Is Atlanta doing anymore than avoiding the 500 club?

Forget the panic button, I was all about pushing the one that says “despair and depression” after witnessing the recent losing streak of the Atlanta Hawks. A blowout against Washington at home in front of a fairly sparse crowd probably felt better than it should have. This was something the Hawks were known for doing to bad teams all last season (for the most part), so why get excited now? Well, it did show some determination and focus on the part of the Hawks players, which had been missing in the two or three previous games.

Now, after dispatching a fairly talented Knicks squad on its own home floor, the Hawks are back on the upswing again. Or are they? You see, the trouble is this – the Hawks aren’t having much trouble at all with the non-winning teams. They can beat Toronto tomorrow, and do so by double figures. What will it prove? It proves the Atlanta is not on the bottom of the pile. It proves that they can actually beat teams that they are clearly superior to. What it doesn’t do, is prove that the Hawks are as good as last year, let alone better. For the moment at least, the Hawks have proven that they don’t belong to the 500 club….that zone where a team is but a win or loss or so away from being over or under .500. The Knicks know how that is, they’re still there. The Hawks were there a couple of games ago.

I’m sure this wasn’t the Hawks’ goal for the year, so avoiding the 500 club is a less than palatable treat. Does that sound like complaining about wins? It probably does for a team that is struggling and trying to make its way off the floor and up the food chain. For a team that has come off of 47 and 53 win seasons, wherein talent has been increased over time instead of decreased, I’d say it’s not complaining at all. But what do I know…what do YOU think?

The Shake Up

Is there something going on with guards Jeff Teague and Jordan Crawford? Of late, Teague’s playing time has become a subject of discussion, to the point of where some questions have been put to Larry Drew. Personally, I think he’s not telling any fabrications, but he’s also hedging. I said earlier on that we might see some developments along this line, and I still think we will see more, but there’s still not enough to push us towards a definite conclusion. It comes down to this – which guy impacts the game more positively when he comes in – Jeff Teague or Jordan Crawford?

Teague seemed to be the guy, at least defensively. The quickness, certainty, and aggression he lacks on offense appeared to show up quite a bit when on the other end of the floor. But then, even that went away, at least against the Celtics. Of course, it’s hard to get on the second year man when the entire rest of the team is stinking it up in the same game, but this is a guy who should be fighting for more than the 12-15 or so minutes per game he was getting. Even with Rajon Rondo missing from the game, there was no fire from the youngster. And instead of ruling the roost in garbage time against Washington, Teague again looked half-hearted at best. What gives? In the meantime, fellow guard Jordan Crawford hit the court hard on both ends, and largely played like a man whose very bread and water depended on every minute of his performance. Again, what gives?

Here’s the deal. Maybe Larry Drew should keep putting Crawford in and letting him get his lumps. He tends to get beat on defense, but he can learn, and he doesn’t shy away from it. On offense, the kid is scorer, pure and simple. Yes, he can go 4-15, or he can go 5-5. Either way, he is going to give it a go, and it won’t be half-hearted. What would the results be? One of two things, at the very least, I’m thinking. Either Crawford learns and turns into a viable rotation player sooner (those wanting to trade Jamal Crawford would be glad of this), or this provides the perfect fire to help unleash the “inner dog” that Jeff Teague supposedly has. For all we know, that dog has wandered back to the Wake Forest campus and taken up residency there, because we sure haven’t seen it around Atlanta lately.

I know, I know. I said I’d give him 20-25 games before criticizing Teague too heavily, and that maybe half a season would produce a better sample size for a hypothesis. It’s been 17 games, and pardon me when I say it ain’t looking good for the home team. But that’s where YOU come in. Should Larry Drew play Jordan Crawford more, or stick with the guy he says is our backup point guard? Something has to be done, or it becomes infinitely harder to trade Jamal Crawford, if that is what the Hawks should do. Why? Well, right now Jamal is still playing the part of backup point guard AND backup shooting guard. It’s great on nights that the Hawks aren’t facing a better than average point guard, or a couple of such point guards. It’s great when he shoots above 50% and scores around 20 points. It’s not so great when either one of those things is going the other way for us.

UP NEXT – Hawks vs Raptors

I’ll keep it simple: the Raptors are not a good team, as their record would suggest. However, two things are worth paying attention to:

1) They have three speedy guards in Barbosa, Calderon, and now Jerryd Bayless.

2) In their last game, they lost to the Boston Celtics by just 9 points, in Boston.

Point #2 could simply mean that the Raptors played hard against the Celtics (whereas the Hawks didn’t come close to doing so), but that would also indicate that they won’t go quietly. At the same time, there is no one on that Toronto team capable of truly imposing their will on the Hawks. At most, the speed of their guard will be an issue, as Calderon and Barbosa will be looking to penetrate and outrun our backcourt guys, while scrappy/heady player like Linas Kleiza and Reggie Evans will be looking to make a dent through hustle and tenacity. If the Hawks want to avoid further trouble, they’ll keep the clamps on those guys, while also not ignoring the shooting capabilities of Peja Stojakovich and Andrea Bargnani. They key to Bargnani? Close out on him before he gets his perimeter game going, then bang on him in the post every chance you get. He’s just not made for it, despite being a somewhat adequate rebounder, and a more than capable scorer.

Those are my keys to the game. What are YOURS?

75 comments Add your comment

TEAM DIME

November 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

EASY WORKS ON THE TRADE MACHINE, HIS DEAL WILL ALLOW US TO KEEP WHAT I CONSIDER THE CORE, AND A TRADE THAT ADDS DEPTH AT THE BENCH, AND THE LINEUP, A DEAL THAT IS SO OBVIOUS , SUND WOULD BE DUMB NOT TO TRYYYYY!!!

DENVER GETS MARVIN, JEFF, ZAZA, JAMALS EXPIRING CONTRACT, 3 MIL FROM CHILDRESS AND A 1ST ROUND PICK

ATL GETS, LAWSON, JR SMITH, NENE, BIRDMAN

NEW LINEUP STARTING LAWSON -JJ-JOSHSMITH-HORORD-NENE
BENCH-BIBBY,JORDAN,JR SMITH,EVANS,BIRDMAN,POWELL,ETAN,COLLINS

WE GET A YOUNG QUICK PG IN LAWSON WHO IS DEVELOPED AND WOULD THRIVE ON THIS TEAM, LAWSON WOULD BE AWESOME…BIBBY WOULD BE A VET DEADLY 3PT SHOOTER OFF THE BENCH..WOULD REALLY KEEP THE BENCH TOGETHER, WE GIVE UP JAMAL, BUT WE GET A BONIFIED SCORERER AND DEFENDERRRR IN JR SMITH HES A HIGHLIGHTOF HIS OWN, WE WOULDNT MISS A BEAT, BIRDMAN, WOULD BE ANOTHER SHOTBLOCKER, OFF THE BENCH A PHYSICAL MORE ATHLETIC BIG OFF HE BENCH INSTEAD OF ZAZA AND NENE WOULD BRING A POST PRESENSE WE DONT HAVE HORFORD AND NENE IN THE PAINT WITH SMOOVE RUNNEN AROUND WOULD BE DEADLY, PLUS LOCKDOWN D FROM JOE , THIS TEAM WOULD BE A INSTANT CONTENDER..DENVERS BLOWEN UP THERE TEAM SOONER OR LATER, AND JAMALS CONTRACTS IS GNA HELP THM DO THAT, MARVIN GIVES THEM A SF TO BACK UP MELO IF NOT START ONCE MELOS GONE, AND MAYBE MARVIN CAN FLOURISH IN A NEW SYSTEM …???? LOL..MAYBE…ZAZA CONTRACT IDK I JUST HATE TO SEE HIM GET PAID HIS AMOUNT IN A HAWKS UNIFORM..I DOUBT DENVER WOULD GO FOR IT BUT IF IT WORKS IN THE TRADE MACHINE..I SAY SUNDS TRIES THIS ..MAYBE THE CAN TRY FOR MELO LAWSON AND JR FOR -ZAZA MARVIN AND JAMAL..DREAM BIGGG..I THINK THIS TRADE WOULD PUT SOME FANS IN OUR SEATS, AND INSTANTLY BRING RESPECT AND SOME NATIONAL MEDIA FINALLY

FIRSTTT!!!!

steve brown

November 27th, 2010
5:50 pm

Get real-Plain and simple Teague has done nothing to indicate he is a player. Giving Crawford a chance is just common sense.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Cunningham and Anxiety life, Carrie Schneider. Carrie Schneider said: Is Atlanta doing anymore than avoiding the 500 club?: Forget the panic button, I was all about pushing the one t… http://bit.ly/ihh4Lm [...]

Jamillion

November 27th, 2010
6:12 pm

Y in the h*ll would denver do this. It doesn’t make there ball club better and they aren’t forced to deal any or wanna deal any of those players? They don’t wanna over pay chauncey or martin. The hawks trouble is easy to solve, unless we get a star player we need a good penetrating point guard to initiate the offense, or a fast defensive pg to lock down our perimeter. And a inside presence to contain the paint,via offensively or defensively. And what ever we have to give up to do that is worth it. We have enough good pieces to move to get this done. For jamal,bibby, & zaza have to go no matter what. If i can get rid of all these guys for a good point i’ll be satisfied,cause mo,josh powell, twin, are good bench players and jordan is a stud who can penetrate dish and flat out shoot. Cause i just hate seeing bibby slow speed which makes us a half court team instead of a young quick point who will let us run, which is our strength on the floor. That’s y we start off slow, how can we come out fast when our pg who

newkid

November 27th, 2010
6:33 pm

The silence is deafening. Starting at guard for the Knicks, 6′7″ rookie Landry Fields, the 39th pick in the 2010 draft. In 36 minutes of play, the kid goes 6 for 10 from the field for 15 points, yet no mention on the AJC’s sports pages (or blogs) of the fact that the ASG passed on him in favor of banking $3 million. Settle for mediocre owners, GM, and talent evaluation department, and mediocrity is surely what you’ll continue to get.

Ray

November 27th, 2010
7:19 pm

I’m telling you it seems everyone in the NBA wants that it PG player.

You got Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, CP3, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Russell Westbrook, and Eric Maynor.

Thing is looking at these names I’ve just posted only 2 of these guys really are the go to guys. Those being Deron Williams and CP3. I don’t call Rajon Rondo a go to PG because well you should know why he could have easily been an average at best PG, and still lead Boston to a championship.

So with that said Teague doesn’t have to be the go to guy on this team is what I’m trying to say. We already got 3 others for that. Big Money Joe, J-Smoove, Al Horford are our guys that we look for heavy scoring and other things.

Plus not only that looking up Tyreke Evans stats he’s not doing so hot looking at all the games he’s played in.

I’m just saying give Teague time not all impact players became that way overnight. Plus I’m not going to call him a failed experiment because he was taken around mid-late that draft anyway.

Think about this for a little as well Teague went #19 that year right?
Then what happened to picks # 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 all these people selected higher than Teague don’t hear much about them at all.

#11 is doing to the D-league and #2 well he was a star at UCONN but looks to be getting traded as well. # 8 was suppose to be a sleeper sort of, but no clue what happened to him at all with the Knicks. # 6 is also a PG and he’s doing worse then Teague also looking to be going into the D-league.

Sautee

November 27th, 2010
7:20 pm

Bibby is playing better this year, BUT…….

Trade Jamal and Marvin for Hinrich and Thornton.

We need a PG that can play D. Jordan can play, but I doubt his handle to be a PG.

Hinrich’s contract is not so good, but the penetration he would stop should be worth it. Thornton is much more productive than Marvin if he can stay healthy.

Wiz might do this, since they would like to get out from under Hinrich’s contract and Marvin is still only 24. Jamal’s expiring would SURELY be attractive to them.

Or, they could keep Jamal and deal Gilbert.

We need a starting PG, and badly.

doneycat

November 27th, 2010
7:20 pm

Reggie Evans broke his foot last night, so the rebounds will be there tomorrow afternoon for the Hawks. Al/Josh have to go off tomorrow.

Ray

November 27th, 2010
7:41 pm

We don’t need Agent Zero @ Sautee

I’m telling you if we get Gilbert Arenas you can expect both Jamal and Joe to b dealt away their’s no way both of them (Joe and Arenas) would want to be on the same team. Plus isn’t AZ(Agent Zero) oft injured?

Still what ever the case that wouldn’t be good at all. No Jamal or Joe I could live without Jamal, but Joe maybe not so much. Then you’d be screaming to have Gilbert out of here cause he’s injured again if that’s the case.

niremetal

November 27th, 2010
9:35 pm

Sautee,

Why would the Wizards want to unload Hinrich’s contract…by taking back Marvin’s longer and more expensive contract? I don’t see what’s in it for them in that deal.

niremetal

November 27th, 2010
9:53 pm

Also, Hinrich’s contract is no longer as unpalatable as it was a year ago. Next year is the last year, and he’s only making $8M (which ain’t that bad for a borderline-starter PG). Marvin, on the other hand, is slated to make $8.05M next year (ie $50k more than Hinrich), $8.8M in 2012-2013, and a player option for $8.05M in 2013-2014.

If we get the Marvin that played today more often (that dunk…who else here had forgotten that Marvin is, in fact, remarkably explosive when he actually gives a damn?), his contract ain’t bad. If we can convince Marvin to transform himself into a Battier type defender, his contract definitely wouldn’t be bad. But right now, he’s more Rick Fox or Josh Howard (very good, but not elite) than Battier or Bowen. On offense, he gives you a bit more than a Battier or Bowen, but not as much as a Josh Howard. He also doesn’t have the leadership abilities of Fox (which is what made Fox a key to the Lakers dynasty despite the fact that he was an unexceptional player). In other words, he’s blah.

Melvin

November 27th, 2010
11:12 pm

The Heat lost again… Yes…

truly1

November 28th, 2010
12:14 am

Big Ray, I disagree about you opinion on teague. what do you want him to do Out score Jamal, Jordan, and bibby. I dont think that can happen yet but I think he can have a all around bigger impact on the game than all three if you use him correctly. He can defend, Pass and drive and kick. Use him with the ball in his hand and he can get the ball to Jordan,Jamal and whoever is on the floor with him and they will have wide open shots. Use everyplayer to there strength Jordan and Jamal can catch and shoot so why have them bring the ball up let teague do it. Or trade teague because it is going to take some time for him to score the ball like Jordan and Jamal but thats not what we need anyway.

Tha Real Hawk

November 28th, 2010
7:27 am

Every year, no every week, we get these posts calling for trades of our bad players to teams for their good players. Exactly what planet are they on? Why would any team take our dregs?

More importantly we have had two head coachs that have no clue how to develop and use Teague, a first round pick. So eitther that was a bad pick (Sund) or bad coaching (Woodsen/Drew).

Protecting the “core” of the team has gotten us where we are: No defense, bad shooting and a lack of mental toughness.

dap01

November 28th, 2010
8:14 am

The Hawks have peaked. The rebuilding will not start until 5 years from now when we are able to not pay JJ 1/2 of our salary cap. By then he will be averaging 11 points per game on 4 for 19 shooting.

Bibby will still be starting at PG and he will still be maintaining his 3.4 assists per game.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:25 am

Steve Brown ,

Except for the fact that Bibby and Teague are our only point guards. Are we talking giving JC2 a chance at playing some point/combo guard, or are we talking about giving him playing time at his natural position of shooting guard? Last I looked, both Joe and Jamal played there. So how many of their minutes do you want to take away?

TEAM DIME ,

I’m not sure how many years Billups has on his contract with the Nuggets, but you’re right about Ty Lawson being legit. Which makes me wonder why they’d give away their only legit option to Billups (as his backup OR his replacement) for a guy like Teague, who has yet to show he’s a legit backup. As for the rest of the trade idea…

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:38 am

dap01 ,

Man….I sure hope you’re really bad at telling the future. :)

Truly1 ,

Never have I stated that I wanted Teague to be some big time scorer. I do have an issue with how he plays, though. You say “use him like this, use him like that.” Are we to assume that Larry Drew is misusing him? I mean, this IS the Larry Drew who said before training camp that he was going to give Teague a chance to win the starting job, right?

Teague DOES bring the ball up. Then, he passes it off to Jamal (or whoever), and then runs around and disappears, usually not getting the ball back. He doesn’t initiate the offense, he just passes it off. On occasion, we’ve seen him make a move or try and do something off of a pick and roll. But that’s been on occasion . Is Drew telling him to just defer to Jamal? What about all those quotes from Joe Johnson early in the season where he’s telling Teague not to defer to him? What was all that noise from Nick Van Exel about trying to help Teague “find his inner dog?”

Who is making Teague play like this? I’ll tell you who….Jeff Teague. Every last shred of evidence is pointing right at him. He’s a quick guy who is aggressive on defense normally. But the last few games, his play has been listless, which no doubt earned him a DNP against New York. No, I don’t expect him to outscore guys. Again…Teague passes the ball away the very second he gets across the half court line. Guess what that means?

1) You can’t penetrate without the ball.

2) You can’t get assists without the ball.

3) If you’re not a good shooter, passing the ball away as soon as you cross the half court line effectively neutralizes any effect you might have had, unless you are really good at either A) setting screens or B) running the baseline or slashing to the basket for an entry pass and quick score. Guess which one Teague does? Neither.

Watch the next time Jeff gets in the game. See if he doesn’t give the ball up the very second he gets across the half court line, as soon as he’s open. If he doesn’t, then kudos to you. If he does…then watch him get lost in the offense as the ball won’t return to him.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:41 am

The Real Hawk ,

I’ll pose this question: what is Larry Drew doing wrong with Teague? Read the post above this one first, then tell me where I’m wrong. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. Just prove me wrong. I’d sure like to know who keeps “making” Teague get rid of the ball before the dang shot clock even starts ticking…

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:43 am

doneycat ,

I did not know that. Bad news for them , good news for us .

Ray ,

Yeah, if I have my choice between $120 million dollar guards, I’m definitely taking Joe over Gilbo.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:51 am

Niremetal ,

Man, have I coveted Hinrich for a while now. The Wiz would be silly to get rid of him, but they are stuck with Arenas for the forseeable future, and if he keeps out of trouble, he’ll be playing alongside Wall. Hinrich would see minutes behind both, and he’s a great guy to have on any team.

Then, there’s Marvin. It’s one thing for me to be banging the drum on Jeff Teague, who I believe will be needing quite a bit more development before even morphing into a solid backup point guard (if that happens, that is), but Marvin?

I like your analogies, but I won’t put Marvin’s name in with those other guys. We can’t get Marvin to defend like that on a consistent basis. We can’t get him to score like that on a consistent basis. And that’s just where we are with Marvin right now. He’s not doing ANYTHING consistently, which was something that we used to be able to count on. I have no idea what his issue is, but 5 years into this, it’s getting old. As far as I’m concerned, his contract is bad until he proves a sufficient level of consistency in two categories. I’d say his defense has been more consistent than anything else. But unless he’s that Elite Shane Battier level defender (which he isn’t close to), then I’m not willing to settle for one-dimensional. I don’t see how 6+ or more boards a game is out of the question.

8.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 27 mpg…for $7.5 mil per year? Sounds like an overpaid sixth man.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:56 am

Here’s a weird thing, though. Marvin is shooting a career high from the field so far this season. He’s currently at 47.8%. Unfortunately, he also cut his 3 point percentage in half. Ugh.

In short, Marvin’s numbers are mirroring his rookie year, which was his least productive. Except, he’s playing roughly 3 more minutes per game now, than he did back then.

niremetal

November 28th, 2010
9:56 am

Ray,

I like your analogies, but I won’t put Marvin’s name in with those other guys.

I didn’t say Marvin was as good as any of the guys I mentioned. On the contrary, I said he was worse than each of them. I said he was about as good defensively as Fox or Howard (which he is), but he comes up short with them in other aspects of the game (ie, he’s not as good all around). I always think it’s silly to say “you shouldn’t mention player X in the same sentence as player Y.” You can compare certain aspects of different players’ games without suggesting that the players are on the same level overall. That’s what I did.

As for Marvin’s consistency, I totally disagree that he’s inconsistent on defense. He is never simply average, and he never is “lockdown.” He is consistently just “very good.” It’s the only aspect of his game that IS consistent – he always gets a hand in his man’s face, stays with the play, and avoids unnecessary fouls. That’s exactly what Fox and Howard did in their prime (and if you think they did more than that, then I submit that you’re overrating how good they were as defenders). He has not, however, shown the capacity to make life hell for the league’s elite scorers (as Battier and Bowen can/could) every time they play. Unless you define “inconsistent” as “not consistently elite,” I don’t see what’s inconsistent about Marvin’s D.

I’m not saying Marvin is a consistent or even an above average player all around (although he was in ‘07-’08 and ‘08-’09). If I did, I wouldn’t be so down on the possibility of finding a team willing to take on his contract. I said, in essence, “while he’s a good defender, he’s not so good at it to make up for the other aspects of his game.” That’s why I said he was “blah.”

newkid

November 28th, 2010
10:17 am

Hopefully the next couple weeks has Marvin repeating his Saturday performance, and Brendan Haywood triplicating his shouting matches with his head coach. On the morning of December 16th maybe we awake to a MWilliams/EThomas for BHaywood/SNovak deal.

O'Brien

November 28th, 2010
11:39 am

Big Ray,

This is Marvin 6th year . in the league, so I dont know if he will ever get “it”. And you’re right. His numbers right now look eerily similar to his rookie year.

‘05-06: 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg in 25 mpg.
‘10-11: 8.7 ppg, 4.8 ppg in 27 mpg.

If he was still on his rookie contract, I would gladly take those averages. But for $7.5 mil per, we need more than that.

As for his defense, Marvin is a good (sometimes very good) defender at his position. But because of his salary and his inconsistency on offense, his defense needs to be lock-down defense, and it isnt, and his rebounding needs to be close to double digits, and it isn’t.

As for Teague, the biggest problem is Teague. He chooses to give the ball up to Jamal and he chooses to get lost on offense. But there are also things LD can do to help (like play Teague with the first team offense, or with Mo at SG).

However, the bottom line is the first 10-15 games, he did not show a consistent spark, and now LD is giving him sporadic minutes.

I know its hard for a second year player, but he has to stay ready, because LD will come back to him at some point. And when LD does, Teague needs to show a spark.

We’ve seen Jordan go many games without PT, but whenever LD calls his number, he provides a spark. That’s what Teague needs to do.

Right now, Teague is looking like a young PG version of Marvin, in that he has the potential to be a very good defender at his position, but everything else is inconsistent, and he disappears at times.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
2:58 pm

Niremetal ,

That was me agreeing with you in my own words. The purpose of me saying that I wouldn’t put Marvin’s name in with the other guys is to convey my frustration with the fact that he is exactly what you say: “blah.”

It would be rather silly of me to say that I like your analogies, then go and disagree with them, don’t you think? As for the rest:

As for Marvin’s consistency, I totally disagree that he’s inconsistent on defense. He is never simply average, and he never is “lockdown.” He is consistently just “very good.” It’s the only aspect of his game that IS consistent – he always gets a hand in his man’s face, stays with the play, and avoids unnecessary fouls. That’s exactly what Fox and Howard did in their prime (and if you think they did more than that, then I submit that you’re overrating how good they were as defenders). He has not, however, shown the capacity to make life hell for the league’s elite scorers (as Battier and Bowen can/could) every time they play. Unless you define “inconsistent” as “not consistently elite,” I don’t see what’s inconsistent about Marvin’s D.

Point taken, but this is what I said –

He’s not doing ANYTHING consistently, which was something that we used to be able to count on.

I’d say his defense has been more consistent than anything else. But unless he’s that Elite Shane Battier level defender (which he isn’t close to), then I’m not willing to settle for one-dimensional. I don’t see how 6+ or more boards a game is out of the question.

As you see, I said his defense was pretty consistent. Of course, watching Nick Young drain shot after shot in his face probably didn’t help my recent opinion all that much. “Very good” is one way to describe Marvin’s defense, but I don’t see it as being very good all the time. I notice that on nights that the team struggles, he struggles right along with everyone else. He doesn’t distinguish himself at all with that defense. You’re right. He’s very “blah.” And that’s the problem. Again, if the points and rebounds production isn’t there, I’m not very satisfied with what is generally good defense. I want lock-down. It’s either that, or bring back the old Marvin production, or this contract is over blown. I thought it was a smart contract at the time. Based on what Marvin had done, and the idea that he would get better, it certainly was. I still think it’s a good contract. The only thing making it bad for a moment there…was Marvin.

Thankfully, he’s making me look like I’m talking out of my ass at the moment. If only he would keep it up for more than just a couple of games out of like, 10. I don’t even want the points. Just gimme the rebounds… ;)

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
3:01 pm

Of course, I’ll look like a heel for saying this, but I want to see Marvin have a good game against somebody besides the gawdawful Raptors….but I won’t complain a bit about 17 and 11, either way. We need his rebounding what with the mercurial Smith and Horford having to do all the work for this team on that end.

In the meantime, is Smoove gonna get a triple double?

O'Brien

November 28th, 2010
4:38 pm

So Marvin has 2 good games in a row. That was good to see, even if it was the Knicks and Raptors. Hopefully he can play that way against good teams coming up next month.

Maybe LD should go to Marvin early in the game, and see if he can get him going. If he can’t, then its more Jamal.

Triple double by Josh was good to see.

But what’s up with JJ on his 3s this year? 21-82 so far.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
4:58 pm

O’brien ,

Yep, that was my line of thinking as well. As for JJ…the whole thing just beats the hell out of me. I have zero ideas as to what is up with his shooting this season.

Josh Smith triple double WAS nice, even if the 4-10 shooting performance was NOT.

Glad we got a blowout against a bad team on the road, instead of winning by 5 or so.

MannyT

November 28th, 2010
7:57 pm

@Big Ray…you are too funny. You called Calderon speedy. Even Speedy Claxton would laugh at that one.

The key is getting more games that are played on college time (early on the weekends.) The Hawks could be the Finals bound if they only played early games ;-)

The real statement games come next weekend. Can the Hawks compete on that Florida 2 step?

There will be no 500 club talk if they can just get it together at home. Woody would have shaved any hair he could find to get this type of road record. Still holding my high 40s win prediction. It’s nice to see Joe w/o his hand glove on. Seems like he plays better w/o it.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2010
8:15 pm

MannyT ,

Glad I could make you laugh. ;) In my book, there is fast, and then there’s quick. Calderon is quick enough. I didn’t say he’d win a foot race.

Astro Joe

November 28th, 2010
8:48 pm

As one of the biggest regular season fans around these parts, I’m beginning to lose my interest with this schedule of cupcakes and our lack of a quality win (so far). Lately, we haven’t even had the intrigue of watching Teague… as he quickly follows the Acie path. (I wonder if LD will be blamed for his inability to develop a young PG…. well, of course he won’t). With so little organic growth left, I can’t help but feel like I’m watching a re-run of basketball games I’ve already seen. The highlight of today’s game was watching Smith’s teammates try to get him that last assist.

Dang, I’d trade a Boston win for a Knicks lost right about now. That would at least provide a little intrigue to this early season.

doc

November 28th, 2010
9:32 pm

yeah jj may have decided to drop that glove when he heard the last guy that wore the left glove turned white.

even my daughter that has marvin in a fantasy league texted me to comment that marvin finally had a good game.

doc

November 28th, 2010
9:40 pm

astro trade two away cream puffs wins for a home celt win?

come on man enjoy the wins in the regular season stro, aint that all that counts?

maybe this was the expected slow start under drew with new system. unfortunately it was done on such a similar pattern to the magic blow outs i guess i might have missed this salient point. time will tell. can we brwak through in miami against a dysfunctional heat team or will wade and queenie continue to spank us likw bad mommas and then fold like a two dollar umbrella in a five mph wind or grow up in orlando?

O'Brien

November 28th, 2010
10:43 pm

AJ,

I’m sure you will enjoy our december schedule. Some of the games include @Miami, @Orlando, @San Antonio, @Boston, @Milwaukee, @OKC and a home game with Orlando.

That will give us plenty to talk about.

JJ needs to get it going by then, because I dont know how many of those good teams we can beat if JJ continues to struggle.

niremetal

November 28th, 2010
11:49 pm

Kudos to Cleveland for sticking with the team despite the departure of LeBron. Cleveland is #2 in attendance, behind only the Bulls. The other teams that have sold out every home game so far are the Blazers, Mavs, Heat, Magic, and Celtics. Lakers, Knicks, and Thunder have operated at over 99% capacity:
http://espn.go.com/nba/attendance

Atlanta, on the other hand…notsomuch. So far we’re 25th, behind stalwarts like the Raptors, Wolves, and Bobcats.

O'Brien

November 29th, 2010
7:38 am

The Hawks win against the Pacers is looking better and better.

Pacers beat Miami in Miami, and they beat the Lakers in LA last night (Roy Hibbert had 24 and 12).

nire,

Although the Hawks increased payroll, I’m not surprised by the Hawks attendance numbers, for a variety of reasons.

1) Getting dismantled by Orlando in the playoffs
2) Promoting Woody’s assistant
3) No impact free agent signing
4) 5 home losses already
5) Football is in full swing

steve brown

November 29th, 2010
8:48 am

When Bibby and Teague aren’t in the game we still play with don’t we? Use the rookie Crawford the same way. Point is put 5 players on the court who can “play” and don’t get caught up in titles. We don’t have a true center, we don’t have a complete point guard-so what- get 5 guys who play and play together. I don’t yet see that Teague can play-but it looks like he has something on you!

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
9:26 am

doc, I think that you keep up with the Thrashers. I heard this morning that they recently defeated like 2-3 of the top teams in the NHL in a span of like 5-6 days. With a bunch of new players and a new head coach. Now that sounds like an interesting sports story.

OB, yes, the Pacers road win may very well count as our lone quality win of the season. And yes, things will be more interesting next month. So far, I feel like I’m watching below average episodes of my favorite TV show… waiting for the good stuff to start. A few more weeks and we’ll get some Emmy-worthy drama going on.

To add to the list of home attendance reasons, I think we’ve played a fairly boring home schedule so far. No Bulls, Magic, Heat, Knicks, Lakers or Thunder so far. Hard to get folk excited about seeing the Bucks, T’Wolves and Wizards during the football season.

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
9:33 am

For what it’s worth, Marvin said that he finally feels comfortable on his bad knee after a few weeks. I don’t know if that means he’ll average 15 for the remainder of the season, but we did see at least two plays over the weekend that suggest that he has some explosion in those knees. I remember in one of his early seasons (either his 2nd or 3rd) that he hurt himself early in that particular season and didn’t get his rhythm back for a long, long time. So maybe, just maybe, he will get back to ‘08-09 levels now that he is confident in his body again.

O'Brien

November 29th, 2010
9:52 am

AJ,

If we can get ‘08-’09 Marvin (14 pts, 6 rebs, 36% from 3), that would be awesome. But I wont get my hopes up as yet, because Marvin is Mr. Inconsistent.

I see the Hawks are not the only team to have players only meetings already. We can add Miami, and Portland to the mix.

From hoopshype.com;

Roy said the players-only meeting was “good,” and Marcus Camby called it “positive.” Wesley Matthews said conversation was open, frank and honest, and every player was given a forum. “We talked … about what we need to do,” Matthews said. “We don’t feel we’re an 8-8 team and that’s the gist of it. .

doc

November 29th, 2010
9:59 am

yeah astro they started sluggish but had a come to jesus when they were out of town getting blown out and have not looked back. so went to game yesterday and was very entertained. incidentaly they are having to give away tix.

i said yesterday o hope this is the learning curve we saw in the first 15 games we should have all expected and talked about before the season began. the scary part of the learning is they seemed so disinterested and listless that it was hard to determine if it was ole hawks vs new. maybe we will begin to know by the first of the year.

astro again bone bruises are hard to heal since we dont know where he was hurting as i mentioned earlier it is hard to know what to expect. personally had one in my wrist after a fall and it hurt for years. i didnt discover the bruise until it was imaged three months later when the symptoms wouldnt get better. so they are slow to resolve as well.

i_am_soulstar

November 29th, 2010
10:00 am

I’ll pass on any trade that has to do with acquiring Gilbert Arenas. If we take on a contract like Gilbert’s, it’s unlikely that we can re-up Josh Smith in 2013 w/ Joe and Al on the books.

Melvin

November 29th, 2010
10:56 am

Astro/OB,

Wins are hard to come by at this level. So I wouldn’t water down any of them. Although wins against some of the quailty teams would be greatly appreciate. However, you take the one you get and keep it moving.

Look as if Miami and Portland is trying the players only meeting…lol

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
10:56 am

OB, just once I’d like to read the following…

“The Blank NBA team held a players only meeting yesterday. After the meeting, Player X said ‘it was a waste of my G-D time. Those guys were talking a lot of BS if you ask me. The only way this team gets better is if some of these divas get their heads out of their M-Fing a–es’. In an unrelated story, Player X was recently named the team’s new captain, replacing the previous guy who sits in the corner wearing a soiled diaper and holding a teddy bear with a big pink bow (while refusing to accept constructive feedback)”.

O'Brien

November 29th, 2010
12:12 pm

AJ,

Now that would be an interesting read.

But it comes down to leadership. If the team has a clear leader on the court, then he should be able to get the message across to each player, without having these “players only” meetings.

But who is the leader for the Hawks? Who is the leader for the Heat? Who is the leader for the Blazers? I dont think there is one guy to point to, and thats why they have these meetings.

The irony is despite the “players only” meetings, it will still be the coach who gets fired in the end.

nire,

One coach you liked that is off to a great start in N.O. is Monty. I havent seen any of their games, so I just assume CP3 is carrying them.

Either way, props to Monty and the Hornets for playing great so far. They have beat some really good teams already.

That being said, its not always how you start, its how you finish.

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
12:42 pm

The Blazers are likely going to stand pat while their new GM evaluates the organization. But given that that core has yet to get out of the 1st round (and things don’t look too bright for an improvement this season), it seems likely that their core of Roy/Aldridge/Miller/Camby/Batum will likely not stay together beyond the summer. And McMillan will almost certainly be on his merry way as well.

doc

November 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

astro,as for the portland story, it sounds great to build from the bottom up but no team has done it that way, ever, to my knowledge. that is, to break it down and start over and get it right from the beginning. pieces come along that way but it has to be more creative than that, as well as fortuitous and balanced off with expenditures.

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
2:28 pm

doc, well, they have encountered the polar opposite of “fortuitous” with Oden. I just think they are super-soft with an offense even less creative than what Woody ran here previously. At least Woody employed the fast break as a viable weapon, McMillan doesn’t seem overly interested in having Andre Miller push the ball up the floor. I’m simply not a big fan of that staff or roster… very overrated (IMO). Of course, I’m also on record as saying that McMillan will be the Hawks coach in ‘12-13 (which doesn’t excite me).

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2010
3:01 pm

An excerpt from ESPN’s John Hollinger (published on 11/24, BEFORE the current 3-game winning streak):

Atlanta has the same top nine players as a year ago. Three of them are 24 and one is 22, and the others aren’t exactly doddering graybeards, either. It seems inconceivable that the same team that cruised through the regular season a year ago could have so much trouble this time around.

Yet the evidence is overwhelming. In particular, a few things stand out:

1. The $120 million man
Joe Johnson hasn’t lived up to his huge offseason contract, struggling because of an injury to his left hand — at least that’s what the Hawks are hoping. With five years at the maximum due after this one, Atlanta has to hope his spotty November play isn’t part of a larger decline by the 29-year-old guard, in which case the doubts about the deal the Hawks gave him will only increase.

Looking more closely, Johnson is taking about as many shots as always — he’s just not making them. At 41.1 percent for the year and a miserable 25.8 percent on 3s, his offensive woes are one reason the Hawks have taken a step backward. Historically, Johnson has played extremely well in December. If he can’t turn it up a notch in the next couple of weeks, it’s time to start worrying.

2. The frontcourt puzzle
Al Horford has been the Hawks’ best player at both ends thus far. He’s had a truly dominant November, in fact, ranking fourth in the NBA in player efficiency rating and shooting 61.9 percent from the floor.

He’s also playing just 31.7 minutes per game, and I wish I had a good reason why. Fouls haven’t been a problem — he averages just 2.6 per game — but the Hawks have been strangely reluctant to keep their best player on the court. It goes without saying that this has been a needless, self-inflicted wound.

Meanwhile, new coach Larry Drew has also taken a shine to veteran retread Josh Powell. Powell has a lot of positives as an end-of-the-bench guy — he’s tough, he works really hard, and he can make a 15-footer. He also can’t rebound or finish, though, which is why he’s had single-digit PERs in five of his six NBA seasons, so giving him minutes at the expense of Zaza Pachulia is absurd.

Score one for absurdity. Powell (14.8 minutes per game) has basically been used interchangeably with Pachulia (15.5), a huge shift from the departed Mike Woodson’s strategy of using a three-man frontcourt rotation unless he absolutely, positively had to put in another body. Likewise, this wound appears purely self-inflicted.

3. The decline of Jamal
This is the one part of Atlanta’s struggles that could easily have been forecast. Jamal Crawford is 30 and coming off a career year; additionally, he’s in a spat with management over his lack of a contract extension.

Crawford hasn’t played nearly as well this season, shooting 42.3 percent overall and 30.1 percent on 3s, and he seems weirdly uninvolved in the offense at times. Defensively, he’s been more of a liability than ever.

This alone, however, can’t explain the Hawks’ steep decline. We knew Crawford probably wouldn’t do as well this year, but continued improvement by Josh Smith and Horford should, at the very least, have offset that. Because of the other factors on this list, it hasn’t.

4. Decline of the D
Basically, they’ve stopped guarding people. The Hawks weren’t a particularly good defensive team a year ago, especially in transition, but this year they’ve taken another step backward. That’s the opposite of what you’d expect from a crew that’s added another year of experience and cohesion.

Atlanta is just 19th in defensive efficiency despite the easy early schedule, an unacceptable result from a team with one of the league’s most feared shot-blockers and only one position (point guard) in which defense appears to be a real liability. The Hawks have been subpar on the boards (21st in defensive rebound rate) but they were last year, too. The bigger problem is an inability to force turnovers — Atlanta is 27th in opponent turnovers per possessions.

5. The new coach
Not to put too fine a point on this, but pretty much everything about this year’s Hawks is the same except one. Drew decided to change a few things, most notably that they stop switching so much on D and they stop running so many isolations on offense. It appears both maneuvers have left his troops worse off.

Beyond that, one wonders if the players have the same respect for Drew that they did for Woodson. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley pointed out earlier this week, one reason players pine for the well-liked assistant to take over is because they think life will be easier — they won’t be held as accountable for mistakes and they can take a few plays off.

Watching players laze back on defense and appear to break the offense, one wonders if a substitute-teacher mentality has set in.

Drew called out his team after the Boston game, saying, “I told the guys I don’t know what you are doing the night before we play,” but Atlanta still dropped another winnable game Tuesday night in New Jersey.

Obviously, there’s plenty of time to turn things around, and there are more than a few clubs who would love to exchange problems with Atlanta. Nonetheless, it’s been an underwhelming start for a Hawks team that changed generals largely because they thought themselves ready to make a deeper incursion into the postseason.

At the very least, the slow start will likely require any such incursions to be accomplished without the benefit of home-court advantage. That’s the best-case scenario. More worrying is the possibility that, after five straight years of improving win totals, the franchise is taking a major step backward.

doc

November 29th, 2010
3:35 pm

mcmillan is suggested to be in miami or l a next as the trio have worked with him as well as kobe in the olympic trials and team astro and like him very much.