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

Astro Joe

July 30th, 2010
4:18 pm

nire, I’m not buying it. I’m not buying that Drew was the single best coaching candidate irrespective of expense. Nope. And there is no need to debate the issue. This has been a summer of sameness and judicial spending. That theme, IMO, permeated every decision including the hiring of the head coach. I can’t be convinced that Drew was the best head coaching candidate, that Collins was the best center candidate and that Powell was the best 2nd string PF candidate. I think sameness and judicial spending affected all of those decisions. If that makes me a scarecrow, hard-headed, dense, or whatever other derogatory name, so be it.

bigdave

July 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
4:33 pm

Woe Nellie!

Nire ……. Calm down man!
Where are you getting all the incentive laden garble from in Drew’s contract? Unless, you actually negotiated all that stuff – Where does all those escalators come from?

You just described a player’s not even a coach’s, un-guaranteed NFL type contract! Which, the only
real guarantee is the SIGNING bonus dispersed over the front end or life-time of it’s deal.
Typically the NFL base salaries are counted against a hard-cap each year. But, those contracts are even
further stipulated with a CONDUCT clause and SUBSTANCE ABUSE dingers!

Drew is NOT a player, just a Coach. However, his contract is guaranteed whether he wins 13 games or 53 games. There may be some players with bonuses for making the play-offs or reaching a minutes played milestone (which, to me really says for NOT being injured or faking injuries to NOT play for some other reasons), I.E. We’re NOT making the play-offs so why play? Or what Bosh was accused of in Toronto as packing it in for Free Agency.

But, don’t read too much into Drew’s simple contract 2years + 1 Team option with an average salary of 1.5Million/Year . That is a 500K annual raise and nothing more than that! A Bounus is NOT a salary and you can’t buy a house or car with it! There is NO guarantee you will ever see it!

Drew and Dantley are making basically the exact same salary! Drew, is making a ROOKIE Coach paycheck,
Simply based on the fact, he has no prior head coaching experience.
Drew is a 20 year assistant, who finally got a break! Nothing more than that!

Ps: comment not proof-read for errors.

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
4:34 pm

You call handing out the largest contract in the NBA judicious (I’m guessing that was the word you were going for) spending?

And you are pretty much every derogatory name in the book.

bigdave

July 30th, 2010
4:34 pm

he’s been more active in the community than Joe.. smh. you talking about putting butts in the seats.. bring Dwight home..

dude was @ white water a couple weeks ago..

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
4:42 pm

Bigdave,

Please show me a trade proposal that would land us Dwight Howard. Pretty please. I’ll sign onto it right now.

O'Brien

July 30th, 2010
4:43 pm

Nire,

Despite being 2 years older, Miller consistently plays all 82 games, and he was coming off a season where he averaged 16 pts and 7 assists, while Bibby averaged 15 points and 5 assists. The biggest advantage Bibby had over Miller was 3 pt shooting.

I didn’t expect him to fall off so quickly either, but if it was a 2 year deal, Bibby would have been an expiring contract, so we could have used him in a trade now instead of having to wait until next offseason.

AJ,

I have been on the trade Jamal bandwagon too, especially after Mo decided to stay, we resigned JJ, and drafted Jordan. How mnay SG do we need?

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
5:02 pm

BigDave

Great link as always! Thanks baby-boy! Hey, how is your schooling coming along?
Any Summer classes?

Josh getting married? Sounds awesome! Congratulations Josh! Don’t forget the pre-nuptuals.
Naah … Just kidding, but not really!

BigDave, stole my thoughts on the other Dwight in Town – Blog. I was wondering is Josh recruiting
Dwight to come here, when his gig is up in Orlando?

Looks like collusion amongst players starts, what, three to four years in advance of?

Hehe.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
5:23 pm

Dreamers!

Hey Nire … I will co-sgn that deal alongside you. Maybe Josh can convince Dwight to schedule an ESPN Special to announce he is coming Home, in a few years.

Hey a gurl can dream.

“Everybody knows there is nothing to do in Orlando.” Unless, thats right – You WIN a Championship and are going to Disney! Hehe

Ken Strickland

July 30th, 2010
6:18 pm

ASTRO JOE-A major advantage Bibby and JaCrawford will have under LDrew and LConnor will be their DEF strategy. Our front line players will now be able to provide backup and challenge players in the lane, since they’ll now be in position to do so. No more of that stupid switching DEF, which prevented them from protecting the lane, when teams brought them out on the perimeter and forced them to switch off on their guards.

I guarantee you Bibby has been instructed to get in better condition, improve his lateral movement, his ability to fight over screens and slide his feet. In other words, improve his overall DEF. Same with JaCrawford. I also think Bibby will improve offensively, because in the new OFF, defenders will have to concentrate on fighting over screens and following the ball. That makes it very hard for a defender to lock down on his assigned OFF player, and it takes a lot of individual pressure off of Bibby, which will allow him to be more effective.

I think he’ll take fewer 3’s, and the majority of the ones he takes will be within the context of the OFF. He won’t be clearing out and standing at the 3pt line waiting for a pass, like in the past. When athletic players with hops, like MWilliams, JaCrawford, JoCrawford, AHorford, JSmith, JPowell, JTeague and MEvans, cut hard to the basket, DEF’s have to drop back to protect the lane. That allows players with excellent shooting ability to have open 12-20ft shots.

SteveW

July 30th, 2010
6:22 pm

Not sure who Sund would have brought in instead of Woody (I guess anybody, but he had an abysmal track record of hiring HC’s in Seattle) – and a 1 yr. ext. would have given you a 47-35 record – an injury riddled 2nd round playoff loss – and possibly a 3yr. contract for Woody! Glad he did the 2yr. deal – had forgot about Mo/Flip – good moves also.

Also, could you imagine letting Childress go and firing Woody in your 1st summer here? Not good from a stability standpoint.

Nire – agree with your Andre/Bibby analysis to a large degree.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 30th, 2010
6:31 pm

“Please show me a trade proposal that would land us Dwight Howard. ”

They could just clear cap space for two years from now to offer Dwight a max deal when his contract expires…

Ken Strickland

July 30th, 2010
6:46 pm

Here’s why I believe we’ll be a much better team this yr.

1-With a motion OFF, our players and the ball will be going towards the basket, rather than the 3pt line.

2-The OFF will definitely be initiated below the 3pt line.

3-We’ll get more scoring opportunities closer to the basket, which should increase our scoring efficiency and FT opportunities.

4-Our front line players won’t be required to clear out or defend on the perimeter, like in the past. This will allow them to remain closer to the lane and use their quickness and athleticism to increase our OFF and DEF rebounding.

5-If LDrew follows up on his promise to increase MWilliams and MBibby’s the OFF production, along with getting consistent production from MEvans, JPowell, ZPachulia and JCollins, how can we not improve offensively and defensively? We already know what we can expect from JJ, Horford, Josh and JaCrawford. The increased scoring opportunities for the aforementioned players will come from JJ, Horford, Josh and JaCrawford, who should be able to score much more efficiently in LDrew’s OFF system. AS YOU CAN TELL, I’M AS EXCITED AS HELL,, ABOUT THIS OFF AND THIS TEAM!

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
6:54 pm

On an unrelated note, the Philips Arena Store is having a 50% off all jerseys sale right now. They’ve got a cool new Horford one with “BOSS” emblazoned on the back:
http://www.philipsarenastore.com/index.php?cPath=1_2

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
6:54 pm

Or maybe it’s not new but it’s new to me…

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
6:58 pm

I’m pumped too, Ken. Like you, I think that the elimination of the ISO offense and the always-switch-and-stay defense will make the team harder for opposing teams to clamp down on in close games and in the playoffs. Hopefully we’ll see better situational use of the bench too. If those things happen, I seriously think we can play with any team in the league.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
7:10 pm

Nire is on Fire!

bigdave

July 30th, 2010
7:35 pm

Nire…

a trade..? pppffffffffffff, in our dreams.. yeah, you sign off and i move him myself! im thinking more summer 2012..

drmaryb..

yea.. looks as if he’s tying the knot.. wonder where found her? @ least someone’s finding some quality in the A.. or maybe with a check like his the quality finds you..

no summer classes, things are about to crank up in a couple weeks though.. fall is in the air.. well, with these triple digit heat indexes im not so sure..

bigdave

July 30th, 2010
7:36 pm

* “where he found.. “

nahila

July 30th, 2010
7:44 pm

The Hawks need to have Cleveland sign Shaq, trade him to Atlanta for ZAZA as this trade works because Cleveland needs a good young center badly and the Hawks need Shaq for the attendance attraction. Salary would be enough to sign Shaq for 2 years which maybe all the time the Hawks can keep ZAZA as he is going to grow with proper training into a fine center. Maybe the Hawks should keep ZAZA and hire a good big man triner to work with him, I notice he was boxing this summer to improve footwork and stamina as well as quickness timing. So forget the trade, develop ZAZA.

northcyde

July 30th, 2010
10:39 pm

Mr. Strickland, I do need to remind you that there is another way to bring Shaq here.

Sign & Trade

You trade Marvin Williams for Shaq, and sign Shaq to a 3 yr – 21 mill deal. That’s how you acquire Shaq, and stay under the Luxury Tax at the same time. If that rumor was true a couple of weeks ago, the Cavs would do it.

And before anybody goes off the deep end, ALL sign and trades must be for at least 3 yrs . . . but only 1 year must be guaranteed. So a Shaq sign and trade may look like this:

Year 1: $7 million
Year 2: $7 million ( player option )
Year 3: $7 million ( team option )

So unless Shaq found the Fountain of Youth . . or we won an NBA Title with Shaq being a key reason why . . you’re basically looking at a 2 yr – 14 million dollar deal for Shaq . . if he doesn’t retire after Year 1.

That deal keeps the Hawks 2+ million under the Tax, with plenty of room to spare to sign another minimum or slightly above minimum player.

Even in the 2011 – 12 season, we have the option to not re-sign Evans and Crawford, representing 12 to 13 million instantly off the books.

If the ASG made a deal like that, Atlanta is buzzing just like Cincinnati is now about Terrell Owens and the Bengals. And Rod would instantly renew his season tickets, with Marvin finally out of town.

Marvin Williams is NOT a vital piece of “the core”. He just isn’t. His production proved to be easily replaceable last year. A player like him CANNOT be the reason Shaq doesn’t come to ATL. If there’s anybody in our “core” that we can afford to lose, it’s him.

If Cleveland would take Marvin, you make that deal TONIGHT.

There’s no way you can convince me that if we subtracted Marvin, but added Shaq, that we’d be a worse team. Marvin is a solid player. But he’s not untouchable.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
10:39 pm

Nahalla

Boxing is GREAT training for Zsa Zsa … He is a natural fighter. I love Zsa’s TUDE!
That Green Monster stare down was about as Kewl as the front page picture in the AJC of
Billy Knight refusing the shake The Evil Hand of Belkin at the court house, when Belkin
Filed that injunction to block Joe Johnson’s trade!

Classic DRAMA from the Hawks! We could use some of that same DRAMA right now!
We ain’t got Nothing to talk about! You feel me?

We like a hungry pack of wolves looking to be fed! We need some meat on these blogs!
Whazzzuupp? Not a damn thang!

smh!

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
10:41 pm

Nahalla

Boxing is GREAT training for Zsa Zsa … He is a natural fighter. I love Zsa’s TUDE!
That Green Monster stare down was about as Kewl as the front page picture in the AJC of
Billy Knight refusing the shake The Evil Hand of Belkin at the court house, when Belkin
Filed that injunction to block Joe Johnson’s trade!

Classic DRAMA from the Hawks! We could use some of that same DRAMA right now!
We ain’t got Nothing to talk about! You feel me?

We like a hungry pack of wolves looking to be fed! We need some meat on these blogs!
Whazzzuupp? Not a damn thang!

smh!

Speaking of Zsa Zsa boxing – what in the heck is Jason Collins doing? He need to be boxing, jumping rope and doing the Hooters Hula-Hoops all day – every day!

Rev in Tampa

July 30th, 2010
11:01 pm

northcyde, I really like Marvin. I think he has more to offer than we have seen. But against my wishes, I must agree with you. Marvin does not have that FIRE inside that makes him excell regardless of the offensive/defensive scheme. I believe he will improve significantly this year and that he is a solid piece of this team, but he will never be an elite basketball player. In other words, it would hurt to get rid of him, but he is expendable.

northcyde

July 30th, 2010
11:02 pm

As far as I know, my boy Trenton Hassell needs a new contract. So if you’re looking for a 6-5 defensive SG/SF on the cheap, he may be your guy ASG.

Not that he’s as good as he used to be, but hey, you’re givng all of the other scrubs a chance.

niremetal

July 30th, 2010
11:03 pm

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
11:05 pm

Najeh

I wish YOU were the Hawks GM – tonite!
What in the World is the ASG love affair with Marvin all about?
Does he have some serious dirt on these guys?
He must have some hidden, secret, “Keep it in the Closet” moves he’s performing over there that we just don’t know about? Is he Gay? IDK?

I must be missing Something – because I don’t see untouchable talent in his game either!

I’m just sayin’

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
11:13 pm

Najeh

If Boston signs Shaq? Its a wrap! But, they just don’t have the money to do it without a major trade.
Unless, Shaq agrees to play for the Vet minimum. But, I just don’t see that!
Did they re-sign Ray Allen?

I we don’t sign Shaq? We just don’t want Shaq! & that my friend, I just don’t get.
The basketball gods are dropping him in our laps, but we are not biting.

Go Figure!

O'Brien

July 30th, 2010
11:27 pm

Northcyde,

I would prefer to sign shaq for the MLE and not worry about the luxury tax. that way, we keep Marvin.

But I think the reason why the ASG has not offered shaq a contract might not be about the money. They are worried about chemistry.

Because I Think anybody in marketing would say that signing shaq will increase revenue tremendously.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 30th, 2010
11:52 pm

O’Brien

The Hawks were swept, demolished, embarrassed, pummeled, destroyed, annihilated, torpedoed,
beat-down and whupped by the Orlando Magic and set the NBA record for the greatest margin of a play-off series loss this past season!

How did that CHEMISTRY work for them?

niremetal

July 31st, 2010
12:07 am

The extra ticket and merchandising sales Shaq would generate would way, way exceed the additional amount in salary and luxury tax that it would take to get him. Every team he’s gone to has seen attendance increase, even if the team’s record didn’t improve (or, in the Suns’ case, got worse). He’s the Big Drawing Card. But he’s also the Big Pain in the Ass, and the Big Sitting Duck on the pick and roll. Frankly, the latter is my main concern – the Celtics screen rolled the Cavs to death whenever Shaq was in the game last season. I think the chemistry issue is the big deterrent for the Hawks’ front office.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
12:14 am

O’Brien

I hope the ASG aren’t worried about Chemistry? They need to be worried about losing.
We’ll see – we shall see! IF they don’t get Shaq (a glaring need), I’m done with the ASG!

I will always support the team, but NOT the owners though.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
12:30 am

How much CHEMISTRY does it take to lose a series by an aggregate score of 101 points?

When, the Bulls brought Dennis Rodman in there – were they worried about CHEMISTRY?
When, the Lakers brought Ron Artest in there – were they worried about CHEMISTRY?
When, the Bengals brought TO in there today – were they worried about CHEMISTRY?

Where does the ASG have the basketball arrogance to worry about CHEMISTRY?

Last time I was at Phillips Arena, I counted the number of World Championship Banners hanging in the rafters that they have WON based on all their great teams that was laden with all that – CHEMISTRY!

ZERO – 1963
ZERO – 1964
ZERO – 1965
ZERO – 1967
ZERO – 1968
ZERO – 1969
ZERO – 1970
ZERO – 1971
ZERO – 1972
ZERO – 1973
ZERO – 1974
ZERO – 1975
ZERO – 1976
ZERO – 1977
ZERO – 1978
ZERO – 1979
ZERO – 1980
ZERO – 1981

Fast-Forward to:
ZERO – 2010

And it just don’t stop!

Aye … ASG, How’s all that CHEMISTRY working for you?

niremetal

July 31st, 2010
12:41 am

Tough to have chemistry when you have a coach without a clue or a system who is fond of playing favorites.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
12:47 am

EMPTY FEELINGS!

I could care less – IF the Hawks like each other or NOT.
I could care less – IF they get along like Shaq & Kobe, (when they WON 3 Rings).
I could care less – IF they go out to dinner after games.
I could care less – IF Mario West bangs Joe’s Mamma.
I could care less – IF they speak to each other the cellie.
I could care less – IF. …………….

These guys are PAID to PLAY professional basketball and WIN!
I could give a rat’s tail about CHEMISTRY?

Sounds like a bunch of silly girl stuff to me.

IF I’m paying 70 Million Dollars to put 13 guys on a team plane for 41 games?
They better put that ISH to the side and play some really good basketball – damnit!

And WIN!

JoJo the Godfather

July 31st, 2010
7:44 am

If Boston is willing to give up a pick with it, they’ll trade Sheed (right before he retires) to Cleveland for Shaq…Unless they can get Kwame Brown to sign for the vet minimum.

O'Brien

July 31st, 2010
10:13 am

I think the ASG believe our chemistry issues last year were because of woody (and I agree). So with him gone, they feel like Larry drew can handle the players we have now.

But they don’t know if drew can handle shaq. And that’s what they are afraid of. It is a legit concern. But its a risk I am willing to take.

Nire,

He does have liabilities on the court. But we still have Zaza to mix and match.

niremetal

July 31st, 2010
10:18 am

To resolve my syntactic ambiguity:

Tough to have chemistry when you have a coach who:
1) Has no clue
2) Has no system
3) Is fond of playing favorites.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
10:18 am

Why didn’t we trade Chills and a pick to Cleveland for Shaq then – If that’s all itakes?
I don’t get this front office and their reluctance to improve or alter this TEAM.
Even the Champion makes a roster move after each Ring.

Be it, Football, Baseball or Basketball.

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
10:30 am

O’Brien

I don’t understand that logic, if that’s why the ASG is reluctant.
Josh and Al said they need some muscle down low, unless Shaq doesn’t want to back up Al?
I say sign him.

If they don’t feel Drew can handle strong personalities – then why hire him?
Besides, how do they know he can’t handle a Shaq-Attack if they don’t try?
Is Drew soft? Then, we’re doomed already.

I’m wondering how will Spolestra handle all that Ego in Miami?
Why don’t Sund do like Popavich and come Coach his own Picks then, Pop had no HC experience either.
Look at how great he is. Drew was in the League before Shaq was born and he is a Father himself.
He has two sons and I’m sure he has had to discipline them as well.

I don’t follow that logic, at all. I hope that isn’t the case. If so, the whole ORG is Soft and inept to WIN.

niremetal

July 31st, 2010
11:10 am

drmaryb,

Chills’ status as a BYC player made it impossible to S&T him to a team for someone who would be getting paid more than $4.5M per year.

I don’t think there are any coaches in the NBA besides Phil, Pop, and maybe Doc that Shaq will respect enough to shut up and listen to. His ego far outstrips his talent at this point, which is what lies at the root of the things that keep teams from signing him (demanding too much salary, wants a big-minutes role, would be a locker room wrecking ball, etc).

O'Brien

July 31st, 2010
11:31 am

Nire,

I also think the ASG is worried about shaq calling them out.

I can see shaq making fun of a 8 member ownership team who takes a long time to make a decision (especially if he became unhappy).

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
12:13 pm

WOW!

I didn’t realize Shaq was such a ham.

dap01

July 31st, 2010
12:47 pm

Where is MC or whoever is filling in for him. No blog update since July 16th…..

drmaryb (*_*)

July 31st, 2010
12:55 pm

This bolg is much better … No Truth-Serum + 35 user I’d’s to inflate the numbers!

What we have here is, good, healthy and decent conversation.

The Truth

July 31st, 2010
1:13 pm

Here is a different spin of the Hawks outlook so we can at least keep it real. Our 2009-2010 82-game stats reveal some interesting clues regarding our current acquisitions, re-staffing and new strategies. Relative to the world champion Lakers, our offense, we were ranked 13th while the Lakers were ranked 12th (just in front). This would suggest that even in Woody’s ISO offense, our scoring was comparable to the Lakers. If offense was the only criteria, we should have gone much deeper in the playoff to possibly compete for the title once you filter out the lotto teams in basketball fantasyland under this condition. However, we all know that while a better offense will sell some tickets and expand the fan-base, it alone cannot win a title.

Our defense relative to the Lakers was a different story. We were ranked 17th compared to the Lakers 2nd ranking. The gap on defense reveals our problem area. Also, from the stats, it shows on defense that the injury-prone Celtics were ranked near dead last at ranking 29th. Perhaps the absence of KG and their other key-players mostly during the regular season had much to do with that number while the Lakers 2nd ranking may have improved even better had Bynum been healthy. Our 29th ranking is about right since we had no major injury to key-players for any significant length of time. If you filter out the lotto teams on defense, we would be in the company of the bottom-tier playoff teams. All things considered, this bottom-tier group made brief playoff appearances then exit. That sounds about right for us as well based on what actually happened in the playoff. It is clear that the stronger playoff finishers (with the exception of Boston injury problems) had a much higher defense ranking (compared to us) consistent with the theme that defense wins titles. This begs the question; did the Hawks address this problem during this off-season? You be the judge.

We hired an offense-minded rookie head coach to replace Woody’s switching defense for a more traditional one-on-one man defense. We drafted a perimeter SG with an already stacked backcourt (salary-wise as well) that isn’t noted for his defense. Currently we have constructed the same team with only Josh Powell as the exception. So really we are betting that a new defense scheme along will fix own defense problem. But the new defense scheme is not really new it just different for the Hawks. Around the league, this scheme is really the defense of choose (with the occasional man double-team). The difference with this defense between Team A vs. Team B is execution. So for maximum results, this defense needs to be deployed with the right set of players if the overall goal is to improve from last season. Since we are deploying the same team with this defense, high expectation to instantly improve may be unfair. Perhaps that is why the outcry for Shaq has been so loud. He is the one player that can improve our defense in areas where we need help the most. If not Shaq then we need a similar prototype. If Sund is not making this case to the ASG, then he is not doing his job. Publicly he seems to suggest that everything is just fine in Hawksville by only making a few minor tweaks like replacing Josh Powell for Joe Smith who saw very little playoff action. He may even hype Jordan Crawford who may not see much action given our loaded backcourt. I think what anger fans the most is that we are so close to that next and final level yet they (Sund and/or the ASG) are fumbling the ball.

The Truth

July 31st, 2010
1:22 pm

Correction: “Our 17th ranking is about right since we had no major injury to key-players for any significant length of time.”

O'Brien

July 31st, 2010
2:36 pm

Truth,

The problem with our ISO offense was too many fourth quarter scoring droughts. If I’m not mistaken, we had at least 16 games where we scored 19 points or less in the fourth.

And sometimes, woody did ask for more ball movement. But when the going got tough, we went ISOs. That works against average teams. But not against good defensive teams.

Big Ray

July 31st, 2010
2:42 pm

AJ ,

Interesting perspective in your 1:27 pm post yesterday. Very refreshing…

vava74

July 31st, 2010
2:42 pm

The Truth,

By replacing Woody you immediately buy yourself a ticket to improve our D.

We don’t know if the ticket will take us to the destination, but we have now a chance to improve in that area and we have to wait what Conner brings to the table.

Last year the defensive strategy was Woody’s thing, now it is Conner’s so it is not fair to judge where we are headed on that front when you say that Drew is an offensive coach. Yes, he is, but he also brought in someone with a fresh strategy for the defense.

Our D last year sucked for a series of reasons:

0. The system itself, based 99% on the switching D.

1. Jamal Crawford.

2. Bibby’s aging.

3. Chemistry.

0. All that had to be said about the switching D has been said. My only grain of salt is that we should still use it against sub-par teams who have great difficult adjusting to it.

1. Jamal Crawford is an extremely poor defensive player. Nothing character wise. He simply does not have a clue.

His playing time filled Flip’s slot (who was not a defensive ace but was not terrible) and diminished Marvin and Bibby’s playing time.

Marvin is a good defensive player, which means with his absence, our defense got worse.

Bibby is a defensive liability but is a lot smarter than Jamal and is (was prior to 2009-10) not – overall – such a bad defensive player as Jamal.

2. Bibby’s aging made his defensive deficiencies more glaring and more evident. That did not help at all.

3. The switching D allied with the playing time given to Bibby and Jamal – who were defensive liabilities generated a huge D effort imbalance: the front court was asked to provide D on the perimeter and in the paint which led to many situations in which the team stopped executing the re-switch and just coasted defensively.

Looking at our current roster we had a pretty solid group of player with above average D capabilities:

JJ
Al
Mo
Josh
Marvin
Joe Smith

Were all above average defensive players, then we had a second tier with:

Zaza is borderline due to a lack of athleticism
Bibby relied only on savvy
Teague was too green but had the legs to keep up
Collins was overweight but has all the knowledge
Mario had the will and some skills but lacked experience and minutes to be really effective

And then we had two useless defensive players:

Jamal, too distracted and too clueless
RandMo, a foul machine

Looking at this group, it is perfectly acceptable to think that we had the personnel to be well above average since Teague’s legs (or even Mario) could have been used more in situations where Bibby was clearly outplayed.

Mo could have been used more in situations where Jamal was clearly a liability on the SG slot.

Collins could have been used more often and got into shape.

Joe Smith should have played a lot more allowing Josh to have more rest, in particular to be fresh at the end games.