Hawks bits and pieces

Hang in there, Hawks fans. We’ll make it through this summer yet (or so I keep telling myself, anyway).

While things seem fairly quiet in free agency, and that would be for all NBA teams at the moment, a few tidbits are floating around that may prove to be a useful diversion for a minute or two. As we discuss those, I keep thinking about the missing Lorenzen Wright. Missing persons cases more often than not are either a false alarm, or they don’t end very nicely. But some do. And I hope that this is one of those where “all’s well that ends well.”  Peace and blessings on his family, who I’m sure are sick with worry. These kinds of things never seem to matter to people until they hit close to home. Again, I hope this ends well.

 

Tough Times

As much noise as we make about adding size and toughness to the roster, do we bother to consider that adding toughness doesn’t always mean adding a body? When the official announcement of the signing of former Lakers forward/center Josh Powell finally came down, one of the catch phrases was that he “adds toughness.” Well, if the Lakers say he’s a good guy and a good addition, I’ll take their word for it, at least to an extent. After all, Powell hasn’t played many minutes in L.A., so we don’t have a lot of visual evidence to review (other than some youtube clips) for confirmation. But what about the guys who were already on the roster? Can’t you add toughness….by simply becoming tougher?

If you ask me (and you didn’t, but guess what?) toughness is a state of mind. The body can be willing and able, but it’s no good if the spirit is weak. Avid Hawks fan and blogger Northcyde is one of the foremost fans calling for two of our key guys (Al Horford and Josh Smith) to play a lot tougher, as the success of this team depends heavily on that. Realistically, that can be the key difference between competing at the highest levels, or struggling to do so. Look no further than last season’s first round playoff series. The Hawks struggled mightily when Al Horford allowed himself to get out-toughed by Kurt Thomas, and Josh Smith allowed Ersan Ilyasova to out-hustle and outplay him for stretches at a time.

So what can the Hawks do to get tougher? What are Josh Smith and Marvin Williams doing to get tougher. Those are two guys who could really have an impact on the game if they bring it with more force. In fact, that’s the one thing that can really optimize a lineup of long, athletic players. Without it, much is wasted.

How does one change one’s mindset? Different people have different methods. And sometimes the body has to be brought up to speed with the mind. The idea is to be tough all the time, not just when backed into a corner and forced into “fight or flight” mode. Well, it seems one Hawk is going to give it a go in the offseason.  As noted on NBA.com (on the Atlanta Hawks official site), backup center Zaza Pachulia has added to his offseason regimen, and the results might be more than just better conditioning, footwork, and overall stamina. It might just result in a tougher approach to the game. All I can say is watch out Kevin Garnett! I still love that moment in Hawks history…

 

The “other” Star Guard

According to ESPN.com, Hawks super sub Jamal Crawford would like to discuss money matters. He wants to remain a Hawk, and I’m sure any Hawks spokesperson would likely state that they would like to keep him around. And while Jamal has been around the league for a decade (and been with several teams), he may as well get comfortable wherever he is sitting. After all, things don’t tend to happen around the front office at lightning speed. Especially if they don’t really have to. The question is, do the Hawks want him to finish out his career in Atlanta? Might they see him as a two way asset, or has he proven himself to be indispensable? Jamal seemed to fit in pretty darn well, and that is not likely to change under new head coach Larry Drew. But, if the Hawks are very slow or otherwise noncommittal to signing him to an extension, what might it be an indication of? Of course, a number of theories could abound. Understandably, they may be more focused on preparing an extension offer to Al Horford. Or, they may have other moves up their sleeve. You just never know. But, for the sake of the sanity of blogger Steve Brown, I won’t mention one of the most obvious and talked about (by others, not just me) possibilities.

In the meantime, I wish I could be an invisible fly on the wall in training camp. If for no other reason than to watch Jamal Crawford playing against Jordan Crawford. That would have to be a fun matchup, no?

560 comments Add your comment

doc

August 3rd, 2010
9:43 pm

nire, i still think your answer to what happened to how the askg approaches things is as i predicted; once the heat made their move the askg would fold like a 2 dollar chair. their reach turned to being top four, not championship quality. the top four comment is quoted from sund. they decided to not compete for the top rung. no, i was not in a meeting but sometimes you just have to look and infer intention as to why.

i know you have been pleased with the way they handled their business and that is fine if one only looks to solvency granted a necssary evil. as a fan, i have not been impressed at how it has been done for the last six years and i cant even throw out the litany of offenses you did. funny, how the number two team can risk getting better with a shaq you throw huge barbs at and guys like us really needing it, looking up literally, cant find a way to truly get bigger or even have that in our arsenal.

josh powell aint the answer, nor is collins. so, we are left with three players and all undersized for what they have to do against the teams that are big. yes even though “just a player” as you ridicule him, horford got it right and is what almost everybody else sees and knows about the hawks. it just doesnt make sense for you to disagree with him either “because basketball players arent gm’s”. dont you think he might be a little closer to the game and hence needs of the team that you are?

overall, it may be good basketball we come to see, very entertaining and even capable of winning fifty games. however, no matter what, in the post season as built it is ready to fold like a ten dollar tent in a five mile an hour breeze. personally, i am not ready to buy into it because the x factor is really how good a coach LD is. we have no clue. it could be a travesty or a home run but no one, not you, ken, o’b, big ray, astro … could have an idea. i hope that woody really suppressed the talent of marvin, zaza and collins and LD sees it right because that is where this team is going to have to dip, those three guys, to get better, really better and become impact players on a consistent basis so this team can compete to be better and aim higher than rick sund wants it to be..

niremetal

August 3rd, 2010
10:31 pm

And then, Mr. Historian, remind of the last time an NBA team cut strings with their head coach during the off-season and hired his assistant. Oh, and then went on to unprecedented success as a franchise.

The last time? I don’t know. But you want an example? How about Phil Jackson, dumbass.

niremetal

August 3rd, 2010
10:54 pm

Doc,

Huh. I guess it was a dream when our starting center made the All-Star team last year. Weird. Oh wait, what? It wasn’t a dream? Our starting center was deemed better than every other center in the East except Dwight Howard? Oh, nevermind.

The same reports that say Shaq is willing to sign for peanuts to sit on the bench in Boston also said that he was demanding $8M and a starting spot from the Hawks. I’ll just quote CrawfultoCrawsome from Hawksquawk:

Right, its the ASG’s fault that Shaq wants nearly 10 mil to play in Atlanta but is just fine and dandy taking less than 2 mil to play in Boston. Yea I think I’m standing with my original comment about him. It’s the ASG’s fault that they weren’t willingly gutting their roster and investing their funds at Shaq’s behest in a guy who didn’t want to be here beyond collecting a paycheck. That’s the type of person you want to rest your hopes in and make plenty of concessions for at the expense of our other players just to say you got him.

For Atlanta his camp said:

More than the MLE
Starting spot
Ample playing time.

For Boston:

Vet Min
Bench role
whatever you see fit.

Till this moment we can still offer a mil to 2 mil more, do you think he’d be interested? You think we sign JaCo without exhausting that the POS rather play elsewhere for less than we are offering or are you so deadset in your ignorance that you think Collins was numero uno on our offseason acquisition list? If anything the JaCo signing makes even more sense now seeing as we’d need him to check Shaq after the ASG was already well aware that he spurned us.

But go ahead and rewrite history. How were we going to meet Shaq’s demands? By moving to Josh to SF or the bench? By replacing Horford with a guy who HORFORD JUST BEAT OUT FOR THE ALL-STAR TEAM? How do we get Shaq the $8M that he was seeking? The MLE is way below that, so we couldn’t just sign him outright. Should we sign-and-trade Marvin without getting someone who has shown some capacity to play SF? If not Marvin, then who would we trade that the Cavs would be interested in? Tell me, doc, what did you want them to do?

Oh, and nevermind that signing Shaq would have brought ASG more in ticket sales, merchandising, and sponsorships than his salary would cost, so anyone with half a brain who thought about it for half a second would realize that the team probably wasn’t worried about how much Shaq would cost in a monetary sense.

You and AJ will undoubtedly keep being intellectually lazy and spewing the same “ASG sucks” bullsh!t that you have been for years. The “intellectually lazy” comes from ignoring everything that happens that’s inconvenient to your arguments, which is what both of you do. But whenever you see a quote that provides a modicum of support for your intellectually lazy position, well you sure remember those. The fact that the Hawks have already increased their payroll in a year where most teams have significantly cut payroll? Who cares! The trades in the past 2 years for Bibby and Crawford? Pfshaw! Giving out a max contract to a player who is more on the level of Rashard Lewis than LeBron James? Irrelevant, I say!

Let me know when you’ve stopped living in 2006.

Melvin

August 3rd, 2010
11:01 pm

doc,

I told my Hawks ticket rep 3 weeks ago, no Shaq, no ticket plan. You and Manny T told me to be patient. Well, I still have my ticket monies and it’s August… I may skip the pretzels this year and attend more games at Time Warner Arena (Bobcats)….

niremetal

August 3rd, 2010
11:04 pm

There is a certain logic to the doc and AJ rantings, though. What’s the old saying that people don’t like what they don’t understand? Y’all probably have never negotiated a contract or studied techniques for balancing the budget of a company, much less one with limited liability and external constraints like the ASG operates under. You don’t understand it, so it’s easy for you to place the blame there. Far better to be arrogant than to say “Gee, I don’t really know what these guys do or the context in which they must work, so maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to blame them.”

What’s the old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes before criticizing them? Try keeping some modicum of that in mind before you bash them. It’s a good rule to live by in life, and it also helps you avoid the intellectually lazy trap of seeing everything through a lens of pre-conceived notions rather than looking at everything objectively and assessing what you don’t know before opening your mouth to criticize.

niremetal

August 3rd, 2010
11:47 pm

Alright, I’ve calmed down. Astro – I agree that the exact sequence of assistant-coach-replacing-head-coach-in-offseason does not happen often. Honestly, I can’t think of many head coaches at all who’ve reached the top job by that route. The only successful ones that come to mind are Phil Jackson and Alvin Gentry. Gentry was not a first-time head coach, so his situation was a bit different, but he nonetheless is an example of a front office coming to the (late) realization that the best guy for the head job might have been under their noses all along – and been right, IMHO. Successful midseason promotions are a bit more common – Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix and Nate McMillan in Seattle are the most recent success stories that comes to mind.

I think the reason that you don’t see too many assistants get promoted in the offseason to head coach is that most good assistants are noticed and tapped for head coaching jobs on other teams rather than their current team. I don’t know the exact percentage, but most of the NBA head coaches that come to mind for me are guys who started off as an assistant somewhere. I don’t think that was likely to happen under Woody because, from the way it sounds, it doesn’t sound like Woody let Drew do much in the way of implementing his ideas for the team (if he did, one would assume these new offensive schemes would have been attempted long ago).

In any case, the point is that most successful head coaches were assistants right up until they were given their first crack at the top job. I honestly don’t know what the percentages are, but I would guess that internal offseason promotions have a good success rate as compared to hiring other teams’ assistants and hiring retreads.

Big Ray

August 4th, 2010
7:40 am

New blog up. Please continue your rantings, ravings, and counter-rantings/ravings there…. :)

Big Ray

August 4th, 2010
7:43 am

Nire ,

For the record, and from what we’ve heard from Drew (which has been polite and diplomatic), I think a great deal of what Drew wanted to implement was sat on. I mean, Drew isn’t one to mince words and he didn’t come right out and say it verbatim, but dang if he didn’t allude to it rather heavily. I’d have to go back and look at the quotes from MC’s blog or article that mentioned it, though. (I think it was MC, but could have been a different media source).

CJ

August 9th, 2010
11:05 pm

Why not add Tracy McGrady, He bring a wing player to the lineup, And also bench scoring, Backing Johnson And Williams.

Catherine

August 12th, 2010
2:45 pm

Hey CJ, Atlanta has its own online casino black jack tournament for free at http://www.gameon247.com plus find other casino tournament games soon.