Hawks Fans: Safety in numbers and changing landscapes

I have to say I’m pretty impressed with you, my fellow Hawks fans.

Despite the fact that things are in slow motion this time of year, y’all have really kept up the discussion (intelligently, I might add) at a pretty high rate, even when it may or may not seem like there is a lot to talk about. Or maybe it’s not that there isn’t a lack of subject matter, as much as there is so many things that have been re-hashed over and over. Yet things have not gone stale, and that is thanks to you. So, let’s keep it going…

 

Bench Mob

I think that the idea of watching this team under Larry Drew really has sparked a great deal of discussion, despite the various supposed or assumed circumstances surrounding his hire. One issue in particular that many are probably anticipating is how he will use his bench. After years of watching a Hawks rotation that was comprised primarily of seven and sometimes guys (I’d say Mo Evans’ status as a rotation player was in a constant state of flux), should we expect a lot of change? Is there a “safety in numbers” line of thinking with Drew and his staff? Even more to the point, does he truly feel that he can go a solid eight, nine, or even ten deep with the current roster he has (plus whomever gets signed between now and the start of the season)?

There are a lot of questions here, and they won’t be answered until that first buzzer sounds, though we should get some pretty good hints of what is to come during the preseason (where we will also get to see that vaunted offense). Okay, so we know Jamal Crawford and Zaza Pachulia are rotation players. What of Mo Evans? Will he get consistent minutes? Maybe we should be asking whether or not he’ll earn them, and where he’ll get most of his playing time. Jeff Teague is expected to see an increase in minutes as well, becoming a part of the rotation. That automatically gives the Hawks a nine man rotation. Will Josh Powell be a regular in the frontcourt as well? He reportedly came here to get more playing time than he was getting with the L.A. Lakers, but he will have to provide something that is missing, for that to happen. What of Jason Collins? Is he another Mike Woodson scapegoat conduit or a useful player? 

There is another view we can take on this “safety in numbers” theory, and it applies to Drew’s offense. All five guys on the attack, he says. Well, that is certainly better than one guy on the attack by himself, with the variation of such an offense being that the ball is passed to another guy who goes on the attack by himself. But….might it be too complicated? Will guys who have gotten the lion’s share of the shot attempts get the same number of attempts, or will that change? Will the Hawks learn to “ride the hot hand”, or will Drew call for a strict offense that requires sharing of the ball regardless of what is happening on the court? While the latter is probably unlikely to be the case, you just never really know until the games are played. So much depends on the players buying into and committing to a workable scheme.

To this point, the Hawks have gotten by on talented players, despite the fact that we sometimes undervalue what we have. The front office and ownership seem to think that the current roster has enough talent, but that it could be better utilized. How much better?

What are your thoughts? Is there safety in numbers?

 

If you wanted another big man….

You got your wish. Well, sort of. With the addition of Kenny Gattison, the Hawks put a tough guy on their bench, but he’ll be wearing a suit full-time. A gritty and effective role player when he was in a jersey, Gattison should be bringing that attitude to practices (we certainly hope). Fortunately, he also brings some experience on the sidelines, having spent a couple years in New Jersey under John Calipari, and more recently several years in New Orleans, including under Byron Scott. One wonders – will he be another “big man” coach, same as Ty Hill, or will his area of concentration be elsewhere? What do you think of this addition to Drew’s staff?

 

On The Horizon

Regardless of how we think of them, some members of the Hawks front office are wanted by other teams. As Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham reports, director of pro personnel Steve Rosenberry is apparently headed to Portland to become an assistant GM. Meanwhile, current Hawks assistant GM David Pendergraft could be taking Steve Kerr’s old job in Phoenix. So what does that mean for the Hawks? While we probably don’t care too much as fans who the new director of pro personnel and college scouting would be (seriously, did you even know who Rosenberry was before this?), there is perhaps a modicum of interest in who Sund would replace Pendergraft with, should he be moving to the Arizona desert.

Having been in the league well over 30 years, Sund surely has numerous contacts, and for every guy who wants to be a GM some day, there’s a guy who knows that becoming an assistant GM is stepping stone leading up to that in most cases. If I recall correctly, Pendergraft is currently over all scouting. So, whoever would replace him (again, if he goes) would presumably take over that task and responsibility. But what do we think of Pendergraft? Has his scouting experience and expertise shown to be worth something, or would we be anticipating an upgrade? To be totally honest, there is only so much to work with. Under Sund and Pendergraft’s watch, the following guys have been drafted by the Hawks – Jeff Teague, Sergei Gladyr, Pape Sy, and Jordan Crawford (correct me if I’ve missed anybody). Even with Teague, we still don’t quite know what we have. However, we shall hopefully enjoy finding that out.

Thoughts, my fellow Hawks fans?

 

(UPDATE): One more thing. Did you see this one coming, and does it make Boston a tougher matchup for us?

193 comments Add your comment

Big Ray

August 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

Rod ,

That kinda goes for Joe Johnson. Collins never really had an offensive game to speak of. He was a decent body-up defender at one time, but he hasn’t discouraged anybody from scoring in a while. Shaq still does, to a point, and still collects rebounds.

Melvin

August 6th, 2010
6:37 pm

Rod from College Park

August 6th, 2010
7:10 pm

Big Ray,

Agreed.

The Truth

August 6th, 2010
7:24 pm

Rod

Jason Collins should not be compared to Shaq in any way. No comparison.

Agreed

drmaryb (*_*)

August 6th, 2010
9:39 pm

Astro Joe

Didn’t Joe Smith have a pretty severe thumb sprain last season.

Melvin

August 6th, 2010
9:45 pm

niremetal

August 6th, 2010
9:54 pm

If they sign Pape Sy, I’m gonna frickin go postal. I just HOPE that is spin from Sy’s agent, hoping to get some leverage with Le Havre.

vava74

August 7th, 2010
4:28 am

“His flummoxing Shaq in a few plays against Cleveland last year is in some ways akin to Marvin scoring 20 or more points in a game. Both were nice to see at the time, and both left you wanting more and thinking more could be had….but neither delivered.”

Ray, that is pretty unfair. Collins only had a couple of opportunities to show his fat ass on court and I would not be very far off in saying that that was HIS ONLY non garbage minutes under Woody and that he showed then that he still had some D game beneath that fat armor.

vava74

August 7th, 2010
4:38 am

Here is the exact source:

http://www.basketnews.net/asp.net/main.news/details.aspx?id=7936

Nothing solid. Seems only Agent’s bullsh*t to try and get a better deal for his last year with Le Havre.

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
6:46 am

Vava ,

Oh, I agree. But think about that for a second. That was one overweight guy stopping another. We haven’t seen Collins do anything like that against anybody else, in his time here with us. What bugs me a bit is that while he didn’t get the minutes under Woody, the word on him is that he’ll be more effective this season because he will be in better shape. Well, if that’s the case, then is it fair to also blame Woody for not playing him (if his conditioning was a reason not to?). That’s my thing. It’s not reported verbatim, but the reports from MCunningham and any other sources are alluding to that being the thinking of management. Either Woody didn’t play the guy enough, or he wasn’t in good enough condition to be effective on the court, and there isn’t much room for mixture. In this case, perhaps putting the blame on Woody isn’t right.

Either way, I’d like Collins to be what we need him to be: that “big body” that effectively causes problems for the bigger guys we have to play against (i.e., Shaq, DHoward, Perkins, etc).

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
6:52 am

Niremetal ,

Why go postal? Wouldn’t that be more evidence that the ASG isn’t cheap, if they are seeking to actually buy out the contract of a European draft pick? Is that somehow a bad thing? Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily count him as a viable NBA small forward just yet, so if that’s your thinking, then I certainly understand.

VaVa

Yeah….heh…we know about that agent BS, don’t we? The last one we heard from said Joe Johnson was going to help recruit players to Atlanta. We see how that’s been going. I think he meant that for his next act, Joe would be seeking more lucrative investment opportunities, with his bigger millions. But hey, who’s mincing words?

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
6:54 am

All the same, I thought Pape Sy was in a current contract that is yet to expire for another year. Wouldn’t that be why a buyout is necessary to bring him over this year? And if that’s the case, are rules different, where a contract already agreed upon can be changed before it expires, even though the player is looking to leave in a year? I mean, that’s not even a contract extension situation. I don’t get it…something’s not right here.

niremetal

August 7th, 2010
9:50 am

Ray,

1) I don’t want the Hawks to make the mistake of signing a player who isn’t NBA-ready just because it would score me some points in arguments about whether ASG is cheap.

2) Even if Sy has a year left under his contract, he might be using the prospect of jumping overseas as leverage to get Le Havre to renegotiate. I don’t know what his contract says, and it’s certainly possible that Sy is locked in and can’t leave without his team’s say-so, which would mean that you’re right about this story being fishy. But my guess is that the contract contains some “safety valve” clause allowing Sy to jump to the NBA. If so, then his agent might gain an edge by feigning the possibility of Sy signing early with the Hawks. I hope that’s all that’s going on, because unless there’s stuff about Sy that we really, REALLY don’t know, it’s hard to believe that a 22-year old who played 14mpg on a bad team in France is NBA-ready. As with Gladyr (who I think will be NBA ready in another year), I would think Sy needs at least 1-2 years of significant experience in Europe.

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
12:06 pm

Sautee, I was discussing the validity of Woody’s 2008 contract extension.

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
12:07 pm

Pape Sy may be to Drew what Mario was to Woody, his personal pet project and his private pit bulldog.

O'Brien

August 7th, 2010
12:19 pm

If I remember correctly, MC reported that Sy paid his way from overseas to come workout for the Hawks. So my impression is that he really wants to be in the NBA.

So even if he is negotiating a new contract from his overseas team, I think he will have opt out options.

vava74

August 7th, 2010
12:35 pm

Ray, niremetal,

Pape Sy is reported in all french press as a PG (”meneur”). I don’t think he is supposed to be the guy who would provide SF depth.

Also, in Europe he is reported as being 1,95/1,97m which means 6′4 1/2” / 6′5 1/2” not exactly what we need at that slot either.

Maybe they measure player’s height bare feet in Europe rather than with shoes on… but even so, by adding 1” we would still have an undersized SF in our hands.

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
12:44 pm

Didn’t the press release about the Collins’ resigning specifically mention his conditioning?

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
1:26 pm

Poppy – I didn’t know you could do it like that?

Pape Sy

Woe! Didn’t think we would hear his name again. Definitely seems like
Coach has a “Man Crush” on this guy. Why Not?

He fits the – Bill! (pun intended). Afford-Ability?
He’s affordable and has ability.

Am I clever or what?

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
2:08 pm

Niremetal ,

Understood, my main thing was with the contract status. I have no idea how contracts work over there (and to be honest, I’m none too knowledgeable about contracts over here ), so I was wondering how this could be a leverage thing, unless he’s looking to stay longer or something (which makes little sense, but what do I know?). As for negotiating a more lucrative deal for what has been reported as his final year of a contract he seems to already be in, what motivation would the club have for giving him a raise, unless the goal is to keep him there?

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
2:12 pm

Vava ,

I’m aware that he’s a guard, they actually played him at the 1 and the 2 spots in summer league. My point to Nire was based on his assertion that we needed a backup SF, not another guard, and bringing him over would take up a roster spot with a guy who likely would find little or no playing time, much less at a position of need.

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
2:15 pm

Astro Joe ,

As I recall, it most certainly did (the Jason Collins presser). As for Sy being to Drew what Mario was to Woody….I sure hope not.

Nire ,

Unless more comes up, I’m going to drop the whole Pape Sy contract thing. I don’t know and don’t understand it. And I really have to wonder if anybody would be pushing it from this side of things. Stinks of “agent” to me as well, but I can only guess at the flavor.

Big Ray

August 7th, 2010
2:19 pm

LOL @ drmaryb

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
6:56 pm

Horford – Breaking Newz!

Just in @ 547 PM on Rotoworld:

Coach Drew has informed Horford he will be logging major minutes at PF next season. Horford is excited, “That is my natural position.”

Josh will move to SF, and Marvin to the Bench.
Zsa, Collins and Powell will see major time at Center.

Drew is making moves, in spite of the ASKG.
Drew is moving the roster to their natural positions it seems.
Now the onus is on the GM to build his roster with the best players available, the days of hiding players on the bench is, well – OVA!

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:01 pm

Why couldn’t Woody do that?

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:02 pm

Why couldn’t Woody do that?

Rotoworld also commented:

If they were gonna’ move Al to PF? Why didn’t they sign Shaq?

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:23 pm

Thibbedeau comments on Shaq in Beantown @:

probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

&

espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/pos…

Sorry, IDK how to post links on B-berry.

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:27 pm

probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/201

niremetal

August 7th, 2010
7:36 pm

1) Playing Josh at SF is a terrible idea. If we want a better SF, the solution is to trade for one, not put Josh at a position that takes him further away from the basket.

2) Al Horford is not a natural PF, no matter how much he thinks he is. Al Horford grew up in an era where most centers were 7 foot or taller, strong, and slow. Today, they are typically 6′10-7′0, very strong, and much quicker than they used to be. Al got used to playing PF in college, where the model of tall, slow centers is more prevalent. He got used to playing alongside Noah. But in the NBA, the prevalence guys like Ben Wallace, Perkins, Lee, Jefferson, Noah, etc successfully playing center and PFs with perimeter skills like Rasheed, Garnett, Jamison, etc shows has shown that the game has changed. Al’s mindset might not have changed with it, but that doesn’t change the fact that most successful centers in the NBA today are 6′11 or shorter.

In the NBA Horford grew up watching, he was a PF. Today, he’s more suited to playing center. His combination of length, strength, and quickness gives him an edge over most opposing centers, which is why he made the All-Star team. In my opinion, him making the All-Star team should have put to bed the idea that he’s a natural PF. I don’t know why it hasn’t.

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:38 pm

Aye … Blog Monster won’t let me post the link of Thibbedeau
comments on Shaq signing with Boston.

He is very luke – warm to it at best. Talks more praise of Perkins returning than
Shaq being there.

Just google: Thibbedeau on Shaq in Boston and you will get:

Probasketballtalk(.) nbcsports (.)Com / 201

espn (.) go (.) com / blog / boston / celtics / pos …

Also, Shaq says the teamis built to win at:

w w w (.) Projo (.) com / celtics / content / sp _ bk …

great stuff. I typed it spaced out to trick the Blog – Monster. LOL

niremetal

August 7th, 2010
7:39 pm

*He also got used to playing alongside Noah.

That was supposed to be part of a thought that it honestly might have been an accident of recruitment that he ended up playing PF. At many schools, he would have been pressed into service at center. But the reason so many college centers don’t make it in the NBA is that they are too slow, and the reason many “short” guys succeed at center in the NBA is that height is less necessary at the position than it used to be.

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
7:55 pm

niremental

I feel you bruh! I see you make very valid points of views on this.

Why does rotoworld get Hawks news before us Fan Bloggers do?
That’s wierd – isn’t it?

I guess Drew wants to do the things the opposite of Woodson, he sat there for
6 years and saw it didn’t work! If the ASG ain’t gonna’ loosen the purse strings?
Then aye … That man gotta’ play the hand he is dealt.

Think about it this way nire: Why sit three centers on the bench to start every game and start 2 PF’s every game? ……

If the Pundits say, “The Hawks are too small up front to win in the play – offs.”

Maybe, this will force the GM to trade one of the starter level PF’s for a proto-type Center?

Or, if you look at Grand-Daddy’s logic, forget about positions …
Just play – Basketball Players. Roll the ball out there and put your best 5 play makers on the court. That definitely moves Marvin to the bench – day one.
Also, per Grand-Daddy? If we have a five man attack on offense – then
Josh at SF can still play INSIDE and not take jumpers. On defense, you can not hide the TRUTH in a man to man system. Just assign the guarders to the offenders based on match-ups!

IDK, nire? What do you think? Iam very interested in your points of view on this topic.

Thanks for your quick response to the newz.

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
8:01 pm

Wow, I had no idea that we had a “fleet of players capable of playing center”. Did anyone else know about this fleet?

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/38608509/

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
8:05 pm

Al Horford is not a natural PF, no matter how much he thinks he is.

nire, come on man. It’s one thing to say that Horford may not be a good GM, but shouldn’t dude know his natural position better than someone like, well, you?

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
8:09 pm

I’ll also add this. If Al doesn;t THINK that he is a true center (while a guy like Ben Wlallace does), then guess what? IMO, a person can only “fake the funk” for so long… if Al doesn;t believe that he is an NBA center then his days of being an All-Star center may be numbered. Because, again, I don’t think you can continue to be something that you believe is a lie over a period of several years.

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2010
8:36 pm

Dr. Mary, maybe this is why our previous head coach wasn’t overly interested in moving Al from defending centers.

http://www.raptorblog.com/100422b.php

doc

August 7th, 2010
8:54 pm

Fire Larry drew

Heh heh first to say it

drmaryb (*_*)

August 7th, 2010
9:07 pm

Astro Joe

Aye … Nice link! I am sure, Drew will still play Horford a center some.
But hey if the experiment don’t work, he can always go back to
Sing – Sing.

niremetal

August 7th, 2010
10:01 pm

Astro,

I think that in the overwhelming majority of cases, players are better-equipped than even the most information-obsessed of fans when it comes to knowing their “true” position. I think this is an exception. I have never seen Al provide a justification as to why he thinks he is a “natural” PF rather than a C. If he has and I missed it, I’d love to know.

The only explanation I can come up with is his size – which is thing that our “we need a TRUE center” mantra-chanting fans fixate on. My reasoning was aimed at that reasoning – when Al was growing up, 6′10 would have been on the short side for centers (although even Hakeem was really only 6′10). Today, it is not. If he has other reasons underlying his take on what his natural position is, then seriously – I’d like to know. But to my eyes, he is more than holding his own at center.

More importantly, NBA coaches – guys who I think DO know better than players what their “true” position is in almost every case – selected Al as an All-Star last year, when he was spending nearly all of his time at center. If a coach-chosen All-Star center isn’t a true center, then who the hell is?

Big Ray

August 8th, 2010
8:14 am

Seeing as how the subject seems a bit hot, I put up a new blog on it…

MD

August 8th, 2010
8:50 am

The Atlanta Hawks are Garbage!! And will be sweep again in the Playoffs, if they make the playoffs.Until the organization bring in players or draft players with -Heart -it will be the same story. I’ve NEVER seen a team in the NBA get sweep or should i say -BLOWNOUT- 2 years in a row and the organization brings back the -Same- sorry-azz players. U fans on here need to support a winning NBA team…Go Boston!!, and oh the Celtics will be back to play the Lakers in the Finals..

Big Ray

August 8th, 2010
9:47 am

MD ,

Careful of the wheels on that bandwagon. They might be a bit rustier than you think…

Catherine

August 12th, 2010
2:45 pm

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