Hawks fans: Summer speculation

Is summer really here yet? The thermostat in my house says “yes!” My truck parked outside of the garage (I don’t park in there, The Queen does, and if you’re married, you KNOW who The Queen is) with the windows up agrees, especially if I happen to be getting into it in the middle of the day. The NBA Playoffs? They say “no”, summer doesn’t begin until they end. So we can’t call this the summer doldrums. Shall we call it the late spring, my-team-lost-sooner-than-I’d-hoped-but-still-somewhat-expected doldrums? Of course, I see that some of us are in full mid-summer form, raising their canniblogging (copyrighted term, circa MannyT) capabilities to new levels. You know who you are!

 

Search Still On

No word from master poker player Rick Sund on a new coach. I guess when it was reported that he would be taking his time, that’s precisely what was meant. Or am I being impatient? Does it really matter how quickly Sund picks a new guy to man the rudder? Or is taking longer and “doing your homework” the way to go? Could a flurry of hires by other teams cause Sund to pull the trigger quicker than he’d like? The Philadelphia Sixers have tabbed Doug Collins as their new sideline stalker, and both New Jersey and Chicago have been reported as wanting to make a splash in this part of the market. Will that even have an effect on what Sund does? Chances are, all of the teams that are looking for new coaches (Philadelphia the exception) are going to do their due dilligence and not make moves that are rash, despite the media driven posturing. In fact, nobody except Philly has made a final move, so perhaps Sund isn’t so slow after all…so far.

 

Superfluous Soap Opera of Stupendous Summer of Superstars

How many times have you heard of the Summer of 2010 free agency class? Probably more than you’d care to count, considering the noise surrounding it started over a year ago. So rather than talk about it the same way everybody else has, I figured I’d try to come up with the most ridiculous title to such a discussion as I possibly could. Something tells me that A) I outdid myself, and B) Somebody who has never posted here will confirm this suspicion in a most unflattering fashion. Viva La Blogging!!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. While the conversation in media circles has been usually about which star free agent player will go where, things have taken a turn for the more…oh, I just about can’t find the words for it. And THIS time, it’s not simply some columnist or pundit somewhere trying to think up something new and clever to say. No, this latest batch of preposterous possibilities comes from the free agents-to-be themselves (Dwyane Wade being the mouthpiece in this case). Or so it has been reported. Personally, I think the idea of the top free agents of this summer getting together to discuss their future destinations is either nonsense. Or could there be an unseen nugget of truth to Wade’s statements? Hey, don’t take my word for it, check out Atlanta Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham, as he  weighs in on the matter and tells it like it is.

Speaking of Wade, here’s an interesting statement he made, adding an NBA players perspective on coaching, to the mix. The below excerpt is from the original article that started all this noise about the star free agents conferring together:

“I don’t necessarily get into all the coaches stuff,” Wade said. “I feel the coach is only as good as his players. There are some great, great coaches around who can squeeze a lot of life out of their players, like Jerry Sloan. Every year he proves that.”

Now while some of us fans would probably like to latch onto said statement and use it as a “fact” to bolster their opinion on the subject, let’s remember that this is how a player sees it (a different perspective). More specifically, this is how ONE player sees it, not to be confused with or assumed to be the opinion of all NBA players. But it’s an interesting statement all the same. I feel that his assertion that a coach is only as good as his players is both true, and yet incomplete. But then he goes on to mention how there are some truly great coaches who can do a lot with their players. Would that not suggest something different than the idea he posed in his first sentence, suggesting that the level of the players determines the caliber of the coach? I do think so. What might his complete thought be on the matter? I’m guessing you’d be hard pressed to get that, especially from a player of Wade’s level. He’s well paid and things are built around him. He either won’t have much to say out of caution, or because he doesn’t really care as much as you’d think. Or maybe neither idea is on the mark. You might get something completely different from a guy who is coming off the bench, and playing for his third or fourth team in his seven years of NBA experience.

So is either idea correct? Or is it a mix of both. Maybe Wade is saying that the average coach is only as good as the players you give him to work with, but the truly great coaches can do much more with what they are given. That makes sense to me, at least to an extent, whether I agree or not. It’s a perspective, not something written in stone. Then again, what if you give an average or mediocre coach a great player or two? Will that raise the ability of the coach to do what he is supposed to do? Does it change his knowledge of the game? Does it influence his ability to make in-game decisions, exploit matchups, counter the opposing coaches’ and teams’ strategies and tactics? Or are all of those things intangibles that a coach either has, or doesn’t have, and can either learn or not learn? Are the players merely average, worse, or better tools to work with in trying to accomplish a goal (winning)?

If that is true, then what makes a truly great coach who can maximize what he has, different than his peers? Hawks fans, and basketball fans in general – What do you think?

 

On A Side Note…

David Stern continues to keep what seems to me like an unnecessary choke hold on the Lebron Sweepstakes. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon finds himself the latest victim of breathing a single word about even liking the idea of acquiring Lebron James. Predictably, Mark Cuban was the first (imagine that), and may not be the least. Tampering? What tampering? Saying you wouldn’t mind having Lebron James on your team is tampering? Wouldn’t anybody say that? And not that I’m complaining, but why did Cuban get a $100,00 fine, but Gearon only gets $25,000? Is Stern putting a price on the type of words you use, or can the ASG simply not afford as much? Okay, okay, the last was a low blow (and a JOKE, I repeat JOKE), that I couldn’t resist. What can I say, I’m just another fan suffering from the doldrums described in the first paragraph of this post.

 

Summer of Sund continues….

186 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

May 28th, 2010
8:58 pm

Based on salaries last year, Craig Smith made $2.5 Mil, amir johnson made $3.7 mil, and gooden made $4.5 mil. So based on the hawks budget, Craig Smith might be our best bet.

I still think we should trade Jamal if JJ re-ups. Crawford can probably get us 1 solid player and filler (or 1 solid player and a draft pick).

Astro Joe

May 28th, 2010
9:41 pm

Remember when people would say that “Woody is coaching scared”? Well, if Sund hires Avery, IMO, he is “hiring scared”.

Dang, that Pendergraph piece was chock full o nuggets. I have posted anything that long over on MC’s blog since it was Sekou’s blog.

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
10:31 pm

OB,

If the Hawks are going to make the next step, Sund has to be creative with the roster and/or ASG will have to open up the pocketbook a little more… Amir Johnson would be my first chocie out of your group. I wonder if a under the cap team would be interested in ZaZa for a trade exception and we used that exception to sign a big like Haywood.

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
10:58 pm

What I can’t understand is why so much Avery bashing? NBA champion as a player, coached in a NBA final, .743 regular season and .524 playoffs record. He’s at least a proving winner on this level…

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
10:59 pm

I have no problem with Avery. Get him or somebody in here before the draft b/c I want more than the GM/Asst GM evaluating draft prospects…

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
11:18 pm

First Boston beat the T-Mobile Man (D-Wade), 2nd The King (Lebron), now Superman (Dwight), next is Black Mamba (Kobe)…. Let’s Go Celtics b/c I can’t stand the Lakers….lol

niremetal

May 28th, 2010
11:21 pm

Can’t write off the Suns yet, Melvin. I agree it’s tough to see the Lakers drop the next two, but it’s far from impossible…

O'Brien

May 28th, 2010
11:22 pm

Melvin,

Although its not a bad contract, I don’t think a team under the cap will trade for ZaZa at $14.2 mil for 3 years.

I like amir Johnson too, but will the hawks spend upwards of $4 mil on a backup PF? Can they afford to, because they need a shooter, a backup SF and a backup PF more than anything else.

And they don’t have much money to spend…

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
11:40 pm

Talking about a tough road to the championship, if the Celtics beat LA then they would have beating the top 3 teams and arguably all of the league superstars (DWade, Lebron, Dwight and Kobe)…. Take that FA class of 2010….

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
11:43 pm

OB,

Thats why I said Sund would have to be creative (see Manny T magic beans trade) with the roster and management will have to be willing to fork up a few extra dollars to improve this team…

Melvin

May 28th, 2010
11:50 pm

Hedo wants out of Toronto, let’s send them Marvin….lol

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
12:15 am

I like this article with the super agent David Falk. I think Joe should take notes as well or I hope his agent has some of the same wits as Falk.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/frank_hughes/05/28/jordan/#ixzz0pGEUfpAi%20

Ed

May 29th, 2010
4:07 am

The way I see it, if Casey could go 20-20 with that collection of players he had in Minnesota, he’s more than OK in my book. If you question that, just check out Randy Wittmans’ record after taking over for DC.

vava74

May 29th, 2010
6:52 am

Melvin,

Spanish is not my native language but I am 100% fluent due to its similarity to portuguese (my native). The translation of Horford’s piece in the DR newspaper is wrong:

He does not say that he wants a REAL PG, its is commented by the reporter (there is no quote, contrary to what happens in the rest of the piece) that Al considers that the Hawks need a YOUNG PG and a legit C so he can slide to the PF spot.

The first point that we should not is that he did not seem to want to be quoted on that subject.

Second, if indeed there are Al’s words behind that final sentence, this is – in my opinion – a clear cut criticism to Bibby’s lack of athleticism and his lack of penetration/drive and kick game and a possible endorsement of Teague’s sliding into the starting slot.

As for the Center comment in the same sentence, it’s correct: apparently he would like to play along side a real C so he could play the PF slot.

I think we will accommodate his requests during this off season by 75%: I think Sund will do all that it is in his reach to bring a “banger” to play the role of first big out of the bench.

As I said previously when we were dissecting Lionel Hollins’ interview, as much as I like Zaza, he is the wrong type of big for us since his characteristics do not complement the shortcomings of our current front court duo: he plays smaller than his size on defense and is as over matched as Al and Josh, and on offense he is more of a finesse finisher and we need someone with more brute force.

vava74

May 29th, 2010
6:57 am

As for the Wade interview, here is what I posted on MC’s blog:

“Wade said he plans to speak with the Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Hawks’ Joe Johnson before making a decision once free agency begins July 1.”

I know that this is the previous threath theme and I have not followed the posts due to excessive work, but here’s may take on it’s meaning:

The underlying theme of the piece was player loyalty vs franchise loyalty.

Wade intends to speak with JJ and Lebron probably because they have already discussed between themselves previously (last summer? during the season? Allstar game?) that their primary option was to remain loyal to their respective franchises and now it’s time to check if anyone is really read to have a different stance.

Other free agents were not mentioned because their are known to be seriously considering moving to greener pastures for a long time.

Bosh, Boozer for instance are almost guaranteed to leave their teams and sign with
whichever team Wade (and maybe JJ and Lebron) will be playing with next year which is another factor for Wade not to mention them.

Finally, being the three premier perimeter free agents, it is highly unlikely that there will be a signing involving two of them together.

O'Brien

May 29th, 2010
10:44 am

Vava,

In the Lionel hollins interview, he talked about balancing out the team. And that’s exactly what the hawks need to do.

We need a shooter who can spread the floor (best case scenario, he would also play SF). And we need a center who is not soft on defense. Zaza’s best move on defense is to committ the foul.

As for free agency, I think Wade stays in Miami, and is joined by one of the 3 free agent bigs.

I think JJ leaves the hawks to play alongside another big name free agent (my guess is Lebron). It could be in cleveland, it could be in Chicago, and it could be new York.

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
11:37 am

Vava,

That was Marcus who posted the Horford interview but I wouldn’t read too much into it.

OB,
I have a feeling that Joe stays with the Hawks. I think Wade will get one of the bigs, probably Boozer and Lebron will stay in Cleveland. I think Bosh is the wildcard….

O'Brien

May 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Melvin,

I think it will be stoudemire in Miami. But I hope JJ stays with the hawks. I also hope it wont cost 6 yeas $120 mil.

Its being reported on fanhouse.com that mark Jackson will be interviewed for the hawks job. I wouldn’t mind having him on staff, but I much prefer him as an assistant.

vava74

May 29th, 2010
2:07 pm

Sorry Melvin, I read it on the fly and went straight into the link and then posted my commentary.

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
3:21 pm

I think that we’d sooner see Nique win the Slam Dunk contest again than see Mark Jackson accept an assistant coaching position.

O'Brien

May 29th, 2010
3:52 pm

I know its early, but Doug Collins is doing his prep (speech) work. From philly.com, talking to Iggy;

“I told him he hasn’t scratched the surface of the player he can become, but we have to tighten up his game. He can’t live on long jump shots….If he plays to his strengths, it can make the game easy for him.”

“I want to see him slash and cut, get to open areas. He has seen the nameplate on the coach’s office change several times, but I asked him to give me a chance to change things, to change the culture, to restore accountability and responsibility within the group. I’ve found that that’s what really good players want.”

That is probably the kind of conversation our new coach will be having with players.

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
6:27 pm

The ATL Dream is undefeated. Break them up. They are too good…lol

O'Brien

May 29th, 2010
7:46 pm

I wonder where the atlanta dream ranked in terms of attendance last season. And where they ranked in payroll.

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
8:31 pm

O’Brien,

The salary cap for an entire WNBA team is $827,000. Nope, not a misprint, you read that right. And that’s a hard cap rather than the NBA-style soft cap. The minimum salary is $796,000, so there really isn’t much wiggle room for owners to mess with payroll.

The Dream were 12th out of 14 in attendance last year.

And I still am of the opinion that the NBA needs to drop these efforts at pretending that enough people will ever care about women’s basketball to make it worth watching. Women’s hoops is not a growth industry. I honestly don’t like saying that, because I think the WNBA players generally have better fundamentals than their male counterparts. But it’s speed, strength, and athleticism that attracts most people to basketball, and the best of women simply cannot equal the best of men in those respects.

Big Ray

May 29th, 2010
9:06 pm

AJ ,

Never really saw Sund as the type to “hire scared”, but then I’ve seen stranger things, so I can’t scoff at the notion…

O’brien ,

I certainly hope our new coach will have such conversations with our players. May play a part in Joe sticking around as well…

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
10:30 pm

I guess it helps when you make the right draft choice (Angel McCoughtry) instead of complaining about the lack of talent in a draft (see asst GM interview on MC blog). A total lack of accountability. Their are team that routinely find good quality rotational players late in the draft and our guy is complaining about the lack of talent… SMDH

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
10:43 pm

Melvin,

The Dream had the #1 pick. The Hawks have the 24th. I wish Pendergraph hadn’t said that because I can’t fathom it being part of a strategy, but there is not one single team in the NBA that manages to draft a rotation player more often than a dud with picks lower than #20. Even the Spurs – the best team in the NBA at finding gems – have batted lower than 50% over the past decade.

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
11:06 pm

Nire,

The Hawks had the #2,3,5,6 picks over the last few years and they haven’t even come near to playing in a conference finals and citing other teams that had multiply lottery picks with similiar results is not justification either.

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
11:11 pm

???? Who the hell was talking about prior drafts, Melvin? Your comment referred to what Pendergraph said about this draft. Kind of a big difference there.

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
11:17 pm

I can’t stand the man, but Kobe has hit some incredible shots in this game. Fadeaway 20 foot jumpers with a hand in your face is terrible shot selection, but Kobe has hit 2 in 2 minutes.

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
11:20 pm

Nire,

Sometimes I just don’t know how to respond to you…. I’m going to switch the subject and ask you, how you like Channing now????

niremetal

May 29th, 2010
11:33 pm

Melvin,

That subject is worn out. The only thing I’ll say is that Frye was an embarrassment on the boards this series. Odom got several key ORebs over him.

vava74

May 29th, 2010
11:38 pm

Kobe is still the man.

Just like MJ was not particularly likable, Kobe reigns high over everyone else.

It does not mean that the Lakers will beat the Celts, but he is a much more roundup player than Lebron is.

Lebron is 70% a freak of nature and 30% talent, Kobe is waaaay more balanced. And mentally, right now it’s grammar school versus PhD stuff.

As for the Suns: what a valiant effort by the team and Gentry, although I think he should have kept a few reserves rather than going with Hill and Richardson to close the game.

But with Kobe hitting the shots he was hitting, anything short from playing 6 on 4 would not cut it.

vava74

May 29th, 2010
11:39 pm

Melvin

May 29th, 2010
11:56 pm

Nire,

Yes, he was poor on the boards for the first three games but he pick it up and finished the series with two straight double doubles and 6 rebs in game 4…

niremetal

May 30th, 2010
12:04 am

Melvin,

On key possessions, Frye didn’t crash the boards or attempt to even box an opponent out. I saw Odom sneak around him and get an OReb on at least 4 possessions in the 4th quarter during the last couple games. Not acceptable in the playoffs, even if his total number for the games is high. In fairness to Frye, it wasn’t just him. Amare and Amundsen were non-factors on the boards during several important possessions too. The Suns need to work on D-rebounding this summer, because I’ve never seen a series where rebounding had such an obvious impact on the series’s outcome.

O'Brien

May 30th, 2010
12:16 am

I’m disappointed with stoudemire too. He does not rebound enough and his defense is inconsistent.

Without Steve Nash and in a different system, I’m not sure how his game will look . But I’m sure he will get a Max contract too…

Melvin

May 30th, 2010
12:22 am

OB,

I’m not sure how Wade and Amare would mesh. Wade perfer to create his own shot off the pick and roll whereas Amare need someone to pass him the ball slashing to the hoop b/c he’s not a great back to the basket player…

O'Brien

May 30th, 2010
11:32 am

Melvin,

Sounds like amare would be a better fit with lebron then, because lebron is a really good passer.

I don’t mind Celtics and Lakers finals. But no basketball until Thursday? That sucks.

Speaking of the Celtics, I wish sund had given thibodeau an interview.

Melvin

May 30th, 2010
12:28 pm

Looking at the picks 20-30 from the 2009 draft, 7 out of the 11 picks became rotational players. Of the 7, 3 were on playoffs teams. There’s talent in this year draft as well. I seen some guys project as high as lottery picks a year ago and now boreline 1st rounders this year. It’s on Sund and staff to do their due diligence and make the right choice. Simply saying that the talent pool is weak is a cop-out, Mr.Pendergraph …

dr.maryb

May 30th, 2010
7:49 pm

Melvin

Lottery picks is just that a – Gamble. You could fill a page with busted Lottery picks!
Marivin was the CONSENSUS #2 pick – on ALL the draft boards – Not just the Hawks!
The PUNDITS said he was a No-Brainer @ #2! We all know how that worked out!

You can measure a Man’s HEART – whether he is bare-foot or wearing 6″ – come Fk’ -me – pumps!
It has already been editorial-ized on this blog about how many Gems are found at the bottom of the
1st RD & in RD2 or, not even drafted at all! (Ala Dennis Rodman!)

I would never trade a proven player like J-Smoove or The BOSS! For a Lottery pick – unless, a once in a LIFETIME player like LBJ, MJ, SHAQ, or KOBE comes along! I don’t see anyone like that in this draft!
And, I could be VERY wrong about that! But, it’s All a GAMBLE!

How do you measure the HEART of a LION a MAN. ???????????????

dr.maryb

May 30th, 2010
8:02 pm

Melvin
Correction: “You CAN’T measure a Man’s HEART….whether he is bare-foot or…….”

niremetal

May 30th, 2010
10:19 pm

Melvin,

Last year’s draft was ballyhooed as one of the deepest (though with less elite talent at the top) in recent memory. This year’s is not. And I’ll bet you a pretzel that Douglas, Ellington, and Maynor are no longer rotation players by year three in the league. Hell, Shelden was a rotation player as a rookie…

That being said, a good GM should be able to at least get a contributor at 25. But the Jazz’s draft record in the past three years, during which they picked between 20 and 25 each year, shows that’s no guarantee (Almond, Koufos, Maynor – you know, the guy they basically sold to OKC this year).

[...] Big Ray on the Hawks Summer Speculation [...]

O'Brien

May 31st, 2010
6:10 am

Drmaryb,

Kobe was a #13 pick, so nobody knew he would turn into the player he is. Some guys picked #2 4or later: john salmons, Tony Parker, Gerald Wallace, dalembert…and the list goes on.

Although it is the exception, maybe the hawks can find a diamond in the rough (although our track record does not suggest it).

I agree on Marvin, for some reason, he was a consensus top 2 pick. But in hindsight, us fans are right. We didn’t see anything special about Marvin, and we wanted a PG.

Nire,

The hawks only need a rotational player at #24. If they can get somebody (preferably a center or PF) to give them a solid 10-12 minutes per game when called upon, that would be great.

MannyT

May 31st, 2010
9:53 am

It’s always fun to peek in for a moment when there is nothing really going on. Y’all do a fine job of keeping the conversation moving.

A few observations:

Do any of you believe we would acquire a center better than Zaza this offseason? It’s up the the coach to decide if we are better giving a center more minutes to give Al time at PF. The last coach preferred to have Al & Josh on the floor at the same time.

@drmaryb – I love that you are back in the blog. ROFLMAO about a man’s heart and his 6″ – come Fk’ -me – pumps

@Melvin/niremetal Seems like Amare’ did no better than Frye on the boards vs. Lakers. I think the distinction is that we can afford to add Frye to the roster. Amare’ is a bit beyond our budget…unless he adds into the gang of 4 and gets a big chunk of LeBron’s endorsement money. Those Nike commercials don’t have to be just LeBron & Kobe puppets ;-)

…and I am going to an Atlanta Dream game or two this summer. If for no other reason than their current record. I didn’t go last summer, but I did the season before. I like the Brazilians. With Angel’s star rising, it could be a dream season :smile:

I’ll take a WNBA championship over nothing. It’s not like the other summer hoops action is so compelling that I cannot find a few hours for the ladies. Besides, at Dream games, they don’t charge extra to sit on the suite side of the arena.

@vava Can’t you slip some Euroleague insight to Sund? There has to be some underappreciated talent out there that San Antonio hasn’t already claimed. When you talk about a big man with an outside shot, that is NBA speak for get me a Euro that can play!

Y’all can chew me up as like…time to start working on food plans for this afternoon.

WWSD

Big Ray

May 31st, 2010
10:30 am

I’m down with a Euro big who can play. Just make sure he’s a tad tougher than Channing Frye (which won’t be hard)….

Something tells me Sund is maybe a bit wary of “top defensive-minded assistant coaches” right about now. Some have issues knowing what to do on the other side of the court, and don’t take much advice from assistants who are more offensively-minded. Maybe that’s why Thibodeau got no interview. Or, it could be the Sund heard through the grape-vine what Thibodeau’s preferred destinations were, or who else was hot on his trail. We’ll never know…

I really hate talking about the draft. All I ever do is get mad. Things that make me happy about the draft where the Hawks are concerned, in the last 5 years- Al Horford, Josh Smith, and maybe Jeff Teague. Everything else makes me mad….

Melvin

May 31st, 2010
10:37 am

Someone tell Pendergraph that it’s not a consensus that this draft lacks talent. Now go to your dang job and find us a quality player. Notice how 4 of the Celtics top 8 players were pick after 20….

http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2010/05/30/roster_will_get_greener/?page=1

Big Ray

May 31st, 2010
10:37 am

Nire ,

Yes, Shelden was a rotation player as a rook. Let’s review his competition – Slava Medvedenko, Matt Freije, Lorenzen Wright, Solomon Jones, Estaban Batista. Josh Smith was a starter, Zaza started more than half the games. Other than that, Shellhead didn’t even need to earn his time.

I have no idea what happened to Eric Maynor. He was supposed to be a pure pg, but I also understand the Jazz needed to shed a few pounds (which explains Ronnie Brewer’s exit as well, if I recall correctly).

Big Ray

May 31st, 2010
10:39 am

Melvin ,

On the one hand, Pendergraft isn’t the final voice in the draft, his boss Rick is. On the other hand, Rick will probably retire before too very long. Who’s next in line?

Thanks for the link, too…