Forget fishing, Hawks have business to conduct

The somewhat ominous lack of sound you aren’t hearing is not the silence before the storm. We’ve already seen the storm. That silence is the collective held breath of the Atlanta Hawks fan base as we all wait to see what general manager Rick Sund says and does.

Head Coach Carousel

You knew this topic was coming, and it’s already hit the general sports columns. I began mentioning Larry Drew as a possible replacement a couple of years ago, before moderating the fan blog. I kept him in mind and mentioned him a day or two ago. Why? Former Hawks beat writer and blogging legend Sekou Smith made mention of him on occasion, and still does (on an NBA.com radio podcast). I personally don’t know what Drew’s coaching style is like, but I find it very interesting that someone who was close to the team felt that differently (and that positively) about him. That alone makes him worth a look, to me. In the meantime, we know the Hawks have trouble grabbing big names of any kind, to do anything. But is grabbing the big name the best way to go? Do you hire Avery Johnson just because his name is Avery Johnson? Don’t get me wrong, I think the man has some coaching substance to him, but there are always doubts, no matter how much you like a guy. He failed to go the distance with a highly talented Dallas team, tends to be the most often mentioned discredit. On the other hand, tell me who has succeeded with that team? Dallas continues to have the same issues it always has had, and Rick Carlisle is the latest to find out what they are. They keep getting knocked out of the playoffs (this time another embarrasing first round punchout). Perhaps Avery wasn’t what was wrong, eh? Who else is available, and what would attract them to this team? We have no idea, really, what the ASG is willing to pay for a different coach. We have no idea how their now-much-quieter situation will affect the thoughts of any potential candidates.

Back to Larry Drew. What Drew represents is what I mentioned a day or so ago. A cheap alternative, but a familiar voice. Perhaps Sund and his bosses want change, but not too much change. Maybe bringing in a totally different regime is too much shock to the system, as it were. Or, maybe that is exactly what is needed. Larry Drew might be able to accomplish a mixture of both, seeing as how he’s been around these guys. Is he the best option?

I’ve always thought that when a general manager comes to take over his duties for a ballclub, he wants to remake things in his own custom way. Sund did not do that when he got here. He did not pluck a coach of his liking out of the air and send Woodson on his way. He waited and watched. I think that was both a smart and fair move, but that’s just my opinion. Apparently it was acceptable to Woodson as well, since he signed the contract. Has Sund had an eventual or “if necessary” replacement in mind? Maybe he’s had his eye on a guy all this time, unless Woodson proved himself to be indispensable. Is it possible that we assume too much that Woodson is as good as gone? Would Larry Drew represent a viable option, or at least stop-gap for now, as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks? What would we as fans like to see in a head coach? Who are we prepared to accept as head coach?

 

The 2 Year Contract

Something tells me this wasn’t just for Mike Woodson. No, I think Sund also wanted to take two years to see what this roster of players could do. After all, the coach can’t make certain things happen. We have some guys that are still young and have not hit their prime yet. They haven’t hit their ceilings yet, either, in all likelihood. The ones who figure to be under the most scrutiny are Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford. Jeff Teague spent a rookie campaign mostly on the sidelines, so he doesn’t get looked at quite as closely. But the other three guys? They are the ones who were part of this “core” that was so often talked about. Smith and Williams were re-signed to reasonable contracts. Horford is due up for one and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2011, if I’m not mistaken (those of you who have a better knowledge base of this, please correct me if I’m wrong).

I believe Sund wanted to see if these players could or would develop, or show signs of development in their games. All three showed something. Horford showed enough to get placed on the all-star team. Smith showed some maturity and performed well enough to have been considered an all-star snub. Williams showed that he is lost in the mix. We could debate the whos, whats, whys forever (and we no doubt will). The point is, you expect to know something about a player after watching him for two years. Sund knows something now, and could be more prepared to toss the dice. Will he? Should he? We’ll see.

 

The Smith Conundrum

While some want to ship Marvin away, others are solely focused on what happens with Joe, and the “Fire Woody” wagon continues to add pitch fork-carrying zealots every day….what about Josh Smith?

Do we really think that as long as we get a different head coach, everything will be okay? Does this roster only need a different sideline suit to seriously compete for the right to represent the East in the NBA Finals? I think not. Changes have to be made, and chemistry is still a problem. I believe that Smith is once again a focal point in these matters, and a player whom Sund must be very careful with when tossing the dice. Believe me, the dice is going to be cast with Smith no matter what happens. It’s a gamble if you keep him, it’s a gamble if you trade him. Yes, I said it : trade.

Smith’s surge into all-star mentionable circle was a thing of beauty to watch for the most part. He has certainly had far more good games than he has bad, and this team needs him to do so much. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Two main things surround Smith as the Hawks make their way into the offseason. One, can he ever be effectively moved to small forward? Two, can the Hawks improve their frontcourt and team as a whole, as well as their chemistry….with him? Or without him?

The first question is largely overlooked by those who seek to add size to the frontcourt by moving Horford to the power forward position, and bringin in some legitimate center. They want to keep Smith, and so the automatic thinking is to move him to the small forward position. There are a number of reasons not to do this, including the following: He is not a good shooter from the perimeter. He won’t be in a position to defend the rim or get as many rebounds. He is not a steady defender when it comes to ball-handlers, and could be drawn into foul trouble quickly when he gets taken off the dribble. The retorting questions however: With a good shooting coach, could Smith not learn to be a better shooter? Is guarding quicker ball-handling types something Josh is forever incapable of doing, or do we think that simply because we haven’t seen him guard those guys much? Doesn’t he block a lot of shots by coming from the weak side or following defenders? Doesn’t he get lots of rebounds by simply outfighting and outjumping opponents?

There you have it, so chop it up. Is the concept crazy, or is it doable? How does a different coach affect all of this?

Now for the second part. If the Hawks are looking at bringing a guy in to start at center, then you’re automatically looking at moving either Al Horford or Josh Smith, because neither is should be going to the bench. If the big man in question is being brought in to play center off the bench, then the issue is eliminated. But there are other issues.

Smith still does things that this team needs him to stop doing. Taking the ball up the court on a fast break after grabbing the rebound is the most heinous one. Clearly the Hawks need somebody who can convince/persuade him to stop doing that. This involves both a coach, and a point guard. It also may involve another teammate that can gain his ear. And that may be the very crux of what this is all about. Smith has proven in the regular season, and now in the playoffs, that he is not a leader in his own right. He may never really be such a thing, or he may be in a limited role (leader on defense), which is fine, and probably more appropriate. He also needs to have someone (or two someones) around him that can get him back on track when he begins to drift. The Hawks cannot afford for one of their top three players to lose focus for stretches of games, or for games at a time. They cannot afford for Smith to take another couple of years to finish maturing and figuring out how to focus on a consistent basis. They cannot afford mental lapses at crucial moments, time after time.

What should be done? Should Sund gamble on Smith performing better with a true floor general (pg)? Where does he get one? Can Smith keep himself in line, or will he continue to need influence from more than one external source? Will a different coach and system do the trick, or will he just rebel and regress? A tough set of questions to answer. The chemistry, toughness, and mental stability of this team depends not just on the free agent Joe Johnson, or whomever the head coach is going to be. It also depends on the players currently under contract, and chief among them is Josh Smith. Can this team get better by moving him, and how would that work? Is the idea of moving him absolutely sacrilegious? Am I making too much noise about the wrong thing?

 

The summer of Sund awaits. All eyes are on him in one way or another. What happens with the head coach situation figures to be the first and probably most important thing, especially with free agency moves not becoming official until July. But it won’t stop there. The remainder of the roster must be looked at as well.

What moves do you think Sund needs to make….or not make?

307 comments Add your comment

The Real Hawk

May 11th, 2010
3:40 pm

Astro Joe

May 11th, 2010
3:41 pm

OK, so I think I convinced myself to go for a re-tread. Given our salary cap situation and the lengthy contracts of Zaza, Marvin and Bibby, it doesn’t seem like a “rebuild” is likely. Even if we wanted to dump salaries like BK did 7-8 years ago, it doesn’t appear likely given the impending CBA.

I’d rather gamble that a re-tread with head coaching experience will be more ready to optimize the existing roster than a new head coach. If it appeared that Sund could change out 3-4 core players and create a new nucleus, then I would gamble on a new hot-shot coach who can learn while the players are blending. Well, I think there’s a really good chance that 7 of our top 8 players return next season (I think Joe is Audi-A8). I’d rather see Terry Porter (heaven forbid) try to make an incremental improvement with the roster than see Ty Corbin come in and potentially fail miserably.

The Real Hawk

May 11th, 2010
3:44 pm

I will say it again: Fire Woody. Sign and trade JJ. Sign or pickup a center in the trade. Move Horford to strong forward. Move Josh to small forward. Sit Marvin. Start Teague or trade for a caretaker point while developing Teague. Start Crawford in JJ’s spot. Bring in 3 point shooters for the bench.
Move on!

Astro Joe

May 11th, 2010
3:49 pm

Regarding Josh, I’d likely give him one year with a new coach. He played well enough in the regular season to be placed on secret-double probation for some of his post-season antics, but not neccessarily sent home to pound rocks. The other option, is to put him in a AK-47/Birdman role. Of course, that would require the acquisition of a terrific center and some exceptional coaching to pull that off. But if he devolves into a player who can’t seem to maintain focus over 36 minutes, then you see if he can play effectively over 28 minutes… again, as a BirdMan/AK-47 type defender.

Anyone (including Bibby and Marvin) who continue to demonstrate the attention span of a 5 YO or the effort of a disgruntled 7 YO girl, needs to be dealt with quickly, severely and consistently by the next coach. And Sund needs to have his back, all the way through and including shipping said player off to the Nets in exchange for Yinka Dare’s old sweaty socks.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
4:03 pm

Too funny but I hope Joe find it in his heart to want to be with the Hawks and try to bring a championship to this city instead of taking the money and running from being Da Man on a team that needs him more than he needs the team…

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Got-20-million-You-could-get-yourself-a-Joe-Jo;_ylt=AsMkWCI2nHQMLGthYASnRZq8vLYF?urn=nba,240277

Harry Hawk

May 11th, 2010
4:09 pm

Woody’s got to go. He’s a pathetic tactician. This was the worst playoff sweep in NBA history. His team showed nothing. Promoting an assistant is not good enough. Gotta clean house.

td

May 11th, 2010
4:10 pm

How about a proven winner? How about someone who has been an important part of 9 NBA Championships.?
How about Jim Cleamons….

NC Braves Fan

May 11th, 2010
4:13 pm

Just a guess – Josh will be here next year. He’s a hometown guy who made big strides on the court. To be sure he regressed horribly in the playoffs, but I think he’s got a good heart – he just needs a system that provides clearer boundaries and expectations.

Of the three most often stated needs (Coach/C/PG), I’d rank the coach and PG as essentials to remedy.

Horford at C can be a winner if the Hawks play smart, team ball.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
4:16 pm

What happens with Josh should depend on whether we can get someone who fills a bigger need than he does. There are only 5-6 PFs in the game who I would say are an upgrade over Josh at PF, at least given our clear need for a first tier scoring threat. The crazy thing is that 4 of them are on the free agent market this summer – Bosh, Amare, Dirk, and Boozer. If we can convince any of those guys and also convince their team to accept a S&T for Josh, I would pull the trigger.

Like I said on the last thread, Josh’s game remains very largely dependent on his athleticism. In his six years in the league, his shooting has not improved. His ability to defend on the ball in the post remains merely adequate, and his ability to defend on the perimeter remains just plain bad. He still doesn’t box out as a defensive rebounder. He only has one low post move – a lefty hook – and that one is hardly McHale-esque. I don’t see him developing any game-changing skills in the next few years that he doesn’t have already. He would have to completely overhaul his game in order to remain a borderline All-Star (like he is now) once his athleticism starts to wane. You can count the number of players who have done that at this stage in their career on zero hands. It has never happened. Ever.

This is not to express a lack of appreciation for what Josh brings us now. If I had to pick a single team MVP this year, it would be Al, but Josh would tie for second with JJ in my mind. He is, right now, the second best help defender in the NBA behind D-12 (I used to call him #1, but I can’t really say that after watching the Magic for the past 2 weeks). The trouble is that teams can get to Finals without an elite help defender – and I actually believe Horford capable of being an elite help defender anyway. Teams can’t get there without at least two 20ppg type scorers. That’s why Sund should take calls on Josh if the price is right.

What I do NOT want to do is trade Josh just for the sake of trading him. He still helps us way, way more than he hurts us. If we can use him as bait for a reliable 20ppg guy on the low blocks, great. If not, I’m still more than ok with him at PF for another year and seeing what he can do with a new coach. But we only have 1 guy who is a deadeye 20ppg scorer on the roster now. He’s a free agent, and he only has 3-4 years left as an elite scorer anyway. So the clock is ticking.

MannyT

May 11th, 2010
4:27 pm

Give me a coach who will play to the strengths of this squad and I think I am almost happy. If you really want to make a move up the ladder, you have to give something to get something. We don’t have lots of cap room or expiring contracts. For a big time PG or C, yes I would move Josh. Even if that means Zaza starts (with a big time PG like CP3.)

I am not hatin’ on Josh, but he is the most likely candidate to get you a big time player and not wreck the budget. Horford is still on that rookie contract so he cannot get the salary need in a trade. If you S&T Joe, you only get back 1/2 the value…and probably players that are mediocre. Do you really think someone is going to give up a big time player for some combo of Marvin, Zaza & Bibby? Jamal probably has value, but I’m not sure he brings as much back in trade as Josh.

And yes, I’d keep Joe in the fold if he was the strong #2 on this team to CP3 or a dominant low post big man.

Sund-dialing should start any day now :cool:

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
4:30 pm

Dammit, MannyT, stop saying the same things I do using only half the words. You make me look like a jackass :twisted:

Sautee

May 11th, 2010
4:31 pm

Good stuff, Ray.

Is trading Josh sacrilegious? Absolutely not, but we’d have to get a player who could have the same level of impact. Not the same impact, but that level.

That could be exceedingly difficult.

But you do NOT just ship him off unless you think he’s a MAJOR chemistry problem. I’m with AJ on this: Give him a year with a new coach / system.

And hopefully, a year with a bonafide PG.

Do any of you remember me moaning at the trade deadline because we didn’t address the PG position? I said then that we would regret it come playoff time if we didn’t shore up that area.

Once again, I wish I had been wrong, but……..

So a bonafide PG is tops on MY list, followed by a bruiser to play 20 minutes at the 5. Then shore up the 3, where we are weak.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
4:38 pm

Nire,

I agree that this team needs another dead eye scorer(s). I think it would be easier (and my preference) if we acquire/sign a better scorer at the SF spot. A guy who can create his own shot. Also, we could use an upgrade at the PG position. A guy who can facilitate (ala Billups) would do wonders to this team offense. Yes, this will be a pivotal summer. The right tweaks, I can see this team capable of soaring to elite status. The wrong one(s) would set this franchise back to rebuilding mode.

Reid Adair

May 11th, 2010
4:45 pm

I anticipate one of Rick Sund’s first calls will be to Dwane Casey, who has worked with Sund before. I like that option much better than Larry Drew.

Josh Smith will be fine. He needs help. This team needs a true center, and it needs a point guard. Joe Johnson needs to be gone; his poor performance in the playoffs was only surpassed by showing his true colors in post-game comments after Game 3 and later. Mike Bibby needs to be on the bench; if he can’t handle that, he needs to be gone.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Peach Movers, Jeff Schultz, Tina, Brandon McCoy, Al Cooper and others. Al Cooper said: Forget fishing, Hawks have business to conduct http://bit.ly/cMgqKu [...]

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
4:50 pm

Come on, there have to be someone that would take Bibby, Marvin and/or ZaZa off our books. Maybe the Nets would like to bring in a less expensive tutor that would not stunt John Walls growth if they get the number #1 pick. Give us Devin. Maybe the Raps want to stop the bickering between Calderon and Jack. Send us either…… Dammit Teague, i hope you are ready next season.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
5:03 pm

Melvin,

First, I agree that SF and PG are the positions at which we have the most serious need for an upgrade. That’s why I suggested trading Crawford for Hinrich (or Devin Harris if the Nets are sufficiently stupid) on the last blog. If we get Hinrich, we still need another scorer. If we get Harris…well let’s just say that someone is going to be unhappy with their FGAs in a lineup that includes Harris, JJ, Josh, and Al.

Alas, it probably is not the case that our trash is someone else’s treasure. Like MannyT said, Josh “is the most likely candidate to get you a big time player and not wreck the budget.” We aren’t going to be able to trade for an elite-scoring SF easily. The guys who fit that bill are basically LeBron, Durant, Melo, maybe Granger, and T-Mac if he’s healthy…and that’s it. Hate to break it to you, but we ain’t landing any of those guys using Marvin and Bibby’s combined $45M contracts. Hell, we ain’t even landing any of those guys by trading Josh, right?

Simply replacing Marvin with Rudy Gay doesn’t do the trick. We need a bigger-time scorer than that. We need someone who can post 20ppg on a playoff team without much difficulty. This summer, given who’s on the FA market, it’s easier to find that at PF than it is at SF.

Also, there’s no way to get Marvin and Bibby off our books this summer without taking back essentially equal salary, which means that getting rid of them doesn’t help get us a star this summer.

gtm

May 11th, 2010
5:17 pm

On trading Smith: only if we can improve the lineup by moving Horford to PF and somehow getting a solid starting C, whether through Smith’s trade or another move. And whoever we get for Smith would have to be a major contributor because of Smith’s level of talent. Otherwise, keep him.
On keeping Joe: only if we get another #1 scoring option or at least have a scoring point guard and an offensive system that doesn’t rotate solely around Joe. If he’s going to be the top scorer for this or another team, it shouldn’t be in the offensive system he’s in now.
On the coach: if Woodson has been tuned out, would Drew be any better? Of course, part of that tuning out is on the players’ maturity as well.

Whatever player changes are made, I think the character aspect can’t be overstated. We had one leader, Horford, and I’m not sure the whole team saw him that way, either. It would be beneficial to get some true professionals on this team to keep them in line.

As far as PG, I’ve heard Darren Collison’s name mentioned lately. After watching him this season I don’t know why he would be available or (relatively) cheap, but if he really is then I would get him, regardless of Teague.

O'Brien

May 11th, 2010
5:46 pm

Ray,

When it comes to hiring a coach, two important questions should be 1) what is your offensive plan if JJ is still here 2) your offensive plan if JJ is not here

Because I dont think the offense would be the same. One benefit of hiring Drew though is he could help recruit JJ to stay (assuming the money is right of course).

Personally, I would love to see JJ back, because we will not get equal talent for him in a sign and trade.

Nire,

The more I think about it, the more I’m warming up to the idea of a S&T for Bosh if they will take Josh Smith and ZaZa. I think Bosh would come to ATL (GT product), and although he is not a good defender, he gives you 20 and 9 right off the bat.

Plus if we can get a defensive PG, and 2 solid bigs to bring off the bench, I think we could make it work with Bosh and Horford up front.

One guy I would look at if he becomes available is Josh Boone. Not much of an offensive player, but he can play spot minutes at Center, and PF. Haywood and Brad Miller are also available so I would consider them (assuming the ASG has the budget).

However, financially, I dont know if the ASG can afford to sign Bosh and JJ, but if they are willing to spend the money, I would do it.

I like the idea of trading for Hinrich. He can be our starting PG (plays defense and does not require a lot of shots). If Mo opts out, we could resign him as our backup SG, and bring Bibby off the bench to provide some scoring. And then we have Chills and Marvin to hold down the SF spot.

Bosh commands a double team, and would open things up for Horford and whoever our SG is.

The biggest isssue of course, is the wallet of the ASG, and does JJ want to stay.

Bill

May 11th, 2010
5:48 pm

I would consider trading with the Grizzles, they wanted Josh and made him an offer when he was a RA. If you were the Grizzles would you trade Josh and Williams plus Hawks first round pick for Gasol ( a quality Center) and Rudy Gay who is a resticted Free Agent ?

Also remember if Joe wants Max money the Hawks can do a sign and trade, maybe to the Nets for Point Guard Harris and someone else else ?

This would give the Hawks Horford & Gay at Forwards, Gasol at Center, Crawford and Harris at Guards plus you will have more money available for some mid level free agents. With Teague, Pachula and Evans the Hawks wouls need another Power Forward and Shooting Guard.

doc

May 11th, 2010
6:51 pm

as i said the other day before the last of the four debacle’s if i could get something of real value for josh i would. is jefferson available? is there room on the mn roster for him and love and do those two represent similar probs as our two guys josh and al do? havent checked on what it would take from the perspective of cap stuff but that is the type of guy i would go after. another piece along the same vein is love available for josh as he would probably mix well with al if al goes to four as his skill set is different from josh’s from what i have seen though complimentary. that might not work money wise as love doesnt have the big salary yet.

otherwise bring in a true big time point for josh if you can and find another big, it makes us weaker is my fear without the big and zaza isnt the guy for that.

i am perplexed over jj. i dont want to pay him max for 6 yrs. if he buys into the sund we want you but we want you to buy into a different culture under the new coach i keep him. overall with a new coach i might keep the team intact and add a new piece like farmar or felton for the what mle. correct me if that is what we could spend if keeping our team intact. still would like to do something with chills and get some value back even if it is a rookie and second rounder.

first order wish woody well. he has truly done a good job and does and will get another job coaching somewhere even if it to find he isnt head coaching material which jordan may have found out about himself this year.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
7:23 pm

O’Brien,

I think at this point, we have to ask what the higher priority is: A higher-quality backup center (I’m operating under the assumption that everyone here is ok with Al as the starter) or bringing back Chills? Assuming Mo leaves, we have the money for one but not both next year. The year after that, Al’s up for an extension and money gets tighter. Perhaps fortunately, Jamal is a free agent then, and he’ll be 31 – he’s getting a massive paycut from the $11M he makes next year. At that point, do we really want Jamal for $6M when we could go out and find a Flip type for $1.5M? These are the choices that teams like the Hawks have to make. That sounds like an admission that ASG is cheap, but it’s not. Remember…

The Magic had to do the same thing before they upset the Celts and Cavs to make the Finals last year (and got the huge ticket revenues that went with it): Have an incredibly top-heavy payroll structure (two max players in Rashard and Dwight), fill out the bench with <$2M players in order to stay just under the tax threshold, and pray that you draw favorable matchups in the playoffs (I don't think they could have beaten the Celtics if KG was healthy last year). The Nuggets did the same thing: they had $49M tied up in just 4 players (Melo, K-Mart, Billups, Nene). They only had no one else who was making more than the mid-level, and stayed just under the tax threshold.

It's tight, but doable. You have to have a coach who knows what to do with his roster and you HAVE to have a great eye for inexpensive role players. You basically have to hope that, like the Magic and Nuggets, we can get a solid bench without spending much. Fortunately, Sund really does seem to have a great eye for role players. If he can find the right coach, I think everything comes together without blowing up the whole roster.

O'Brien

May 11th, 2010
8:29 pm

doc,

Josh for Al Jefferson should work financially, but then that would leave Minny with Kevin Love and Josh Smith and no true center.

I like the idea of Josh to Memphis (they wanted him a couple years ago). But the question is are you willing to trade Josh Smith for Zach Randolph? Z-Bo seemed to play under control this season, and he averaged 21 and 12.

This will be a contract year for him, so I think he is more likely to keep his head in the game. So how about it? Josh and filler for Randolph? Plus this would save Memphis a little bit of money which would help when it comes to resigning Rudy Gay.

If it doesn’t work, then Z-Bo is an expiring contract for $17 mil, which would give us some options.

vava74

May 11th, 2010
8:29 pm

From Bradley’s Blog:

steve brown

May 11th, 2010
3:13 pm

fyi

This, in a nutshell, is the surprising (?) result of a quick Q & A session I did with Dave/College Wolf of TWolves blog, the site covering Minnesota of the Bloguin network.

For your pleasure (?), here is the complete transcript, I think it should work as a warning for Ed Stefanski and all of us Sixers fans.

(S4G): Casey’s record as T’Wolves head coach in 2006/2007 was 33-49 and was 20-20 the year after, when Mc Hale fired him and put Randy Wittman in his place (Wittman went 12-30 the rest of the way…). What do you remember of that stint, other than they were surely troubled seasons in Minnesota, and that coaching Szczerbiak, Olowokandi, Ricky Davis, Marco Jaric etc surely wasn’t an easy task?

(CW): Yes, we had bad teams, but don’t forget though that we also had KG near his absolute prime. Those seasons he was one of the (arguably) Top 5 players in the league. With that said, the Casey Coaching Era (CCE) was quite a while ago, so I apologize for not being to elaborate with tons and tons of details for you and your readers.

However, a few things stick out in my mind, and I can assure you that they were not good things. First off, Casey was nearly an epic fail at coaching X’s and O’s. At times, some of us Wolves fans wondered if he had any idea if he knew what he was doing at all. He was especially terrible coming out of timeouts.

It might not have been as bad as I am making it sound, but our playcalling/execution coming out of timeouts was absurd and horrendous. It seemed like we would never score, and most times it resulted in a turnover or terrible shot.

Again, it probably wasn’t *that bad*, but the fact that it is something I’ve never forgotten about the CCE has got to mean something. Casey’s substitutions were illogical and nonsensical. We fans were pulling our hairs out because his lineups and distribution of minutes made absolutely no sense.

Also, it didn’t seem like Casey had “control” of his team at all. Granted, we had a few bad apples back then, but he was far too passive and timid to be the leader of our team at that time. Now, it could have been simply that these things were factors of Casey being a rookie head coach. I don’t know.

Perhaps he has gotten better the past two years as a bench coach for the Dallas Mavericks. For his sake I hope that he has learned a thing or two.

(S4G): Why did Minnesota decide to give him the team that year? Was it another “Randy Ayers case” (=lack of better options) or what?

(CW): I am not entirely sure. Glen Taylor and McHale were doing their best to “win now”, and I think they viewed Dwane Casey as a hot-shot up and coming assistant coach, in the same mold as someone like Nate McMillan.

It’s not that they had a lack of better options, because they went out and actively recruited Casey. It was just a complete swing and a miss, because it was obvious that Casey was in way too far over his head. At the time, I had thought he was one of the worst coaches I’d ever seen. Little did I know what to expect from the Randy (Dim)Wittman era…

(S4G): Which were Casey’s strengths as a coach, and what was he missing?

(CW): I honestly cannot remember any “strengths” besides the fact that he was a nice guy. Also, I think he did a decent job getting our players to play defense during his 20-20 second season, although the stats might say otherwise (I didn’t check).

He was missing everything. Namely: experience, presentation, advanced game knowledge/strategy, good assistants, and good players.

(S4G): Can being fired by Kevin Mc Hale be considered a plus in a coach’s resume?

(CW): No comment

(S4G): Would you recommend the Sixers to give the helm to Casey? Why? Any other team where he would be a good fit?

(CW): No, I would not recommend him being the new head coach of your team. He just doesn’t strike me as a guy that will ever be a truly successful NBA *head coach.* I think his ideal position is that of an assistant coach for a veteran contending team. Those players would be much more likely to listen to him and his ideals, rather than a rebuilding team full of youngsters.

I realize that the Sixers are a veteran, contending (hopefully) team, but I wouldn’t want you guys to waste your championship window because a coach like Casey was hired. I think you guys could do much better.

I don’t think he would be a good fit as a head coach anywhere in the NBA. As an assistant coach, yes. You could probably do worse with the plethora of no-name assistants that have been floating around the league for years.

Thank you for enlightening us, Dave…

Conclusion: please say “NO” to Dwane Casey !!

Next !

TALK ABOUT WOODY 2.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Big Ray

May 11th, 2010
8:39 pm

Great comments, guys.

I think one thing about Josh Smith is that you are not going to find equal individual talent if you trade him. How many guys in the league can do what he does? “Fit” is the goal. You can’t try to match the talent level and not pay attention to the pros and cons of a different player.

Bosh is going to give you much more offense, and a good bit less defense, mainly because he can’t be the shot-blocking help defender that Smith is. But there is no doubt of what he can do on the offensive end, and he rebounds. Question: Can you teach a 20 and 10 guy to use his height and length to bother opposing players? Yes, I believe you can, but it requires a coach who can convince him to buy into the concept.

I practically drool at the idea of what Horford and Bosh can do together in the frontcourt.

Another thing where Josh is concerned is what he does for us on defense. He can be great when he’s locked in. Which works better though, a guy who has all world capability but lacks focus, or a guy who has adequate/average capability, but buys into the concept 100%? We always fear what would happen to our defense if Josh were sent away, but is this team relying too much on what he brings? And how healthy is it to rely that much on a guy who doesn’t keep his head in the game?

Am I pushing for a trade? Nope. But I refuse to dismiss the idea if a plausible scenario presents itself. I’m firmly on the fence about this one, with caveats in hand. Fit is what we need. Equal value is little more than a myth to me.

O'Brien

May 11th, 2010
8:59 pm

Ray,

How do you feel about trading Josh for Z-Bo?

O'Brien

May 11th, 2010
9:08 pm

More JJ rumors from nba.com/bulls;

“Those who know Johnson say he is low key and doesn’t want to be in the New York area. His agent is Arn Tellem, who represents Derrick Rose, and Johnson also is close with Rose’s agent/mentor B.J. Armstrong. Plus, it would be ideal for Johnson’s game to play with an up tempo style with a point guard like Rose, and good for Rose to have a shooter to spread the court and big two guard to defend”.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
9:14 pm

Ray,

I think you need to ban O’Brien from the blog for making such a suggestion :twisted:

In all seriousness, here are the guys in the NBA that I’m willing to trade Josh for right now (PF/Cs only – and this is irrespective of the other teams’ interest):

Yes
Bosh
Amare
Boozer
Dirk
Pau Gasol
Duncan
Dwight
Bogut
Bynum

Maybe
Yao (yes if he can pass a physical in August, no if not)
Aldridge
David Lee
Lopez
Bargnani (but probably only along with a swap of PGs)

Jefferson and Z-Bo do not interest me. Their offense is not nearly good enough to make up for their outright lazy defense. Guys like Love, Nene, Marc Gasol, etc don’t provide a sufficient upgrade offensively.

So from my perspective at least, the list of people I’m willing to consider is pretty damned small. It just so happens that 4 of the guys on the “yes” list are free agents this offseason, which makes them at least ostensibly available.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
9:15 pm

Oh, add Kaman to the “maybe” list. But dude has the basketball IQ of a ton of bricks. I seriously don’t know if he would be able to execute anything but the most basic offensive and defensive schemes, which is a big turn-off for me.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
9:18 pm

4 of the top 6 PFs in scoring (5 of 7 if you count David Lee as a PF) are unrestricted free agents this summer. That’s just remarkable when you think about it.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
9:45 pm

I would be surpise if Woody office isn’t empty and his name tage is missig from his door. Man, MC article with Gearon pretty much said the era as Woodson being the coach of the Hawks is over. And dont expect any major trades either fellas. Just some tinkering. Hopefully that will get us a new PG with some bench upgrades….

“Gearon said the Hawks’ offense too often stagnated because of poor ball movement. He said he also thinks rookie point guard Jeff Teague should have played more minutes this season and veterans Joe Smith and Jason Collins should have played bigger roles in the Orlando series.”

O'Brien

May 11th, 2010
10:15 pm

Woody said bibby has gotten older and might have taken us as far as he can. Woody also said teague might have to get first crack next season to see if he can help.

Way to go woody. Now that the owner has made it clear he thinks teague should have player more, now is when woody thinks bibby is done? Now is when he thinks teague should get a crack at the job next season?

Woody is too stubborn. I look forward to rick sund’s comments when he announces woody will not be retained.

Big Ray

May 11th, 2010
10:15 pm

Astro Joe ,

What makes a coach a “re-tread”? Is is because they had a job and got fired from it? Coaches get fired for all sorts of reasons that don’t relate to how well they do their jobs. The best one is that the front office needs somebody to blame. Another is the GM screwed up horribly, but the coach takes the fall. Another is player X does not want him around anymore. Yet another is a group of knotheads finally has overcome the guy.

That’s the funny thing about re-treads. They’ve been there before and they have a resume (whether good or bad), so you know at least to a point what they have done in certain situations, and what they might likely do. Hot shot up and comers are all risk/reward. Do they really know anything? Are you prepared to bear with them through their learning curve? It doesn’t matter their pedigree, they are not going to be the same as the person they used to work for.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
10:22 pm

“You could have never told me we would struggle to score points,” Woodson said.

!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
10:28 pm

I said before – Gearon is a guy who lives and breathes this stuff. He isn’t someone like Perot Jr. who bought a basketball team in order to leverage some real estate negotiations. It’s good to see him speaking out a bit more. Sund might be the one making the final decision, but I like it when ownership at least shows an interest.

Big Ray

May 11th, 2010
10:29 pm

LOL@ Niremetal

O’brien ,

I’d rather trade Josh and Marvin for Gasol and Gay. Z-Bo can play, but if I’m going for a more offense/less defense type of PF, I’d rather have a guy like Bosh or even Boozer.

Nire ,

The issue for me with Jefferson isn’t as much about the defense. A young guy like him can learn to put more effort into it. What bugs me is the combination of lazy defense, and his injury status. Dude was not nearly the same on offense (or the boards) this year. Maybe he has yet to recover fully. Or maybe he was lazy in rehabbing. Either way, my appreciation for what he looked like in the beginning has waned.

Big Ray

May 11th, 2010
10:32 pm

I agree. Gearon is active in his observations, but not to the point of a Mark Cuban. It’s refreshing.

Woody always tells on himself. Always. It’s honesty to a dang fault. Can anybody make themselves look as clueless as he does? Some of his quotes from MC’s article are just….astounding.

Gearon’s quotes do not bode well for Woody. At the same time, I do find his trust and respect for Sund to be both interesting and encouraging.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
10:40 pm

The other thing about Boozer…well, first off I don’t get why no one respects his game. He’s great from midrange, has one of the best turnarounds in the game, is strong as an ox, and his motor never stops.

For us in particular, that last element is key. We lack intensity and effort far too often when we face adversity. With Boozer and Al both on the floor, I see that happening far, far less. That’s why I place him in same category as Bosh, Amare, and Dirk despite his more modest athleticism and finesse.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
10:43 pm

Nire,

Ando is going to roll over and out his bed and write a blog in response to your belief that it’s easier to find a 20pt scoring big vs a wing player. I totally would agree with Ando. An effective wing (perimeter) player is probably the easiest position to fill b/c those guys are almost a dime a dozen. Now Durant, Lebron and Melo are exceptions to the rules. They are special players. Just look at the top 20 scorers and how many are perimeter players. I would take Maggett for Marvin right now.

http://www.nba.com/statistics/player/Scoring.jsp?league=00&season=22009&conf=OVERALL&position=0&splitType=9&splitScope=GAME&qualified=Y&yearsExp=-1&splitDD=

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:08 pm

Melvin,

I’m not looking for a 20ppg scorer. I’m looking for one who can do it on a playoff team. What on earth makes you think that Maggette can do that?? Bear in mind that the ONLY year in which his team played in the playoffs was a year where he missed 50 games due to injury. I would say that at this point, Maggette is about at Jamal’s level as a scorer.

Also, if it’s just a matter of replacing Marvin with a 20ppg scorer, I would LOVE for someone to explain to me whose touches get reduced to accommodate that person. Someone has to be the 5th option, right?

And my concession that we need a second 20ppg scorer was not a concession that defense is irrelevant, Melvin. Every single championship team from the past 30 years had a guy in the starting 5 whose primary role was to defend and NOT to score. So if I’m trading Marvin and keeping Josh, it’s for a Battier or Sefolosha type, not a Maggette.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:10 pm

Wings who can score 20ppg on crappy teams are a dime a dozen. Ones who can do it on playoff teams? Not so much. Here is a list of SG/SFs who scored 20ppg or more on playoff teams this year:

Durant
LeBron
Melo
Kobe
Wade
JJ
Roy
Captain Jack

And that’s it.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:16 pm

In case you think this year was a fluke, here’s the same list (>20ppg, team made playoffs) for last year:

Wade
LeBron
Kobe
Melo
Roy
JJ
Gordon
Pierce

And the year before:
LeBron
Kobe
Melo
JJ
T-Mac

I’m just sayin.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
11:24 pm

Nire,

Marvin is the 5th option b/c he chooses to be and his ability to score dictate that. Unless you want the Hawks to be a crappy team where Marvin avg 20pts. Bibby, Flip and Jamal are able to get their share of shots without any of the big 3 (Joe, Al and Josh) suffering/complaining about the lack of shot attempts. Now if you want folks to come to the conclusion that Josh and Al will not become elite scorers than you must also concede that Marvin will never be an elite scorer and his defense is overrated as well.

And the Maggette has played on some crappy teams just like Jamal. I think his ability to get to the rim and score would be a much needed skill to the Hawks. The Hawks currently has no one on the roster that could attack the basket on a nightly basis.

doc

May 11th, 2010
11:24 pm

man cavs fans suck, empty seats.

never thought i would see the cavs cave like this.

AJ remember our fascination with baby while at lsu. have any idea where he would have ended up if in atlanta the last few years? the young guy is doing it.

ob, love is considered a center by some and more of one than a pf. sund actually liked him and thought he was one of the true bigs of value his year coming out and a center not a power forward.. jefferson and love play the same position as do josh and al. thought it might free up some of the barriers and allow guys to play their natural positions in such a trade. i went back and looked at jefferson’s stats and they look really good having two years as a 20+/11 guy and 17/10 this year. i could buy into that quick.

nire, your “yes” list is psychotic or naive and i dont see you as either so i am not insulting you. arent those names a true reach? for someone so up on the cap rules and the penchant for the asg to keep fiscal control none of those guys fit do they, really? a straight trade of jefferson for josh is straight up 12 mil each. they are also about equal as second tier guys that have serious potential to put up numbers.

yes, you give up some highlights with josh but get a solid numbers guy and allow al to maybe blossom at the four. isnt that what so many want to see. jefferson’s numbers actually the last three years, especially in light of his injury have eclipsed our front line easily. wouldnt you think that would more than make up for the lack of first tier defense? after your earlier trashing and trashing of josh you have certainly elevated your expectations of him on the open trade market. did you go to a josh smith fan recovery treatment program or something? that was a very fast recovery, less than 24 hours. you also may be getting cold feet on giving up on josh’s promise even after you said he has none as he ages. now why would anyone want josh after your earlier comments?

no, i am not in love with jefferson but looking for something realistic to begin to build a flawed team. bring up a legit player for center besides dampier.

casey as a coach sounds reasonable for all concerned. he is a commodity that sund should know and feel comfortable with.

have the cavs quit? has labron quit as well? no, only josh could do that.

if woody said that about his offense, he is in total denial or very poor in observing as he stands there in his BWAF. maybe he goes blind out there or something. we watched it against some very bad teams rather than the creme de la creme you see in the playoffs. didnt he read our concerns as we saw this team falter. O’BRIEN i thought you would at least copy woody with your data. dude, we faltered because of you lack of concern and not sending him your reports. ;-)

guess i better go read up on the latest woody remarks.

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:29 pm

Doc,

Did you miss this little caveat in my post?

and this is irrespective of the other teams’ interest

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:37 pm

Melvin,

Before you made your post, did you read my pair of posts beginning with “Wings who can score 20ppg on crappy teams are a dime a dozen. Ones who can do it on playoff teams? Not so much.” If so, and if you think Maggette fits that bill…well, I mean come on. I don’t think you seriously believe Maggette is at that level.

Melvin

May 11th, 2010
11:57 pm

Nire,

Maybe my Maggette reference speaks more about Marvin than it does about Corey…..

niremetal

May 11th, 2010
11:58 pm

Melvin,

I’ll certainly grant that.

doc

May 11th, 2010
11:59 pm

reality vs wishlist, so it seems you want the team to stay intact and see no real alternatives.

personally, id like to see if we can trade teague for either cp3 or deron irrespective of the other teams wishes/interests. ;-) could even throw bibby in with him.

niremetal

May 12th, 2010
12:06 am

Doc,

I didn’t post that list as serious suggestions of the avenues we could pursue. I was making the point that there are not many players in the NBA who I would trade Josh for. But it just so happens that 4 of the guys I would trade Josh for are free agents right now.