Preseason ponderings

Well, the NBA preseason is finally here, and the Hawks lost their opener to a Memphis Grizzlies team that is looking to compete better in a fairly tough Western Conference.

I didn’t get to see the game, but if there is anybody who did, please share with the rest of us! What can be gleaned from what we’ve read or seen of  the first preseason game? Of course, we’ll go through all the usual motions about how the preseason just isn’t the regular season, some teams are coasting, most are experimenting or trying new personnel out, blah, blah, blah. However, there are still things to talk about. Some of them old, some new, and some are just ripe for drawing premature conclusions. But we love those, don’t we?

 

It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Apparently, team defense is still an issue for the Hawks, as evidenced in their 115-111 to Memphis. For all those hollering about Larry Drew’s defensive philosophy, he’s more or less laid it out on the table now. Drew has as much said that camp was about learning the offense, and the preseason would have a defensive focus. Fortunately, he hasn’t been as bland and vague as the “guard your man or else” tactic that some feared he might take. Instead, he has identified the root of the problem, and voiced it. And that’s not all. One of his newly minted team captains (Al Horford) is supporting that by getting into more detail as to what the problem actually is: effort. At any rate, here is a list of observations either reported by media personnel, that I’ve read. Again, if you saw the game, add your own perspective. As we know, things don’t change overnight, much less long-standing habits. And while it’s annoying to see that some issues are still present, other things bring us some measure of hope. Even if it’s very reserved hope.

_ Marvin Williams played pretty good, notching 18 points and 3 assists, while hitting 6 of 7 free throws. He was accurate with his long ball (2-2 from 3 point land), and I don’t know what his defense looked like, but he outplayed Rudy Gay by adding 10 rebounds (Gay had zero), and getting to the line more often than his counterpart. Of course, we’ve seen games like this from Marvin before. Just not all that frequently. Wake us back up when he plays like this on the regular (though the stats need not look quite like that every night, obviously).

_ Josh Smith wasn’t happy with a foul call or non-call. He showed it. Larry Drew told him to get his butt back on defense. I read that somewhere and can’t remember if it was observed in this preseason game, or in practice. Doesn’t matter. How long is this going to take?

_ The Hawks had a 20-point lead going into the half. They gave up over 40 points in the third quarter, and eventually lost the game. It wasn’t just the points given up, it was the turnovers. Yes, there were bench players in the game for the most part then. That doesn’t make me feel any better. How about you?

_ Jeff Teague was aggressive, totalling 20 points and 6 assists in about 30 minutes of work, while hitting 8 of 13 field goals. Three of those misses were three point attempts. He also had 4 fouls and 4 turnovers. Still a work in progress, but if the level of aggression and confidence is there, then that makes the inevitable bumps more worth it. But wait…seems Teague had a pretty decent preseason last year as well. What’s different? Anything?

_ Josh Powell and Zaza Pachulia joined Jeff Teague in the foul trouble category. On the plus side, Powell and Pachulia were pretty active on the glass on both ends of the floor.

_ Joe Johnson and Josh Smith led the team in turnovers with 5 apiece. Tied with them was Josh Powell (Josh Powell?? What gives? ). Yet, Joe and Josh are integral to this team’s ability to rack up asssits, and both contributed in this category as well, as the Hawks out-assisted the Grizzlies 26 to 16.

_ Apparently Jason Collins brings more to the table than just a big body. He can also hit jumpers. Who knew?

_ Jordan Crawford is not shy on offense, even if the results are not unlike those of the “other” Crawford sometimes (5-15 shooting, 0-6 from beyond the arc). At the same time, the rookie guard gathered in 4 rebounds and 3 assists, and committed only a single turnover in 29 minutes of work. Not too very shabby.

_ Did Mike Bibby even play in this game? It says he was on the court for 22 minutes. Maybe that 2 points, 1 steal, 1 foul, and 1 assist belonged to somebody else…

 

Wondering for No Reason…

….If Jamal Crawford’s back is that bad, or if he feels less than motivated to get to work for a team that doesn’t seem too worried (or inclined) to give him a contract extension before the season starts. Every day missed is a day he can’t get in sync with his teammates. They’ll be in serious game shape by the time the real games begin, if Drew has anything to say about it. Crawford will be behind in the count. Is he hurt or is he just sitting back and seeing how things play out? Maybe I’m just making up conspiracy theories?

….If Marvin Williams will finally make Mo Evans less of a need than he has been at the small forward position. If so, then Coach Drew can use Joe Johnson there when it suits him and use Evans to hound opposing shooting guards if needed, instead of getting into foul trouble against small forwards. And then Evans can take himself and his “undervalued” contract elsewhere at the end of the season.

….If Mark Price has a voodoo doll with a Hawks jersey on it. Price never seemed to have the effect on the team that he was hired for, when he was here. In his absence, the Hawks shot a miserable 27 of 44 (61.4%) from the charity stripe in their first preseason game. What’s up with that?

 

More to Come

The Hawks travel to Detroit on Monday, and Washington on Tuesday of next week to continue their preseason run. Hey, it’s just the preseason. But it beats the offseason, right?

64 comments Add your comment

Charity letters

October 9th, 2010
2:57 am

Hawks will come back hard..my sixth sense say this!

Charity letters

[...] Preseason ponderingsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)One of his newly minted team captains (Al Horford) is supporting that by getting into more detail as to what the problem actually is: effort. …and more » [...]

I Heart Atlanta

October 9th, 2010
3:35 am

Defiantly beats the offseason
Went to the game, some things i noticed
Larry Drew was tinkering with the lineups, he had j smoove at the 3 in two different stints.
Josh smith broke out of a play and shot a jumper instead, and Drew gave him a look like WTF?? and smoove tapped his chest like my bad. lol
Bibby did play alot, but was looking for others more than his own shot.
Teague looked great, and Jordan Crawford is very confident in himself, and i believe could help the team THIS YEAR
Etan did nothing when he was on the floor
Colins looks like a totally different player
Marvin looks more confident
Powell doesn’t give up anything easy, and even had a flagrant foul yesterday, in a PRESEASON game. Also has a decent midrange jumper.
JC2 blocked thabeets dunk attempt
JC1 was talking and hanging with Joe and JC2 and looked very happy
The 3 dudes that wolnt make this roster but r on it now SUCK
and Zaza shot a 3 as time was running out to tie the game and send it into 2OT, but it hit the side of the backboard lol

vava74

October 9th, 2010
3:54 am

Hi Ray,

Defense was really good in the first half, so my guess is that your commentary is waaaaaay over stating things.

I think the D really went down the drain with bizarre line up which included a very bad combo of JC2 at the SG slot and Smoove at the 3 slot (plus JT0 which is not an all of famer defender (yet)).

Can you spell “perimeter D disaster”?

That was in a period in which Gay really light up the scoreboard and, also, that Zaza and Powell had too many turnovers strung together (one of them, shown on the highlight package, IMO, was a clear foul on Powell since the strip came out of major contact on his forearm).

After the collapse, the bench plus some scattered starters seemed to hang on and discuss the end result right until the buzzer, so I am not as worried as some may be.

On an off note: I think the game also revealed/confirmed for me something I have been saying all off-season long: the Celts will MISS TONY ALLEN. The dude is 1000% hustle and energy (+- of 20) and I would not trust Delonte West to be as constant and focused on that job (in spite of the fact that he is technically a better player).

Big Daddy

October 9th, 2010
12:51 pm

I did not attend the game but followed it on nba.com. I was impressed by the play of Jeff Teague and Marvin. Both came out and played agressively. I know it is pre-season and some seem to treat it like that but initially there was an effort. The defense was solid and the assist seemed to come along well. However, after the first half, it seemed like a completely different team took the floor, even with the substitutions. Memphis went on a 17-0 run. By the time the ship was righted, we spent the rest of the game in catch-up mode. I see areas where everyone needs to tighten up, including the coaching staff. Hopefully the team can really work on reducing turnovers, improving their defense and the subs can get more playing time. We are going to need them. GO HAWKS!!!

doc

October 9th, 2010
12:57 pm

i heart, thanks for your impressions and wrap up. great contribution.

vava, what i read, it wasnt perimeter defense but transition defense as the problem. in other words lack of hustle and desire to get back. it was also quoted as our big thorn about last in the league last year.

truly1

October 9th, 2010
1:36 pm

I wish I could have went but How come you didnt get to go Big Ray. Dont you get into the games Free?

truly1

October 9th, 2010
1:37 pm

Enter your comments here

truly1

October 9th, 2010
1:37 pm

Enter your comments here

doc

October 9th, 2010
2:01 pm

truly 1, ray gets nothing for his efforts here essentially. he doesnt work for the ajc. he is a marvelous fan like the rest of us and lives outside the city. his research is his own effort and time that somehow he finds between being a police officer, father and husband as well as an owner of two pit bulls. he takes all of his responsibilities seriously.

truly1

October 9th, 2010
2:24 pm

wow well thanks big ray

beone

October 9th, 2010
9:45 pm

Doc,

Thx for the info on Big Ray. I now better understand the origin of some of his positions in his past posts in these ajc blogs.

kwooden1

October 9th, 2010
10:02 pm

Ray, I will be much more worried if we make it a habit of giving up big leads.

From what I’ve read, I’m happy with how LD managed the game. Since we’re missing a bench SF, the line-ups will look very odd. Memphis showed a lot of pride and came into the 3rd quarter with a purpose. From what MC wrote, LD used that as good teach point. My only real fear from the game was that Powell seemed like a stiff. I feel somewhat better because of what I Heart wrote above, but I will be watching Powell closely all preseason.

All the injuries bother me because guys won’t get a lot of game action or practice time, but I think LD will figure something out. JC2, Powell and Etan should get a lot of preseason burn, which could only help this team as the long regular season drags on.

With all that said, the assist numbers from the first half are what is a really exciting to me. If the starters can really get a good feel for the system, it should produce 4 or 5 assists late in fourth quarters where things really matter.

GO HAWKS!!

doc

October 9th, 2010
11:16 pm

beone this is a fan forum moderated by one. when blogs were set up they did them for fans by fans side bt side to the pros. the braves fan one essentially died, this one came close until ray took over. it avg about five posts per and the lead blog entries came about every three weeks. the thrashers one is better than the pros and th falcon one is comperable. this one is a very good alternative to mc who is sterling just as sekou’s was. jist the same ray holds his own to make itcrelative. o’brien blew everyone’s doors off and has a good subject and knowledgable and sane following. as hawk fans we are lucky to have two excellent entries often to ponder and discuss. join in on the fun.

beone

October 10th, 2010
12:53 am

Doc, Ok. Not sure what you are trying to say in your 11:16 post but no argument from me. Agree that there is often pertinent and insightful info contained herein – I wouldn’t bother reading these if I thought otherwise. My original comment was an attempt to say thx for the insight into Ray’s background. Nothing more – nothing less. I just find Ray’s profile interesting. To me, his chosen career and choice of pets seem closely linked to the types of reactions/opinions he often expresses. That’s just an observation. Not meant to infer they are good or that they are bad or that I agree or disagree with his points. I doubt anyone cares what I might think anyway and if they do care, I don’t see why they would.

I rarely post because I tire of the inane arguments that sometimes dominate these forums. However, I sometimes find alternative opinions and/or sources of info that I otherwise might not consider – hence I find them entertaining. If I feel that I have a unique perspective or source, I’ll be sure to share it. But I feel no need to re-state an opinion already voiced or to shout down others for the sake of doing so. Thx to all of you for expanding my viewpoints on the Hawks about whom we all share a common passion. And if you can’t play a sport (like me) – Be One (beone). Take care.

vava74

October 10th, 2010
3:55 am

Doc,

I know, transiyion offense was a problem, but so was the perimeter D since Gay and Conley had a series of 3 pointers (only 18 of the 42 points were fast breaks by MEM) and Tony Allen, who is not an offensive force, had a lot of influence in the flow of the game during that period.

doc

October 10th, 2010
11:25 am

beone … I just find Ray’s profile interesting. To me, his chosen career and choice of pets seem closely linked to the types of reactions/opinions he often expresses. That’s just an observation. Not meant to infer….

i think you just did. it triggered something for you to say something in an otherwise void of inactivity on this blog. funny you should enter on such a note. interesting observation of you as well. judgment is such an easy sword, especially when there is no real background to any of it.

anyway, see you seem to like al ciraldo as that was his sign off, “if you can’t play a sport, be one” for all his work on tech radio in the 50’s and 60’s. cool if you go that far back.

this forum is like the liars table at the local coffee shop or service station. it is a place to blow some steam, feel passion and go back to work or other relationships is all. nothing personal, nothing serious, a game for all to play so, be one.

doc

October 10th, 2010
11:36 am

45 per cent of the scores were by fast break is a huge number vava. kidding right? you dont see 20 points in a game by transition is my guess for most good teams much less 12 minutes. i saw the hawks do it to utah last year, once, where they went about 35 to 5 and got about half on fast break ops from good defense. 18 points in 12 minutes because guys didnt get back is atrocious. i wish i hadnt seen that number, that makes it worse in my eyes.

beone

October 10th, 2010
5:16 pm

Doc, My initial post was an attempt at a simple “thank you.” I just like knowing something about individuals since it helps me understand their views and to put those views in perspective. So regardless of how you choose to interpret the words I typed, I do appreciate the insight into the Moderator’s background that you offered. If my use of language appears to have other hidden meanings, I can only apologize for my mis-use of such language.

And, yes, I did first hear the “be one” phrase from Mr. Ciraldo. Although not a Ga Tech fan, I would occasionally hear him announcing a Ga Tech football game. His sign-off always stuck with me. I have been an NBA fan since before the Hawks came to Atlanta and have followed the Hawks from Day One. So let’s hope the Hawks move closer to fulfilling their potential this year and get past Round 2 in the play-offs. That is something I think we can all agree on.

Now regarding your apparent objection to my 2nd post and your criticism of my words. It seems my 2nd post responding to your 11:16 post (which was reacting to my first post), is what may have touched a nerve. (For the record, you stated “funny you should enter on such a note” about my 2nd post which was not my “entry” to the forum). This is in fact why I don’t reguIarly post here or elsewhere. I simply have no interest in debating what I did mean or infer, what I do mean or infer, or what I might mean or infer in the future by any remarks that I make. I find no joy in such interactions so I will not respond further to any comments about judgements made, implied or imagined. I have impressions like everyone but in no way do I consider them superior or inferior to those you may have. They are just mine. If this displeases you, I’m sure others of similar ilk will happily enter into endless debates with you over some other equally trivial matters. For those who do so, I say, have fun! And feel free to offer any thoughts about me that you like. It is really of no concern to me.

I will simply return to using the forum for the acquisition of information about the Hawks. It appears to have been a lapse in judgement on my part to alter my normal approach.

doc

October 10th, 2010
5:21 pm

be one be well

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
12:16 am

I heart Atlanta ,

Thanks for the observations. I’m always glad to get a firsthand account.

Vava ,

Well, they did say LD was going to go with some weird lineups. Considering I didn’t get to see the game, I’m not at all surprised that my opinions are off base. Then again, perhaps seeing it wouldn’t have helped either. :)

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
12:18 am

truly1 ,

I’m truly sorry. I posted this blog, went back to work, and then haven’t been near a computer in like, 3 days. No, I don’t get to go to the games for free. I’m not a member of the press, just a fan like you. :)

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
12:28 am

beone ,

Welcome to the Hawks Fan Nest. I always welcome anybody who wants to post their opinion, or even if they’re happy with just reading.

I’m not sure what exactly it is that you think of my personality/opinions/whatever, but if you’re drawing any conclusions from my chosen profession and choice of pets in the past, well….happy pondering. :) I actually have no more pit bulls. One had to go because he didn’t get along well with other dogs (but loved people), the other was taken to another home of a family member on my wife’s side. Their kids love him to death (he sleeps in the bed with two of the girls), and I had a foster child who was allergic to dogs (one we thought we might get to adopt). I miss that dog. He was very quiet and very obedient. I’m also a foster parent, so maybe that gives you some more insight. We had a Mastiff as well, but he finally kicked the bucket after 14 years. We now have a Pug puppy. Draw whatever conclusions you like from that, in relation to my opinions and how I spout them, LOL.

Anyway, hope to see you around more, and I’ll assume you’re lurking if you choose to remain silent. :)

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
12:33 am

Kwooden1 ,

Good point. We did have an issue with giving up leads last season, and often needed Jamal Crawford’s scoring ability to help combat that. I hope we don’t need that this year.

As for Josh Powell being a stiff….well….I don’t know what exactly we should expect from an end-of-the-bench type who was signed for a 1 year vet minimum contract. How many minutes will the guy get? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking your concerns. I just don’t hope for much more out of him than the following:

1) If you get a free dunk/layup out of a dump-off pass, convert it. Reliably.

2) Rebound when you’re in the game. Get after loose balls.

3) Defend adequately, solidly, aggressively.

If that’s what we get out of the guy, then I’m cool with it.

doc

October 11th, 2010
8:38 am

ray, what does a pug infer? ;-) that may keep me pondering all day.

dstdeelite

October 11th, 2010
9:54 am

And then Evans can take himself and his “undervalued” contract elsewhere at the end of the season.

If we wished upon a star……

vava74

October 11th, 2010
11:19 am

Ray,

Sorry to pull your chain again:

“Good point. We did have an issue with giving up leads last season, and often needed Jamal Crawford’s scoring ability to help combat that. I hope we don’t need that this year.”

I beg to differ: Jamal was crucial in GETTING some of those leads (with Smoove being the other guy making them happen) but more often than not, Jamal was on the floor when our offense sagged at the end of games AND OUR D did not get ANY stops.

My piece of contention this summer has been that Jamal was mostly effective as a first half player rather than a finisher.

My visual recollection is that we played better – getting stops – late in the game with Marvin on the floor rather than with Jamal who also put up horrible clutch numbers.

niremetal

October 11th, 2010
12:13 pm

I have the same recollection, Vava. I remember plenty of games where Jamal scored in bunches in the first half and helped us build big leads. I don’t remember many-to-any games where his shooting helped stave off a comeback or keep a lead. 82games has a “scoring by quarter” stat page in prior seasons, but they don’t seem to have one for ‘09-’10. I’d like to see one, because I feel like Jamal was a first half heavy scorer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he led the league in second quarter scoring.

Nothing wrong with that, by the way. Lots of big-game players do most of their damage early, although that tends to be the case with big men more than perimeter players. Regardless, a point in the first half counts the same as a point in the second.

Astro Joe

October 11th, 2010
1:09 pm

Wow, imagine the name-calling if a blogger suggested anything comparable to the headline of MC’s current blog… “Drew’s intense practices contribute to mounting injuries”. Here’s hoping he rests Horford tonight.

I was not a big fan of the Jamal acquisition and would trade the 6 extra wins that he helped deliver for around $10M in cap space this past summer, but like nire says, points scored in the first half count the same. The other thing that can’t be under-estimated when discussing Jamal’s value to the team is that annoying “s” word, swagger. As much as I would prefer a business-like team that gets the job done because it is their job… the Hawks thrive on emotions. And Jamal, when he went on one of his scoring spurts or converted a patented 4-point play, gave his teammates plenty of emotional fuel last season. That doesn’t show up in box scores but when you observe this team, it is clear that they sometimes need someone to jump-start them. Jamal did that quite often last season.

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
5:39 pm

Vava ,

Yank away. If you didn’t, I’d think you were ill or something. :)

By the way, you are right. Jamal did have a lot to do with us getting early leads. But that in no way explains why he was in at the end of many games, since as you correctly suggest, it wasn’t for defensive purposes.

So what does that leave? Offense. And that’s exactly my point. If you have Jamal on the floor late in games, you could only have him there for the sake of scoring, as this is all he can give you. If you have a lead, you keep it by playing defense. That’s why we lost so many games. Because we tried to maintain the leads we did have by outscoring other teams, often using the much maligned ISO offensive philosophy. Now while that’s a crack at the former head coach, I have to ask just what else were we going to do?

How many times have we heard Joe and Al complaining about lack of effort, or “not doing the right things”? If guys won’t lock down on defense to end a game, then the only other solution to keeping a lead is to score more. It’s the only “reasonable” explanation I can think of off the top of my head as to why Jamal is on the floor late in a game, while Marvin Williams and/or Mike Bibby are sitting. That was our problem: trying to win a game in the second half by scoring, while giving it up on defense like a underworld toady ratting out a mob boss on the witness stand.

Big Ray

October 11th, 2010
5:53 pm

AJ ,

True, Jamal did provide that. Just don’t say he’s “clutch”, whatever you do. :lol:

wordsmithtom

October 12th, 2010
7:11 am

Have to say it again. Props to J Smoothe for wearing a glove and “thugging it out” when his team was 6 men short and needed him. He could easily have sat that “nothing” game out. That’s leadership, and part of what being a team captain means.

If he and Horf continue to forge a tough identity and work that high/low post in halfcourt, it will make our 4th quarter game much more effective.

Woody took them as far as he could. LD adds a different voice and hopefully a more open minded approach to intermingling talent to situation.

Early injuries hurt LD’s developmental plan, but injured players can still watch tape and if I were LD, I’d have them on extended assignment. Can’t play…can watch tape. Can draw up plans according to LD’s strategy. Write it down….write it down….write it down…. This ain’t hard, men.

Astro Joe

October 12th, 2010
11:37 am

wordsmithtom, sorry, I completely disagree. I don’t need Josh or Alplaying at 80-90% for the season because they were being “tough guys” during the pre-season. I don’t think our bench is strong enough to for that kind of “just rub some dirt on it” mindset. They need to heal. Al and Josh aren’t going to inspire most of the vets on this team… they won’t make Jamal or Bibby or Marvin or Zaza do anything differently. And for the influence they may have on Teague & JC2, I’d rather have them HEAL. Sorry, but a healthy Josh and Al, beats a “lead at 80% Josh and Al” in my book.

wordsmithtom

October 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

Astro Joe,
There is a difference in Al and Josh’s injury. Al’s foot needs to heal, so yes, he probably should not play, unless coach decides he’s of little risk to further injury by playing. Josh, on the other hand, (not intending a pun) has a cut on his hand that will heal. I’ve had 1000 in my life; they always heal unless one doesn’t clean the wound and catches gangreen….I hardly doubt such would happen with trainers looking at wounds each day. So, Josh’s wound is different than Al’s….playing with a little pain is a way of “taking the lead”. But, you have the right to disagree if you wish. I’m proud of dude for sticking it out.

wordsmithtom

October 12th, 2010
12:42 pm

Astro Joe,
More than proving to his teammates, he’s proving to himself that he’s tough.20 years ago I fell down a flight of stairs and broke a colar bone. I drove myself to the hospital, was fitted for a shoulder harness and returned to work that day….albeit 3 hours late. Another dude in my shop had the same injury a couple months later and stayed out 6 weeks, on paid leave. That same leave was available for me, but I toughed it out. I’m 60 now. If I had to do it all over, I’d have been back in 2 hours. We prove our manhood to ourselves…..others learn from watching or not….still we know. Josh knows more about himself from working through the pain.

Al’s ankle is different, I admit. Ankle injuries for basketball players are problematic.

Astro Joe

October 12th, 2010
12:46 pm

Fair enough. Josh can deal with his glove issues and won’t likely be the worse for it. Al, on the other hand, well… I think Drew is playing with fire. I don’t see the reward coming anywhere close to the risk with regard to Horford. Especially when you factor in that Al is a very, very bright guy who seemingly wouldn’t need to risk harm to his ankle in order to learn the new schemes.

Astro Joe

October 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

tom, I guess I don’t read too much into Josh’s cut hand, because he has been banged up before and played through it. We’ve seen him played with a shoulder brace and knee brace and other contraptions… so I guess I don;t view it as anything new or “captain-like”. Josh’s issues have rarely been about anything related to his neck down.

vava74

October 12th, 2010
7:55 pm

Astro,

I think Josh had the exact same injury last year during pre-season.

vava74

October 12th, 2010
7:56 pm

doc,

Have you noticed the effects of the asthma treatment?

vava74

October 12th, 2010
8:08 pm

Jordan has unlimited range… He almost nailed it and got the foul…

Big Ray

October 12th, 2010
9:08 pm

Vava ,

Please do post what you see in the game. I’m at work, so I can’t see it, and I appreciate (as I’m sure, do others) any firsthand observations. JC2 is a guy Astro Joe first brought to my attention as being a “he gets it” type. I’m anxious to hear more…

Wordsmithtom ,

Good posts, intriguing perspective.

doc

October 12th, 2010
9:27 pm

jc2 was impressive, no fear. hope it translates to when the lights are on.

terrible t o to conversion rate of almost 100 per cent ….. 14 to’s and 26 points somewhere in the fourth quarter. yuck!

Big Ray

October 13th, 2010
12:45 am

Doc ,

Even moreso, I hope he adjusts okay to what will surely be a reduced role during the regular season. He seems to understand a bit already though, acknowledging that “preseason is my time”, in MC’s latest blog offering. Kid’s gotta learn to play decent defense as well.

vava74

October 13th, 2010
4:19 am

Hi Ray,

Sorry, I didn’t read your post until now.

Major fact to report: JC2 is officially the sleeper of this draft and IMO a top 5 talent easily.

If Teague is experiencing some problems unleashing his dog, JC2 has a Brazillian Mastiff on steroids inside him.

In relation to the loss and the lack of D, I think people are over reacting: defense starts on the perimeter and we had trouble keeping up with Washington’s rather interesting 3 small 2 bigs line up:

Bibby was himself and it is sad to see the oldest 31 year old in the NBA moving. He looks like an arthritic geezer playing weekend ball on a park… :-D

JC2 shows a willingness to defend and even contained Wall one on one during a few plays but he gets caught on picks many times and loses track on defense of what the other team is doing.

That lead to the Hawks-Wizards game looking a bit like the ORL series: easy ball penetration, our inside D overreacted, the ball rotated and JaVale, Blatche and Yi either got easy baskets or rotated the rock to the perimeter for an uncontested 3.

Washington also benefited from a night in which almost everything they shot went in.

IMO this would not have happened with Teague, JJ and Marvin on the floor protecting the perimeter.

Also, we must take into consideration that Washington will be a dangerous team, in particular if Arenas goes down indefinitely (which was not the case) since Wall is indeed a great player and Young is a dangerous shooter without the rock on his hands.

IMO Wall will be waaaay better than Rose since his type of play gets his guys much more involved than Rose: he scores within the flow of the game and not looking for himself.

Other notes: Powell listed size must be wrong. IMO he is only 6′8” and since he has short arms and is not an explosive jumper (does not look right now) he is over matched on D and the reason why is he is a poor rebounder.

All this whilst having a nice of touch offensively (although his hands resemble Kwame’s at times, IMO due to poor concentration).

In the end, I think he will still contribute well for short stretches, giving us 3/4ppg, a few rebounds and fresh muscles off the bench here and there when the match ups are more favorable than yesterday (Washington is extremely long and athletic).

Etan looks rusty but IMO it’s too early to consider him completely washed up. I think that he could get his chops back with more games and more minutes.

JJ started the game smoking and with his shot looking extremely sharp and looking to post up Nick Young showing a willingness to exploit the match up doing a dirty work (he ended up not getting the rock too many times down there).

He did lose a couple of balls again looking a bit careless with his dribble/passing.

Another issue which I believe will be adjusted with time is that on offense we are so focused in implementing the ball rotation that we are not yet exploiting favorable ISO match ups like the one JJ had on Young and like the ones we had in general on Washington’s bigs (which man to man D is rather poor).

For instance, Zaza physically had on JaVale where he wanted (when asked to on a couple of times, Zaza took it to the rack easily against JaVale (and Yi)).

Josh was clearly bothered by the injury but was the only guy that looked scrappy on D with steals and blocks, however, his man to man D was pretty bad since he was overreacting a lot and got caught several times in his back.

His shot looks better since his in game mechanics is now similar to his FT shot: not good, but more fluid. I think his fg% will remain at last years’ level but with a bit more outside shots going in allowing him to stretch Ds a bit more.

Al was pretty good on offense and could have easily exploited Washington’s bigs at will. On D he was a bit suspect, however, my guess is that he was trying not to hurt his ankle and was also caught on that “Jameer to Howard” impersonation act which Wall was doing with his bigs.

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2010
2:57 pm

Excerpt:

Strategy – This is where we probably got the most schizo feeling about the season. On one hand, it’s inconceivable to us that the Hawks championship fortunes are ultimately going to be changed by hiring the assistant coach of the coach that you ultimately blamed for our failure in the postseason. Bottom line, it’s not just X’s and O’s that were problems for the Hawks – it’s just the general motivation and energy from the bench that were at fault. The in-game strategy was not that great and so, it’s easy for the assistant coach to read the tea leaves and say – I’m going to change everything. Who wouldn’t do that? That said, this experiment still doesn’t change the fact that you have BAD defenders. You have offensive players who aren’t making ANY offensive system championship level. So, to change the coach and none of the main rotation still means nothing.

http://www.hawkstr8talk.com/2010/10/obligatory-basketball-pre-preview.html

niremetal

October 13th, 2010
3:44 pm

The good news is that the turnover count has gone from 24 to 21 to 14 in the first three games. And it looks like the team has shot relatively well so far. On offense, the paper shows some positive signs.

The defense…well, there’s a reason I was harping on the need to sign a perimeter defender instead of filling out the bench with more big men this summer. I was thinking more a big small forward, with a PG being my #2 preference, but if I’d known Bibby’s defense had deteriorated to the level it sounds like it has, I might have flipped the order of those. Last year he was slow, yes, but he had enough lateral movement to allow him to funnel his man towards the help defense. If he’s lost another step and now can’t even do that, then he’s basically become our version of Steve Kerr – ok to use situationally, but a major liability whenever he has to guard any but the most mediocre defender.

There really isn’t a good solution to that problem. Hasn’t been ever since the 2005 and 2006 drafts, really. Bibby was a good solution for his first year and a half and an acceptable one last year. The consolation is that he’s getting paid less this year and will become an expiring contract next summer, which should make him relatively easy to move under the next CBA (assuming it does indeed impose stricter cap rules). For now, though, I guess we just have to pray that Teague or Jordan steps up in a hurry. Or that Bibby just needs a couple weeks before getting back into his so-so form from last season.

niremetal

October 13th, 2010
3:45 pm

*Steve Kerr in his later years, that is.

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2010
4:50 pm

Or that we do what elite teams do and find a way to defend despite not having 5 great defenders on the floor.

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2010
4:57 pm

The other sobering thing to the reduction in TOs is the reduction in scoring… from 99 points in regulation in the 1st pre-season game to averaging around 90 points since.

The constant, however, are injuries and make-shift line-ups (and late game minutes for NBDL wannabes). What concerns me most is the seemingly lackluster play of our bench bigs… if they can’t get it done now (rebounding and defending other bigs), should we expect a much improved effort later?

niremetal

October 13th, 2010
5:02 pm

No elite team stays elite with 1 godawful defender as a starter, AJ. There is no one in the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, or Magic starting 5 who is as defensively poor as Bibby was last year, much less how bad it sounds like he is this year. But hey, it’s alright, I know your agenda all year will be to find a way to blame Drew for everything that goes wrong with the Hawks. Never too soon to start setting up the arguments that your lazy, predictable mind will inevitably make during the season.