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

newkid

May 18th, 2010
10:21 am

Hope we continue to see the number ‘24′ on the rear of a Hawks player’s jersey during the 2010/2011 campaign and playing the 3-spot, but the name above the number will hopefully be “George” (as in Paul) as opposed to “Williams”. He’s smooth like Gervin, Rudy Gay-electric in space, a shooter with deep range, and has the potential to be special.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
10:38 am

newkid,

I mention that the Hawks should draft Paul George several weeks ago. I think he has alot of potential. I agree with the Rudy Gay comparison. I think he would be a very nice backup SF playing behind Marvin/Chills whichever one Sund decide to keep next season.

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
10:39 am

newkid, and he’ll be available that late in the draft?

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
10:55 am

I’d like to see both Wall and Evan Turner land in the Western Conference.

newkid

May 18th, 2010
10:58 am

AJ, I doubt ‘the Beat’ is around @ 24. Too much talent and potential for Pritchard to bypass @ 22, but will likely go even sooner. We’ll need to make a move if he’ll wear Hawks’ blue.

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Melvin, I remember you mentioning George before. I think you alos mentioned Brackins… I just read that he tested very high in several atheletic categories. That will likely push him up the draft board. I guess folk thought he was strictly a jump shooter but evidently, he has close to a 40-inch vertical jump to boot. Nice combination and he isn’t a 19 YO kid. So he should be ready to produce in some capacity from the first day.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
11:21 am

newkid,

There’s report that several teams are willing to trade down like the Bucks. I wonder if Sund/Hawks will be agressive on draft day.

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
11:22 am

Short excerpt from a piece Chad Ford wrote about UCONN’s Stanley Robinson. Really good to read an article that expresses how a player was able to benefit from his college experience. Calhoun has a pretty remarkable track record when it comes to producing NBA talent. Maybe, the best track record of current college coaches.

Robinson, if you remember, lost his confidence at the end of his sophomore season at UConn. He left the team for a little bit and worked in a steel yard. Finally, coach Jim Calhoun rescued him, and Robinson went on to turn his career around during his junior season. Robinson said, “Coach Calhoun taught me how to be a man. I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
11:38 am

Astro,

I like Brackins too. I’m curious to know whether the Hawks are interested in using the draft to acquire some young talent and coach them up similiar to what the Blazers are doing. I think it would be a smart move to stock pile young talent and bring them along slow or you can throw them into the fire if they proven that can contribute immediately.

Side note: Not like how Woody use Teague…

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
11:40 am

newkid and Melvin… an excerpt from a Ford evaluation of George…

In the workout we saw, George was terrific. He showed deep range on his jump shot, exploded to the rim and had terrific quickness. Scouts have had questions about his consistency and toughness. They’ve also worried about his love affair with the 3-pointer. But it was also clear that he was rarely pushed at Fresno State.

In this environment, playing alongside other NBA prospects, he looked much sharper and more focused. He needs to get stronger and improve his motor (something he admitted to me when we chatted) but MacLean told me George has been a sponge since coming into the gym. George believes he may be more of a 2-guard than a 3. Some NBA teams agree. In fact his first workout is in San Antonio on Thursday. His workout partner: Kansas shooting guard Xavier Henry.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
11:41 am

Astro,

That was a nice excerpt on Robinson. However, he’s a very atheletic but his skills need a lot of polish…

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
11:45 am

Melvin, as you know, 1st round picks cost more than minimum-wage veterans. So “stock-piling” likely means at least $500k more per player than going with a 1-year deal for a vet. And as i recall, Portland “bought” a few of their extra 1st round picks in the past few years.

I’m not judging here… I don’t have a view of the Hawks balance sheet. Just saying why one option may be chosen vs. another.

newkid

May 18th, 2010
11:46 am

The Bucks are in a really sweet spot @ 15 Melvin. That may be too sweet a spot for ‘the Beat’. What with players like Whiteside and Motiejunas possibly sitting there at 15, I’d probably allow someone else to scarf up George’s talent if I could slide into that hole. But what could Sund have (Chilz’ rights?) that would entice the Bucks to give up that pick OR move down to 24 from 15? They wouldn’t accept Marvin, would they? I know he pulled an incredible sleight-of-hand in the JCross deal, but Sund couldn’t be that clever two years running, could he?

newkid

May 18th, 2010
11:53 am

Thanks AJ. Someone’s going to get quite a talent in ‘the Beat’. A couple summers in the weight room coupled with a year or so of ball handling training with someone like Bobby Lewis or Sonny Hill (both of Philadelphia), he could really be special.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
11:59 am

Astro,
I understand your point.

Newkid,
I read the Bucks have falling in love with Dominique Jones from South Florida and feel they could move down to draft him. So maybe they are looking to save a few dollars on a player that is expect to be available later in the first round (what BK should have done with Shelden). I do remember they were trying to workout a S&T with Chills last year so maybe would could grab their pick at 15 for Chills. I’m sure the 15th pick would be cheaper than Chills caphold/contract.

newkid

May 18th, 2010
12:07 pm

Sund wouldn’t give up both the rights to Chilz AND #24 for #15 would he Melvin? Would you?

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
12:17 pm

Melvin, I don’t think that you can trade a RFA (or UFA) on draft day. You have to sign him first and then trade him and that can’t be done until after 7/1. I’m sure that someone will correct me if I have that wrong. I think that teams can only use players under contract, draft picks and cash on draft day… free agents aren’t in play.

niremetal

May 18th, 2010
12:46 pm

Astro/Melvin,

Yup, that’s correct. Chills is a free agent, and no free agent can be signed until July.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
1:50 pm

Newkid,

I wouldn’t trade Chills and 24th for 15th pick? but i mention him b/c I knew the Bucks had some interest in him last summer….

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
3:48 pm

Ray,

Looks like this blog has become a little stale. Even Astro threw in the white flag after the 4 Horsemen/Legends took him to school last nite. You may have to whip up some new material to rekindle the canniblogging…

Big Ray

May 18th, 2010
3:57 pm

Okey dokey. It will be today or tomorrow, if all goes according to plan (which, I really didn’t have one).

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
3:59 pm

Melvin, threw in the towel? Who? Me? I pinned the 4 Horsemen to a 5-minute count and limped to the lockerroom for a big bowl of popcorn and some red Kool-Aid. :lol:

BrittishAnger

May 18th, 2010
5:40 pm

I still think we resigned Bibby on the assumption that he will retire with us and maybe come back as a shooting coach or even a PG specialist to maintain a good teacher/trainer around Jeff Teague…

O'Brien

May 18th, 2010
6:41 pm

Draft lottery tonight. If new Jersey gets the #1 pick (john wall), Devin harris might be available.

Minnesota has the second best chance at the #1 pick. If they get it, do they take john wall (their third PG, along with Rubio and Johnny Flynn)? Oh by the way, they also have Ramon sessions

O'Brien

May 18th, 2010
8:24 pm

Philly guaranteed a top 3 pick. If they get the #1 pick (John Wall), they should hire Woody so he could bring him along slowly and not throw him to the wolves…

Sautee

May 18th, 2010
8:31 pm

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
8:50 pm

So that means that John Wall is in our division. That’s okay, we have Jeff teague.

I’m more concerned with Evan Turner… I think he is oing to be a Mega-Star. I wonder if Derrick Favors lands in NJ?

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
8:58 pm

I wonder if Iggy will be made available. Lou Williams should be able to play off the ball with the offense running through Turner. And Thad Young is a natural SF. Could they flip Iggy into a PF? Like Iggy for Troy Murphy?

And what happens to Arenas? Agent 0 to the Knicks for David Lee?

O'Brien

May 18th, 2010
9:00 pm

AJ,

Does Washington really want their #1 pick (probably John Wall) being associated with Arenas? What is Arenas going to do? Show him how to play cards? Take him to the gun range?

To be fair, maybe Arenas has changed his ways and has learned from his mistakes (at least I hope he has).

As for Derrick Favors, I’m concerned about his game going forward (and I am a GT fan). He will be drafted based mostly on potential, and he is a very low key guy. If I’m not mistaken, he does not watch a lot of basketball either. And I’m just not sure if I see that drive to be great in him.

Astro Joe

May 18th, 2010
9:11 pm

OB, wouldn’t you agree that the VAST majority of top 5 draft selections are chosen strictly on potential (as opposed to production)? I don’t like it either, but that’s the way it is.

I’d be shocked if the Wizards keep Gilbert. They now have the opportunity to build their team around a different backcourt star, I don’t see anyway they choose to keep a high-salaried risk over a low-salaried risk. I suspect that Grunfeld will start making calls to move Gilbert in the morning. Assuming the Knicks don’t land LeBron nor Wade (and I don’t think that they will), trading for Arwnas makes a ton of sense. His personality and game would be huge in NYC. And they would still have room to add someone like Bosh or Amare.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
9:15 pm

Crittenton or Foye, who do yall want to sign??? Agent 0 and John Wall in the backcourt together oh my and Josh Howard…. Can you say, limited touches for the frontcourt….

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
9:25 pm

If I’m Nets I would consider picking Monroe over Favors. Maybe they should swap picks with someone who wants Cousins b/c I can’t see them picking him to play alongside Lopez.

O'Brien

May 18th, 2010
9:26 pm

AJ,

Yeah, its always about potential with these guys. Thats why we are stuck with Marvin.

Speaking of Marvin, I look around the league, and I see all these young PGs (CP3, Deron, Rose, Evans, Curry, Jennings, and now John Wall), while the Hawks best bet is to see if Teague can be part of the solution. I like Teague, but I hope he is working on his game (especially his shooting) this offseason.

I like the Gilbert trade to the Knicks, because I think they will miss out on the big name FAs, and the Wizards should build around John Wall.

Watching the Celtics-Magic, the Hawks need a shooter in the worst way. Korver, Mike Miller, JJ Redick etc. We need somebdy who can knock down 3s consistently and help spread the floor. The cheapest option is Redick, because with the magic having such a high payroll already, they may not want to keeo him.

Melvin,

I think Josh Howard has a team option, so I dont think they will keep him. Foye is restricted, and so is Redick. Crittenton is available to anybody for cheap I’m sure. I wouldnt mind bringing him in during training camp to see what he can do.

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
9:37 pm

OB,

I think the Wiz already decline Howard’s team opt. I think the Magic will resign Reddick and dump Bass salary. Hmmm, I wonder if they would take Bibby for him…LOL…. Just looking at the FA list, I think there’s alot of guys that could help this team. Hopefully the Hawks will be aggressive during this FA period…

[...] -Big Ray on the Summer of Rick Sund [...]

Melvin

May 18th, 2010
9:41 pm

New Blog up. I’m getting the hell out of here….

Big Ray

May 18th, 2010
10:06 pm

Okay guys (and gals), new blog is up, such that it is….

Big Ray

May 18th, 2010
10:08 pm

Melvin, Youuuuuuu…if the blog was STALE Mr. Smarty pants, then you should have waited until the next one for all of those comments! Ahhhhhhh! Now it looks like I made up the new blog of comments from THIS one!

rylestyle

May 22nd, 2010
5:49 pm

I’ve heard that the nets are interested in aquiring a superstar player (lebron or wade) and then possibly getting either johnson or bosh after that. Is there no possibility of the hawks doing a sign and trade for brooke lopez? Or what about marc gasol? those seem like two player that the hawks should be very interested in.

If the hawks were to acquire one of those centers, they would have a center, a pfoward (horford), a sford (marvin). At that point they could use josh smith as trade bait, and i’m sure many teams would be interested. (what about josh smith and jeff teague for chris paul) imagine this starting 5…

chris paul (josh smith/jeff teague)
jamal crawford
marvin williams
al horford
brooke lopez/marc gasol (sign and trade for joe johnson)

then we would have to focus on the bench with the loss of crawford, but we would have a decent nucleus with evans and pachulia.

any comments?