50-something winner-ific!

Okay, everybody refresh me on how many wins you predicted the Hawks would get this season.

I hoped for 55 myself, but I can’t say I’m all that disappointed. Oh sure, we could justify probably about 60 wins (or maybe more, you might think) when we think of certain losses during the season. The Hawks still aren’t a great road team, but they are certainly a better one than they were last year. Not only that, but they are a more potent home team, proven with big wins against the Magic and the Lakers. Speaking of the Lakers, if you get too uptight about some of the losses we’ve had, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t….keep in mind how the Lakers have played down the stretch of the season. Want to hear something crazy? The Lakers have only won four more games than the Hawks have. Yes, yes, I know. They play in the Western Conference. The same conference in which dangerous teams like the Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets, among others, have suffered massive injury problems. Am I using this to excuse the Hawks for games they should have won? Absolutely not. But isn’t it nice to know how far the Hawks have come?

 

THE RACE IS ALMOST OVER

With just one game remaining, the Hawks can do no worse than a season record of 52 wins and 30 losses, and no better than 53 wins and 29 losses. By contrast, the Boston Celtics absolutely must win their last two games to tie the Hawks at 52 and 30, thereby winning the so called tie-breaker and earning the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But for that to happen, they need the Hawks to lose their final game. The Hawks face the Cavaliers at Philips Areans in their final game of the season, most likely with Lebron on the sidelines. While this doesn’t make it an easy game, any game without LBJ is an easier game than with him in it. In the meantime, the Celtics will face the Chicago Bulls in Chicago, a team that is fighing down to the wire for the 8th playoff seed in the East. After that, they’ll face the Milwaukee Bucks. How will this shake out? Will the Hawks win one more at Philips and add to an already sterling home record, or will they lose the finale? The best way to be absolutely assured the 3rd seed is to win the last game. As for the Celtics, it may be just too tough to pull this one out. But I can’t think of a better team for us to knock down to make it into the famed “Big Three.” By the way, if I got any of this wrong, feel free to correct me.

 

HAWKS VS BUCKS POST GAME

The triple P strikes again, and this time it sticks. Assuming Atlanta holds onto the 3rd seed in the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks are their first round opponent, all else being equal (if there are any other ways that this could NOT happen, besides the Hawks losing the 3rd seed as outline above, feel free to correct me).

This definitely has to be a refreshing change. After having watched Atlanta falter down the stretch the last couple of seasons, I don’t know if we appreciate how much this team has grown. The Hawks have gone 6 and 4 in their last 10 games, and will make it 7 out of 11 with a season finale win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday. Talk about finishing things off the right way! In the meantime, some of our  Hawks played last night like they were ready for the playoffs to start tomorrow.

JOE JOHNSON- Maybe it was just me, but the man looked like he was playing against the Celtics in 2008, again. Joe has looked good in many (if not most) games this season, and his elevation to starter on the All-Star squad only helped his stock. But it was the level of aggression that he displayed against Milwaukee that got my attention. Johnson is healthy now, even with the sprained thumb, and he looks ready to prove that he’s worth the kind of contract that many say he deserves. You know what, forget that contract. Joe looks like he’s ready to prove that he belongs among the League’s elite. It’s just as well, as the Hawks will need this kind of performance from him in the postseason.

ZAZA PACHULIA- Despite all the noise surrounding Jamal Crawford, Zaza may prove to be more pivotal in the playoffs. While he lacks Horford’s athleticism, Zaza’s ability to play hard, tough, and simply be a big body in the way will get the Hawks far, especially in the second round. Why? No matter what happens, Atlanta will face a bigger team at that point, meaning Al Horford and Josh Smith’s athleticism will be stretched beyond capability in some instances. Pachulia racked up 10 points and 4 assists by simply playing his role and keeping his head about him. It’s his defense and rebounding however, especially on the offensive end, that will make the biggest difference, however. I wonder if anybody in the Bucks organization regrets letting Billy Knight sign him away some years ago?

MARVIN WILLIAMS- I’m admittedly very hestitant to say this, but Marvin might, just might be warming up to the hotter competition that the postseason brings. Maybe he just happened to take advantage of the fact that he wasn’t going to be yanked from the game in favor of Jamal Crawford for once (Crawford did not play against Milwaukee last night, in case you missed it). Maybe it was just one of his “flashes of unfulfilled promise” nights. I don’t really know, as Marvin’s consistency is lacking this season. What I do know is that the Hawks need Marvin to become more efficient and aggressive on offense than he has been for the most part. No, he doesn’t need to score 18 all the time, like he did against Milwaukee. But he does not need to disappear entirely, as has been the case all too often. Of course, this also requires that his teammates get him the ball, and that means Mike Bibby has to call his number at the right times. Every bit as important, Marvin will need to be active on the glass, and on the defensive end, or the Hawks will be stuck trying to get that production out of a bench player. Seeing as how Atlanta does not necessarily have a true backup small forward, this could spell trouble if Marvin is ineffective for large stretches of time. As it stands, Marvin proved that he could score quite well against the Bucks, and the Hawks would do well to encourage the exploitation of such a matchup.

MAURICE EVANS- Undersized at small forward but tough and strong for the shooting guard position, Mo Evans has proven to be a motivated player in the last month or two. Evans has begun to remind us some of what Josh Childress used to bring in the way of hustle and opportunisitic scoring. He’s also provided some much needed toughness and aggression on defense, and has become dangerous both in creating his own shot, and in setting up behind the 3 point line.

JOE SMITH- Don’t let the box score stats from last night’s game fool you. They can’t tell you how much energy Smith brough to the game, something we didn’t see much from him all season long. While I won’t claim that he was playing possum a la Shaquille O’Neal, I do think that Smith was saved in large part for the postseason, where he has a good amount of experience, especially from last season’s run with the Cavaliers. Joe Smith’s defense and hustle (did you see that blocked shot he had? He hasn’t jumped that high all season) is of paramount importance if and when Josh Smith has to sit on the bench due to foul trouble (we can live with that to some extent far better than we could any relapes to pre- ‘09-’10 Josh), which we hope won’t be often. If he can just step in a bit further from the 3 point line and knock down those jumpers, so much the better.

 

If I missed anybody, don’t be alarmed. Since the playoff brackets aren’t set just yet, I figure there is little point in going over the entire roster right now. We’ll do that after the dust settles, and the regular season is over.

For now, let’s cheer the Hawks on their run to take their highest playoff seeding in over a decade!

 

 

118 comments Add your comment

E!

April 13th, 2010
1:07 am

Well, I have never posted in any of these before, but I think it it customary to state this here…..FIRST!

E!

April 13th, 2010
1:08 am

Now, having said that, I felt that the Hawks would definitely get 50 wins this season. Although I have screamed and been upset about the team’s effort at times, I am pleased with them to date. I really do feel we are one “big” player away from being serious contenders, but I think the Hawks will compete well into the 2nd round this year. Again, 50 wins is great so congrats to the Hawks on that!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: AJC's fan blog: 50-something winner-ific! http://bit.ly/9PXYNZ [...]

Nef77

April 13th, 2010
3:09 am

So what if the Lakers play in the West with Portland and Houston. We swept both of those teams along with the Jazz remember. The only Western playoff team to sweep us was the Thunder. We play in the hardest division and we still took 50+ games. Great job Hawks. Main weakness we have is we tend to suck when there’s around 7 minutes left in the game.

O'Brien

April 13th, 2010
7:40 am

Congrats to the Hawks and Woody on win #52. I predicted 50-54 wins (I’m not sure what my exact number was).

Our road record is 19-22, and they wanted to finish at least 21-20. However, 19-22 is still a 3 game improvement from last year. Hopefully, we will win at least 3 more road games next season.

The Hawks showed energy, focus, and played defense the way Woody wants it to be played. And everyone (including Marvin and Teague) contributed to the win. The only issue for me is FT. We shot 19-27 (70%). In the playoffs, every FT gets magnified, so hopefully we will do better in the playoffs at the FT line.

This game shows that if the Hawks play up to their capability, it doesn’t matter who they play in the first round, Hawks win. IF they play up to their capabilities.

I would love to see the Bulls win tonight. That way, Woody can limit his starters minutes (especially JJ, Crawford, and Bibby) against the Cavs.

Ray,

Woody said he would be calling on his playoff vets (he mentioned Joe Smith) more in the playoffs, and I think guys will step it up in the playoffs. Regardless of who we play in the first and second round, I’m excited.

Go Hawks, Go Bulls.

Joe Kidwell

April 13th, 2010
9:25 am

Hawks have always been a dumpster fire team. They haven’t been relevant for years. So what they beat Boston in the regular season? Does anyone really think Atlanta has a chance to beat Orlando??? Oh well i’ll take the Celtics 17 Championships.

Joe Kidwell

April 13th, 2010
9:26 am

However,

The Hawks have greatly improved. Next year they have a real chance

i_am_soulstar

April 13th, 2010
10:05 am

Can’t front Ray, I was checking for 55-60 wins.

But who’s a Bulls fan tonight? I am, I am.

Astro Joe

April 13th, 2010
10:10 am

I was thinking 52-53 wins. But I was also hoping for a better road record (which I guess means I expected a few more home losses).

And when thinking of those “bad losses”, you also have to consider those 2-3 last second victories that we “stole”. It all balances out in the end.

[...] Dip of Celtics News: April 13th, 2010 AJC    Hawks beat Bucks for third consecutive victory 50-something winner-ific! Mass Live   Tony Gaffney set to join the Boston Celtics on Tuesday Nashua Telegraph  C’s grope [...]

niremetal

April 13th, 2010
10:55 am

This year’s prediction winner is, unsurprisingly, MannyT:
Ray–I could save this for the prediction blog, but let this thought pass through the mind. Boston’s age shows. They play well enough to win division, but not well enough to dominate. Hawks don’t outdo Orlando, but show they have the depth to be a serious challenge. End result–we don’t win SE, but we do have 3rd best record in East after Cleveland & Orlando…winning more games than last season 50 something. (Disclaimer–this requires Woody to figure out his situational player mix to take advantage of the competition.)

doc

April 13th, 2010
11:34 am

brought over

doc
April 13th, 2010
8:43 am

melvin, it is all about being scrappy and position, two things neither jj or jamal do around the basket for rebounds by guards.

nire got to go see how our blazers made out after reading your comment. quite a season for the crew with so many injuries. huge coaching and player effort there.

great to see our guys win and by that maybe hold onto milwaukee as a draw in the playoffs. only trouble it might hurt ticket sales because the bucks cant compete with d wade for draw. so proud to see the guys hit two marks i hoped to see from them 52 to 54 wins and third in the conference. they have earned cudos throughout the season aided by the lack of injuries that seem to be piling up here as the playoffs begin. i mean what gives as four of the top seven, including zaza and his hip begin to falter down the stretch and how serious are these injuries?

as we conclude the season let me comment on what a great job our fearless leader big gay has done to handle the information and this motley crew. nice going there ray.

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doc
April 13th, 2010
11:01 am

hard to believe portland joins the elite class with 50 wins with the injuries they had. andre miller a great acquisition for them along with camby. i wonder if he is still so upset over the trade, seems like he came up huge last night.

doc

April 13th, 2010
11:44 am

i can remember arguing with samuel over on the other blog we had the horses and the youth to stay ahead of the C’s in the race for three. also suggested between 52 to 54 wins. this win total is what folks seemed to expect and place their expectations for this season so i am in the majority on that one and not patting myself on the back. mixed in with the bad losses were good wins though too few against the magic and the cavs. no one expected us to sweep the celts nor look so abysmal against the knicks. so, a good season that could have been better except for some hiccups since we had no injuries to speak of to adjust to like last year. now it is on to the playoffs to determine where this team really fits in the big scheme and if they have begun to make a true name for itself. will we bow up or quake?

Daniel

April 13th, 2010
5:59 pm

I predicted 52 wins and the third seed over Boston. Yes, I am tooting my own horn here. Now, we might not get 52, but close enough.

Big Ray

April 13th, 2010
7:28 pm

Daniel ,

Toot away! We got 52 wins, hoping for 53 as it is the only sure way for the Hawks to control whether or not they end up 3rd seed.

Doc ,

Great comments. And I’m surprised Samuel hasn’t been around lately. You’d think he would be yelling for COY or something….

Soul Star ,

Not an unreasonable expectation, I think. In the meantime, I’m more of a Bulls fan tonight than I usually am. :)

Astro Joe

April 13th, 2010
11:05 pm

If I’m Woody, I’m sending UPS to the homes of Joe, Al and Josh and having those guys wrapped in some industrial-strength bubble wrap. And they won;t be allowed to leave thier homes until the start of the playoffs.

#3 seed locked up thanks to 34 4th quarter points by the Bulls. Only question now is Miami or Milwaukee.

doc

April 13th, 2010
11:25 pm

sweet, third place in the east.

heh heh, told you so all along and still have room to say it could have been better. time now for the guys to make it better. cudos to all the players involved, gm down through the ball boys.

Melvin

April 13th, 2010
11:35 pm

Bring on the D-Heat… I would love to see the Hawks beat up on the Heat again this year instead of playing the Bucks and having to play on NBATV…

Melvin

April 13th, 2010
11:38 pm

Astro,

I was looking at the FA list on ESPN. How do you like Amir Johnson? I think he would be a nice backup PF off the bench. He plays with alot of energy and hustle…. Also, if Mo opt out, I wouldnt be surpise if the Hawks pickup Damon Wilkins…

niremetal

April 13th, 2010
11:59 pm

Melvin,

All of the playoff games will be on TNT, ESPN, or ABC.

niremetal

April 14th, 2010
12:04 am

NBA TV is showing replays of the games, but the games will all initially be carried live on those three channels.

Big Ray

April 14th, 2010
12:09 am

Doc ,

Once again, thanks for the kind compliments, and congrats on picking things right! :)

Thanks to the Chicago Bulls for helping us lock up 3rd place.

Astro Joe has it right: keep our biggest contributors out of injury land and ready for the playoffs!

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
12:17 am

Nire,

I was trying to make a joke about our games being on NBATV. However, if we play the Bucks then you can bet that we will get the least desire TV slots….

dr.maryb

April 14th, 2010
12:27 am

Blue-RAY
(Clear – Image)

This BlackBerry has been eating up all my posts! Geez.

Every time I type the NAME of the guy whose hand Billy Good-Night refused to shake? My posts disappear into a black hole – Go Figure! The Po – Po is every where. LOL!

Next time I’ll use my PC with more features!

Are we a dead lock for 3 Seed if we forfeit the game tomm? If so, we have to rest every one. Josh pulled his groin last night, however he’s a young freak & did slam a nasty dunk afterwards. But, we can’t keep flirting with injuries so close to the play offs!

You feel me? I’m so tired & happy with the BULLS, I got to go to sleep. I will post here tomm.

I Love You soooooo. MUCH. Big-Blue!

O'Brien

April 14th, 2010
7:00 am

Thanks to the Bulls for making tonight’s game meaningless. That way Woody can rest his guys.

I feel bad for the Hawks fans who bought tickets for this game though, because they might not se JJ, Al, Josh or LeBron play.

AJ,

I know you’ve been on the Hinrich bandwagon for a while, and he looked good last night. If only there was a way for the Hawks to get him…

Melvin,

I think Damien Wilkens looks good to us because he always has a good game against the Hawks. Is Jarvis Hayes a FA too? Either way, I think the Hawks will have lots of options to add a backup SF (even if we resign Mo).

I just hope we sign Chills, and either trade him (even if its for a draft pick), or play him. But I dont want him overseas.

phar71

April 14th, 2010
9:33 am

Will Playoff schedules be announced tonight or tomorrow morn? Lets go Heat (only tonight, hope they win so we play the Bucks)

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
9:48 am

I expect for Boston to rest their main guys tonight, so the Bucks may have it easy tonight. I think the Bucks own the tie breaker between Heat. So bring on D-Wade.

Hawk n the Ham

April 14th, 2010
10:06 am

Big Ray, nice post brother!

My favorite comes from the Marvin block, “flashes of unfulfilled promise”. Thats the best adjetive prose on Marvin yet!

Astro Joe

April 14th, 2010
10:38 am

Melvin, I like Amir and wouldn’t mind seeing him added to the squad next year.

There are several SFs that I would like to consider to push Marvin (if he’s not traded in the summer). Guys like Matt Barnes, Rashard Butler, Craig Smith, Bobby Simmons, Jarvis Hayes, Bostie Nachbar, Trenton Hassell, Devean George, Damien Wilkins and of course, Josh Childress. If Dominic McGuire is available, go get him immediately, dude is a bigger version of Mario West.

niremetal

April 14th, 2010
10:40 am

Melvin,

I think we sell out games against either team. And even if we don’t, I am worried about the prospect of a first-round rematch with Miami…I think that Wade, Beasley, and the refs would work us over good this year. Better to have the revenues from 2 rounds of playoff basketball instead of 1…

Astro Joe

April 14th, 2010
11:10 am

I’m sure the ASG would spin it differently, but ultimately, they just promoted a guy who has achieved 1 playoff appearance (and swept) in 10+ years of hockey. I’m not a hockey fan but that certainly doesn’t speak well for accountability in the business offices. Also interesting to read that the Thrashers coach (now ex-coach) only had a 2-year contract…. I wonder if that is a standard for most hockey coaches… seems like it would be challenging to take an ever-rebuilding hockey team and produce results in 2 seasons.

I hope Teague gets 30+ minutes tonight…. assuming that he can stay out of foul trouble (I think he picked up 2 quick ones in his start against the Nets a few weeks ago).

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
11:12 am

Nire,

Between DWade and Lebron, I don’t know which one I dislike the most. I agree Miami would be a tougher opponent but I want to see this team push and see how they will respond. If they can’t beat Miami in the 1st round then they desire to be home…

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
11:22 am

Astro,

I would like to have Chills back as well. I like McGuire as well. He’s not shabby on the offense side with the ball either. And Craig Smith is more of a PF than SF but I know how you like your wide tweener and he’s definitely that. Thru Mike Miller name as a backup SF as well.

niremetal

April 14th, 2010
11:35 am

Astro,

You’re kidding right? Getting “promoted” from GM to President is no promotion at all. That’s a common face-saving way of switching horses – ostensibly “promoting” the current head man to a technically higher but in reality less impactful role in the organization. Waddell was calling the player personnel shots before. Now he won’t be. It’s no different than all the times that political candidates “promote” their campaign managers to “Campaign Chairman” when they need to make a change.

For most teams, the “President” of the team has little-to-no role in player personnel. They ostensibly deal with marketing and other aspects of the “business” side of running a team, but in reality most of that is handled by outside firms. In fact, the Hawks and Thrashers didn’t even have a team President for the past 3 years and they’re not alone in that regard – most famously, the Celtics operated with Red Auerbach as President for years after he had stopped being anything but a photo op, and then let the position lie unfilled for more than a year after his death, which tells you how vital the position is. Anyway, the real power lies with the GM, who is usually either the “VP for Player Personnel” or “Executive VP.”

Astro Joe

April 14th, 2010
12:33 pm

nire, I understand that he lost player personnel control (directly0 but he obviously maintains a job with some influence on the organization. Being called President is significantly better than being called unemployed.

O'Brien

April 14th, 2010
12:35 pm

AJ, nire,

I’m not a hockey fan, and I know this is not a hockey blog, but I wanted to chime in.

Even if it’s not a promotion, why is Waddell still on payroll? 1 playoff appearance in 10 years, and he’s been calling the shots since 1998 (day 1). Hiring and firing different coaches, bad drafts, bad trades and bad signings. And look at where the Thrashers have picked in the first round.

1999 – #1,
2000 – #2
2001 – #1
2002 – #2,
2003 – #8,
2004 – #10
2005 – #16
2006 – #12
2007 – No first rounders
2008 – #3
2009 – #4
And this year, they will pick #8.

If this was basketball, the GM (and probably team president too) would have been fired a long time ago.

As for bench players, Brandon Bass is not getting much PT on Orlando’s bench, and we could use a guy like that. Hawks will need to maximize their first round pick.

I like Mike Miller (bad defense and all) because he is a reliable shooter, and that’s one of the Hawks needs. Somebody to knock down the open shot consistently (which Marvin can’t do).

Hawks could have gone after Matt Barnes last year, but we always seem a day late and a dollar short.

With JJ a free agent, Mo possibly opting out, Chills possibly opting out, it will be interesting to see what kind of moves Sund makes.

G-Money

April 14th, 2010
12:52 pm

A very good season, there were moments of greatness, and moments of frustration. The main key is they stayed together as a team. Going forward, if the can energize, play defense, and share the ball- this playoff run can get very interesting. Presuming they make it through the first round, does Coach Woodson think about possibly starting Zsa Zsa and bringing Marvin off the bench for better size match-ups?

niremetal

April 14th, 2010
1:03 pm

Stay tuned, I’ve got another 500 word post that points out the obvious coming very soon…

I love you Ray! Do you approve of me? I need, I NEED!

dr.maryb

April 14th, 2010
1:07 pm

G-Money

I like that IDEA re: starting ZSA & going BIG! I’ve seen that combo – it gives the opponents BIG problems:

Looks like ASG is firing people! Maybe CLYDE & JeJe should become Hockey Fans & blog over there, since they like firing people. Wonder how many times they’ve been fired from their jobs after getting better each year?

niremetal

April 14th, 2010
1:41 pm

O’Brien,

Matt Barnes is another example of “the grass is always greener” mentality. He would not be an upgrade over Mo Evans. He is two inches taller, yes, but he is slower, weaker, less athletic, and a worse shooter. And he can’t guard any 2s. There’s a reason he only got the BAE as a free agent last year – he’s not very good. I’d rather have signed Stackhouse, who would have come $800k cheaper (after the NBA reimbursement scheme) and would provide a skill set we needed more (a second offensive threat with a reliable jumper off the bench).

I know a lot of people around here think that Mo is rubbish, but he’s at least the equal of Barnes/Pietrus/Dudley/etc – the guys that are often brought up as potential off-the-bench swingmen.

The only one that irks me still is Stack. I still don’t get why we went with Hunter/West instead of him.

vava74

April 14th, 2010
1:59 pm

I predicted 57 wins.

We fell short, IMO, due to Woody’s shortcomings as a coach:

If he had used his bench just a tad more, ditched the switching defense when the opponent exploited it and actually drew a play (ANY) at the end of games we would have won 57-60 games.

It’s easy to dismiss the quality of our roster, but I don’t:

1. JJ is one of the most balanced players in the league (for me, a clear top 10 player), both excellent on offense and defense, a true workhorse and a good character.

His only problem is that he is not very vocal and does not work the refs to get more calls (all that conversation that he does not promote contact is only about 30% right – JJ gets whacked constantly and never gets the calls).

2. Josh has blossomed into one of the few game changing players in the league.

Yes, he still takes many bonehead decisions (jump shots, complaining, careless passing, carrying the ball across the line, not boxing out and neglecting to rebound), but very few players can turn a game around both on defense and offense like he does.

His put back dunk to win the game against the Magic is one of the most incredible plays I ever seen.

I was – and continue to be to some extent – very critical, but his growth has been tremendous and clearly we have no option – being in the end a good one – but to accept his quirks.

3. Al has evolved into one of the most versatile big men in the NBA, able to defend 5 positions effectively (not perfectly), a dependable scorer and rebounder and clearly of excellent character.

He is the only top tier C in the league which is able to play the switching defense effectively and if I were a GM I would not trade him EVER.

4. Jamal is the best 6th man in the league right now and it is only a shame that his defense is not a little bit better (I am not talking Battier stuff, merely above average).

He can score in almost any situation and if only he curbed his enthusiasm for the 3 pointer when his shot is clearly off and used more of his middle range game in those occasions, he would be shooting 50%+ from the field and 45%+ from 3 point land.

Also, he also seems to be of excellent character.

5. Marvin is indeed a disappointment, however, he is also very effective as a switch defender, rarely compromising.

Since his role has been greatly diminished due to Jamal’s role (less minutes and less shots) the fact that his numbers have dipped is natural.

He is the weak link of the front court, but nonetheless, since does not compromise on the defensive end, he ends up being useful.

6. Zaza and Mo are both very serviceable bench players who, unfortunately, have been poorly used by Woody.

They are classical examples of players which produce when given meaningful minutes. If you look at both’s game logs you will see that their production increases significantly more than geometrically with regard to the minutes increase (when they play the double of the minutes, they triple their production).

Skeptics and professional “Woody apologeticals” like Astro will say that they played more when they played better, however, this is simply not true: they had very little opportunities to play better since their shifts – in particular earlier in the season – were extremely short, regardless of their production.

Also, Mo has been forced to play in the wrong position: sure he can play against some SF but against many others he is clearly undersized and much better suited to play the SG slot.

I, for instance, would sponsor a move to the starting SG spot with JJ playing the SF slot. Everyone would benefit from this.

7. Teague has quality and in my opinion the “IT” factor. Woody has managed his minutes and in particular how he paired him in the rotations atrociously.

He could have made significant strides and be ready to contribute in the playoffs (at least 5-10 minutes per) instead of that how he plays now: afraid of being yanked immediately after a mistake, completely overwhelmed with the speed and agility of the pro game and still looking for his comfort zone.

Even so, he is by far more effective driving and dishing than Bibby and keeping himself in front of quick PGs and this should have been used and developed during the season.

8. Bibby is a classical case of a vet being so unfairly protected by his coach that he is now comfortable about all his shortcomings and not motivated to get himself into actual game shape.

His 1st quarter explosions (2 during the past 2 or 3 games) followed by blanks are a clearcut sign that his legs are completely gone and his preparation deficient.

He should be loosing weight and mass instead of the opposite and he has been completely useless when he used to be clutch: at the end of games.

His rotational minutes should be limited to 20-25 minutes, eventually to start the game and when in need of 3 point shooting, to close games or paired with a big line up which would not play switch D, allowing him to funnel his man to someone instead to an open lane like he does now.

9. JoeS’ rotations have been managed by Woody in an appalling way completely foiling the purpose of his hiring. In several occasions when he had a strong showing in the first half, Woody would not use him in the second.

When he gets more than just a couple of minutes in the court and he has the opportunity to move, we can see a cloud of rust flying around and flashes of the bench player he can still be.

He could have been a “PJ Brown” for us during the season. Let’s hope that he can still pull it off in the playoffs.

10. Collins showed flashes of his potential against Shaq. I would even consider using the word “humiliated” for what Shaq looked and if not for the refs, I would have considered that his stint against Howard was not that bad (he had a perfect swipe converted into a foul).

There are not many teams with physical and big centers around, however, Collins has proven to be a good defensive C in the past. I am sure that properly used he could have help us in spot situations.

11. RandMo is yet another case that annoys me. He has very good offensive moves and we could have tried to use him every once in a while when he had offensive droughts.

I think he could develop into a poor man’s version of James Edwards who had very nifty offensive moves and was a big man/low post version of Vinny Johnson.

I am not saying that he is not a perennial bust and that he is not worth his pay slip, however, I refuse to believe that a guy who was such a highly coveted prospect does not have enough bball inside him.

At the very least, he should have been assigned to the Utah NBDL team in order to see if he was willing to make the sacrifice necessary to develop his game and as a final wake up call for him to see, first hand, that being in the NBA, even as a utility/bench player is a huge privilege.

12. Mario is Mario. The exact opposite of players like RandMo and a nice way to remind the privileged and talent ones of what it is like to be in the NBDL.

MannyT

April 14th, 2010
2:27 pm

Thanks for the blog research @niremetal. Every now and then I get one right.

I suspect tonight’s game will be a fancy scrimmage with extra door prizes for fan appreciation night.

I’d like to throw a twist into the conversation…is the 3rd seed a bad thing for ownership? As things stand now, 4th seed gets revenue from games w/Miami & Wade. If you get past that, you get LeBron games. On the other hand we get to sell John Salmons, Brandon Jennings, and the tenacity of Scott Skiles. If we get by that round, it’s Orlando, which is a better game, but they don’t draw like Cleveland.

Playoff revenue is usually more profitable than regular season revenue due to higher prices and better competition.

Better Woody, less cash…sounds like a commercial for…never mind.

BWAF

doc

April 14th, 2010
4:34 pm

amen to that manny t d wade and lebron all the way when it comes to curb appeal. d howard is just not a draw even though he is superman. those seats are going to be a hard sell is my guess as third seed if we dont have miami on the bill.

Big Ray

April 14th, 2010
8:09 pm

Nire ,

I think a lot of people have seen Mo play like rubbish, but the last couple of months he’s been on it. Funny that he mentioned his minutes having something to do with it. Anyway, he’s a player and I’d rather have him at the 2 than 3. Having said that, I’d like another guy like him (only more prototypical SF size) in addition to him, on the roster.

If he leaves, we’re replacing his slot, not necessarily replacing him. When he came, people talked about him replacing Childress, something I never saw him as being capable of doing. To me, that was an unfair comparison all the way.

Astro Joe ,

One name that stands out on your list to me is Craig Smith. Another is Dominic McGuire. Good picks, bro’. Good picks.

drmaryb ,

It’s all love, gal! Hoping to see our reserves make a game of it tonight, but we’ve already got that 3rd seed wrapped up.

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
8:12 pm

Side note:

Just noticed that Kevin Durant will become the youngest player ever to lead the league in scoring. Can’t help but think did Portland pull another Sam Bowie/Jordan by taking Oden over Durant. Could you imagine Roy and Durant as a tag tteam. Hmmmm, I bet Drexler/Jordan wouldnt have been a bad combo neither….

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
8:14 pm

Teague starting tonite but Bibby dress out as well. Lets see if Woody can fight the temptation not to play him…

doc

April 14th, 2010
8:34 pm

as much i liked sheed this is why i am glad he wasnt coveted by sund to sign him for this year. the guy is absent too often during games even if he is inside the lines.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Rasheed-Wrong-Way-Wallace-tips-in-a-sho?urn=nba,234155

Big Ray

April 14th, 2010
8:37 pm

Reserves seem to be doing okay so far.

Melvin

April 14th, 2010
8:39 pm

Once Teague start converting more of his shots around the basket, look out. Tony Parker 2.0

Big Ray

April 14th, 2010
8:39 pm

Melvin ,

Hate it for Portland, but they’re still a pretty dang good team. And now I will say something that is evil, nasty, and dastardly. JJ and Roy wouldn’t have been a bad tandem either. Or Deron and JJ, or…

Let me stop.