Summer of Sund begins

I’d be amazed if you haven’t heard the news yet. Whichever direction the Atlanta Hawks go in now, Mike Woodson will not be a part of it. According to NBA.com’s Sekou Smith (first to report it, that I know of), Woodson was told by management that he will not be offered a new contract.

You can join the conversation with Jeff Schultz, ajc.com sports blogger  and AJC columnist, who’s  weighed in with more detailed reporting and opinion on the move.

So Long, So Short

No one can deny that the Hawks improved from year to year under Mike Woodson, and that is often the first thing out of the mouth of anybody who is not looking to cast him in a negative light. It can be and has been argued that his part in such improvement (going from 13 wins in his first year to 53 in this, his last) was not all, or even mostly why the team improved. One would also have to account for the moves made by former GM Billy Knight, and those of current GM Rick Sund. But that argument may be somewhat stale in the minds of many, and he does deserve credit for improvement in a number of ways. A team simply cannot improve from year to year without something going right for the guy in the suit on the sidelines.

The problem for Woodson is in the details, and in the postseason. Improvement as an end result (regular season victory total) is always good, but the result does not end with the regular season if your team is good enough. The Hawks struggled in the playoffs each time they went. Arguably, this team’s best showing under him was it’s first showing (2008), wherein they took eventual champion Boston to 7 games. As many NBA coaches have found out, you can win big in the regular season, but the postseason is where you are judged more closely. Weaknesses are exposed, strengths are exploited, and counter measures have to be taken. Under Woodson, the Hawks struggled with all three. Finally, his full body of work resulted in personal overall losing regular and postseason records.

Was it a matter of talent, experience, and effort on the court? I’d say that it was to an extent, but the other side of the coin asks whether or not use of talent was a problem as well. Either way, the Hawks go forward with a philosophy that will be different than it has been in the last six years. Mike Woodson did a lot for this team, but in the end, his full body of work was not enough for management to think he should be retained.

AJC beat writer Michael Cunningham describes the situation on his Hawks beat blog.

May Woodson L.I.P (Leave in Peace)

Whatever you may think of him, Mike Woodson was honest and had class. He never was one to publicly upbraid his players as some coaches have done. While some have done that (even to a degree of success), that was never his way. Furthermore, he was never that hard on us fans, leaving most (if not all) of his barbs for the media, when he chose to throw any.

Woodson’s resume may or may not be glowing, but it won’t keep him from getting another job. Nor do I believe that players or management will have much negative to say about him as he ships off. My guess is we’ll see him coaching somewhere else before long, maybe sooner than we expect. One place I can’t see him is on tv as some sports network’s analyst or commentator. But hey, you never know.

So long, Mike. Thanks for helping to bring winning seasons to Atlanta Hawks basketball.

The Continued Saga

Now you know this is far from over. Rick Sund is not known for his lightning quick strikes, the matching of Josh Smith’s contract offer from Memphis a couple of years ago notwithstanding. How long will he take to name a new coach? Will the Hawks be more discreet than in times past, and will they hit their mark, rather than strike out the way they used to? The rumors around the league after Billy Knight walked away (or was pushed, depending on what you believe), and that preceeded Sund’s hiring had to have been an embarrassment to the organization. Chances are, discretion will be the word of the day. Yet more questions abound. How long has Sund been planning to let Woodson go? I’ll go out on a limb and guess that few of us are willing to believe that he only came to a decision in the last 48-72 hours. What sort of coach might he be after, and will it be somebody he has worked with before?

Nobody knows, and there aren’t even any juicy false rumors to work with, yet. Sund seems like one who likes to take him time on a lot of things, but a quick strike here might be a good thing. Or will it? You’d almost have to think that the man has been doing his homework just in case Woody and the Hawks didn’t come through and show real improvement in the playoffs (which they didn’t). What do you think? Is moving relatively fast the way to go? Will the Hawks make a “splash” here, or will it be another subtle move that goes largely under the radar?

Also, what effect might this have on whether or not Joe Johnson decides to remain in Atlanta? Would he welcome a different coach, perhaps one who would modify his role? Or is he wanting to bolt no matter who comes in?

The Summer of Sund has begun. Stay tuned….

239 comments Add your comment

vava74

May 15th, 2010
2:10 pm

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
2:22 pm

Bill Simmons can go to hell.

Sorry, in a bad mood today. And any mention of Bill Simmons is only liable to make it worse. For every 1 useful thing he says, he says 5 things that reveal just how little time he actually spends thinking about and analyzing the game. BAH!

doc

May 15th, 2010
2:54 pm

so nire, what does a good mood look to you? ;-)

okay kidding.

not wanting to push any buttons but i just read the article and this is too funny to not put out there for people to feast on:

(Important note: If you don’t want to leave out the 2010 Atlanta Hawks, “complete apathy” is the fourth type of urgency. By the way, I have no idea whether Orlando has real urgency or faux urgency. I’m leaning toward the latter. Stay tuned.)

whatever respect gearon thinks the organization has was lost in the last two weeks.

and sydell coming on 790 the other night and saying he was in tears about dumping woody …. what had he been drinking and when did he start?

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
2:59 pm

That’s why they trot Gearon out instead of Sydell, Doc…

doc

May 15th, 2010
3:08 pm

to nire ….heh heh heh heh. talk about a loose cannon? guess the boy means well.

Astro Joe

May 15th, 2010
5:34 pm

This is now officially Sund’s team. The key piece that he didn’t have a hand in will be Horford. He brought back Josh, Marvin, Bibby and Zaza… drafted Teague, traded for Jamal and signed Mo. And soon, the coaching staff will belong to him too.

O'Brien

May 15th, 2010
8:28 pm

AJ,

The thing is we don’t know what role Woody played in the resigning of those guys last off-season.

Because sund might have resigned them based on woody’s strong recommendations (atleast now We know how much woody loved bibby).

Big Ray

May 15th, 2010
8:52 pm

Ed ,

You’re right about assistant coaches and who they used to work for. To this day, I’m not sure what Mike Woodson learned under Larry Brown. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with offense at all.

Kwooden1 ,

True. Bibby is now a backup pg, and probably really was for the bulk of this past season. The issue with Teague is he wasn’t thrown out there enough for anybody to know just how much he could do, or where he needed to progress. Instead, people are largely left thinking “can he do ANYTHING?” It would have been fine two years ago when Bibby was still getting it done. But as your starter ages and declines, you have to start throwing the young guy out there and let him make his mistakes, then evaluate how he learns from them.

In that way, it’s almost like another rookie year for Teague, only this time he actually has to learn to be much more responsible for what happens on the floor. He’ll get to run, and run with the starting squad, instead of just being a token player on the floor, or running the reserve squad for a few minutes. Nothing beats experience. Teague will get some real experience next season. How should we expect him to perform? I don’t know, because all he has to work on is the somewhat spare playing time he had this season. I don’t even know why summer league is even being mentioned when people are always quick to shout that it means nothing compared to playing real NBA ball…

Big Ray

May 15th, 2010
8:57 pm

Of course, the issue continues at pg. Even Gearon spoke out about the kid playing more, which is not proof that he should have been, just proof that people involved in the organization felt that way.

Vava74 ,

Actually, I think it was totally fair to let Woodson coach on through the postseason. How could you sack a guy whose team was on pace to win more games this regular season than in the last, or those before it? How could you really know what he and this team were made of until the playoffs rolled around? If you fire him in the midst of a winning season, wherein the team was about to retain it’s highest playoff seeding ever, what’s your explanation to the owners and to the public? I know what you’re saying, but I think Sund’s decision to let the whole thing play out was both fair and diplomatically efficient. Just my opinion, though. I don’t think firing him and having an interim coach would have helped much at all, unless it was at the very beginning of the season, and even that is only a very slim possibility.

The problems with this team are not limited to the position of head coach.

Big Ray

May 15th, 2010
9:07 pm

Astro Joe ,

This is now officially Sund’s team. The key piece that he didn’t have a hand in will be Horford. He brought back Josh, Marvin, Bibby and Zaza… drafted Teague, traded for Jamal and signed Mo. And soon, the coaching staff will belong to him too.

This is something I think some of us anticipated from the very beginning. I have maintained for years that GMs always come in with the intention of making things in their own image or mold. It was going to happen sooner or later. On the one hand, trading away key players is only something you do if creating your own legacy is your biggest goal. It’s also foolhardy. On the other hand, just because you signed somebody doesn’t mean you won’t trade them later.

I think Sund is an old hand at this and is less about the glory than he is about valuing the birds in hand, rather than the multitude in the bush. Maybe that explains the re-signings, maybe it doesn’t. Bibby was slowing down, but Teague was available, but he never was part of the rotation. We could have signed someone other than Zaza, but who, and for how much? Joe Smith was not a first pick, and he didn’t get to play much, not even in the playoffs. Did anybody think Marvin would get worse? Will his contract look good if somehow he returns to form or even exceeds it next season? Is that even a realistic expectation?

Hard to say. Teague was Sund’s first 1st round draft pick. Jamal was his first trade acquisition. Whoever the head coach is will be his first head coach hiring. He’s creating his legacy here, and that’s fine (all GMs do it), as long as that doesn’t become the top priority. Legacy should define a person. A person should not define their legacy while they are trying to create it.

In my business, we call that tunnel vision.

Big Ray

May 15th, 2010
9:11 pm

Mitun ,

Comparing NFL GMs to NBA GMs is kinda….skewed. NFL GMs have a draft that goes for 7 rounds. NBA GMs have 2 rounds, and the whole thing is usually “over” in the first round, if not in the first two-thirds of the first round.

Also, Thomas Dimitroff brought in his own coach. Now Rick Sund is doing the same. Difference? Dimitroff brought one with him. Sund allowed the current one another two years to show what he could do.

Big Ray

May 15th, 2010
10:00 pm

Bill Simmons is an interesting person, at least from a distance. His background is political science and journalism. He has a pretty dang good sense of humor. Is he arrogant or fearless? Sometimes the second adjective involves the first, especially in journalism. His sense of humor masks a lot of it, however, or he would not be able to sell himself so well. It’s why nobody cites Jim Rome when they refer to the opinions of sports pundits. It’s why Stephen A. Smith has had a rough time of it staying in the television limelight.

He has not coached in or played basketball at the NBA level, maybe not even at the college level. For that reason, I don’t take everything he says as basketball law. In fact, I take none of it that way. The man is a fan, just like the rest of us. I have seen some on these blogs that have shown the ability to spin things one way or the other, be edgy and provocative, even downright controversial, and yet knowledgeable all at the same time (I don’t necessarily count myself as part of that group). Perhaps they never had nor were interested in the opportunity to do it the way Simmons has.

I won’t begrudge the man his talents, but I won’t confuse them, either. He is an expert journalist who has made a career of observing sports and reporting/commentating on them in a unique way. Like most master journalists, he has hindsight down pat. Everyone can tell “how” something happened. some can even put a particular twist on it, or add insight. Speaking of which, he also deftly maneuvers between “insightful” comments and “incitefull” comments.

An expert on basketball?

Let’s say there are two books on a table, both titled “The Book of Basketball”, one authored by Hubie Brown, the other by Bill Simmons.

If you wanted to learn more about basketball, pick up the book written by Brown.

If you wanted colorful commentary and outside observations, pick up the one by Simmons.

‘Nuff said…

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
10:28 pm

Ray,

That’s all well and good. And if he just ran a fan blog, I’d have less issue. But he doesn’t. He writes for the #1 sports website in the world. And it’s painfully clear that his beliefs about players, teams, etc are formed from first impressions.

Kevin Love is a perfect example – from Day 1, he was drooling over Kevin Love and continues to do so to this day despite the fact that Love has fallen head over heels for his own mediocre jump shot (52% of his shots this year were perimeter jumpers!), which isn’t a good sign for a guy whose main selling point was “he’s NBA ready and has a sky-high basketball IQ.” He said Kevin Love’s trade value was higher than Stephen Curry’s (???).

Melvin

May 15th, 2010
10:37 pm

I think if the Hawks decide to go the no experience coaching route, than it wouldn’t surprise me to see either Larry Drew or Mark Price to be name the next Hawks coach. Both guys are familiar with the players and should be inexpensive hires. However, whomever we hire I would like to see a guy like Sam Cassell as an assistant. He seem to be a guy who can relate to the players, doesn’t mind getting in players face and always teaching. I think he would do a good job in mentoring Teague. Also, maybe we can use a guy like Hakeem on the staff to work with the big men.

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
10:44 pm

Melvin,

Hakeem’s record of working with big men is GODAWFUL. The ONLY player he has worked with whose post moves have amounted to anything are Yao’s, and considering that Yao has worked with multiple coaches, it’s tough to credit Hakeem for that. The low post repertoire of his most famous students (Diop, Okafor, Smoove, etc) are far from impressive.

Just because you could do doesn’t mean you can teach. The best big man coach in the business is Clifford Ray, and he was, shall we say, mediocre as a player.

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
11:04 pm

I would be incredibly, incredibly skeptical of any decision to hire Drew. That would not signal a serious commitment to the ‘change in culture’ that Sund seems to be going for. Also, Drew’s pedigree is less than stellar. Who you’ve worked for isn’t necessarily a good indication of who would be a good coach (if it was, Mike Brown wouldn’t be as bad and Phil wouldn’t be as good), but I don’t like the idea of someone whose pedigree is Randy Pfund, Alvin Gentry (the long bright spot), George Irvine, Leonard Hamilton, Doug Collins, Byron Scott, and Lawrence Frank. He certainly has plenty of examples of what NOT to do, but few of what to do.

The only way that would have any appeal to me is if 1) he expresses clear, serious ideas on how to develop the offense; 2) the players who thought Woody played favorites approve; and 3) it helps us retain JJ. But I doubt that’s the case, and I would be disappointed-to-pissed if Drew were hired.

niremetal

May 15th, 2010
11:18 pm

Other thoughts on coaches:

1) Monty Williams impresses me as an X’s and O’s guy and he works under one of the league’s best at rallying the troops in McMillan. But I don’t know whether he has clear ideas on how to run an offense, which is the weak spot for McMillan as a coach. McMillan runs Roy off the ball quite a bit more than Woody does, but the Blazers’ spacing still leaves a lot to be desired. I’d need to know that Williams recognized that and had a plan to address it.

2) I know nothing about Majerle as a coach.

3) Sam Mitchell…well, he’s another good “rallying the troops” guy. He also might be a good carrot for attracting Bosh to push for a S&T to Atlanta. But he also apparently had a pretty hot temper, which might be good or bad for temperamental guys like Smoove and young impressionable guys like JT0. He also didn’t seem to have a very movement-oriented offense in Toronto, although I honestly don’t have the clearest recollection. His teams’ defenses were nonexistent, although I’m willing to blame that in large part in the roster he had (Ford, Jose, Bosh, Bargnani, Delfino, Moon…yeesh). I’d be heartened by the change of culture I’m sure he’d bring (and the high price he’d command) but I’d be skeptical of the on-court changes we’d see.

4) Ty Corbin is the most interesting to me. You can’t ask for a better mentor than Jerry Sloan, if you ask me. And he was one of the smartest guys in the league as a player. I’d certainly want to know what his plans for the offense are, but you know a Sloan scion knows the importance of defense and would push to run more Horford pick-and-rolls. He’d be the first guy I’d call out of the names that have been mentioned.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
12:50 am

Niremetal ,

I can certainly see your point on Bill Simmons.

As for the coaching thing, I wonder just how different Larry Drew might be than Mike Woodson, or any of the guys he worked under. I don’t know enough about him to judge him either way, I’ve just heard good things about him from some people, including Sekou Smith. Of course, to be fair and objective, Sekou is media, and media opinion should never be judged as more educated than somebody who works directly with the nuts and bolts of the business. So Drew is a bit of a mystery to me.

On the other hand, should we be surprised if Mark Price got the job instead? He was brought in when Sund came in, and supposedly as a consultant. Heh….the conspiracy theorist in me is whispering in a very small voice that there could be something there. Or there could not. I won’t go so far as to say that Price was brought in with the thought that he might one day grab the reins, or even that he has shown enough as an assistant to get Sund’s attention. But stranger things have happened. Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano…you just never know. Eh, I’m probably making things up because I’m already bored…

As for the rest of your head-coaching thoughts, they were very well-laid out. If Corbin could be enticed, I wouldn’t be mad about it.

mykhalc

May 16th, 2010
4:15 am

as much as i wanted Drew top replace Woodson 3 yrs ago, i’m not for seein’ him do it now. this team does NOT need anyone that is/looks familiar. this team needs a shakeup and the best way to get that now IMHO is fresh faces ONLY…knowledgeable, experienced fresh faces!!!

vava74

May 16th, 2010
5:39 am

nire, Ray,

Professional sports are mainly entertainment, a business.

Simmons’ knows how to entertain and writes willfully from a fans perspective bringing always very interesting and amusing commentaries to what is going on.

Also, I think that even when entertaining, he brings interesting thoughts about collateral, underlying things in sports (like for instance the losing dynamics of certain towns and franchises which, although immaterial, seem almost palpable).

His analysis on Lebron may be entertainment driven, but I think it hits the spot in marking Lebron as a guy who’s mind set is to amaze people and get people to admire him rather than being completely set on winning like MJ and Magic were.

Also, his “Book of Basketball” is not only entertainment, in spite of the fact that it is not – obviously – a technical book. It’s an entertainment driven almanac, if you want, but informative anyhow.

I noticed that his opinions about many players match Charley Rosen’s, who is kind of a mirrored (as an opposite) version of Simmons: a technical guy (former player and head coach) who, due to his college formation in literature, has great writing skills.

Charley Rosen is also wrong sometimes and a flip flopper of sorts since his views are in occasion frozen in time after A particular game.

I think that if you want to pick on analysts, these are the two few which you can rely on being consistent and not driven by alien interests beyond their publicly known preferences: Simmons is a Bostonian and an entertainer and Rosen a pro-Triangle/pro-Phil Jackson/pro-defense guy.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
5:43 am

Ray,

If you know that a train is going to wreck due to the machinist being inept, do you let him wreck the train because you like him as person and you feel sorry for him if you dismiss him?

Or do you get a new machinist on board and try to salvage the trip at all cost, specially bearing in mind that if you wreck the train you will probably lose your best passenger (JJ)?

doc

May 16th, 2010
8:47 am

i wonder what kind of a coach matt harpring will or would be?

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
10:25 am

Sund deosn;t seem the type to hire someone without coaching experience (like Steve Smith or Eric Snow)

nire, I’m struggling to think of a Sloan disciple who became a head coach. I think that Phil Johnson has been his lead assistant for about 87 years… has anyone become a head coach from Sloan’s bench?

I assume that ,much like in the NFL, part of the interview process for hiring an NBA head coach is discussing his desired staff of assistants. A head coach that can deliver a high qulaity big man coach (as an example) would potentially look better than a comparable coach who is contemplating bringing in Priest Lauderdale as their big man coach.

O'Brien

May 16th, 2010
11:52 am

I will add 2 more assistants who could be candidates:

1)Tom Thibodeau – he was an advance scout, and spent a bunch of years under JVG in NY and Houston (his teams are consistently known for defense), and this is his third season with Boston. My concern would be who would he bring in to help with our offense?

2)Elston Turner – 6 years with Sacramento, 4 years with the Blazers, and back with Adelman in Houston. Has interviewed for the Phoenix and Minnesota jobs in the past, and interviewed for the current Sixers job.

But to AJ’s point if Sund hires an assistant HC to be the Hawks coach, who would his assistants be?

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
2:33 pm

kirkinga

May 16th, 2010
4:54 pm

As always, nice column Ray. I think you have once again captured the essence of the situation. think the comments have been excellent as well.

As such, at this point, I would only add one thing. While I agree that the devil is indeed in the details, not all details are created equally. Count me among those who subscribe to the Herm Edwards Principle, the point of the game is to win. Winning is the metric,,or detail if you prefer, that should be foremost on the minds of ASG, Rick Sund, and fans as well.

I will not defend Coach Woodson, I will not condemn his firing. I will simply say that I expect no less than 53 wins and/or for the team to advance out of the Semi Finals.

Hawks fans have been here more than once before with a coach who supposedly was the reason the team could not make it out of a 2nd Round rut. Let us hope things turn out differently this time.

Go Hawks!

vava74

May 16th, 2010
4:56 pm

Astro,

My take on Smart:

Cons:

1. Another product of Indiana (for no reason in particular but the fact that Woody also was one).

2. Failed miserably as an interim coach in CLE (although conditions might have been very difficult with a tanking ball club).

3. Is an assistant to an IDIOT.

4. Had a poor playing career and has not been involved as an assistant in anything remotely successful, hence, will not command respect.

Pros:

5. Seems to have had some success in the CBA and with the Dominican Republic.

6. Apparently had an impact developing players who subsequently received call ups.

Unknowns:

7. X’s and 0’s (what is his offense and his defense?)

Conclusion:

Seems a guy suitable for Woody’s FIRST JOB (cheap option to take a bottom dweller with no pressure), not to take over from him.

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
5:25 pm

vava, chances are, we will either hire a coach who failed previously or one who has no head coahing experience, right?

Nellie has zero ability to relate to players but he isn’t incompetent when it comes to offensive game-planning. He has mostly had to play with a group of under-sized, young players. Additionally, it seems like they have been “top heavy”, a few guys making a lot of money and a lot of guys making little money. Does any of that sound familiar?

Lastly, this city needs a gimmick and Nellie ball featuring players like Teague, Smith and Jamal may get a few more folk in the seats.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
6:28 pm

After reading the summary of possibilities at Peachtreehoops, I am inclined to think that McHale could be an interesting option.

He has coached a few stretches successfully (emphasis on stretches) and has a past which would be a strong point to work young players from an advantage point.

Furthermore, I think he could do wonders with Smoove and Al.

niremetal

May 16th, 2010
6:31 pm

Vava,

See my above comment about Hakeem. McHale’s record of working with big men is, well, nonexistent. No reason to think that he has any ability to teach.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
6:39 pm

And the Celtics just proved that the “mighty” ORL are just a perfectly beatable team if you playing sound, well coached BBall…

AND if you have some fair treatment from the refs (allowing defenders to be as physical as he is – or calling the contacts).

Note that Doc Rivers is saying in the press conference that he was very angry that Bos let Orl SHOOT (not make) 6 or 7 three pointers in the second quarter and that he talked about it during the half time to stop that.

He also said that ORL made a run in the 4th because BOS stopped making the extra pass and went ISO.

Bos managed that ORL only got 10 assists for 32 fgs.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
6:43 pm

nire,

I read that Jefferson’s game improved with “some” tutorship from McHale.

I did notice that he had a few stretches in which Minny responded well to him and had good periods.

Never a consistent work though, however, I simply can’t seen another assistant coming him and being able to get things done at a high level.

For me, we need someone with a degree of pedigree which allows him to be authoritary.

Monty Williams does’t cut it on that front. Corbin maybe because he was an undersized husler which always overachived (I liked him a lot as a player), but his career may not be sufficiently impactful to command authority.

McHale and Laimbeer would.

niremetal

May 16th, 2010
6:45 pm

The truth is that most great players have made bad coaches. Baylor, Cousy, Russell, Unseld, Magic, Thomas…most of the greats seem to get frustrated when they realize that the players they coach are neither as talented nor as dedicated as they were. The only obvious exception is Larry Bird. Seriously, just because a guy was great executing as a player doesn’t mean that they have the foggiest idea of how to 1) explain what they did to player who never have done it before; 2) get players to “buy in;” and 3) have the ability to recognize when what they did well won’t necessarily work with other players, and be flexible enough to modify accordingly.

Coaching and teaching are skill sets that are almost totally detached from playing and executing. That’s why I’m always skeptical of bringing in a big name former player as coach and ESPECIALLY as GM. That being said, there are certain former players that strike me as having the qualities you’d expect in a good coach – Steve Smith comes to mind. Kevin McHale does not.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
6:50 pm

SVG’s press conference should be resumed to the following:

Playing the Hawks is the worst preparation possible to play the ECF.

I can’t think of any worse to do. I would prefer to take my whole roster in a cruise for 7 seven days will hard liquor, women and drugs and arrive noon on the ECF’s game 1 day than to play the Hawks.

But well, last year they did it to CLE and that allowed us to be in the Finals against the Lakers so we cannot feel that unlucky.

I wish BOS well and I hope that the Finals against the Lakers end up being exciting.

kwooden1

May 16th, 2010
6:51 pm

Orlando matches up well against us but not against Boston. Nice win by Boston. They’re definitely playing well.

vava74

May 16th, 2010
6:54 pm

What about Laimbeer?

His game had very little to do with actual talent. Would he make your cut?

kwooden1

May 16th, 2010
7:38 pm

I’ve been watching game 2 and 4 of the Orlando series again, possession by possession. Looking at it this way our offensive sets themselves aren’t bad and Woody’s calls aren’t to bad also. The problem comes with execution and Woody clearly favoring JJ and Bibby. The best set we had throughout both 2 and 4, was the double high screen for Crawford. This play brought Howard away from the basket and also got JJ on the move. After that play our best option was to push to get shots in the secondary break. Woody kept getting away from the Crawford play and going to ISO plays, which speaks to his favoritism.

Our defense was more of the same. Orlando’s best play was putting Howard and Nelson in the pick and roll, trying to get Howard to roll to the post or Nelson drawing a double team. We clearly needed to try a zone or trap the pick and roll. If I check other games I’m sure I will see that they tried a zone and a trap at some point, but the issue comes when to actually implement them.

For this team to really be a contender for the Championship they need a change in culture first and more production/talent at the SF second. The next coach will have to get the respect of the veterans, so the team buys into the new system. I think that means the next coach will have to have previous Playoff success on his resume or any new system may fail. We also need to upgrade the SF position to make-up for bad match-ups with certain teams. Getting another PG is important, but we really need a guy that isn’t passive like Marvin. We need someone that can drive to the hole (and finish) and get offensive rebounds. We also need a guy that can help block shots and rebound on the defensive end. Chillz looks like a guy that can really help this team get to the next level because of his versatile and activity.

I hope that Sund really takes his time with the coaching decision because this team could go either way depending on his decision. I thought Eddie Jordan would do great in Philly, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I think Sund should hire Byron Scott because of his Playoff experience and his work with great PGs. I think the guys would instantly respect him and he gets his teams to play hard.

GO HAWKS!!

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
7:57 pm

Vava ,

Come now, that answer is simple. You jump off the train and then claim plausible deniability. ;)

Kirkinga ,

Thanks! Also, I agree that the details are not created equal. For instance, there are so many people who believe that merely changing head coaches improves this team. That is no guarantee to put it mildly, though I think it is a start. There are other issues within the roster, and it may be that no coach can solve those. We have chemistry issues. We have production issues. Sund has a lot of work to do and will define much of his legacy this summer.

Thanks for your comments, and don’t be a stranger.

Astro Joe ,

Valid questions on the guys who have worked under Sloan. I hadn’t thought of that.

On another note, Samuel brought up a point in a discussion about Hubie Brown. He remarked that Brown had a losing record and no championship rings, but Woody had a championship ring. He’s right. Did Woody get it as a head coach? No. I then remarked that all assistant coaches who worked on championship winning teams have championship rings. Are we to be equally impressed with all of them? Does that make them all better than those who don’t have rings?

By the same vein, it is a tad difficult to assume with no doubts whatsoever that a guy working for a successful guy will automatically have a great chance of success on his own. Not to cast doubt, just saying you never know.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:15 pm

Vava ,

Laimbeer actually gets my attention as former players turning to coaching. He’s smart, tough-minded, and was a master of the pick and pop as a player. Does that translate into coaching in the NBA? I don’t know. Not that it helps, but he was pretty successful coaching in the WNBA. At least he didn’t suck at it. He also finally decided to get his assistant coaching chops, so he’s on the right path.

I think the guy has as good a shot as anybody at doing the job, and doing it well, when we’re talking about unknown commodities. I don’t that Sund will go that route, but I wouldn’t scream in frustration if he did. Unless of course, I thought of a reason to, which is not out of the realm of possibility. :)

Niremetal ,

Steve Smith was a guy I was hoping might get a shot at the job when Woody’s future was in doubt 2 years ago. Like Laimbeer, I think he’s got as good a shot as any “unknown.”

Kwooden1 ,

Good analysis on how we played against the Magic. Our problem has been finding what works and then sticking with it. Then, finding something else that works when the first plan of attack finally gets stymied. We never got over that hump.

Favoring Bibby was a big mistake, but it was also based off how resources have been used. I’m a little weary of talking about what Woody did or didn’t do, now that he’s gone. So I won’t go much further with it.

I think Chills could help this team, but I don’t know if he’ll come back. The possibility exists that he might, knowing that Woodson is gone (but I’m not trying to suggest anything too deep here), but doesn’t money talk loudest?

Meanwhile, I get to watch the team that we swept in 4 games during the regular season, beat the team that annihilated us during the playoffs. Sigh ….it is what it is…

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
8:19 pm

Ray, I just would think that a guy who has coached as long as Sloan and as successfully as Sloan would have a few guys from his coaching tree. And maybe he does, but I can’t think of any. If that is true (no one has left his bench to coach their own NBA team), then one has to wonder why. Is it because his offensive system takes a long time to successfully install? Is it because it takes a certain type of teacher? Is it because it takes students with high IQs? I mean, this guy has been coaching since Oscar Robertson was a rookie (OK, maybe I’m exagerrating by a month or so)… what’s up with all of these GMs for all of these years opting for other coaching trees?

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:21 pm

QUICK UPDATE

Sund might be moving faster than we think. Hawks have gained permission to interview Dwayne Casey. Links below:

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2010/05/16/update-hawks-are-given-permission-to-interview-casey/?cxntfid=blogs_mark_bradley_blog

http://blogs.ajc.com/hawks/2010/05/16/hawks-to-talk-to-casey/?cxntfid=blogs_hawks

Some of you have already stated your feelings on Dwayne Casey. OH what the heck….why not let some more fly? :)

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
8:26 pm

I don’t think that the role of the head coach is to work with individual players… that’s an assistant coaches job. I wouldn’t project McHale’s competence as a head coach based on how Al Jefferson developed. If that were the best way to hire a coach, why isn’t Clifford Ray interviewing for jobs? I don’t want my head coach spending an hour at every practice in the corner wit a player or 2. I’d much rather see him managing all 13-15 players.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:39 pm

Astro Joe ,

Yeah…besides, that’s favoritism, isn’t it? :twisted:

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
8:42 pm

Astro Joe ,

Again, good question. I have no answers there, and I’m kinda hoping Nire will do the research on it, because I’m feeling lazy.

Melvin

May 16th, 2010
8:59 pm

Uh, wasn’t McHale credited for KG development??? If he was, he didnt do a bad job with him. KG had no post or go to move coming out of high school. He relied on his athleticism early in his career.

Melvin

May 16th, 2010
9:02 pm

Speaking of KG, did you all realize that the Celtics haven’t lost a playoff series when KG plays. Be aware of those old guys from the beantown, they still have some game left. I still believe had KG been healthy last year, they would have been competing for a three peat…

Astro Joe

May 16th, 2010
9:21 pm

Ray, favoritism. Yeah, let me think… when was the last time I heard that expression… oh yeah, from my 12 YO niece when she was talking about her cheerleading coach.

Bunch of f’ing babies. I sometimes wish we would hire Laimbeer, he would break someone in two for not manning up.

Sautee

May 16th, 2010
10:15 pm

nire,

about this: “The truth is that most great players have made bad coaches. Baylor, Cousy, Russell, Unseld, Magic, Thomas…most of the greats seem to get frustrated when they realize that the players they coach are neither as talented nor as dedicated as they were.”

nire, you DO realize that Russell won TWO rings (player / coach) coaching the Celtics don’t you? And had a winning pct. of .540% over 7+ seasons as a coach?

The rest of your list I agree with, but Russ was at LEAST a decent coach.

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
10:34 pm

LOL @ Astro Joe

Big Ray

May 16th, 2010
10:35 pm

I hear hiring Laimbeer is hiring Mahorn, they come as a package deal.

Fine by me, we’ll even let Mahorn play….

No, I didn’t really hear that, but the sentiment remains.