Doldrums Driving You Delirious?
No time is worse for NBA basketball fans than that time between the free agent flurry and summer league hoopla, and training camp. Very little is usually happening right about then, and in the case of Hawks fans, is it possible to have less than NO activity? To be fair, it’s been reported that Lakers forward Josh Powell is soon to be a Hawk . Beyond that, however, not much is being said. What positions will the Hawks look to fill in as they bring their roster total up to 13? Will they carry more than 13 players? Nobody really knows right now, maybe not even the Hawks themselves.
While the debate of what positions the Hawks need to pay attention to the most continues, an semi-old name has popped back up, albeit in another team’s news circle. Remember Garrett Siler? The large player from a small college spent last season in China on a team owned by Houston Rocket center Yao Ming, and got some token minutes on two different NBA summer league teams. Siler’s stat totals weren’t earth-shattering by any means (but neither were the minutes he got), and summer league can be rough on non-draft pick bigs who are looking for a job (it’s more likely to feature backcourt and wing players, or so it seems to me). All the same, what he was able to do stood out to some observors, and it’s possible that he may get another shot at this roster, though we will have to wait and see if he has indeed been invited to training camp. Speaking of which, it will be nice to know who gets invited to training camp, as it may tip us off on what the Hawks are looking at. Then again, it may not.
The Value of Yesterday’s Performance
If you got to see any of the Hawks’ summer league games, you probably paid a little more attention to how the offense was run than you have in the past. Before it didn’t matter what Larry Drew did during summer league games, as he was the assistant coach, not the head coach. This time was different, as it was a bit of a preview of the offensive concepts, at least. If you didn’t get to see any of these games, let me assure you – Hawks players will look different on the court than they have before, assuming they really buy into Drew’s style. In fact, they may want to work on their conditioning ahead of time. While I haven’t been privy to Hawks practices under Mike Woodson, I would be willing to bet they have never experienced as much screen setting and continual motion with and without the ball as they are about to. It could be very exciting to watch, especially when we’ll be seeing guys who can focus. It has to be difficult for summer leaguers, considering that their main focus is to get a job, right?
But this also got me to thinking about something . Who is going to look different in Drew’s offense, and how different will they look? Probably the first name that will come to many minds is Marvin Williams. Marvin’s biggest issue was that he simply did not affect the game enough. As longtime Hawks fan Niremetal noted in recent conversation – “The thing about Marvin is that you couldn’t really say ‘We lost that game because of Marvin.’ But, you also couldn’t really say ‘We won that game because of Marvin.’ ” And that’s just it, Marvin must have an impact on the game, especially if he is to remain a starter on a team that appears to be maintaing “status quo.” Can he do it? Were his problems, as fellow Hawks fan and blogger O’Brien suggests, due in part to the hindering presence of Jamal Crawford (or rather, the way Crawford was used by former coach Mike Woodson)? And that actually brings me to the name that I personally thought of.
How will he look in Drew’s offense? Perhaps more efficient. Or, perhaps not quite as good as before. Perhaps Jamal’s Sixth Man of the Year award is owed in large part to Mike Woodson. After all, would Crawford gain such notoriety and have the effect on this team that he did, were it not for Woodson featuring him as the number two scoring option and first guy off the bench (be it subbing for Bibby or Williams)? Sure, Crawford had the talent to do more than Flip Murray did in that role, and some never doubted that, though others scoffed at the notion and bickered about the difference in salaries. But Drew’s offense calls for an all out attack from all five guys on the floor. If one is to make an assumption, one might assume that this requires more touches for guys who didn’t have as many last season (i.e. Al Horford and Marvin Williams). It could mean expanded roles, or simply more sharing.
However, more for one usually means less for another. While Woodson’s stated goal for Crawford was to lead the league in scoring off the bench, Drew’s may be different altogether. And what does that do for the value of Crawford? Does he mean the same to this team as a sixth man, a role he will most likely remain in? It would seem that fresh off of such a season’s performance, Crawford’s value would be at an all-time high, especially adding in that his contract expires at the end of next season. And as appalling a notion as it may seem to some, if the Hawks find any useable value in trading Jamal, they may want to do it while that Sixth Man of the Year trophy still has some shine to it.
Because…if the luster of Crawford’s performance is dulled by a struggle in the new scheme (or perhaps a better team scoring balance), then Crawford’s value may also be dulled. Just a thought…
So, what do you think?