Hawks face ailing Raptors as time runs out

Watching the desperate Chicago Bulls defeat the Cavaliers with Lebron on the bench, I had to wonder if maybe it’s a matter of pressure. The Bulls are trying to make the playoffs. The Hawks are trying to gain the third seed in the playoffs. The Bulls are talking about doing everything they can to stay locked in and get the win. The Hawks are talking about not knowing what went wrong. Surely, it’s the difference in pressure, right?

 

Final Four

This is it. Toronto at home. Visits to Washington and then Milwaukee. The finale at home against Cleveland, who will be playing with Lebron, no doubt. Apparently Mike Brown is scared to deatht that his superstar player will catch whatever Chris Bosh has, and I don’t blame him. After stumbling last year, the Cavs are determined to win it all this time around. So, they’ll sit Lebron, but they will still be very dangerous. How motivated are the Hawks in their final four games? Do they still want that third place seed, or have they given up? Most of us probably did not expect the Celtics to fade down the stretch, and they haven’t. At least, not as much as the Hawks have. The race for the third seed is not over yet, but it’s nearly done.

Joe, Playoffs, and Other Concerns

How much longer is Joe Johnson going to be out, and what is the extent of his injury? Maybe it’s too late for the Hawks to be trying to figure out how to win without Joe (at least in the soon-to-be-over regular season), and just worry about preparing for the playoffs. The biggest concern at this point has to be how healthy Joe will be for the playoffs. Make no mistake, he is needed at 100%, or the team could be looking at a similar, or perhaps worse result than last postseason. Here are a few reasons why:

_ This will be Jamal Crawford’s first time in the postseason since he began his NBA career 10 years ago. There is no substitute for postseason experience. Just ask Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams, who had more then Crawford has, having played 5 games in the playoff for Milwaukee in 2005-2006. Williams was fine all regular season long, averaging nearly 18ppg and 4 apg, as the Cavs won a stunning 66 games in 2008-2009. Then the big, hot lights came on, and things came just a bit unglued for the Cavs’ #2 scoring option. His shooting percentage sank nearly 7% (down to 40% overall) and his scoring dipped, although his assists remained about the same. More than once it was mentioned that LBJ’s running partner wasn’t everything he needed. Will Crawford be a steady hand in the playoffs and provide that second best scoring punch, or will he fade into bad shot selection, high turnovers, and horrid defense?

_ Josh Smith has grown into a legit scoring option in post-ups and drives to the basket. However, he is still struggling mightily with his free throws, and there does not seem to be any relief in sight. In the playoffs, he will find his lanes cut off at times, or teams will simply foul him and dare him to score at the charity stripe. Smith has had some good games at the line, but they have been too far and few between. In the meantime, a few misses seems to encourage him to settle for the mid-to-long range jumpers that teams love for him to take, and everybody else dreads seeing.

_ This could be Bibby’s last truly decent days. The Hawks starting point guard isn’t walking around on crutches, and his shot is as sweet as ever…when he’s making it, that is. Bibby is still dangerous from 3 point land (38.5%) if he can get a clear look at the basket and shoot in somewhat of a rhythm. But his minutes (27.5), defense, overall scoring (9.1 ppg), and assists (3.9) are all on the decline. While it’s easy to blame that on the minutes, there is also the lack of aggression  that is becoming more evident every day, and may explain what would otherwise be a brilliant assist-to-turnover ratio. Take also into account that when Bibby is not playing, most likely Jamal Crawford is. Still, Bibby is a polarizing presence on the offensive end of the floor, where he is more apt to keep the ball movement going than anybody else is. Are we feeling better about this, or worse?

_ Al Horford is becoming a better scoring option than even Mike Woodson anticipated, I think. With his ability to consistently step out and hit the 15 to 18 foot jump shot, and a willingness to work hard in the paint, the Hawks would be well served to keep going to him. His free throw shooting (78%) is nothing to sniff at, and he has begun to recognize how to attack different defenders. Horford has shown that he can attack quickly against slower defenders, powerfully against smaller/weaker defenders, and punish bigger ones from the perimeter. He won’t be  the scoring threat that Johnson and Crawford present, but going to him as a possible third option is worth more than just a try. At the same time, the second round of the playoffs will be a serious learning and gauging tool, as Horford is liable to face Cleveland’s 4-deep big man front, or Orlando’s Dwight Howard. Either will be a challenge that the young all-star center cannot overcome on his own. Thinking with a “glass is half full” mindset however, Horford may show us more than just a few flashes of the player and leader he is becoming.

_ What can the Hawks expect out of Marvin Williams? What does he expect out of himself? The fifth year forward has taken a step back this season, and the one thing that he could be counted on before (consistency) is the one thing he can’t seem to remember how to be. Instead of finally finding his niche, Williams has struggled mightily to do that or fill a role in some games, then flashed brilliant supporting performances in others. As much as we may foolishly lament his not morphing into a 18-20 point per game scorer, oh how we miss what he used to be: a steady 14 points and 6 rebounds per game guy who could play some pretty steady defense when needed. As it is, expecting Marvin to suddenly jump up and provide yet another steady/credible scoring threat to the mixed bag, is likely little more than a pipe dream. In fact, we might expect more of an explosion out of Maurice Evans, who seems to be playing on a different level lately.

 

HAWKS VS. RAPTORS

Chris Bosh is lost for the season now, so he won’t be on hand for the struggling Raptors, as they limp into Philips Arena. Perfect time for an easy victory, right? Well, if it wasn’t a home game, I wouldn’t even think twice about Bosh not being there, what with the way the Hawks have been playing against less successful teams.

Hedo Turkoglu might also be missing, as he is day to day after a recent collision with another player. He will travel with the team, so there is the chance that he will play, but you never know. At any rate, it doesn’t matter, as the Hawks need not be thinking about who will and won’t play. They need only be thinking about how to beat the opponent they are facing, and doing it in convincing action. In fact, maybe holding Joe out for another game is a good idea. What do you think?

Matchup Thoughts

This would be a good time for Mike Bibby to try and get back into a good groove at the series of miscues at the end of the Detroit game. Bibby is a “bounce back” type of player anyway, so this probably won’t be an issue with him. That, and he has played pretty well against Toronto for the most part, in recent years.

The Raptors simply cannot handle Al Horford. Likewise, they won’t be able to do much with Josh Smith if he’s on his game. Both guys should get a lot of looks and a good tuneup, especially if Joe isn’t playing. Jamal Crawford and much of the bench should see some decent time as well.

On the other hand, Toronto has to be trying to hang onto their very tenuous playoff spot. Coming off a three game losing streak and having lost their best player to injury, the Raptors could be coming with some unexpected fire. How to avoid embarassment (or an unnecessarily close game)?

- Don’t let Andrea Bargnani get hot from deep or score inside with easy dunks and layups.

- Jose Calderon has been underwhelming this year. Let’s not change that.

- Don’t allow Demar DeRozan to make play after play. The rookie is quick and athletic.

- Jarrett Jack, who may not be at full strength, is a tough cookie. Allowing him to have a good game is trouble, as he will alternate efficiently between scoring (48% shooting this season) and involving his teammates ( 5 apg).

Should be an easy game for the Hawks, particularly at home. Win #50. Let’s go get it!

184 comments Add your comment

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Hawks v. Raptors

April 9th, 2010
3:20 am

Hawks play great at home, so hopefully Toronto struggling/missing they’re star player will be a non factor.

time to nail down #50!

TheAntiMe

April 9th, 2010
3:41 am

I think that you’re right, Ray, when the playoffs roll around, the Hawks are going to have to get the ball inside to Al, and Josh as well as to Zaza when he’s on the court. Al has shown a proclivity for being able to make the 16-footer and has even gotten noticeably better at posting his man up.

If the Hawks can get the ball inside good things will happen. Either they will get a high percentage shot, get fouled and go to the line, or open things up to kick the ball back outside for someone to have an open look at an outside jumper. Josh, however, as you mentioned will have to be better at making his foul shots or it’s going to be tough going in the playoffs.

If the Hawks stand around and fall in love with the outside jump shot and get away from taking the ball inside, then it will be another 5+ minute scoring drought waiting to happen.

Another very obvious but important key to success will be how well the Hawks are able to maintain focus on defense. To this end, I think it will be imperative that Woody gives the second unit meaningful minutes. I know this goes against the conventional wisdom that you should shorten your bench for the playoffs. It’s just my opinion but I really believe that it will be important for the Hawks to keep some fresh legs in the game to defend as well as to keep the starters out of foul trouble.

I seriously hope to see the Hawks get a win at Washington and, more importantly, against the Bucks up in Milwaukee. As we all know, they have had some serious issues in trying to win on the road this last month, even to the point where it appears to be getting into their heads a bit. They need to win these road games just to give them some much needed confidence away from Philips. I know they can do it though. Not only that, they are due to go on one of their patented hot streaks. I can’t wait to get this thing started.

vava74

April 9th, 2010
4:48 am

This is all pretty useless.

If we get by the first round we will win 1 game – at best – in the second.

Bill Laimbeer anyone? Has anyone followed the WNBA and saw what type of offense he runs?

And exactly is his job in Minny as an assistant to Rambis? Rambis – reportedly – has been trying to implement some fractions of the triangle offense, so my guess is that his assistants are all for ball movement as well, which should be a good sign.

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
4:54 am

Vava,

:lol: All pretty useless, but you keep posting. Well, dear ol’ Harbinger of Doom, you obviously haven’t given up yet.

As for Laimbeer, I vote we hire him. To play and to coach. :)

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution The Raptors simply cannot handle Al Horford. Likewise, they won’t be able to do much with Josh Smith if he’s on his game. Both guys should get a lot of looks and a good tuneup, especially if Joe isn’t playing. Jamal Crawford and much of the bench should see some decent time as well. [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution The Raptors simply cannot handle Al Horford. Likewise, they won’t be able to do much with Josh Smith if he’s on his game. Both guys should get a lot of looks and a good tuneup, especially if Joe isn’t playing. Jamal Crawford and much of the bench should see some decent time as well. [...]

O'Brien

April 9th, 2010
8:08 am

Ray,

I know you meant to say Cleveland will be playing “without” LeBron…

Mibe Bibby’s season average against the teams we will probably play in the first round:

Miami => 30 mins, 8.5 pts, 2.8 assists
Bucks => 24 mins, 7.5 pts, 2.5 assists
Charlotte => 21 minutes, 4.3 pts, 2.7 assists.

With numbers like that, I dont expect much from Bibby in the playoffs (unless he finds the fountain of youth). However, he is capable of making the big shot at key moments, and thats what we will need. Big shot making (something which Marvin knows nothing about).

As for the Raptors game, Hawks will be at home and coming off 2 consecutive road losses, Raptors will be without Bosh (and possibly Hedu). I think Hawks start out slow, but blow them out in the end. Teague should get more minutes too, trying to keep up with the Raptors PGs, and Bibby is usually more effective in limited minutes.

vava,

As we have seen all year with these Hawks, they are consistently inconsistent. So you just never know what they have in store for the second round. And part of that will also depend on their opponent; Cleveland or Orlando.

My preference of who to play in the first round would be 1) Bucks 2) Miami 3) Bobcats. And for the second round, give me Orlando.

Daniel

April 9th, 2010
8:41 am

Really good analysis Ray,
The Hawks need to take care of the Raptors and get the stink of these last two games off of them.

Vava- love ya man, but by your rationale only one team (whomever wins the championship) are “pretty useless”. Is that not the nature of sports? So do you predict doom and gloom, so that you can say “I told you so” or do you wait until a team wins it all to root for them? What is the point of either? I know you deeply care about the Hawks (no doubt, there), but being cynical is not the same thing as wisdom, and there is nothing ignorant about hope and faith. Ultimately, that is what any of us really have anyway. I encourage you to let go and enjoy, because as Hawks fans we can’t be jaded to 50+ win seasons and second round playoff losses just yet. Can we?

Daniel

April 9th, 2010
8:42 am

I meant that by your rationale all other teams but the champions are “pretty useless”, but I think you knew what I meant.

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
9:04 am

Blue-Ray

(Light-Beam!)

That’s a lot to chew on! You just about covered every conceivable angle on here.

The last four games are so winnable, especially the home games. But, we can not risk Joe further aggravating the thumb joint. My specialty is extremity joint care (I.E. Arms/Legs correction & rehabilitative therapy). I work the side-lines with a women’s pro football team (Atlanta Xplosion 2006 Champions) & some behind the scenes work w/Atlanta Dream)

I tell you from experience that a sprain is worse than a fracture due to the ligament injury component which causes swelling & unbearable pain). It is my professional opinion that Joe should shut-it-down for the regular season. & Pray for health in the play-offs! I am really concerned re: his injury. I say rehab it 24 hrs/day until then. ( Ice, Electric Muscle Stimulation, Ultra-Sound & rubber bands, compression, REST).

If Joe can’t go in the play-offs? The hawks are one game & done!

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
9:16 am

Blue-Ray

If JJ can’t go @ 90% ? The ranking & Opponent is IRRELEVANT!
JJ does so many little/BIG things for this ball club… That may go un-heralded in the stats. We really need him.

These games are an opportunity for the bench to get some burn, touches, & confidence.

Let’s Go!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution The Raptors simply cannot handle Al Horford. Likewise, they won’t be able to do much with Josh Smith if he’s on his game. Both guys should get a lot of looks and a good tuneup, especially if Joe isn’t playing. Jamal Crawford and much of the bench should see some decent time as well. [...]

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
9:26 am

Blue-Ray

(Clear Image)

A thumb sprain is a hyper-extension injury. (I.E. Stretched or torn ligament.). Similar to ACL tear, the saving difference is thaty the Knee is a weight-bearing/pivotal joint & The thumb is NOT weight bearing. However, in basketball the hand is irreplaceable due to the shooting motion.

Much like a Chirorpactor or a Boxer – whose hands are the bread-winner.

FYI

niremetal

April 9th, 2010
9:40 am

Don’t fall asleep on Bargnani – sweet shooting big men tend to give the Hawks lots of trouble. While Andrea’s defense has improved, it’s still not going to scare anyone, so this would be a good game to take it hard to the rim instead of settling for jumpers.

The most frustrating thing about Marvin for me this year has been that he almost never puts together a “complete game.” The games where he steps up and scores more, his defense is usually not as good. The rest of the games, he tends to give good-to-great defense, but nothing on the offensive end. I think the time has come to trade him, both for the Hawks’ sake and for his. He doesn’t have a role here and probably never will, and he plainly is not the type of player who finds a role for himself. I don’t want a Rudy Gay or Danny Granger to replace him – I’d much rather see if we can get a Battier (or another lockdown-defender who scores efficiently), since whoever comes in will have to live with being the 4th or 5th option at best on offense, unless we’re willing to stunt the offensive development of Al and Josh. But here, I’m convinced that Marvin can’t succeed. The drive and fire that he had in college seems totally extinguished, and I don’t think it’ll come back as long as he’s here.

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2010
9:56 am

I’m done defending Marvin. I won’t join the posse with the pitch-forks and relentless pot-shots (that marketplace is over-crowded), but I won’t make any attempts to defend him anymore. His no-show in Charlotte put me on the edge and it was an insignificant play in the Detroit game that put me over the edge. He had an open 18 foot jumper but upon receiving the pass, he immediately gave the ball to Josh who bricked an 18 foot jumper. I’m all for deferring because we can use a few players who aren’t constantly looking to chuck up a shot but there is nothing within the concept of “basketball IQ” that suggests that Josh should be shooting a jumper before Marvin. Just very, very frustrating.

dap01

April 9th, 2010
9:59 am

Bibby is the least athletic guard in the NBA. He is horrible at defense and he can not handle ANY pressure defense. He can not break down any defensive player in the league witht he dribble. Yet he starts for us. Woodson says that he is a defensive minded coach. Right….

Daniel

April 9th, 2010
10:09 am

astro and nire- I agree with you guys on Marvin, but we will have to wait on that until the summer. Once the BYC is off and his contract moves into more reasonable numbers, we might be able to move him.

Daniel

April 9th, 2010
10:10 am

Howevr, we probably could only hope for a non-lottery first round pick.

O'Brien

April 9th, 2010
10:22 am

nire,

“The drive and fire that he had in college seems totally extinguished”

I dont recall seeing much drive and fire in college. He was content to be the 6th man. In my opinion, drive and fire should make him want to be the starter (and his game should have dictated that). If I’m not mistaken,he played behind Jawad Williams and Rashad McCants.

AJ,

Marvin is a very frustrating player to watch. At times when he gets the ball, its like ‘hot potato’, because he is so quick to give it up to somebody/anybody else, even if he is in a better position. And I agree with nire. I think a change of scenery might do him good.

Because as long as he’s here, we will be reminded of the #2 pick that wasn’t CP3 or Deron, and with him being so passive, inconsistent, and being the 5th or 6th option on offense, I dont think he will live up to his contract (which i still believe Rick Sund overpaid).

Since his offense is so inconsistent, he should be extra motivated to be a monster on the boards, and a more consistent (good to great) defender. But I just dont see the passion and the drive. He seems like a good guy, and a great team player, so I will root for him as long as he is on the Hawks though.

Daniel,

Because of his salary (and the possible new CBA), I dont think the Hawks will get much in return. And that puts them in a tough spot. They might be forced to keep Marvin and hope and pray that he steps his game up.

dap01,

How do you feel about Bibby and Crawford in the game at the same time lol.

richbrave

April 9th, 2010
10:47 am

DR MaryB is in the house. Ups to you good lady.

Daniel

April 9th, 2010
11:28 am

O’brien- I totally hear you. I think it would be a major coup if we were able to get anything of value in return, because we have to take on roughly equal salary in return. But, that is why Sund gets paid the big bucks.

O'Brien

April 9th, 2010
11:48 am

Daniel,

Sund also gets paid the big bucks to NOT give Marvin that contract when he was bidding against himself.

Sund gets paid the big bucks to find a way to keep Chills, or trade him for something in return.

I also think Sund gave Bibby one year too long on his deal (or it should have been a team option). But at least Bibby will be an expriring contract in 2011-2012, and I think he will have some value.

This offseason will be HUGE for Sund. Do we keep JJ? Do we keep Woody? Do we bring Chills back? Can we make a deal for a defensive minded PG? With Joe Smith, RandMo, Mario and Collins gone, how do we fill out the bench? Do we offer Crawford an extension from now?

Ray,

Even without LeBron, the Cavs have looked tough, so our home finale will not be easy. I hope the 3rd/4th seed will be decided by then, so Woody can give our guys a rest too. Because if JJ or Crawford gets injured, we will be in big trouble.

niremetal

April 9th, 2010
11:51 am

O’Brien,

You must not have watched Marvin at UNC. The dude played like he wanted every rebound, every loose ball, and every pass. The number of jam putbacks he had that year is probably more than he’s had in any season as a Hawk. Every scouting report raved about his intensity and desire.

He wasn’t “content to be the 6th Man.” Instead, he was playing the only role available to him there because Sean May, the best college forward in the country, was the starting PF. Lots of top-tier players started off playing on the bench in college, especially if they played at top programs – remember that the top college players often are rarely the top prospects. Show me anything that says Marvin was “content” with being 6th man, and I’ll shut up, but you won’t find anything. He wasn’t “content” with the role any more than Havilcek was “content” with it for the mid-60’s Celtics, Hill/Brand/Battier in their freshman years at Duke, etc. All of them came off the bench early on, but played starters’ minutes and were on the floor at the end of every close game.

niremetal

April 9th, 2010
11:52 am

*the top college players are rarely the top prospects

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
11:53 am

RICH BRAVE

OMG! A sigthing? Blue-Ray & I have been wondering where you were?

Man, you inducted me into the BLOG! I took my razor-sharp thong to the Good-Will – when my Hawks started WINNING! Yeah! No more uncomfortable azz cuts & burns! LOL!

Hey howz them Washington Bullets? What is our chance of signing Arenas in the ATL?
What’s up man? How’s your health these days? We got to meet at a game or somewhere soon!

I LOVE me sum R-Brave!

vava74

April 9th, 2010
12:04 pm

Ray,

I keep posting, but not on any matters concerning this season which for me will just be like watching a movie for a second time (not a particularly bad one, just an uninspiring one).

OB,

That is where you are dead wrong.

We all know exactly what will be the outcome of an EVENTUAL second round series for us: awful play away from home, reasonable play at home until the 4th quarter and a quick elimination (4 or 5 games).

Anyone thinking otherwise is in the realm of “faith”, meaning: IRRATIONAL BELIEF in something which you cannot prove.

Daniel,

I had a “founded hope” in the beginning of the season (meaning a belief based in a rational analysis of what could happen given the probable evolution of the roster and of the coach) as I may have again next year IF JJ is re-signed and Woody is not AND (a big one) we hire a good replacement coach.

Now, we all have enough info in our hands to rule out any dreams of us being COMPETITIVE in the playoffs.

I never talked about a championship and from day 1 I said that we were between 1 to 3 years away from being able to talk about a championship run (meaning battling for the Easter crown with a fairly tangible prospect of going to the Finals).

This year my projected objective was to be competitive in the second round and MAYBE reach the ECF.

It’s a fact that when a team reaches the second round and is really competitive, it may sneak into the ECF AND if and when that happens it means that the team will also be competitive in the ECF.

Right now, we are guaranteed that we will not be competitive AND let me even tell you something: we are weaker than we were last year.

Sometimes the sum of the parts does not make a whole and this is precisely where we are:

AL improved significantly;
Josh improved significantly;
JJ improved (better stats);
Craw is an improvement in relation to Flip (maybe more on paper than in reality – I’ll explain below);
Bench is deeper;

Yes, Marvin has regressed, but his regression is not crucial for our success: a few points and a rebound per game less cannot be considered crucial.

Also, his regression has been caused by the way that Craw has been integrated in the rotation and they way that most of his few shots are stand still jumpers from the corner (we have seen him recently drive a bit more and get some putbacks).

Zaza has regressed, but that is directly linked with the decrease in minutes: when called to play more, his production was more than satisfactory.

Mo? Ditto: low minutes – almost zero production » high minutes, more than satisfactory production.

Teague? Poorly used and poorly developed.

Bibby is clearly out of shape and our HC refuses to do what an alledgely disciple of Bobby Knight and Larry Brown would do: bench him deep until he gets his chops back or create a role that suits his current ability which cannot be IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE more than 20 minutes of play.

And when he played, he should be the main feature of the offense in order to take advantage of his sole remaining ability, his shot.

When Bibby played we should GO BIG: make sure that we have shot blockers in our paint to overcome his bad defense and rebounders to get all the opponents misses and on offense all second chance points possible when Bibby’s shots were not going in.

We have no structure, no plays, no defined roles, no defined rotations, no bread and butter plays, no variation on the type of defense, no variation on the type of offense, NO LOGIC.

We are a raggady quilt, poorly sewn and disintegrating fast as the season advances.

niremetal

April 9th, 2010
12:07 pm

PS – Don’t forget that when Marvin committed UNC, a lot of people thought that McCants and possibly May would jump to the NBA, and Marvin would have started if either of those had happened. But in college, you’ve got to play the role you’re assigned. I don’t think Marvin was “content” to play the role. I think he took the only role that was available to him, and threw himself into it. Today, he’s taking the role available to him, but he’s no longer throwing himself into it. That’s the difference.

vava74

April 9th, 2010
12:21 pm

Forgot to mention why Crawford may be worse than Flip (which I did not particularly liked):

Crawford is a huge defensive liability on his own (specially when playing SG) and he is paired many times with another defensive liability (Bibby).

Flip was not a good defender but he had a bit more spunk and tried to squeeze by picks more than Craw (at least that is how I recollect his defensive stance).

This means that we are defensively weaker and having to switch more often. Consequently, we end up with too many defensive possessions where we have horrible match ups.

This, on a continuos basis, every single game along a season, takes its toll: it’s tiring and demanding and makes it extremely difficult for all 5 players be focused and keep up with the switches and with having to defend players against whom they are miss matched.

Also, the fact that Craw is a better overal player than Flip makes Woody fall in the temptation of overutilizing him.

The overutilization of Craw has several negative consequences:

a) more minutes with a poor defender on the floor – a situation which opposing teams tend to attack when the see that he his on the floor longer;
b) after a few minutes Craw sometimes loses focus and stops acting rationally (stops looking for his mid range game and stops penetrating regardless of his outside shot being off);
c) when he plays extended shifts, his defense gets worse as minutes progress (again, he loses focus).

Basically, all the problems which made Craw an underachiever as a starter throughout his career become evident.

Crawford, like many talented offensive players has to be deployed as a special weapon for 25 to 30 minutes MAX and not as a main feature.

Since Flip was not regarded so highly by Woody, his presence in the roster was less disruptive of the rotations.

vava74

April 9th, 2010
12:25 pm

Jamal,

I am not sure if you read this blog as well – we know that you read MC’s – but if you do, I would like you to know that I love your game but really believe that you are more effective when you have time on the bench to “read the game” and come in to do your thing rather than when you stay out there for longer periods.

vava74

April 9th, 2010
12:27 pm

dang, so many typos!

O'Brien

April 9th, 2010
12:55 pm

the real nire,

To be fair, the only UNC games I remember seeing were the games against GT (I’m a GT fan), and the national championship game (in which he had the go-ahead tip-in). So in the words of Roger Clemens, maybe I mis-remembered.

Or maybe my memory is clouded because I dont remember seeing anything in his game that made me think he should be a top 2 pick.

The irony to me, is Sund implied Chills was a utility player, and did not think highly of him (compared to Marvin). But in my opinion, if Marvin would play a game similar to Chills (cut to the basket, key rebounds and tip-ins, make the open jump shots, play defense), the Hawks would be a much better team.

On that note, do you think Marvin would be a better player (or would have a more positive impact to the Hawks) if Woody brought him off the bench?

vava,

Although I’m not into the doom and gloom, I do think this team has underachieved. Last year we won 47 games with Josh and Al missing games, Flip was our 6th man, our backup PF was Solo, and Acie our 3rd guard.

This year, we added the SMOY Crawford, Joe Smith, and drafted Teague. Plus we have been the healthiest team in the NBA, and we had no chemistry issues. But yet we will only win 2-6 more games.

I think Woody is part of the reason why, but it’s not all his fault. The players contributed alot to the underachievement. Where I fault Woody, is for not pulling the right strings, and for not putting players in the best position to help them succeed.

As for the Crawford discussion, he averages 31 mpg for the season. Compare that to Manu who averages 28.7 mpg, and Jason Terry, who average 33 mpg, so 31 mpg for Crawford is not the problem.

The problem (to me), is Woody gives him free rein out there, so he gets off track sometimes and just keeps shooting (even when his shot isn’t falling). Its even worse when JJ is not on the court to help keep defenders away from him.

Overall, his minutes are fine to me, he just needs to play under control, especially when his shot isn’t falling).

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
12:59 pm

Niremental???

I thought you were a DUDE! Watch yourself BLUE-RAY is married to a TIGER!

Oh snap! Tiger’s are freaky … Maybe she will join in! LMAO!

dr.maryb

April 9th, 2010
1:07 pm

Blue-Ray

(No Static)

Where are you? This here blog is smoking!

The Real niremetal

April 9th, 2010
1:45 pm

O’Brien,

I really don’t think that bringing Marv off the bench would help at this point, even if we moved Crawford into the starting 5 at the same time. I think that the addition of Crawford has left Marvin with no offensive role. Last year and even the year before, he was our #1 scoring option on the perimeter when JJ was out of the game, and he did quite well in that role. But now, Crawford is clearly supposed to take that role. Marvin gets fewer touches as a result, but instead of making the most of his reduced touches, he seems to be even less aggressive on the touches he still gets, and he isn’t working to create more touches for himself like Chill would (as you said).

The other thing is, even if moving Marvin to the bench helped Marvin “find himself,” it wouldn’t help the Hawks. Really, as long as we keep doing the switching defense, replacing someone who’s 6′8/6′9 with a guy who’s 6′5 makes us really vulnerable defensively when we switch, as we’ve discovered in the past couple games without JJ. Any increased offensive production we’d get would be more than offset by the number of extra points we’d give up.

No, I think Marvin has just become an underutilized asset at this point. With his touch, athleticism, and defensive fundamentals, he has the potential to play a Tayshaun Prince or Andrei Kirilenko type of role on a contender. He already does well enough defensively, but I don’t think we’ll get much more from him offensively as long as JJ and Crawford are in the fold. Just as Chill is an unutilized asset, Marvin has become an “underutilized” asset. The smart course is to trade him to a team that would make greater use of his skills than we do, and get back someone who fills our needs better.

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2010
1:52 pm

I think this team changed at least 1-2 tires (without stopping) during the course of the drive to the finish line and that is pretty hard to do and still finish ahead of last season. I certainly don’t have the bandwidth to do so, but I’d venture that we are one of the few teams that has seen such a significant re-distrbution of FGAs from November to March. When a team’s top scorer is injured, there is no doubt that his shots must be re-distributed… there is no other choice. But when a player (or two) emerge as viable offensive options, it forces a change in roles within a season without the benefit of “obvious choices”.

Think of it this way, when our playoff opponents are game-planning against us, would they find it easier to defend us this year or last year? I’d suspect that the scouting report on this team last year was stop Joe, stop Joe and stop Joe. That is simply no longer the case. But that advantage comes with growing pains that are far less obvious than a player being hurt for 5-10 games. Credit goes to the team (players and coaches) for changing the tires without any known disruption or griping from guys whose roles were reduced.

if we had won 2 more games against the Knicks and 2 more games against the Pistons, I’m not sure that I would have personally felt any better about this team.

O'Brien

April 9th, 2010
2:50 pm

AJ,

I know they’re still young, relatively speaking, but I dont know if thats enough of an explanantion as to why they are so up and down.

I havent looked at the numbers (maybe you have), but they probably won more games against teams above .500 this year (compared to last), but if thats the case, then they probably lost more games to lesser opponents too.

I guess just like we have good Josh and bad Josh, we also have good Hawks and bad Hawks.

nire,

vava suggested this move a long time ago. Start Mo, send Marvin to the bench. That gives us 2 options. Play Mo at SF, and JJ at SG, or start Mo at SG, and JJ at SF.

Either way, I have more confidence in Mo knocking down those corner 3s that Marvin gets from the JJ pass. And more often than not, when Mo has received starter minutes, he plays well.

And with Marvin playing mostly with the bench players, he will no longer be the 5th or 6th option. Among the bench players, he would probably be the 2nd or 3rd option. And playing him with Crawford helps out defensively (Crawford needs all the help he can get).

The 2 drawbacks of course, is when Mo (or JJ) has to go up against the LeBrons and Carmelos.

But I really think a starting lineup change is worth looking into (this offseason). Who knows, maybe it will get Marvin extra motivated. Or maybe the bench role will suit him like it did at UNC.

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2010
4:35 pm

OB, if the regular season is about preparing for a post-season run, then I’d suggest that games against the Knicks, Pistons, Pacers and Wizards are far less meaningful than games against the playoff-bound teams. The reason you showed Bibby’s stats against playoff teams is because you are trying to use regular season performanceto predict post-season success. That makes sense. That’s why wins against lottery-bound teams is not particularly relevant to me. It would be like showing Bibby’s stats against the Wizards.

We are better against the better teams this year than last year. We should be harder to defend. IMO, the biggest concern is that our team defense has regressed. Sure, we defend well in spurts but not always for 48 minutes. That’s what has me worried… as our offense has improved, we have lost some of that defensive tenacity that served the team well in the past.

i_am_soulstar

April 9th, 2010
5:00 pm

Good point Astro Joe,

While I hate how the Hawks play down to the lesser teams, there are no lesser teams in the playoffs.

Maybe they’ll get their swag back just in time.

#overlyoptimistic

vava74

April 9th, 2010
5:45 pm

OB

my opinion on Crawford’s minutes is more focused on the size of his shifts than on the overall minutes.

even so, I still think his average should not go over the 30 minutes mark.

don’t underestimate the defensive damage which 1 or 2 minutes more per game which a given player might cause and likewise on the offensive end.

it’s even possible to conjecture that Marvin needs 2 or 3 minutes more of game play to produce.

I’m not affirming this – far from it – but merely saying that the difference between success and disaster (and in the productivity of a player) in many cases is in micro details which are hard to find tune.

Look at Mo: when he plays 10/12 minutes he typically produces a lot less than 50% of what he produces when he plays 20/22 minute.

Geometric proportions do not apply!

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
7:24 pm

What was Marvin worth when he signed the contract? He was shooting 46% from the field, 35% from 3-point territory, averaging basically 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. He was expected to improve , not regress. I don’t recall anybody railing against his contract at the time (okay, except maybe Rod ;) ). Would we complain about his contract if he was still giving us that kind of production?

That’s my only defense of Sund’s decision, and this is an example of hindsight being 20/20.

As for how Marvin played at UNC, I don’t care. There was never anything that suggested to me that he was anywhere near a #2 pick, and I disagreed with any “evidence” presented by the draftniks and various sites. Just my opinion. Trying to prove anything one way or another based on college production is all but useless by the this point in time, except in the cases of freshmen who were TRUE stars in college (Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Carmelo Anthony, etc). Of that group, only Beasley is behind the curve, and clearly that is all about maturity, and not ability. Funny. Even in his turbulent rookie season, he was already shooting a better percentage from the arc and the field overall, and duplicating pretty much all of Marvin’s best stats. Huh.

At any rate, I’m okay with Marvin being traded if it comes to that. I’m done with the whole “victim” argument, however.

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
7:31 pm

drmaryb ,

Sorry, gal. I’ve still got a month of night shift left, so while this place has been poppin’ off, I’ve been asleep. Thanks as always for the kind compliments, though!

Astro Joe ,

Well, you called it in the beginning. Adding Jamal Crawford has done nothing for this team’s defense. Not only was learning Woody’s switch concepts not an easy thing (Jamal still blows assignments regularly), but the man plays starter level minutes in our backcourt. The offensive production would offset the defensive deficiency if there was more consistency (especially in games where Joe is out or struggling). The sad fact is that Bibby’s offensive capability has decreased, and Crawford has had some games where he just took one bad shot after another.

Unfortunately, Marvin’s inconsistent defensive performances have further complicated things, putting the pressure of defense squarely on Al Horford and Josh Smith. We really didn’t see that coming. Marvin’s ability to defend perimeter players, bother them with his length, and get into the passing lanes should be helping. But he’s not doing these things often enough, and it has shown to be a major deciding factor in certain games. It’s all the worse if one of his front court mates is struggling or not giving a full effort, themselves.

niremetal

April 9th, 2010
7:56 pm

…considering that no one was talking about Marvin’s draft position, not sure what that was about. And what “victim” argument?

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
8:02 pm

Miss this?

“Because as long as he’s here, we will be reminded of the #2 pick that wasn’t CP3 or Deron, and with him being so passive, inconsistent, and being the 5th or 6th option on offense, I dont think he will live up to his contract (which i still believe Rick Sund overpaid).”

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
8:08 pm

“Victim argument” refers to what I used to defend Marvin with.

In the past, I’ve said that Marvin doesn’t get enough plays run for him. I (and several others) have stated many excuses for why Marvin hasn’t done this or that, and all of them have ended up with “it’s not Marvin’s fault.” To me, that’s a “victim argument.” Sort of what some people will use to defend any other player…or coach.

My opinion now is that there is nothing to hold him back from consistently rebounding, defending, and simply hitting the open shot when he can get it. Really, more emphasis on the first two, than on the third. Josh Childress managed to shoot well over 50% when he was here, despite having a funky jump shot, and not having many plays run for him at all. Marvin has the physical tools and capability to do something similar.

Transitioning to a different role is never easy, but when was he ever a major focal point of the offense? Again, Childress was able to accept such a role. If Marvin can’t get the shots, then he can rebound and defend. He does not do this consistently, therefore I’m done with my “victim arguments.”

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
8:21 pm

Need Horford to warm it up out there. Need Josh to connect on some of those attempts. He’s had more shots than Joe, but not doing much with them.

vava74

April 9th, 2010
8:46 pm

well, this seems to be one of those games where Craw does need to be on the floor… :-)

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
9:08 pm

Bibby and Smith warming up just a bit, JJ leading the team in assists. Looking better and better on offense.

Big Ray

April 9th, 2010
9:09 pm

Melvin

April 9th, 2010
9:17 pm

I like that Amir Johnson guy…. Plays with a lot of energy…