In this together

53 wins.

That’s been the answer for any question or challenge in regard to what the Atlanta Hawks tend to do in games. It has worked for 53 wins. Should any of us be surprised at what we saw in game 5, or just disappointed? You would probably get a different answer from fans as you would from players, or coaches for that matter. The problem, of course, is that what has gotten the Hawks to 53 wins in the regular season, does not seem to be getting them to 4 wins in a playoff series. Or maybe I’ve got that backwards. It’s what they’ve managed to overcome for 53 wins that is hurting them now. That “what” seems to be a myriad of things. The usual buzz words are floating around- “energy”, “focus”, “execution”, and a host of others.

Cliches, all of them.

Yet in the midst of our doldrums, we have to remember that the series is not yet over, even if it feels like it is. Not officially, anyway.

Piecing it Together

After winning the first two games, it’s like the Hawks thought they had it all in the bag. Only, that doesn’t make sense when considering how they’ve played on the road this year. They proved they could lose in anybody’s arena, at any time. So they came out flat and disinterested for the most part in game 3, and got a royal spanking for their efforts (or lack thereof). Then came game 4, where they remembered to bring the energy and effort, but forgot execution. Fast forward to game 5, and the execution is there, but not for the entire game, much less when it counted most.

Atlanta just cannot seem to bring the total game all at once. In the regular season, a 3 game losing streak isn’t all that bad. In the regular season, you have time to bounce back. The playoffs are different. Lose three games, and you are on the brink. Lose three in a row and you are all but finished. Only the most mentally tough teams seem to be able to manage this, and even then, not many of them do. Are the Hawks that tough? A big question, and one that may already have the inevitable answer. Only one thing is certain in this series right now, and that would be that the Milwaukee Bucks’ toughness can’t be questioned. Down 0-2, the Bucks stormed back and took the fight right to the Hawks’ doorfront. Then they kicked the door down. Now the fight goes back on the road, in front of a raucous crowd that will cheer every good Bucks play, and jeer every Hawks gaffe. Oh, and they’ll probably have some very special signs made up for Josh Smith.

 

Against all Odds

Remember when this was supposed to be Milwaukee, what with the loss of center Andrew Bogut? The shoe is now on the other foot. Now it’s Atlanta that is trying to beat the odds. The odds that they can win on the road. That they can come from behind, late in a playoff series. They they can play the total game from start to finish.

You would think that an inspiring road win (if it happens) may lead to a triumphant return home, where the Hawks could close things out and head to the second round. But even if that does happen, will it be all that triumphant? Will the Hawks be the better for it? Or will they be tired, disillusioned, and ready prey for the Orlando Magic, possibly even succumbing to a second straight round 2 sweep? Maybe we’re just entertaining dark thoughts, rather than showing faith in our team, as Bucks fans showed faith in theirs (ok, maybe it’s just me with the dark thoughts here).

How about the team? What would their perspective be? Do they have enough moxie, enough heart, to want vengeance? Surely they want to prove that capturing the third seed in the playoffs was more about what they earned and gained, rather than what the Boston Celtics lost. Clearly they would want to show that they are indeed improved, and that 53 regular season wins was no aberration. Having missed the opportunity to do this in games 3, 4, and 5, the Hawks now find themselves with all of this and more on the line in game 6.

A tough lesson before moving on, or a swan song of a supposed bird of prey? Which do we get to see on Friday?

Whichever it is, the Hawks are in this together. Maligned coach, soon-to-be free agent star, and all.

 

 

232 comments Add your comment

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
4:00 pm

Nire,

I wouldnt bet the rent money on the Hawks….

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
4:03 pm

OB, you mean Nelson exceeded his regular season performance against Felton and Augustin? So just being young, quick and utilized consistently during the regular season isn’t always enough to stop the opposing team’s PG? Say it ain’t so.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
4:07 pm

nire, just because one law firm has the resources to look under every rock doesn’t mean that the evidence they find refutes the lesser evidence of the less-resourced law firm. Or in my case (again), I;m not wasting my time searching for playoff success predictors that are baselined against best-in-class teams.

Y’all ain’t making me work on the blog too. Dammit!

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
4:18 pm

Astro,

You must admit that Sekou pretty much threw Woody under the bus…lol

doc

April 29th, 2010
4:18 pm

o’b we might be able to agree but what is the point on mentioning teague to me?

MannyT

April 29th, 2010
4:56 pm

@Melvin, I think the bloggers are often at each others necks. Most often in the summer, but it happens all year around when we are not on a major winning streak. You think Sekou’s opinions might have anything to do with his scoop about Woody’s departure that mysteriously departed a few years ago. Not a grudge thing, but a freedom from suppressed opinion as a national writer that might have not worked when he was the local beat writer.

@doc, yes there was money spent on Bibby, but the difference between the NBA and MLB are the trade rules. It’s easy to trade a baseball player for a goat, 3 bats, and a 2017 prospect. In the NBA, you have to have a little salary matching, which often leads to talent mismatches. Chills deal would have been the same year as Josh Smith’s and before Marvin. I think they could have fit it in under the luxury tax, but I don’t think it was appealing to Sund. After Chills left, he immediatly spent about $4 mil (total on Mo Evans & Flip Murray). If that had been Chills and a minimum deal, the difference was probably about 3 mil. That would have put the Hawks within a few dollars of the luxury tax.

My opinion, if BK were GM, Chills would still be here. However, I doubt the Crawford deal happens. Not sure what would have become of Bibby last summer.

Anyhow–One of the most interesting things about Friday’s game is that the Hawks are definitely the better team–on paper. I don’t recall the last time the Hawks were the better team on paper and had their backs aginst the wall. It will be historic or hysteric, depending on the outcome.

…and on an unrelated note, kudos to Marvin for having his best playoff game in the midst of all the chaos.

BWAF

O'Brien

April 29th, 2010
5:22 pm

doc,

I think I got my wires crossed up.

Big Ray

April 29th, 2010
5:25 pm

I seem to remember Rick Sund talking about acquiring Jamal Crawford, and how one of the things that made his acquisition so attractive is what Jamal was able to do in the 4th quarter. Well, we saw evidence of that all through the regular season.

We have yet to see it in the playoffs.

Big Ray

April 29th, 2010
5:28 pm

Melvin ,

Naw. Sekou just happened to notice Woody at the wheel of the wrecked bus. And he did what any self-respecting journalist would do. He pointed it out. ;)

Big Ray

April 29th, 2010
5:37 pm

Melvin ,

The jump shot thing continues to elude me as well. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I understand that Teague very badly needs to work on his jumper. But so many times I’ve heard about his jumper and his defense, and how horrible he is at both, and somehow this is an explanation (often times the ONLY explanation) for why he hasn’t gotten many minutes.

Yet we watch a smarter coach with a playoff team play a rookie pg who shot 37% from the season. This kid gets the majority of his scores by using his quickness to get to the basket. He gets lost on defense as much as any other rookie (unless of course, you want to tell me he has shut his counterparts down throughout the season, and the playoffs as well). But he does get steals. Sound familiar?

I never called for Teague to start, but would even 15 mpg have killed us? If playing him more in a few more games made us a better team but actually did contribute to losing a few more regular season games (and I’m still not sure it would have) have been worth the cost? I think so, in a series where we can’t stop a rookie pg who is quicker than anybody on our roster (except Teague), yet has a streaky, unreliable jumper, and is not defensive dynamo (though he does often give the effort).

How many games did Jennings shoot the Bucks out of, as Ridnour had to come off the bench and supplant him, restoring order.

Crystal ball never has worked, but I could see Teague improving over time on the court. Eh…we’ll just have to wait until next year. Meanwhile, I hope he works hard over the summer…

MannyT

April 29th, 2010
5:48 pm

@Ray, so the car wreck in Milwaukee was more of a literal thing for the Hawks. ;-)

As for team chemistry, seems that Zaza & RandMo didn’t get the memo that they are 13 armies of one and not one army of 13 when they went to see Jamal get his award.

I guess the playoffs show that all differences are not good ones. Jamal needs to step up.

It was interesting to see that Lorenzen Wright left his mark on the team as they were so creative as to put popcorn in Teague’s car. :roll: At least mix it up a little bit and get those packing peanuts…no oil/butter in the ride.

BWAF

doc

April 29th, 2010
7:05 pm

and where is the leadership of bibby lately or last night when jj fouled out. wasnt he the answer to the problem of ball movement, overall direction and the guy who could call out his teammates when necessary? where has bibby gone except to show some flash early in games to not be heard from.

glad to know rand mo is still around, havent heard his name in a long time.

zaza wanted to make a major contribution as a second unit this year, guess woody didnt quite see it that way. seems like essentially we are playing a 6 man rotation and they are using a 9 man rotation with their two all stars injured. tell me what is wrong here and am i missing something?

manny t my point on bibby is we took on a huge amount of salary and got rid of salary that was expiring anyway, no? that limited what we could ultimately offer chills and maybe find a point guard on the market as well that year all within a budget of 15 mil that bibby cost us, no? that would have still kept us under the cap. yes, maybe we dont get crawford this year and get stackhouse instead and have a reliable point guard that is a leader a very flexible 6th man in chills and maybe one other player. we also wouldnt have 6 mil locked up for 2 more years in bibby whose wheels came off before he got here. we backed into that thing with the collapse of the pacers two years ago if memory serves me. not sure we wouldnt have done as well with a j as he looked pretty good when given the chance to drive the magic bus last year until his coach made the mistake to bench him. bibby was hurting bad after he came for several games and not at full speed. not sure why folks think his limping around made us that much better as our overall per cent win rate didnt improve that much with him. just saying. old history i know but it has ham strung us now and in the future unless bibby gets some of your magic beans.

doc

April 29th, 2010
7:20 pm

one other thing, i dont know it if it is true but i quit listening to woody a long time ago. maybe his team hasnt quit on him as i have been prone to say and note. unfortunately, i think they have stopped listening to him and that is just as disastrous.

now, did woody go to the 6th man award presentation?

O'Brien

April 29th, 2010
7:44 pm

Doc,

I liked the bibby trade because it increased our chances of making the playoffs.

However, I was not a fan of resigning bibby last offseason (especially if we are giving him a third year guarantee).

Interestingly enough, if it wasn’t for the Pacers and bibby, woody might not have gotten that 2 year extension.

My question is, for a team that has had the same starting lineup for almost 3 seasons, the same HC for the last 6 years (Josh, Marvin jj, and zaza have also been here a while), so why do we look so disorganized and lost at times?

EVOLONE

April 29th, 2010
7:51 pm

Josh Smith and the rest of the Hawks need to know that there is something to do in Milwaukee it called…………………………………………….WIN……..try that out for a change.

niremetal

April 29th, 2010
7:52 pm

Ray,

Of course, in order for playing Teague to make any difference at ALL defensively, we’d have to stop switching. And we know how likely THAT is…

doc

April 29th, 2010
8:10 pm

good point nire. we want folks to switch right?

o’b i say we get there anyway without bibby. it wasnt a rush of wins that got us there is my point.

doc

April 29th, 2010
8:20 pm

since this was just posted by MC i wasnt plagerizing him earlier but it seems he is making a similar point about bibby.

from MC:

“The Hawks would be a different team with someone like ‘Zo. Mike Bibby certainly has the pedigree to be that guy but his role has diminished and he may not have the personality for it. Joe Johnson is the team’s star but he seems to be a quiet type. Smoove, Al, and Marvin are too young still.”

sadly bibby is not exuding that brashness that he brought. not sure why he has delegated himself to a lesser role for the team of being the guy who has been there and shake things up like he did in boston but with his teammates but he hasnt. he looks disinterested right now like he wants the season to be over and that may be where this whole yeam is that has folded right in front of our eyes. at this stage you have to be ready to do anything to keep the season alive. i just dont see it in these guys, sorry just dont.

where is the swagger?

doc

April 29th, 2010
9:05 pm

nire, about that cheap owner label. didnt we have the lowest payroll in the league for four years until they opted to pay up when bibby came in? werent we at the bottom of the expenditure list and hovering around minmum cap? we really had to sign jj to meet payroll obligations is the way i saw it so there wasnt a debacle like signing kenny anderson and one of the over the hill barry brothers to meet payroll. we had to spend that money and what better way, if he hadnt been signed after the cba where things happened fst we would have had nothing but a bloated payroll for who we would have had to sign. i guess four years att he bottom of the payroll list did seem to be cheap to me but of course it was part of the plan as they brought in draftee after draftee say instead of holding on to some of the bigs that slipped through our hands or the occasional sheed who was sent away for nothing or the delk debacle where he was paid to not play to fill payroll. maybe you can analyze it otherwise but they were the cheapest owners around for four years werent they?

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:06 pm

Melvin, Sekou most certainly did not hold back and he most definitely threw Woody under the bus, the RV and the tractor traylor (I wonder how much he weighs these days).

But, I hope y’all also heard him say “they don’t hold each other accountable”… and he was referencing the players. As I said earlier today, if we hire Red Auerbach but continue to miss the leader(s) that ensure peer accountability, our success will not likely match the team’s talent. Let’s see if Sund makes an attempt to address that gaping hole this summer.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:25 pm

Mike Woodson

April 29th, 2010
9:28 pm

Okay guys, okay! Yes we are all in this together. But I have got one game to get this right. I know I said we only made one pass on offense last night, thats the play I called, yes I call plays, well at least one; you guys figured it out a long time ago, yes “Iso Joe”. After Joe fouled out I had to go to option 2 “Iso Jamal”. I know I usually blame the defense for our inability to hold a 9 point lead with 3:22 to play, but since we did not score from the 4 minute mark to the 19 second mark, I thought I would change up and blame the offense.

I finally admit it looks like the jig is up! I mean I tried to make them think I would be going to Philly, so they would offer me a contract, but I did not see us losing at home, since we won 37 games at the “Highlight Factory”. I want to thank my good friend Larry Brown for dropping that rumor. I was sure with a win I would have a contract before we went back to Milwaukee.

My hat is off to Scott Skiles for exposing my defensive flaws for all to see. I mean usually if you switch everything, the offensive guy is never able to just turn the corner, but if you get us tired from all the switching, run the shot clock down and end up with your guard on our bigs, you will have a clear advantage to go to the rim, while the other players stay home on there man; I really believe it sound because they are at the end of the shot clock. Also, switching your bigs off on Bibby at the end of the shot clock is also pretty cute Scott!

So this guy name Wink has been saying I should start my bench players, since they play with more urgency & fear of me than the “Fear of the Deer”. Seems some guy named Wilken won a championship in Seattle by starting his bench players. So I have one game, and nothing to lose. Maybe Teague can start to defend Jennings, really he has to be better then having Bibby, Horford or Josh chasing him. I think giving Marvin the assignment of shadowing Salmons, all over the court could limit his touches. I Jamal can also start too, since the season is over & he has won the sixth man award, we can put him on the floor to start. Now I need bigs, hmmm…I still start Horford, but at power forward on defense, save his fouls. I am start Collins at center, since he is old school enough to knock the crap out of Kurt Thomas, bang him early and often. Now I starting to see how this could work, we would have designated scorers, rebounders, and good defense from the start. Allow my regular starters to come off the bench to destroy their second unit. If I understand this correctly, I then put the best possible unit on the floor to close the deal in the 4th. That’s when I am suppose to earn my keep as a Coach….yeah I get it now! I demand they move the ball, I am the Coach. I tell Josh if he hoist that 3 pointer, with the game in the balance…I am yanking his a$$ out… don’t let Mo or Josh close out the game. Then I tell JJ it contract time…go get it! Everybody else crash the boards, now I can use Joe Smith with all his veteran savy to help take us home and reward Marvin for his efforts by resting him next to me. Going offense defense as the game dictates. Put Josh & Horford in the paint, where we have an obvious advantage. In put the directive, “No Layups”, why because I am the Coach, if only for this one game….yeah that’s the ticket. I can get my own sign “Fear the Crow”.

Honestly, though fans, I have had a good run from 13 to 53 wins, I apologize for the 1 for 10 record on the road during the playoffs, but after Friday maybe it will be 2 for 11. I promise not to call a time out, if just for a day I will act like Phil and let the team play. I now see we get nothing out of time outs and I promise win or lose, I want make excuses and blame players for not moving the ball, after all they are running the one play I taught them. If I can remember, I will try not to have Horford & Josh or Mo shooting 3’s with the game on the line. Oh yeah before I forget, I will remind the player to play with energy for 48 minutes like Skiles does, especially in the 4th quarter…oh oh yeah we will box out on the defensive end of the floor. If they get someone extremely hot during the game I will make sure to put Mario for at least a couple minutes or til all his fouls are used, since he is our best defender.

Got to go now to make sure all the players are in; I will do a double check on Josh to make sure he is not on the town. Wish us well tomorrow! If we lose see you when I see you!!! “Fear the Crow”

Coach Woodson

O'Brien

April 29th, 2010
9:29 pm

AJ,

Thats similar to what MC posted in his blog. That the Hawks need a player like Zo to tighten them up, because Woody will tell them one thing, and then 10 minutes later, their messing up again (which reinforces the point that we can’t put all the blame on Woody. Players still have to execute).

The interesting thing however, was that MC said he wrote that blog 2 weeks after he was assigned to the Hawks. So in 2 weeks, he could already see that the Hawks didnt have someone to hold the players accountable.

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
9:43 pm

Astro,

Maybe you should read MC blog. He talk about how this team need a player like Zo. A no nonsense vet that could lead the troops in the lockerroom and on the court. And I agree with him totally. Maybe we should sign Ben Wallace and Grant Hill this offseason. Two vets that could be vocal on and off the court and still have some game left in the tank….

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:48 pm

OB, I’d guess that any experienced beat writer who has covered a team sport can recognize a leadership void. Imagine if you were a beat writer and suddenly were transferred to cover the Kansas City Royals… wouldn’t one of the first things you’d try to learn is who is the team leader? And isn’t that the player you’d most like to build a relationship with so that you can write the best articles for your employer? I’m guessing that MC kept looking around and came up with blank stares and/or empty words.

doc

April 29th, 2010
9:51 pm

guys, again why not bibby for that role? he has cleaned up financially the last two years since he got here.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:53 pm

OB & Melvin, I’ll read it but surely you guys aren’t surprised to know about the void, are you? It’s certainly been mentioned by many bloggers. Watch any successful team during TOs and you’ll often see the team’s leader barking as much as the coach. Heaven knows, a guy like Chauncey Billups is constantly in his teammates’ ear (along with kenyon, and Melo is the team’s best player). And who have you seen do that for the Hawks over the past few years, and specifically in a big game/tight situation? Likely, no one.

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
9:56 pm

The Mavs were down 21pts to the Spurs in a closeout game and they coach have enough guts to play a rookie PG (25th pick) who spark the team to comeback and take a 1pt lead in the 3rd qtr. Mean while in Hawksland, our PG should get much playing time b/c his head coach did get playing time when he was a rookie….SMDH

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:57 pm

doc, you well know that leadership is less about someone’s contract and more about their personality and natural leadership skills. IMO, Bibby brought this team confidence and some swagger… but I don’t think that he has the personality nor desire to lead his peers.

Do y’all remember Sam Cassell… that’s the kind of guy I’m talking about.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
9:59 pm

Melvin, maybe in our close out game if we’re down by 25, Woody will use his “last resort” too. That’s essentially the scenario you just painted… desperate times require…

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
9:59 pm

Also, the Spurs headcoach (who has 4 rings) has his all star PG coming off the bench playing behind a 2nd year player who was drafted in 2nd round (38th).

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

Astro,
We was down 20+ pts in game 3 and we didnt see Teague until late in the 4th qtr. So no, i don’t expect to see him play tommorrow nite unless the Hawks are up by 20+ with a few mins left in the 4th.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
10:10 pm

I thouht you mentioned a close out game, not when we’re up 2-0. Did I miss something?

O'Brien

April 29th, 2010
10:11 pm

AJ,

Us bloggers have had this discussion for years, because JJ is a lead by example guy, Horford and Josh are still young, Bibby is not that guy (and we havent seen anything from Joe Smith).

If us fans and the beat writer sees it, I wonder if Sund has also noticed it? And regardless of whether we resign Woody or not, Sund needs to sign a player to help fill that leadership void.

Melvin,

I think Grant Hill loves it in Phoenix, and Wallace will probably want to stay in Detroit. I think Wallace could be a fit here, but If Miami does not resign Haslem, thats the guy I want.

Even when the hawks are down 20 points (especially if its early), Woody still believes his starters give us the best chance at winning (even if they are the ones who gave up the 20 point lead in the first place).

In Woody’s words to Sekou, “we are not going to change what we do”.

doc

April 29th, 2010
10:12 pm

durant is the anti-melo. heh heh

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
10:23 pm

Astro,

If the we are down by 20 tomorrow night, I want you to help Woody clean out his office on Saturday morning.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
10:24 pm

OB, I’d love Haslem for leadership, but having Hill’s lovely wife (Tamia) in the stands wouldn’t be too bad.

So let’s see… we need to vocal leader, a defensive PG (who won’t mind getting very few minutes) and a perimeter center who can grab defensive boards. Oh yeah and a coach, SF (starting and back-up) and potentially a replacement for Joe.

Got that Sund, now get to shopping.

Astro Joe

April 29th, 2010
10:26 pm

Melvin, imagine if you were Carlisle, had a luxury-level team, Cuban as your boss, the #2 seed and losing a series 4-1 to your in-state rival. How does that scenario suit you?

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
10:30 pm

Is it me or did Woody paint the same example with two different results? Dang, no wonder the players are clueless at times and don’t pay attention while Woody scribble maddest on the chalkboard…LMAO

““The first two games we sacrificed the ball,” Woodson said. “If the ball goes inside and they don’t double you, go play. If they don’t double, then kick the ball [out]. It’s simple.””

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
10:35 pm

Astro,

At least it’s a veteran team that has the same head coach and it’s big 3 who all won 4 championship rings together. Better that than being down 3-2 and have to win a closeout road game to a lower seed team missing 2 all star caliber players and rookie PG.

doc

April 29th, 2010
10:38 pm

looks like melvin called and raised on that one astro. and i dont know gambling.

O'Brien

April 29th, 2010
10:48 pm

If you’re Mark Cuban, what do you do?

I know its the Spurs, but the Mavs have been eliminated in the first round 3 out of the last 4 years (despite changing coaches). If I’m Woody, I’m pointing to the Mavs to help my case. Different coach, same result. I can’t help but wonder maybe Dirk is just not good enough to carry a team.

Bill Simmons wondered if the Mavs would have been better off if they had kept Devin Harris, their two #1 picks, and the additional $10 mil they would have saved. Because what has Jason Kidd done for them?

As for tomorrow’s game, Pressure is on the Bucks, because if they dont win tomorrow, it will be hard for them to win game 7 at our place.

But there is also pressure on the Hawks and Woody not to lose to the #6 seed without its 2 best players, after being up 2-0.

As much as I have been on Woody, this series is not over yet. (FWIW, If the Hawks lose tomorrow, then I think Woody should not be resigned).

However, I am hoping Woody coaches his best game of the season, and I’m hoping the players play their best game of the season.

Lets bring game 7 back to ATL.

niremetal

April 29th, 2010
10:51 pm

Doc,

First off, the Hawks only had the league’s lowest payroll once – in 2006-2007. They were near the bottom in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 (in which only the 2nd year expansion Bobcats were lower), but weren’t dead last. After the Bibby trade in 2007-2008, they basically came back to the pack.

As for those four years, well they were rebuilding. And there’s two approaches you can take to rebuilding/retooling when you are in the position the Hawks were in back in 2002-2003. Approach 1 is the model of perpetually retooling yourself by trades and MLE signings (which the Kings and pre-Donnie Walsh Knicks did). Approach 2 is to blow up the team, collect draft picks, and clear cap space to sign a couple free agents.

The Hawks did one of the more extreme versions of Approach 2 in recent memory, but many teams go down to barebones payroll levels for a couple years when they’re trying to rebuild. IMHO, having a higher payroll when you’re trying to rebuild is generally a bad idea, since being anywhere in the vicinity of the cap prevents you from signing free agents or trading for players with high salaries. If you’d rather the Hawks have spent their payroll signing several more Speedy Claxtons in order to beef up the payroll, you wouldn’t be alone. But I think that’s a terrible way to rebuild a franchise, and it’s really the only way to increase payroll when you’re a team in the cellar – keep signing guys to the MLE. But that can backfire when those MLE guys turn out to be busts and you’re stuck with a bunch of $6M/yr long-term contracts (that’s the position the Wizards find themselves in now).

The Hawks’ approach to rebuilding was to save its money so that when the opportunity arose, they could sign or trade for the players you want. If the Hawks had spent $6M on a free agent in 2004-2005, they wouldn’t have had the cap space to get JJ at all. If they had used the MLE in the summer of 2007, they wouldn’t have been able to trade for Bibby without running afoul of the luxury tax.

Bear in mind that the ASG’s low payroll notwithstanding, they signed Speedy to a cap space (ie greater than MLE) contract in 2006. That was a bad idea. And one need only look at the other guys signing MLE and just-above-MLE contracts during those years (Mike James, Marko Jaric, etc) shows that building payroll for its own sake is rarely a winning strategy.

I agree that the team made bad decisions on HOW they built the team during those years. Really, Knight/Sund/ASG stumbled onto a 50-win roster. But I think that was because of poor personnel decisions, not fiscal stinginess.

niremetal

April 29th, 2010
11:07 pm

Put another way: I think the payroll would have been higher sooner if the Hawks had picked CP3 instead of Marvin. But since Marvin didn’t perform to expectations, they decided it was better to keep the payroll low and keep building through the draft instead of going out and signing more mediocre players for the MLE in the summer of 2006 or 2007 – which might result in more wins in the short term, but rarely help in the long-term for a non-contending team.

Bear in mind that after the signing Speedy, the Hawks were effectively over the cap – that is, the amount of the MLE exceeded the amount of cap space they had, which meant that they couldn’t sign any player for more than the MLE. So any free agent signings would have to be for that amount. And if you go check out the MLE signings during the summers of 2005, 2006, and 2007, I think you’d agree that signing them wouldn’t have gotten us to the playoffs any faster – and even if they did, their contracts would be deadweight right now.

I don’t think they planned to screw up their draft picks and get to where they are now. I think they decided that it would be better to endure a couple more years of not competing for a playoff spot than to panic and spend $25M on Darius Songalia.

HB Ando

April 29th, 2010
11:16 pm

For all of the conspiracy theories you guys glutton yourselves on, none of you ever really pondered that Sekou and Ando both moved on at roughly the same time? Did it never occur to any of you that the guy several of you met, supposedly Ando, might have just been an actor on Sekou’s payroll? That Sekou may have been the writer behind every single Ando post ever written? Yet when Sekou moves on, none of you wonder why Ando was soon to follow?

Nire, thank you for assuming the role of the guy who has to waste inordinate time and words dealing with Astro’s never-ending nonsense.

Better you than me, sir.

Hope you are all well.

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
11:25 pm

Oh my, a HB Ando sighting…. Will he be the Hawks lucky rabbit foot…

Melvin

April 29th, 2010
11:27 pm

HB,

I met you. And you ain’t Sekou and Sekou ain’t you…. Nice to see you are still kicking…

doc

April 29th, 2010
11:29 pm

nire …

“I agree that the team made bad decisions on HOW they built the team during those years. Really, Knight/Sund/ASG stumbled onto a 50-win roster. But I think that was because of poor personnel decisions, not fiscal stinginess.”

truth nire, only belkins was into the stingy way and was adamant they stick to the original plan to not spend. once they fell apart i think stinginess was crucial to keep operating expenses at a minimum until they caught a wiff of the playoffs then made their move to spend more. not saying i blame them just along the way the pockets could have been opened earlier to match jj with something better than rooks coming along.

nire again ….

“Put another way: I think the payroll would have been higher sooner if the Hawks had picked CP3 instead of Marvin.”

agree totally and was what i was saying the other day, not sure they wanted to raise the team up too quickly wanting instead to wait and build slower. just my take on why they put so much into marvin and continued to say point guards arent that important. that was BK’s take as he loaded up on long bodies for his prototype building project. how it turned out still is telling as he isnt judged a success as he continues to be unemployed. that is my guess. some of our colleagues on the blog would have come up with a better team sooner if left to the draft. too many holes in what was actually returned on that investment by draft.

as far as bigs they let go i was not thinking songalia but the guy in carolina nad the other injured in portland. werent they hawks?

nire, you are cutting hairs there, we were within the bottom three for ~4.5 years until the trade was made for bibby. i guess only the bobcats and portland were in our category if memory serves. the minimum was around 39 mil and we were close to it starting with the 2003 season after bk blew up things appropriately and continued there until the winter of 2008. that is a long time for fans to be patient, understandably during a corporate divorce which was a factor.

doc

April 29th, 2010
11:34 pm

ray, now that was as good of an imitation as you have ever come up with only waaaaay tooooo short.

HEH HEH

MannyT

April 30th, 2010
12:31 am

If Ando puts on a red cape and tights, he looks just like Sekou…hmmm

I left out the part about drinking 17 beers or shots and then he looks like Sekou.

Details…

…and I think I’m more likely to find a winning lottery ticket blowing down the street than to find Grant Hill playing for the Hawks.

BWAF