“We’re not playing hard enough”, say the Hawks

Is that all it has really come down to? Every time you turn around, some guy wearing a Hawks jersey is saying, “we’re not playing hard enough.” Oh, wait just a second. I forgot the rest of what has become a sickening cliche. They’re not playing hard enough “…all the time.”

Really. Is that your final answer?

It’s amazing. A fan base that is constantly accused of not caring enough is now being told by the team’s players that apparently, they don’t care enough. For all the criticisms of the moves that the Atlanta front office made or didn’t make (for whatever reasons), nothing is as ominous as that which just keeps coming up in print after every game, win or loss. The assertion being made at the moment is that it’s not about what the Hawks can’t do, it’s about what they won’t do.  Now of course, your first indication might be to point to the Hawks’ record, which at 7-4, would not indicate that things are nearly as bad as we make them sound. That is, until you examine precisely who the Hawks have beaten, and in what fashion.

Let’s not push the panic button. Why? Not because it’s too early in the season. That would be the easiest cliche to latch onto. No, we don’t need to push the panic button because panic is what happens when that what you least expected and least predicted to happen, is exactly what happens. It’s when you have nearly every reasonable expectation of being safe, then finding out you’re in a lot of danger. Panic is when you don’t know what to do. But the Hawks swear up and down that they do know what to do. They just won’t do it…all the time.

 A mere eleven games into the season, Larry Drew sounds like a man who isn’t beaten yet, but you have to wonder just how much he can take. The man has listened to and observed the same issues for the last six years. Now, as head coach of the same crew, he has to find a way to convince a group of guys to do the very things they already seem to know that should be doing.

The Fault Line

Where do you place Larry Drew on the infamous “fault line?” Is he doing his job? Has he given the team a good guideline and gameplan? Despite the turnovers, which some would argue are a natural by product of the situation and obligatory learning curve, Drew’s offense seems to take better advantage of the team’s talents than we’ve ever seen before. With the exception perhaps of Jamal Crawford, guys “get theirs” without having to make a concerted effort to do so. In fact, it’s good enough to where some teams find themselves going to a zone offense just to slow Atlanta down. All during camp and preseason, everything out of the mouths of the players suggested that they were very pleased with the new offensive scheme. Okay, so then why deviate from it?

Defensively, Drew has decided against scheming to hide the abilities or efforts of some players, and simply holding guys accountable for defending. It doesn’t always work (the argument here is usually that it centers on ability), but there have been concerted flashes of effort from previously unlikely sources. So is Drew to blame here? What is he doing wrong?

Two guys need to be paying very close attention right now. Michael Gearon and Rick Sund. If you think the idea of the core of this team comes from Rick Sund, you might want to think again. Two theories abound here. Either Sund has come up with the idea of the core of Hawks players, and has sold Gearon on the concept…or the concept is Gearon’s , and Sund simply complies with his wishes, offering little or no input. Perhaps neither theory matters at the moment. What does matter is how much attention these guys are paying to what their players are saying and doing. Obviously the answer to the fan base during the offseason, was that the team as constructed merely needed a new guide. Now the new guide is saying some of the exact same things the old guide was saying. Again, didn’t the new guy bring a new plan? Didn’t the players say they liked the plan? Has there been any evidence to suggest that the new plan is ineffective or otherwise flawed?

All this time, we as fans screamed for changes, horrified at the efforts and results of last season’s playoffs. Sure, there was a lot of hollering about coaching, and that had plenty of merit on it’s own. But there was also a lot of hollering about the roster. Of course, that was when times got tough, especially at the end of the season. Here we are at the beginning of the season, and already the looks have started, with the finger pointing right around the corner. And the noise…the noise is coming from the players themselves.

Is this overreaction? Analyzing too early? Well, after which of the Hawks seven wins has there not been a caveat of some type attached, by the players themselves? Why all this noise from a group of guys with a winning record so far? And what ever happened to being one of the best home teams in the League? Seven games in, the Hawks are an even 3 and 3 at home, and 4 – 1 on the road. Should we rejoice in this?

 

HAWKS VS PACERS

Every year there seems to be a team that flies under the radar for a while, before coming up strong. Arguably, the Bucks were that team in the East before suffering the loss of starting center Andrew Bogut at the most inopportune of times. This year, the sleeper team is not what some would call a sexy pick. It’s amazing what an offseason will do for some teams, and some players. Everyone watches the wonder that is John Wall up in Washington, D. C. Chicago’s once bright future is in doubt with the loss of newly signed Carlos Boozer, and the fact that they still must lean too heavily on pg Derrick Rose. But what of Indiana?

No one on their squad short of Danny Granger gets any headlines, yet here the Pacers are, chugging along with a .500 record, not quite the one dimensional joke that they were last season. Indiana has only been truly blown out in one game, a 101-75 loss in Philadelphia back in early November. On the other end of the spectrum, they completely crushed Denver 144-113 about a week later.

Here’s the deal with Indiana – you can’t just game plan to contain Granger and let the rest of the guys do their thing. For the first time in a while, the Pacers have a fairly solid starting lineup. Guess what that means? They also have a somewhat viable bench, as the guys they were forced to start last year are now reserves. Let’s get into the key players.

Backcourt

The addition of Darren Collison to the Indiana lineup has given the Pacers a solid pg with some decent size and shooting capability. Collison has yet to show exactly where he belongs in the East pecking order of point guards, and doesn’t figure to be too very high in a field that boasts Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, and other credible names (forgive me if I don’t mention them all). But, Collison has proven that last season was no fluke, when he filled in admirably for the injured Chris Paul in New Orleans. Third on the team in scoring and first in assists, Collison is shooting quite well from the field and adds some credible defense as well. Collison’s play allows the Pacers to bring the lightning quick but fragile TJ Ford off the bench, instead of burning him with starter’s minutes.

Point guard play isn’t the only thing that has improved Indiana, though. The return of guard/forward Mike Dunleavy gives them another legit perimeter threat with size. The heady Dunleavy can play the two or the three, and makes it even harder for defenses to key in on Danny Granger. As a result, Granger is shooting 48% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc, scary numbers indeed when you’re talking about a guy with his talent. But that’s not all. Dunleavy also defends a bit, and provides both passing and is a legit rebounder. Better yet, he allows the Pacers to choose between Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush when deciding who to bring off the bench, rather than having to thrust either one into the starting backcourt.

The Frontcourt

Literally the biggest story for this franchise is the seemingly quite sudden transformation of center Roy Hibbert. Gone is the slow, soft, and largely ineffective first round project that we saw last season. In his place is a guy who is second on his team in scoring, first in rebounding, and someone who looks like he could keep New Jersey’s Brook Lopez from making the all-star team a second year in a row. Whatever Hibbert did in the offseason has paid off, and it’s showing even against the better front lines in the NBA, as his potential looks to be catching up with his size.

Beside Hibbert is the energetic, athletic, and physical specimen known as Josh McRoberts. He’s neither Troy Murphy nor Jeff Foster, but what McRoberts gives up in scoring talent and outright rebounding/toughness, he’ll make up for with hustle and effort. Behind him is Tyler Hansbrough, a smart hustler who shoots a very high percentage from the floor, and provides enough rebounding and effort when McRoberts inevitably gets into foul trouble.

Here’s the Deal

The Hawks are still more talented than the Pacers. I believe they’re still 10 to 12 points better on a given night, in which they play as they should. But the Pacers are on the cusp of proving to be a team that can’t be ignored or run roughshod over anymore. They’re healthier, they’re deeper, they’re experiencing some success, and they would like some more. If the Hawks lose focus in this game, they will lose this game, plain and simple. If they “don’t play hard enough”, I’ll wager that the Pacers will embarrass them. Now is not the time for this foolishness, and this ain’t Minnesota, where the talent pool alone all but guarantees a win for the opposing team.

Matchup to Watch – Al Horford vs. Roy Hibbert

Last season, Al Hoford made Roy Hibbert look like a draft bust, despite giving up a solid 4-5 inches and probably 40 pounds to the 7′2″ 280 lb center. Will the Hawks start Horford at center against Hibbert, and will it have the same results? Hibbert still gives up the quickness and ability to run the floor to Horford, but his improved game could be a load for Al on the other end of the floor. Could Hibbert force the Hawks to adjust the matchups?

For the sake of Afterthoughts – Jeff Teague vs. TJ Ford

Quick meets quick. Undeniably, Ford has the better jumpshot right now, but his quickness is a problem anytime he’s on the court. He’ll shoot past Bibby and make Jamal run through one screen too many, so maybe Teague gets another shot to make his presence felt here by keeping Ford from running the Hawks into the ground while Collison gets some rest. In fact, without such an effort, the Hawks could get into all sorts of trouble on the defensive end.

On the other side of the ball, Teague simply must improve his attack. The kid knows how to pass the ball, often to the right people and at the right times, but he continues to be no threat to score.

311 comments Add your comment

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
8:20 pm

AJ,

What are you saying? Are you saying that the team looks the same? Or are you saying that its record is the same? Can’t have it both ways.

Miles D

November 16th, 2010
8:20 pm

No longer can we blame the coach! Whether it be Woody, Drew, or any other coach the results will always be the same, & here’s why! Its all about mentality! We are not mentally tough & guys don’t seem to want to be! They are mentally fragile, period! When hit with a challenge they give up! When teams get physical with them they give up! But, it goes much deeper than that. Its the lack of fundamentals and pure basketball IQ! Marvin ain’t tough, Josh don’t know how to stay on the floor, Bibby is just too slow, Al is guarding guy too big, and Joe needs to step his D up! They can’t defend pick & roll, stand & watch too much on O, & look for someone else to bail them out when out of position! And alot of it comes from guy being too comfortable. They’re not worried about losing their position cause we don’t have adequate replacements! Thats is on OWNERSHIP & GM! Coach can only coach who he has and those who allow themselves to be coached!

vava74

November 16th, 2010
8:24 pm

Astro,

Jamal springs to mind… +- of -9 today in spite of not being shooting that bad with a 2-5 including a 3 pointer…

If had come colder as in past games… yikes!

I’ll now give an example which will annoy niremetal, since he loathes every day life analogies…

My father was an employer throughout his life, with a staff ranging 50/60 working in shifts/groups.

He once told me something which I always thought to be true, after my observations:

normally, the good always level themselves with the bad and not the opposite.

this same principle has been proved right by communism’s failure.

Jamal is the bad apple. He does not know and most of the time not even tries to:

1. Play within a structure;

2. Play D.

That has a domino effect on the team and in particular, I think his presence is particularly damaging to the bench players who have less quality and need more structure to produce.

He doesn’t look to be a bad guy and maybe he simply does not get it, but the fact is that if you want to implement anything resembling a defensively effective team, we need to ditch Jamal pronto and limit Bibby’s minutes, in particular when, unlike today, his shot is off.

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
8:27 pm

Halft time assessment:

Joe is struggling because Indiana has decided to clamp down on him hard. However, he’s not being selfish with the ball at all, and that is commendable, if nothing else. In fact, he’s made some good plays.

Al Horford is struggling in part because of foul trouble, but also because Hibbert is better. And I mean obviously better. Hopefully Al can get something going in the second half, which he seems to do these days. We need him out there.

Jason Collins is a better defender than we’re giving him credit for, but his positioning for rebounds is less than optimal, and despite losing weight, he has very little lift. As a result, smaller guys are beating him to rebounds. Offensively, he doesn’t give a lot.

Josh Smith has atoned for much of his foolishness by sticking mostly with a low post game that the Pacers can’t seem to stop. His shot blocking has been incredible. His defense has been barely adequate. Yes, there is a difference.

Jeff Teague may or may not have been having a Marvin Williams moment (i.e., he’s playing well because he’s from Indiana). Either way, he was a boost off the bench. But I’m not mad at him not getting more minutes because….

Mike Bibby is playing as well or better than anybody in a Hawks uniform, and I mean exactly that. His defensive hustle has been quite good, nearly intercepting passes 3 or 4 times. Sure, he’s been eaten up on the pick and roll a couple times (foot speed), but so has Teague (what’s your excuse?). Meanwhile, he has been a major boost on offense. 13 points, 6 assists. Bibby is the MVP for the Hawks tonight, so far.

Marvin has shown some of his old clumsiness and isn’t contributing much beyond a few baskets. I’m disappointed. Maybe I shouldn’t be, I don’t know.

Jamal – he hit a 3.

Mo – Stats ain’t showing much, but his defense/hustle is better than most guys tonight.

Zaza – not having an effect.

Powell – good defense for the two minutes he was in there.

Okay, here we go….

Melvin

November 16th, 2010
8:28 pm

Why isnt Marvin guarding Granger? Heck, even Granger is guarding Joe. Very well at that…

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
8:28 pm

Miles D ,

You think it’s an ownership and GM issue, do ya? ;)

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
8:29 pm

Melvin ,

On Hibbert….”you told me so.” :)

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
8:30 pm

Marvin isn’t guarding much of anything at the moment.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
8:31 pm

nire, every one of my previous posts is about the record… the one thing that matters. And that is essentially the same.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
8:32 pm

If the bench produces, we should have a W tonight.

Melvin

November 16th, 2010
8:32 pm

Just face it people, Josh is a better shooter….LOL

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
8:33 pm

Melvin, undeniably better. I still would prefer him shooting 80% of his shots from the paint.

lukas

November 16th, 2010
8:46 pm

The way LD is handling Al’s minutes is terrible!!! no wonder why he doesn’t want to be agressive on defense anymore!!

vava74

November 16th, 2010
9:09 pm

I hope that it is still due to his ankle… but where is the Teague that dunked on Lamar Odom?

He now hardly penetrates… he looks like Bibby without the outside shot!

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
9:11 pm

Gee, AJ, that’s funny. Because up until I called out all the ways in which the Hawks look different from last year on the floor, you hadn’t said one mumblin’ word about the record today. Nope, not one. You talked about the culture, the chemistry, the effort, the defensive stats, the offense, the quotes in the paper, and what’s going on behind the curtain. But until I called out the ways in which the Hawks look different, you hadn’t said jack about the record. You only brought that up once I challenged your “it looks the same” statement.

Sorry, but you can’t rewrite your own posts on this blog. Nice try, though.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:19 pm

nire, and what does offense have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that because the offense is different that the team is different? The offense is a paint job… the car is the same. I’ll try to be more explicit for those who need specifics to understand the nuance.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
9:25 pm

Josh thinks that because he’s hitting his jumper more, he should have the green light to shoot them no matter the game situation, no matter how matter how much time is left on the clock. That’s a problem. He is shooting 45% on long 2s coming into this game, and is 2 of 7 on them tonight.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:28 pm

vava, that Lakers game was when the Hawks were getting blown out and he could go in attack mode. We saw the same a few games ago against the Bucks. When Teague gets minutes in a tightly contested game, he appears to afraid to make a mistake… and too willing to defer to his “big brothers”. But in garbage time, he can be his own man. That Lakers agme (as I remember) was essentialy a blow-out until the Lakers bench gave up too many easy shots and Teague exploited their lack of effort. Van Exel seemingly was brought in to get Teague to treat every game like it is garbage time, but that is clearly a work in progress. And, one more time, Teague definitely plays better when he is either ignoring Jamal (Bucks game) or is playing without Jamal on the floor with him.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
9:28 pm

Astro,

YOU were the one that brought up the culture, the chemistry, the effort, the defensive stats, the offense, the quotes in the paper, and what’s going on behind the curtain. Not me. You. If the record is the only thing that matters, why did you bring all of it up?

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:29 pm

Good win. Much better effort on defense.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:30 pm

Wow, only 7 turnovers tonight. I wonder if that is a season low?

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
9:30 pm

And if you’re gonna say, “well Ray and Vava brought some of that up,” fine I’ll grant you that. But why did you humor them and continue the discussion on all those things without saying one damned word about the record?

Sorry, AJ. You can’t rewrite your posts. You didn’t talk about the record today until after my first post calling out the differences.

O'Brien

November 16th, 2010
9:31 pm

doc,

After a game like this, you see why it is a big risk to trade Josh Smith. He is still young, and has immense potential. If he can ever put it together consistently, he will be almost unstoppable.

MC had a good blog up, about setting Horford free. I dont know why LD does the same thing Woody does and keep him on the bench just because of a couple fouls early.

And the fact is Al is shooting 65% from the field. Shouldnt he be getting more shot attempts?

AJ,

This is still LD’s first 11 games. Change will not happen overnight, even if Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson was the new Hawks coach.

Woody had 6 years, and he contributed to the issues that LD is dealing with (imo). he helped mold these players into the players that they are (good and bad).

Its possible LD contributed to the issues too, but it comes down to the HC’s responsibility.

The playoffs is what really matters, but we are not there yet. Hopefully LD can get the players to buy in to whatever he’s selling.

Although they’ve taken a step back at home, they are 5-1 on the road. That is a big difference from last year?

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:32 pm

Oops, 9 TOs.

vava74

November 16th, 2010
9:41 pm

Astro,

My feeling is that we only won because we shot uncannily well from 3 point land…

We were out rebounded 30 – 42…

Where we can see a huge difference is that JJ is not well and within this offense he does not force it too much.

Everyone had the opportunity to contribute:

Collins had 1 jump shot; Zaza had 3 and made 2 within the flow of the offense and these are guys who would never be confident to shoot last year (well Collins wouldn’t even be able to).

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:42 pm

nire, so are you saying that the team is different or are you just trying to say that there are aspects that are different even if those aspects appear meaningless in the grans cscheme of things? Kind of like Joe’s red sneakers that he didn’t wear last year. Different, but unimportant.

Melvin

November 16th, 2010
9:42 pm

JSmoove to the rescue….

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
9:47 pm

Well, of all the victories against non-playoff teams, I’ll say this has to be one of the better ones. Hawks didn’t just pull it out, they ended with a double digit win. I think it would have been disapointing if it had been any less.

Josh Smith once again rises to the occasion for his team after making some mistakes that brought us back to 2007.

I don’t know what to say about Horford’s minutes. I thought he should have played more, but then….don’t we want to be in a position where we don’t need him for 38-40 minutes and still have a legit win over a team we should be beating?

Two things on Horford: his offensive growth has made him into a new weapon, and I think he’s capable of playing extended minutes at PF because of it. However, his rebounding continues to concern me. 30 minutes is still 30 minutes, and I’m not impressed with 6 rebounds. I’m not impressed with Josh having 8 either, and to be honest, with the lack of help elsewhere , we got embarrassed on the glass by Indiana.

Let me put that in clearer context. Pachulia, Powell, Marvin, Mo, and Collins all combined for 67 minutes played, and a whopping 8 rebounds. That’s disgusting, sorry.

Highlights:

Crawford’s 5 assists.

Teague’s better than usual play on offense.

Josh’s offensive game after the first quarter, and his increased overall defensive effort/intensity.

Mike Bibby. All game long, really.

Mo Evans’ hustle.

Good win. Indiana is clearly no longer a team to be trifled with as one pleases, but we also can’t count this as a “proof” game until they show themselves to be one of 8 Eastern Conference playoff teams.

All the same, a rather solid win on the road against a team featuring a legit pivot player in Hibbert (he had a pretty dang good game, though we clamped down on him late) and a legit star in Granger.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
9:48 pm

AJ,

I’ll answer that as soon as you answer this: If the record is the only thing that matters, why didn’t you bring it up until after I called out some differences between this year’s team and last year’s?

I’m not going to let you change the subject on me like the AJ of old. I thought you were past that stuff. You had NOT been talking about the record AT ALL when I posted my response to you.

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
9:49 pm

Vava ,

I think you hit the nail on the head. We won because of our three point shooting (thanks to Bibby and Jamal…and even Teague!).

The nice thing about Joe was he really didn’t force much of anything, our offense didn’t require that he or anybody else force anything (unlike in times past), and he also isn’t going to be worn out after playing 43 minutes, guarding Granger all night long, and having taken 20+ shot attempts with defenders draped off of him. Thank you, Larry Drew….

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
9:53 pm

Drew just conceded that he has to “live with Josh’s growing pains”. Funny, I guess the guy who coached Josh during his first 6 years didn’t have to live with those same growing pains.

OB, I don’t think a head coach can convince players not to quit on each other. I don’t think coaches can teach effort. And most coaches will side with dealing with “growing pains” over applying “accountability” and using inferior players. But fans like to hear that someone can bring out the dog in a player, preach accountability and “not allow a team to fail” on the road (or whatever he said recently). It all sounds really, really good.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
10:03 pm

nire, I’m not changing the subject. The subject was sameness, right? I said the team looks the same, and you assume I meant something about the on-court asthetics. Can you prove that “looks the same” wasn’t in reference to a 6 game winning streak followed by a 4 game losing streak (which I mentioned a few days ago)? Or when I mentioned our 11-2 record last year? Or when I mentioned being in 1st place in the SE division at the All-Star break last year? And maybe I didn’t say that here, maybe I said it on MC’s blog. But I know I have been talking about the record for the past few days. You enjoy internet research, if I failed to mention it in the last 12 hours but mentioned it in the previous 48, what would that mean? I’m quite confident in my focus on the record as the bottom line, with issues like chemistry driving that record. Heck, you may even find some posts from last year where I spoke eloquently about 50+ wins… or during the summer when I asked about 50+ wins. But now, you want to say that because I didn’t mention record in the previous 8 houirs, that I haven’t been conscious of the Hawks’ regular season record. OK, that is truly laughable.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:16 pm

AJ,

I’m saying the Hawks’ record was not what you were talking about when I responded to you. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t.

In the post I was responding to, you said nothing about the record.

You DID mention the offense. You. Yourself.

You DID mention the switching defense. You. Yourself.

You DID mention comments to the press. You. Yourself.

Earlier in the day, in the only other post of yours that I had read on the issue of “sameness” (you’ll have to forgive me for not going back and reading every post you’ve made here and on MC’s blog to see everything you have talked about for the past few days :roll: ), you discussed effort. You. Yourself. You also discussed the culture. You. Yourself. You mentioned accountability. You. Yourself.

But all of a sudden, when I responded and pointed out the differences in offense, switching defense, and accountability – all things you had discussed YOURSELF earlier TODAY – voila! That doesn’t matter. Neither Then, all you wanted to talk about is the record. Something that, in the posts of yours that I had read and clearly was responding to – the ones where YOU YOURSELF talked about culture, effort, switching defense, offense, and accountability – you had not said one. damned. word.

You were the one who first talked about all those things, AJ. Not me. You. Why is it then that when I talked about them, all you wanted to talk about was the record? What’s so “laughable” about me asking that?

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
10:22 pm

I think anybody who coaches Josh has to live with his growing pains. You know, kinda like anybody who coaches Ron Artest needs to have a psychiatrist who likes to travel a lot between October and April. Hey, I’m not blaming Drew. Dude has made certain changes that I think are beneficial to the team, provided the team stays within his guideline.

I like the accountability, even if it shows just how bad this team can be, defensively. I hope it forces change that only a front office can effect. Personally, I think the accountability has resulted in making Bibby play better defense at times (though not in every single game), and exposes Jamal (while also forcing a smidgen more effort from him as well at times). I’d rather have these kinds of growing pains that all but force the hand of management. No, really.

As for the offense, we lose a game like this under the former coach because we would not feed Horford the ball in the second half, Joe would take 20+ shots and still not be able to carry us, and our only hope would have been ISO Jamal. Just sayin’….

Big Ray

November 16th, 2010
10:23 pm

Meanwhile, back to Astro and Nire…..LOL

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:23 pm

This isn’t that hard, AJ. I have absolutely no problem discussing why I think the Hawks are a different team despite having the same record. That most certainly IS a valid point and a good topic for conversation. But come on, AJ. I was talking about the exact issues you were talking about. It’s just bizarre to pretend that you weren’t. If you think all of the things that you yourself were talking about are, in fact, irrelevant, that’s fine. But at least man up and admit that you yourself HAD been discussing those things.

Then, I would be more than happy to discuss why I think the Hawks are a different team in significant ways despite having the same record.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
10:30 pm

nire, if I offer up 4 reasons for something, and someone challenges those 4 and I repsond with an 5th reason, is that someohow against the rules of blogging? Even if the 5th has been a consistent themse for months? That makes no sense to me. My posts are not about a daily thought for me… I don’t think chemistry issues one day and think lack of effort the next. They are BOTH issues, even if I don’t choose to include them. I still think the dysfunction of ownership casts a shadow on this team, but I don;t discuss it in each and every post.

At this point, you’re not even trying to argue my point, just argue the mechanics of the debate. That’s silliness. The subject isn’t when I introduce an argument, it is the validity of that argument. You want to debate time, I prefer to debate the issue. The issue is sameness.

vava74

November 16th, 2010
10:32 pm

I will intrude:

Last year Astro you were perfectly happy with a product that brought 53 wins, even though many, including myself from roundabout the all star break, pointed that we would not be successful in the playoffs with the “system” which Woody had in place…

Now, all of the sudden you complain about us not being different in a way that you did not thought necessary last year?

Last year’s Astro would say that 8-4 was pretty good and that 50+ wins was all that you needed to be happy…

And, you know the funny thing? Although these Hawks still share some of the most obvious problems of last year’s Hawks, we did make progress in some areas which COULD translate in a better performance in the playoffs.

Our main problem is mostly FOCUS from game to game and within games and no longer a complete inability to deal, for instance, with zone defenses.

Both Al and Josh took yet another step forward offensively – keeping fingers crossed on Josh’s jump shot – and the string of bad games came with BOTH our SF out or severely limited (Mo tonight was clearly struggling and Marvin left the game limping) and with our back up PG fresh from an ankle sprain which seems to have put his mental set up back to zero.

And, we cannot disregard that the two guys missing are supposed to be 2 of the better perimeter defenders in the team.

We have a sample which is good enough to see the progress in some important areas and small enough to hope that the negative things we are seeing can still be corrected.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:39 pm

*sigh*

AJ, you said:

nire, every one of my previous posts is about the record… the one thing that matters.

If record is the one thing that matters, why did you bother discussing the culture, the chemistry, the effort, the defensive stats, the offense, the quotes in the paper, and what’s going on behind the curtain?

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:41 pm

And if “every one” of your previous posts was about the record, why did you mention the culture, the chemistry, the effort, the accountability (almost had forgotten that one), the defensive stats, the offense, the quotes in the paper, and what’s going on behind the curtain?

O'Brien

November 16th, 2010
10:45 pm

Vava,

Exactly. Some of the minor changes we have seen can be an improvement for the playoffs.

How many games did we see last year where despite the fact that jj was struggling, we still went ISO jj in the fourth.

How many games last year did we see where woody tried different combinations? He was robotic at times with his substitutions.

So although the results are not there yet in terms of won-loss record, there is progress within the game. Hawks Just need to keep working, LD just needs to keep teaching and preaching , and rick needs to make a move if necessary.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:47 pm

And frankly, on the substantive issue of “sameness,” I’m willing to just co-sign Vava’s 10:32 post and leave it at that. As long as Vava stops using commas where they should be periods in decimal numbers ;)

O'Brien

November 16th, 2010
10:50 pm

Props to Frank Wren of the braves. 2 years ago, our biggest need was pitching, so he goes out and signs Derek Lowe and KK (although they have necessarily worked out as hoped).

This year, we needed an offensive boost, and he trades for Dan uggla, a 30 HR, 90 RBI threat.

Looking forward to the braves season. Hopefully chipper is healthy and plays well.

Ok. Back to basketball :smile:

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
10:51 pm

This is an American blog, Vava. We use dollars for money, miles for distance, and periods for decimal marks.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
10:51 pm

nire, this argument started yesterday with myh 10:45 am post. From there, I made another comment about the team’s history. doc, took exception with “lobbying”. Big Ray addressed me in the 9:00 hour last night. My post this morning was in direct reference to Ray’s comments. It all started with a post about last year’s road record. But because I failed to mention record today… I guess I am guilty as charged. I guess I need to reiterate every point to every new blogger who addresses me, assuming that they did not read any previous posts. Biy, that should make this blog really exciting, having to read the same thing every time.

vava, my point remains, if you’re going to dump your long-time girlfriend because you are tired of her family, her values and her issues related to her family life, then you don’t start dating her younger sister. Go date someone not associated with that chick. MC said something about a “complete rejection of Woody’s program” and yet they hired his lead assistant. So when those same family issues reappear, are we supposed to be surprised? Disappointed? Hopeful that it will get better by the playoffs? I’m a fan so I fall in the latter category, even though I have my doubts.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
10:59 pm

vava, I said some of those same things last year. Al and Josh took a step forward. Remember the previous season, it was the Joe and Bibby show. Someone used to routinely post the percent of shots taken by the backcourt… until they stopped because the distribution shifted over the course of the season. Remember when the season started, Al wasn’t even a part of the offense… it changed as the season went on (resulting in an All-Star appearance). Remember how Josh became a point forward last year? That was new and happened during the course of the season. Remember when Josh took awful 3 pointers in ‘08-09? That stopped last year. There were advancements made last season, which proved meaningless when the team was faced with playoff adversity. Excuse me if I have yet to see any maturation in how they handle adversity.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
11:04 pm

AJ,

I’m not saying that discussing the record isn’t a valid topic. On the contrary, I’ve said three times that it is. All I care about is that you don’t seem to willing to admit that the record was not, in fact, the ONLY thing you have been discussing. On the contrary:

1) You DID talk about the things that I brought up in my first post. You DID cite things BESIDES the record as evidence of the Hawks’ sameness.
2) Thus, it appears that you do view things beside the record as relevant to the issue of “sameness.”

Where in that am I wrong?

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
11:07 pm

I’m more than willing to move on and discuss the substance of this with you, AJ. But you have to man up and admit that you did talk about things besides the record as evidence of the Hawks’ sameness.

Astro Joe

November 16th, 2010
11:14 pm

Yes, nire, I listed all of the aspects of the current team that seem the same to me as the past few teams. Yes. And I used the team’s record as the ultimate stat to back my assertions. And during the summer, when we read about the new coaching philosophy, what did I want to talk about? Projecting the record. If it doesn’t change the wins, what’s the point? If hiring Drew results in a comparable record, then give me Bill Laimbeer, Dwayne Casey or swing for the fences and give Mark Jackson a try. Hell, call Del Harris. Those choices would feel like a true divorce, and not dating the sister of the ex-wife. And maybe the players wouldn’t be so quick to lapse into their comfortable sameness.

niremetal

November 16th, 2010
11:23 pm

Ah, see now we’re getting somewhere, AJ. Because can’t have it both ways. If the record is “the one thing that matters,” and you have to admit that your earlier statements about things besides the record (culture, effort, etc) were beside the point on the issue of “sameness.” If things besides the record are relevant, then you have to renounce your statement that the record is “the one thing that matters” on the topic of sameness.

In any case, I again just co-sign Vava’s 10:32. I can’t improve on that.