaded plays. He’s a high risk/high reward player… even this late into his career. So the Bobcats will undoubtedly win a game or two in the playoffs against likely anyone. But I don’t think that they have the talent nor consistent focus to win a 7-game series.

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
9:56 am

Randolph Morris was so dominant at Kentucky, that he went undrafted in his first attempt to enter the NBA. Yeah, he was better when he was forced to return, but I wouldn’t use RandMo as an example of “Woody doesn’t play young guys”. What’s Solo Jones doing these days? Shelden? Acie? Salim? We’ve been down this path before.

Melvin

March 15th, 2010
10:16 am

Manny T,

I agreed. I think the draft for the Hawks will be about finding Marvin’s backup. Like Obrien said, we need a guy with more size to play behind Marvin b/c Mo Evans has proven to be too small although I appreciate his heart and toughness. And if we sign Joe to the Max we may have to find some inexpensive (rookies) to filled some spots on the bench.

Big Ray,

The Bobcats scare me as well. I watch them play several times in person. They have a lot of talent on that team. Especially when they play small ball with Wallace at PF, along the Jax, Felton, Diaw and now you can play Hughes at the 2 or go big with Tyrus Thomas at the PF/C. They definite have a more flexible roster with the addition of Thomas and Hughes then add a healthy Chandler to that mix and they are a very dangerous team that could play multiple styles. The Bobcats are just as athletic as (or more than) the Hawks but I think the one advantage the Hawks have on them is outside shooting.

Melvin

March 15th, 2010
10:19 am

Astro,

Well, at least Solo has been in the play rotation for Indy…

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
10:46 am

Melvin, only because Hansbrough and Foster are hurt. He’s still the 5th big on that lottery team (also behind Murphy and Hibbert).

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
10:48 am

“What’s Solo Jones doing these days? Shelden? Acie? Salim?”

Good point. Of course fading the heat from Woody puts it squarely on Billy Knight….and we’ve been down this path before as well…

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
10:50 am

Melvin,

I agree. We have the better shooting touch. Of course, that doesn’t matter if we allow them to penetrate and slash at will…something we continually have a problem with. Our recent matador defense tendencies will NOT work in the playoffs.

Melvin

March 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Big Ray,

I agree. The Bobcats like to drive the ball to the basket so the Hawks better keep their man in front of them to cutoff the driving lanes. Man, just thinking about the Bobcats and once they get healthy, they would really have some depth especially in the paint (Chandler, Diaw, Thomas, Ratliff, Diop, Mohammed and Ajinca). Heck, their guard reservers are not bad either (Augustin, Henderson and Hughes).

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
11:25 am

Ray, can you please fish out my post that was devoured around 9:50 or so this morning… it was about the Bobcats. Thanks.

niremetal

March 15th, 2010
11:56 am

The story on Josh’s rising (and vocal) leadership reminded me of this gem, which I witnessed when I went to see the Hawks play the Sixers back in November:

My favorite on-court moment of the game came in the first half when Josh fed the ball to JJ for an ISO-play. We’ve all seen the drill on that one many times before – Josh takes it on the perimeter and feeds it to JJ 18 feet from the basket. Marvin or Mo is usually in the ball-side corner at the time of the pass, but they clear to the weakside once Joe catches the pass.

This time, though, Jamal was the one in the ball-side corner. And when JJ caught the pass, Jamal didn’t clear out. Josh, still standing near the top of the key, saw this. He immediately yelled at Jamal “Jamal – clear out!” Jamal didn’t notice; he was watching JJ start his dribble-work. Josh then shouted much more loudly: “JAMAL – CLEAR THE [OBSCENITY] OUT!” Jamal’s eyes got wide and he immediately scrambled down the baseline towards the weakside. Josh rolled his eyes, in the way vets do towards a rookie who make a bush league mistake. It was a priceless moment.

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
12:46 pm

nire,

I thought Horford would become the leader of this team in time. But its starting to look like it might be Josh after all.

Its ironic that Woody and BK seemed so close at the start, but slowly drifted apart. It makes you wonder what kind of input did Woody have with the drafting of Marvin, Shelden, Acie, Solomon Jones, Salim. Or what kind of input he had with not drafting CP3, Deron or Brandon Roy.

Water under the bridge. But that leads me to the end of the season conversation that Woody will have with Sund. Does Woody tell Sund that he did not provide him with enough quality bench players? Or does Sund blame the ASG for not giving him more money to spend?

Saw this on espn dailydime.

“Cleveland’s Mike Brown has a unique method of coaching. He allows his assistant coaches to have a voice on both ends of the floor”.

I thought most coaches allowed their assistants to have a voice on both ends of the floor, except that the HC would make the final decision?

niremetal

March 15th, 2010
1:16 pm

O’Brien,

I’ve never been a fan of “one leader” teams, and I honestly don’t think that such teams exist too often. Most contenders have multiple guys who play a leadership role in some way. It’s actually a bad sign if only one guy does things to “rally the troops.” The Spurs at the turn of the decade were the classic example – Avery was the floor general, Duncan the quiet lead-by-example type, Admiral the locker room leader, and Elliot the emotional core. The team wasn’t psychologically crippled if any one guy missed a game because they had chieftans instead of a king.

vava74

March 15th, 2010
1:55 pm

With Yi out, we should win easily, but with the Hawks, we never know.

If we do win against NJ, I still believe that we will lose to TOR who, by being horrible for the last 10 games are actually doing the perfect prep to play us: we usually underestimate teams who are slumping and give them a hand.

As for Josh’s emergence as a leader: it should be a good thing because he usually brings all the effort and willingness to do whatever is necessary to win, the problem is when he translates all that into bad options like trying his luck with his jumper.

About his jumper: he should work on it and try to become at least dependable from 12/14ft since it would allow him to keep defenses guessing.

Right now I think he is too self conscious of his shot execution and is trying too hard to make it a high arching shot. He should simply try to do it quicker, looser and in just one simple motion even if that meant a flatter shot.

Sometimes players develop an ugly but effective shot and maybe everyone has been trying to put too much technique into something which should come “more natural”.

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
2:38 pm

nire,

In that case, Josh and Horford could share the leadership role, which would compliment JJ’s lead by example role really well.

vava,

I cringe every time Josh takes a jumper. And I cringe everytime he makes one, because that gives him just enough confidence to keep shooting.

I remember reading a stat that he makes 27% of his jump shots. I dont know if it is his form, his motion or what, but that’s a horrible %.

If he could shoot closer to 40% (and increase his FT % to 70%), that would help out his offensive game a lot.

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
3:08 pm

I’m less concerned about Josh’s jumper and more concerned with his free throw shooting. In a perfect world, he is doing 95% of his shooting within 5 feet of the rim where he is more successful but also, he will drawer more fouls. He is usually very good at converting late game free thows but in the playoffs, there are no excusable free throw misses, even in the 1st quarter. Josh was around 70% until last season, that would be a good start but in the recent spirit of “don’t accept anything less than near perfection”, I’d like to see him hovering over 75% in the playoffs.

BTW, have we lost to the Raptors or Nets this season? Have we struggled against either team this season? My memory must be bad.

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
6:21 pm

Astro Joe ,

Sorry about the devoured post. I’ll retrieve it shortly. It will post back at 9:50 a.m., however.

Amazing what this system will snag, while posts left by unsavory characters (mostly on MC’s blog) get through every single time…

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
6:27 pm

O’brien ,

I’m in the very narrow minority that believes Josh needs to be able to shoot a short-to-midrange jumper. However, there is a GIGANTIC difference between putting in the work during the offseason (and during the season, but it has to start in the offseason) and simply taking that shot a few times each game. Josh has to put in the work first. And if Josh Childress could find a way to half-way reliably hit that ugly jumper of his, then Josh Smith can learn as well. He just may need a serious specialist to help him.

On the flip side of that coin, Astro Joe tags a more important aspect of his game, which would be that free throw shooting.

The Grapes of RATHBUN

March 15th, 2010
9:53 pm

If we lose Joe, we need to trade up to get James Anderson, SG, OK St. and sign a Center, like Chris Bosh. If we keep Joe, we need to draft a Center like Solomon Alabi from Florida St. or Jerome Jordan from Tulsa.

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
10:13 pm

Melvin,

According to NBADraft.net, the Hawks may have to trade up to get Paul George, because they have him projected at 15th (Draft Express has him at 22).

Even if we dont get a backup SF in the draft, we could also look for a backup PF.

Ray,

FT will be HUGE in the playoffs too. I can see teams fouling Josh because of his struggles at the line.

I was reading DraftExpress profile of Marvin leading up to the draft, and I wanted to post a few sentences.

“When surrounded by defenders in the paint Marvin often gets his shot blocked because he has yet to show a jump hook, a fadeaway or an up-and-under move. In fact, Marvin’s best offensive move in the paint is trying to get to the free throw line.”

Somewhere out there, Rod from CP is smiling lol.

As for these Nets tomorrow, didn’t they beat Boston in Boston? With JJ (and possibly Bibby) out, I hope the Hawks dont take the Nets for granted

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
11:30 pm

O’brien,

I hope they don’t either.

vava74

March 16th, 2010
2:46 am

I have absolutely no doubt that Woody will start either a limping Bibby or Jamal (with Mo at the SG slot).

Even if Bibby sits, JT0 will play a maximum of 18 minutes since Woody will go with a rotation including Jamal playing 40 minutes at the point, with Mo, West and JT0 (in this order) sharing the rest of the minutes.

On the SF slot, Woody will have Josh spelling Marvin – who will be the first guy from the front court to come out – with Zaza coming in to the C spot, shifting Al to the PF slot.

Then he will spell Al with Joe who will hold on until Marvin comes back.

Josh will play 40/42 minutes.

vava74

March 16th, 2010
3:22 am

If, and it’s a big if, Garnett is able to play in the playoffs at 80% of his old self, the Celts are still in the race for the eastern crown:

“The Celtics are 32-12 with their regular starting five, but they’ve been a .500 team since beating Orlando on Christmas Day, in part due to injuries. Pierce missed a week around Christmas and a handful of games in the second half with thumb, knee and foot injuries; Garnett missed two-thirds of January with a sore right knee.”

out of last night’s pistons’ trashing recap.

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
7:49 am

vava,

I expect Bibby to play. Even if he is not 100%, I think he will give it a go.

That being said, I remember one game earlier in the year against New Orleans, when Bibby got injured in the first 5 minutes, and did not play for the rest of the game. Teague only received 5 minutes PT, while Collison and the NO guards ripped us apart.

However, that was early in the season, and JJ was playing, so I think Woody will give Teague at least 15 minutes at the PG position if Bibby cannot go.

However, this being the Nets, if the Hawks can build a big lead early, then the minutes distribution wont be much of a problem.

It would have been nice to have another guy on the roster who is primarily a SF (Mo and JJ are SGs, who can give minutes at the SF spot). So hopefully Hawks will rectify that this offseason.

I think the Celtics are done. If they play Milwaukee or Bobcats, I would not be surprised to see them lose in the first round. Their guys are old and injured, and thats a bad combination, especially going up against a younger team.

Melvin

March 16th, 2010
10:11 am

In the spirit of the movie Clash of the Titans “Release the Cracken/Teague” for tonight’s game…