Hawks fans: Do we really want Avery?

What is Rick Sund up to, I wonder?

Is there really a chance that Avery Johnson becomes the next head coach of the Atlanta Hawks?

Why does this not make me feel better?

It seemed early on that the announcing of Avery Johnson’s interview for the job with the Hawks was little more than “due dilligence” on the part of the Hawks front office. Some have even suggested that it was less than that, more likely a ploy to appease us fans. I can see doing that with a player, somebody that we fans actually pay to go see. But doing that with a coach? Do we really care that much about the coach?

As it is, one of the bigger and busier brand names comes up in conversation again, and now we have to wonder just how real the possibility is. But maybe that’s not the more important question. Perhaps what we need to be asking is do we as fans really want him here? In the beginning, I thought he could be a good, solid choice. Now I’m not so sure. Reportedly, the New Orleans Hornets have turned away from him. Is it because he wanted to be both coach and have a controlling front office position? How in the world do you show up to a job interview, asking for a pay raise and a promotion? Maybe Johnson simply saw an opportunity in New Orleans, and he has a totally different outlook as far as working for the Hawks is concerned. Maybe not. Would Avery initially or eventually get himself involved in a power struggle here? Maybe, just maybe that is what really happened in Dallas. Losing in the NBA Finals isn’t exactly a sin (unless you totally give it away), and it’s more than many other NBA coaches will ever even hope to accomplish.  Perhaps the reason Avery had to move on is the same reason his predecessor had to move on: a power struggle. A fundamental difference of opinion. Was it really about success and failure on the basketball court?

If controversy and control is what Johnson is about, and this is what he brings with him, then perhaps the Hawks would be wise to look the other way, as the New Orleans Hornets seem to be doing. A power struggle is what ultimately weakened the organization when the Atlanta Spirit Group took ownership of the franchise in the first place. Another one, even on a lower level, could do a lot to set the team further back. Even worse, it could do more to further alienate a fan base that is not quite 100% behind the team.

 

In Other News…

Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Dwayne Casey has yet to receive his interview for the job, but he is reportedly going to get that this weekend. Maybe it’s happening even as we speak. For those who wanted Tom Thibodeau or Monty Williams, you’re going to probably have to wait and see what New Orleans does. Both guys reportedly have second interviews with the Hornets, and the loser may end up in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Sund seems to be going at his usual pace. Is he leaning towards anybody in particular? We’ll probably never know, the man is a better poker player than we are used to seeing around these parts.

Oh, and if you wanted to see a “Josh for Bosh” or “Bosh if JJ leaves” scenario unfold, word on the street is you can forget it. While the possibility of such an acquisition may have proven to be interesting at least from a speculative standpoint, it would not have been without it’s drawbacks, as many of you have pointed out. So what other possibilities abound, or do the Hawks need to just proceed with the frontcourt duo of Al Horford and Josh Smith, only stopping to fill in better behind them, rather than shaking up the so-called nucleus? The name Al Jefferson keeps coming up here and there, but would that be in place of Smith or Horford? Personally, I can’t see trading Horford for Jefferson (though the T-Wolves may thank us in the end) and I don’t know that Jefferson fits well alongside Horford if Smith were moved. Nor can I see the T-Wolves with a frontcourt of Kevin Love and Josh Smith. But what do I know?

236 comments Add your comment

chuckw/deadjournalist

May 22nd, 2010
12:49 pm

Yahoo is reporting that Casey (Mavs assist.) is still a front runner but that the guy the owners want is Mark Jackson. I’m not sure if I’ll be comfortable with anyone honestly.

chuckw/deadjournalist

May 22nd, 2010
1:02 pm

Everyone focuses on the frontcourt, but even if JJ resigns, its that backcourt that needs addressing. And it is more than the PG situation.

What the team needs is a high-energy, team-first 2/3 who is able to provide more parameter defense. Who ever is hired here, ball-movement has to be stressed on the offense, but it is the defensive side of things that really has to be addressed.

If Bibby and Jamal are on the court, you are playing 4 on 5 (which begs the question as to why the Hawks didn’t play more zone with their second unit).

The obvious guy, to me, is Childress. For all the Hawks success the last two years, JChill’s ability to do all the little thing – namely move without the ball and crash the boards – have been sorely missed. On defense he can play decent against 1 to 3’s. Remember, he also was able to play point forward for us as well.

Furthermore, JChill could push Marvin to the bench, and potentially give him a chance to explore mismatches.

Regarding the PG position, we need a small, quick PG who can match up against the guys that killed the Hawks all year. At this point in his career, Bibby is basically a match-up, back-up 2. He still has enough to help the team, but they have to address their inability to stay in front of other teams 1s.

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
1:04 pm

How many other coaches that has won a championship as a player and coach in the finals are available? I have no problems with the Little General. Get him in here…..

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brandon McCoy, Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: AJC's fan blog: Hawks fans: Do we really want Avery? http://bit.ly/d7fHu6 [...]

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
1:05 pm

Hmm, checkout this guy (Kevin Seraphin) who they have going to the Hawks. He doesn’t look like a bad prospect but if Paul George is available we must select him…lol
Click on his name to view his scouting report.

http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-mock-draft/2010/

S. Young

May 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

Yes, we WANT & NEED Avery Johnson. I’ve lived in this city for 25 years and these so-called professional athletics this city has invested in are year after year HUGE disappointments. AJ would bring a sense of urgency, expertise (NBA Champions) and spark some type of enthusiam for wanting to be WINNERS. Yet, you moroons are still pretending like everything is A-OK with being part of a bunch higher paying professional losers. You all need to wake up!!!

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

chuckw/deadjournalist ,

I should start calling you Haley’s Comet. You don’t come around all that often, lol!

I agree that the issues in the backcourt are crucial to the chemistry of the team. We’ve got a quick pg. Can he get the job done? I think he can, but we haven’t seen enough of him yet to know. Stay tuned, he’ll get his shot soon enough. Our perimeter defense could use a jolt. Of course, I also look forward to no more switching defense, and something tells me the players might as well.

O'Brien

May 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Although I am not a fan of Avery Johnson’s playoff record, I think it is being blown out of proportion (by some fans) that he choked in the playoffs.

His Mavs lost in the NBA finals after being up 2-0. Dallas won the first 2 games in Dallas, and then Miami won the next 2 games in Miami, so both teams held home court (if anything, game 3 was the choke game, because Dallas was up by 8 late in the fourth quarter, and ended up losing by 2).

In game 5 in Dallas, Miami won 101-100 in OT. In game 6 in Miami, Miami won 95-92. So if you take away game 4, which was a blowout, the other 3 Miami victories were by a combined 6 points. One could argue that with DWade getting almost every single call from the refs, one play here or there would have made all the difference.

In 2007-2008, his Mavs were the #7 seed, and they lost to the #2 seed (4-1), which happens all the time. His biggest playoff failure was losing to Golden State in 2006-2007 when his Mavs were the #1 seed.

But to be fair, they were 0-4 against Golden State in the regular season, so obviously they were a bad matchup. He made an adjustment for the playoffs, and it backfired. And keep in mind that Golden State was coached by Nellie, who used to coach the Mavs, and who knew the Mavs players really well.

If Avery is the choice, hopefully he has learned from his mistakes, because the Hawks need a coach to help get them over the hump in the playoffs, and I’m not sure if Avery can do that. Plus I share the concerns about him micromanaging, and a possible power struggle.

But if we hire him, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus he would add credibility and might convince other FA to sign here (even if they were not initially interested in the Hawks).

That being said, I heard that the job is still Casey’s to lose. Although I’m not that impressed by Casey either.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
1:42 pm

S. Young ,

We’re fans. We don’t make the decisions. At any rate, we don’t want to be losers…

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
1:46 pm

Melvin ,

I saw that. Kid has potential, possibly moreso than Othello Hunter. But….I have no idea who we might be targeting, or if that kid is who we should be picking up. I don’t mind the idea of Paul George or some of the other swing forward types I’ve seen mentioned.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
1:52 pm

No projects in the 1st round please.

chuckw/deadjournalist

May 22nd, 2010
1:55 pm

Big Ray –

It’s funny, I like that. Been working 60hr weeks for since February, I haven’t had the time I had like I once did.

Even if Teague can handle the point, I’m not sure he’s that in-your-face, annoy-the-piss-out-of-you defender the Hawks need. Even if he is, I’d feel a lot better with another true-point on the roster.

Nobody likes switches. I didn’t like them growing up because they hurt like hell when I’d get in trouble.

They hurt the Hawks just as bad. Actually, worse.

It was like the times when you’d have to go get a switch yourself, but it wouldn’t be good enough, so you’d have to go back and get another one and then get another lick or two because the first one wasn’t good enough.

That was the Hawks in the playoffs. Bad switches.

Wow, the was one hell of a digression/analogy.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
2:01 pm

O’brien ,

Pretty balanced perspective.

Here’s a question- Is there a coaching candidate that we truly should be impressed with? Guys that have won championships aren’t usually looking for jobs. So that leaves everybody else.

We are impressed by this assistant or that one, but have any of them won anything of note….as head coaches? Then they have something to prove (which would be why they’re trying for head coaching jobs to begin with). So why are we so impressed with or have such hopes for them?

Then there are the “former head coaches”, the guys looking for a job as a head coach again. As I said earlier, either you fall into the category of “won a championship(s)”, or you fall into the category of “haven’t”. Lots more of them in the second category than the first.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
2:03 pm

LOL@ Astro Joe…right on cue.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
2:06 pm

chuckw/deadjournalist

Understood, my friend. Hopefully the workload lightens a bit for ya soon.

I loved the commentary on switches, lol.

I also agree that having another option at pg is a good thing. I don’t see how it hinders Teague unless the new coach is the type who can’t decide or simply loves a position controversy. Get another guy in there and let ‘em battle it out. If Teague comes out on top, then he’s the man. If he doesn’t….

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

Dang it, Paul hype is growing by the day. The kid even like playing defense. We need to trade up. Get it done Sund…

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16289

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

Best “ready to contribute now” big available… that’s what I want. I don’t care if he’s a 4 or 5 or something in between. Can he set a screen without being called for a foul? Can he block out on the boards? Can he run the floor? Can he block a shot? Can he catch an alley-oop or hit a face up 16 footer? Can he move laterally?

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
2:47 pm

Funny line from nbadraft.net…

Craig Brackins Body does not look very athletic but his outside shoot looked impressive. Easily one of the best shooters among the bigmen showing the range to his 18-20 foot jumpers with no problem. Reports of a 40 inch vertical sound preposterous.

newkid

May 22nd, 2010
3:06 pm

No projects mantra means we either trade up or trade out of the 1st.

newkid

May 22nd, 2010
3:14 pm

‘The Beat’ (P.George) is what Billy HOPED he would get with Marvin. He’s the REAL #24.

Dr. Warren

May 22nd, 2010
3:25 pm

Big Ray–if this team does not even consider Kevin Loughery, then I will cancel my future season tickets. Loughery’s experience and record towers over everyone else they’re considering. The age-ism that is keeping him out of the interview process irks me. The guy wants back into the league, my sources in New York have told me.

niremetal

May 22nd, 2010
3:51 pm

If we get Avery Johnson, we can kiss any development of Teague or any other young PG goodbye. If he didn’t trust Devin Harris, he probably won’t trust anyone we can bring in.

If we’re going to go the retread route, give me Byron Scott. Not choke-every-time-in-the-playoffs Avery.

The Real Hawk

May 22nd, 2010
3:57 pm

If you want a postion you have to ask for it. No one is going to read your mind. Good that Avery at least asked for it. Your position on Avery seems to be a bit flaccid, to say the least.

The Real Hawk

May 22nd, 2010
3:59 pm

Again Hawks fans listen to and read blogs instead of checking their facts. Avery develops guards unlike Woody. He’s been to the finals. See anyone else on the short list who can say that?

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
4:00 pm

newkid, I disagree. You draft a junior or senior with a specific skill set that addresses a gap in current skills. I forget exactly what the Falcons GM calls it, something like schemem-specofoc drafting. If we had followed such a motto last draft, we may have targeted a guard with exceptional defensive qualities and walked away with either Tony Douglas or Darren Collison. Both upper classmen with the ability to defend their position. Neither may have the upside of Teague but they were both in a better position to contribute immediately.

I’d take Brackins, because we could use a big who can stretch the floor while playing next to Horford. I’d take a ‘tweener who could pull down 4-5 boards in 18 minutes and set good screens for Jamal. I’ll admit that I’m not as famailiar with this draft class as others, but I have to believe that there are upper classmen who can help us close some specific skill gaps.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
4:19 pm

You know, there should be some decent assistant coaches out there. Who was the assistant on Scott’s staff that may have helped CP3 in his first few seasons in the league? How about Vinnie’s staff, who was working with Rose? Didn’t Jrue play well late in the season, where’s Eddie Jordan’s guy who helped? There seems to be some who believe that a young player’s development is almost dependent on the coaching staff (as opposed to self-determination or work ethic). So if that’s true, then there should be some assistants out there who have helped produce nice young players in the past few years.

j

May 22nd, 2010
4:24 pm

Bosh is soft and overrated. We don’t want him

The Real Hawk

May 22nd, 2010
4:28 pm

There is a reason Bosh doesn’t want to play here. He knows the financial situation and the lack of knowledgable fans who question an All-star.
We do NOT need assistants who have not coached in the NBA!

clarkekent

May 22nd, 2010
4:48 pm

We need to keep it simple. We are weak in 2 position in the starting lineup PG and SF (if we don’t resign JJ: make that 3 positions). As far as PG in concerned we should go with Teague. Instant upgrade. Many people are looking for a trade but I would roll with this kid for 1 yr. if we don’t resign JJ we need to look into the trade possibilities with NJ, SAT and WAS. At that point, we would need a scoring PG and I’m not sure if Teague would suffice in that role with this team. Teague defense is above average to good and he will push the ball which will allow us to play to our strength: a front court that can out run everybody but PHX. The other position is SF: Marvin is what he is: a decent bench guy. He is decent at everything; good at nothing. This is where we need to find an upgrade. I am looking at Rudy Gay. At 6-8 230 he matches what the hawks plan are as far as length, size and speed. Plus he will shoot the ball and his defense is better. MEM is at odds with Rudy: they have too many people trying to score with OJ, Zac, Rudy, Marc, and Conley coming into his own. Rudy is a restricted FA. Meaning he will be looking to get paid next season. This move for Rudy should be made whether or not JJ stays. Rudy can come in and help with the scoring and he brings more athleticism and better defense. He is not and will not be left open and his player will not be used to help double… opening up the floor even more for Joe and Crawford and a penetrating Teague. I know many people want a center but other than D. Howard; who does Horford not match up well against.(maybe Brooks Lopez) Bottom line: improve your weakest positions without ripping apart your team. You can also use Childress as trade bait as well to help get Rudy Gay.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
8:39 pm

Rumor has it that Dirk is opting out and will become a UFA. That is great news for Sund. The more players opt-out who are as good or better than Joe, the more unlikely Joe leaves the Hawks. So that’s potentially LeBron, Wade, Dirk, Bosh, Boozer and Amare all in the same neighborhood (or better) than Joe. And with only a few teams with available cap space, many of those guys will be forced to return or go the S&T path (like Bosh).

O'Brien

May 22nd, 2010
9:02 pm

AJ,

I think Dirk goes back to Dallas, and if he opts out, it will be merely a formality so that he can get his long term max deal.

Its hard to get a read on JJ. Will he go where the money is, will he go where he has the best chance of winning a championship, or will he stay with the Hawks because thats where he wants to be?

Celtics are making the Magic look bad. Wow.

Dag Day

May 22nd, 2010
9:43 pm

Dont want Avery

MannyT

May 22nd, 2010
9:59 pm

No Avery Johnson does not excite me. Am I cynical to think that the ownership like TV personalities because they might sell 4 more season ticket packages than an assistant without visibility? :roll:

I would still like the Adelmaniacs to get a look. Elston Turner or Jack Sikma should be worth at least a Sund-dial phone call.

If this were 20 years in the future, one of their boys would have a YouTube like, pre interview on the NBA coaches development intranet, where they could have their preliminary pitches already done for teams with openings. Then they might have a better chance.

I think it’s smart for Dirk to opt out and stay so he can maximize his money. I doubt he leaves Dallas, but it makes sense to get a new deal before the CBA is reworked.

Show me a polished, finished product with the 24th pick and I’ll show you a 4 yr college player that is expected to have little upside or a guy that has personal issues stamped throughout his scouting file. You will get a project player and you will like him…or not.

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
10:07 pm

Astro,

When was the last time an upper classmen (lst rounder) came into the league and made an impact? Good upper classmen have become extinct. Most upper classmen have warts that’s why they stay in school longer and normally drafted in the 2nd round…. So if you want an impact player, hope that we draft a guy with impact talent…

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
10:08 pm

Manny, I don’t need upside… I need production. A solid rotational player from day 1.

OB, good point, I guess he can get a 6th year by opting out but only a total of 5 years through an extension of his existing deal, And chances are, he won’t do to Dallas what Boozer once did to Cleveland.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
10:17 pm

Melvin, wasn’t Darren Collison a senior drafted around 20? Taj Gibson I think was drafted around 25. Sam Young was a nice piece for Memphis early in the 2nd round. Dajuan Blair. Wasn’t George Hill drafted very late by the Spurs but contributed as a rookie? You know all those guys who we watch and use as an example of a rookie who is contributing because their coach allows them to play.

Steve

May 22nd, 2010
10:30 pm

I like our frontcourt – we just need one more big – like a Branden Hayward, or another young player like that – no retreads like Miller or Tim Thomas.

On too PG – sign Nate Robinson, who is a FA, now sitting at the end of the Celts bench. Fast, fits our game perfectly – and let he, Bibbs, and Teague handle the duties.

Re-sign JJ, let Mo go if he opts out, and re-sign Chilz. I’ll take my chances with that team. Sure you have to pony up some cash for Robinson, a Center, and Chilz – but it takes it too be a winner.

Steve

May 22nd, 2010
10:34 pm

Also, the above are things the Hawks can do July 2nd if they want – no hypothetical trades etc.

Steve

May 22nd, 2010
10:36 pm

Oops – and I like either Johnson or Casey as coach – Avery may have more upside?

O'Brien

May 22nd, 2010
10:37 pm

AJ,

I would like a rookie who is able to come in and play 15-18 minutes consistently, and can contribute immediately. I think Jeff Teague could have done that last year, but we still dont know for sure. And I still have my doubts about Rick Sund in the draft (he did pick Robert Swift, Johan Petro, and Saer Sene in 3 successive drafts. Thats like picking 3 Sheldens to me).

Speaking of Johan Petro, he is 7′, 250 lbs, and available for cheap (after playing in Denver this season). If we can’t afford Haywood, Kwame or one of those guys, then Petro could be worth a look. Since Rick Sund likes familiarity…

Magic being blown out in Boston. Down by 27. Did not see that coming. I havent been watching the game, so I dont know if Orlando has quit or not.

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
10:53 pm

Uh Astro, I give you Collinson (notice I said 1st rounders) but how many immediate impact under classmen was pick before Collinson? I disagree with limiting our choice to an upper classmen. I say get the player that fit the best.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
10:54 pm

OB, Teague was a sophomore playing for a college coach who was clearly overmatched for thejob annd subsequently fired. IMO, Teague needed some more rippening. The guys I’m talking about generally played forexcellent college coaches and stayed at least 3 years. I’m looking for guys who have the intellectual capacity to contribute immediately, not just tremendous athleticism. Teague always looked more long-term and less short-term to me. IMO, it’s hard to find someone with great upside who can also contribute immediately to a top team in the conference. It seems more likely that you get one or another when picking late in the 1st round… either impact now/little upside or big upside/little impact now.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
11:02 pm

Niremetal ,

So you don’t want a “choke every time in the playoffs coach”? Then you don’t want anybody from Sloan’s staff, who has lost in the playoffs every year he’s been in them. Come now, my friend. You are far too brilliant an artist to paint with such a broad brush. Not that this is an endorsement of Avery, mind you…..And I must say that I too prefer Byron Scott if we’re going the “brand name” route.

Astro Joe ,

There are also those who think that self determination and hard work are but part of what determines a young player’s development. Coaching does as well.

Then again, there seem to be those who think that ONLY self determination and hard work determine a player’s development, and that coaching has no influence here. If that’s the case, then such people obviously see no need for a coach. What the hell, let’s just not waste time and money on a coach when it’s the players that determine everything that happens. Just hire a guy who can use some physiological method to determine who is tired vs who is not, and substitute accordingly.

Extremes on both ends of the spectrum…

O'Brien

May 22nd, 2010
11:02 pm

Talk about depth. Jeff Teague played 719 minutes this season. After signing a 4 year $16 mil deal, Brandon Bass (who most of us liked) played a total of 648 minutes. Wow.

With the Magic potentially being swept, I wonder if they are willing to make some trades to change up the dynamic of their team.

Dwight Howard 3-10 in game 1, and 3-10 in game 3.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
11:03 pm

Melvin, I’m used to having the minority opinion around here. No worries. I understand the thrill of going for the diamond in the rough and watching him become the “steal of the draft”. I think this team has some maturity/IQ/consistency issues and I don’t see how adding an underclassmen helps with that.

Astro Joe

May 22nd, 2010
11:05 pm

Ray, I agree. We’ve had posts here suggesting the team won 53 games in spite of the coach. And as you know, i completely disagree with that assertion.

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
11:06 pm

O’brien ,

I’ll give Sund Robert Swift. Kid had skills and heart, but could never get healthy and stay that way. And he was ugly as sing…LOL….

AJ ,

If we can get an experienced collegian with specific skills that fit this team’s needs, then I’m all for it. Otherwise, I have to go with the “best player available/upside/BS” , as long as said player is a good asset.

Funny how the NBA draft is so different from the NFL draft. In fact, the NBA draft sucks a big pile of monkey nads. If you don’t get a top 20 pick, you’re all but in the same place as a senior prom date with way too much alcohol in the blood stream…..

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
11:07 pm

LOL.

AJ, I think if you remained in the majority opinion here most of the time, you would not know what to do with yourself!

Big Ray

May 22nd, 2010
11:08 pm

I’m of the opinion that winning 53 games with a coach who cannot do anything right is an impossibility.

But in some places, the above statement is sacrilege. Heh, like I care…

Melvin

May 22nd, 2010
11:10 pm

Astro,

Just about everyone from the beat writer to Co-Owner thats associated with the Hawks suggested that Teague deserved more playing time. Heck, even Woody said after the season was over that he needs to go with Teague next season.