Hawks might be on true verge of Detroit model

Yes, we’re back to that again.

I’m sure that as fans we shared quite a laugh at the idea of the Atlanta Hawks morphing into another version of the multi-faceted Detroit Pistons team that was so potent from ‘02-’03 to ‘06-’07 (and arguably a year longer than that). The first objection would be from a defensive perspective, where the Hawks lack a point guard who can not only guard his own position, but guard many shooting guards as well, as Chauncey Billups used to do in the Motor City. The second objection would be that for all the many positives of Al Horford, he isn’t the beast on defense that Ben Wallace once was (of course, Horford doesn’t “juice”, either), and Josh Smith is no Rasheed Wallace (thank the basketball pantheon). In fact, the Hawks have never played team defense the way that Pistons team did.

But offensively speaking?

Under the tutelage of Larry Drew, the Hawks do seem to be headed in that direction. No longer is the team a collection of talent that routinely bogs down in the ingrained habit of isolation plays. No longer are they automatically sentenced to offensive epic failure if Joe Johnson or a second guard off the bench isn’t able to come out with both guns blazing, so to speak. No longer are they led solely or mostly by the backcourt. This Hawks team can score from a number of places, and finds contributions from a number of players. And, it’s happening in every game.

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

For years, one of the common themes has been about the average age of this Atlanta team. How many times have you heard “they’re young”, “we’re waiting for this one to turn the corner and develop into this or that”, or “how far this team goes depends on the growth and maturity of this one”, and what not? Sooner or later, the age factor got old, even if the majority of this roster has yet to do so. The guys grew up. Yet, growing up and developing are two different things. Much of this team’s success and ability to become as dangerous as they can be has depended on the growth and development of their starting frontcourt members.

I don’t like beating the bones of a deceased equine carcass, but Marvin Williams is still a mystery. Who is this guy? What is he capable of? We know what he gives this team, but we don’t understand why he doesn’t always give it. How far does this team go with him as a starter? What in the devil happened to his three point shot? Josh hits 3s now with far more accuracy and frequency. Josh Smith?! Of course, it’s also not fair to kick a man when he’s down. Marvin’s injury is apparently not an easy one to recover from, and maybe the playing time he’s getting right now simply isn’t helping that fact. Whatever happens from here, are we still wondering if this is a position of strength, or one of weakness? And to be fair, is that Marvin’s fault, or that of the front office, who did not see fit to add another wing player of comparable size to the position, until Joe Johnson became injured?

Marvin isn’t the only enigma on the front line, as Josh Smith continues to blend bafflement with brilliance. Every temper tantrum or bone-headed play makes you think you haven’t seen the last of his immaturity and lack of focus, but each season brings far fewer of those. Is this guy really team captain material? Will he ever be an all-star? Is he one now? Maybe the team captain part isn’t the real question. Maybe the real question is whether or not he can play a leadership role. Smith’s ability to take over a game has risen to new levels as he proves that he is the game’s most dangerous shot blocker. You simply never know where he is going to come from, or when. And, it doesn’t just happen at the rim, as more than one jumpshooter has found himself on the wrong end of a ESPN-like highlight. What’s more, Smith has shown an ability to score from a post-up position, occasionally mixing in drives against slower defenders. The part you never thought was coming….it’s now here. One team after the next is finding out that he can’t be left open all the time on the perimeter. I know, I know. You’re not the only one that sometimes sits around biting your fingernails and wondering if that newly effective jumper of his is simply an anomaly, and that one day you’ll wake up to those awful bricks again. Okay, so maybe that’s just me.

Al Horford is no longer the stiff, machine-like presence in the post that he once was. No, he’s not the Tim Duncan of the East, but his inside/outside game has taken strides. The 18-foot jumper is all but a given, and now the baby jump hooks and quick moves to the basket are becoming more and more frequent. The results? Horford pretty much shares the team lead in scoring at 17 points per game, more or less equaling a struggling (and currently injured) Joe Johnson. He’s doing it from the center position, but there is no denying that playing more minutes at the power forward position is lending towards this trend. Only one question: is Al becoming a power forward? Okay, two: is Josh becoming a small forward? It may not really matter, as the versatility of lineups is the ultimate goal, right? However, the more minutes played in these roles, the more it seems that these guys are getting comfortable with them. It’s doubtful that we’ll see Smith play more at the 3 spot, but the same cannot be said of Al Horford, who seems to be quite comfortable at the 4 spot.

That brings up another set of questions. Will the Hawks morph into a team that plays Horford at center only when he is a a clear advantage at the position, or when he is equal to his opponent in size and strength? Or, will they only move him to the 4 when facing Dwight Howard or another larger/stronger center who has clear advantages on him? Having signed Al Horford to a healthy new extension and publicly (and some say, privately) disavowing any Josh Smith trade rumors, Atlanta is not likely going to bring in any “impact” center types of starting caliber. But, might they want to upgrade from the likes of Jason Collins and/or Zaza Pachulia? If this type of lineup strategy works best for the Hawks when they want to go large, can they get to the East Finals as currently constructed?

 

How Far Do They Go Without Joe?

As some of you have noted, the Hawks are 4 and 1 without Joe Johnson. Surely this is too small of a sample size to come to any solid conclusion. On the one hand, that’s a great record for a team playing without its best player and leading scorer. On the other hand, only one of those four wins came against a team that has a winning record. So how much does this team really miss him? We’ll find out as the Hawks take on the Spurs this friday, and teams such as Charlotte, Golden State, Oklahoma City, and New Orleans as the month rounds out. The Hawks are known for their roller coaster ways, and yet this team has shown an ability to win on the road that it did not have last season. Is this a fluke or not? We’ll find out.

 

One way or another, the Hawks look like the Detroit model on paper, at least offensively, and at least when they play according to head coach Larry Drew’s specifications. The offense is more spread out among those who are able to take advantage of it. Here’s a question for you: Is this due more in part to Larry Drew’s scheme, or is it due moreso to the timing of Josh and Al’s development?

169 comments Add your comment

Ray

December 9th, 2010
7:16 pm

Ray

December 9th, 2010
7:16 pm

Now i can go back and read it!

Marcus

December 9th, 2010
7:21 pm

Like what we are seeing, as the team needs to mature into their own vs. being dependent on JJ. I think this is a blessing in disguise: the convergence of LD’s offensive philosophy and JJ’s untimely injury is finally forcing the other young nucleus players (Smoove, Horfy) to step up, Marvin notwithstanding.

That said, the better teams will have film on the new alignment w/J-Collins starting, so they can game plan for it, as he is a space-eater not necessarily a points-machine.

Gilley

December 9th, 2010
7:23 pm

Good Stuff. They don’t preach defense enough to me. Also, the EFFORT has to be there on every play. Granted superstars take plays off, we are not in a position to do that. We are fighting for our respect and trying to get better each day. 100% Effort on defense is the key!!!

Sautee

December 9th, 2010
7:44 pm

Nice piece, Ray.

As far as your question, I think it’s both LD’s scheme AND their development.

But moreso, their development. There were signs of this on occasion last year, in the games where we truly shared the ball.

STRETCH

December 9th, 2010
7:55 pm

Good stuff, but they will get their butts handed to them in San Antonio!

Tony from Stone Mountain

December 9th, 2010
8:27 pm

A very enjoyable read. Thank you! Big Ray.

pound4pound

December 9th, 2010
9:51 pm

Enter your comments here

pound4pound

December 9th, 2010
10:02 pm

Where would this team be without Bibby’s shooting from deep? He has been the unsung hero thus far. Josh has done what other great NBA players have done and fix the holes in his game. Both he and Al are putting in the work and it is resulting in wins.

I hope that Joe can see that this team can win without him. That way he can take the weight of the world and that contract off of his shoulders and have some fun on the court. He is pressing while not really moving the ball like LD needs. This time in a suit should do him good.

ATL FAN

December 9th, 2010
10:39 pm

Great article. Sure the regular season has been tough thus far as these Hawks try to adapt under a NEW coaching system, which we often forget has taken place, but by the time playoffs come along we will be much rewarded, as even though this team may finish with a worse regular season record than last year, they have a chance of going all the way with this new system. Think of the Cleveland Cavs under LeBron as an example of regular season dominance, only to always fall short in the playoffs, due to no real offensive system. LETS GO HAWKS!!

dlb3000

December 9th, 2010
11:51 pm

Marvin Williams is not a MYSTERY!!! He’s a 9 ppg scorer. What’s mysterius about that? Hasn’t improved since 2nd year. Playing well without Joe, but I don’t know how anybody could think we’re better without him. He’s not a franchise player and is overpaid but he is a good player..

Booo!

December 10th, 2010
12:24 am

Unrestricted Free Agents we should be Targeting for next season:

Tayshaun Prince (SF)
Joel Pryzbilla (C)
Jonas Jerebco (SF)
Patrick Mills (PG)
Dante Cunningham (SF)

Players who we need to be purged of:

Mo Evans
Marvin Williams
Zaza Pachulia
Etan Thomas
Damien Wilkins (he’s nice but we can do better…plus I’m still angry about that 42pts he dropped on us P.S. he never scored like that again in his life he will also be 31 next season AND HE HAS NO OFFENSIVE GAME WHATSOEVER)

Players who need to be retained:

Jamal Crawford
Josh Powell
Jason Collins

PDX is looking to deal. We should send them Marvin for Przbilla right now so that we can use most of the MLE on Tayshaun next season. Then we sign Dante and Jonas (700,000 minimum deals) to replace Mo Evans and Damien Wilkins.
We will be significantly better for it next season.
I guess we can keep Zaza. He is not that bad as a 4th option center off the bench.
More than likely we will need to trade our draft picks away or stash the players overseas. I would rather trade them because I don’t trust Rick Sund with the picks. We would be better off just taking other teams young players (like Jerebko and Cunningham) who are already proven. If you have yet to see these two youngsters play, I assure you, they have more heart and talent than Marvin on his best day.

Ray

December 10th, 2010
12:37 am

Nice article Big Ray as always.

Now I’m trying to figure out who stole my name that posted first?????

Big Daddy

December 10th, 2010
3:54 am

First, let me say that I like your article. However, could you say in its present configuration that the Hawks are more like the championship Seattle team more than Detroit? With DJ, CJ, JJ, Marvin Webster, Jack Sigma and Freddy Brown coming off the bench. That team seems to match up better than what is on our floor now except put Joe in place of Marvin and keep Smoove in the 3 spot.

LD’s offense seems to be catching on with the players and each is getting use to handling the ball and making plays. Joe’s injury could be a blessing in disguise as the guys learn to play the offense without him to fall back on. When he gets back and gets in a rhythm and is able to hit his shot. This team could really be dangerous.

I have heard a number of the beat writers from Schultz to MC to Sekou talk about how Josh hits those jump shots in practice but not in the game. Well, it appears he is getting to the point where he is hitting them in the game. If he becomes consistent he could be great in the 3 spot. The downside about that is his interior presence with blocked shots (sorry, but Al doesn’t come close), his rebounding and, less face it, he is the most intimidating interior force we have had since Dikemebe.

I have seen Joe take over a game too many times to think we are better off without him. My problem, as it seems with everyone else, is during the playoffs he seems to be stifled by the defenses that are thrown at him and either the coaches can’t make adjustments for him or he doesn’t make the effort to find a way to get separation enough to get off his shot. Maybe in this new offense if the others can stretch the defense so they can’t just make a game plan to stop him, it will free him up enough to be who we have seen during the regular season the last few years.

NCBravesFan

December 10th, 2010
5:42 am

Big Ray: thanks for the thoughtful analysis – it is interesting to watch and see what this group is doing with adapting a new system. I confess to panicking a few weeks back when it looked like the wheels were about to fall off.

I’m most curious to see if Josh will continue to progress in terms of his in-game decisions and playing within LD’s system (is one “come to Jesus” moment going to be enough?).

And I couldn’t agree more about upgrading personnel, especially in the middle — all blog posts lead back to Sund and the ASG making changes. ;)

RomeDawg

December 10th, 2010
5:54 am

Good article. This is a team that could finish 3rd of 8th in the East and neither would surprise me.

tony

December 10th, 2010
8:01 am

Big Ray, I’m glad to see someone tell it like it is for a change. However, we not only need a pg for the reasons that you mention but more importantly we need a pg with leadership abilities. That’s why I keep lobbying for Kirk Hinrich. This young man has the size(6′4) to guard the 1 and 2. The pg is the brain and the most important position on the team. The center is the 2nd most important position. However, there is not a true center in the league that we can afford to sign because our enept gm broke the bank by signing a non-superstar(JJ) to a long term contract.

Speaking of Marvin William. I will never forget that day when Billy Knight took MW as the #2 overall pick in the 2005 nba draft. I was delivering some freight in the Dallas area when they annouce that the Hawks had taken MW. Let me tell you…….I almost passed out! Words can’t describe how I felt. MARVIN WILLIAM couldn’t even start for a college so what is Knight’s thinking on this pick? IS THIS A JOKE! Man I almost CRIED! Can you imagine where this team would be if this organization understood how important a true pg and a true center are to their team? We would have Pau Gasol and possibly Chris Paul.

wordsmithtom

December 10th, 2010
8:43 am

Big Ray,
Enjoyed the blog. To emulate Detroit suggests young guys still have upside, esp in defensive end. I think they do.

On the enigma that is Marvin. Even playing the 2, he is the 4th scoring option behind Bibbs, Horf, and JS. After JJ came in, he slipped to this 4th option and rarely breaks out. Fans take this as poor performance. I suggest something the box score doesn’t: He never complains whether he plays 2, 3, or 4. How many cats in NBA CAN play 3 positions? He defends, and at 25 has upside. Many will never forgive him for NOT being Chris Paul. You can bet there are a lot of GM’s who would like to steal a 3 position starter who defends without complaining, for a sack of beans…..

If we trade him…it better be to someone on the west coast or he will haunt us and those who hated us not taking CP will have something else to whine about and they certainly will….

wordsmithtom

December 10th, 2010
8:58 am

Yes, this speaks to the NBA elitist attitude that if you’re not a STAR, you’re a BUM. All stats; no team. Well, MW is a team player and is worth much more than most fan bloggers realize.

i_am_soulstar

December 10th, 2010
9:28 am

All I can think about is Al Horford dunking on Duncan last year. Those were good times.

But to add to the conversation, I think what’s frustrting about MW is that he can ball, but he’s not consistent. It’s the worst thing in the world if you’re a GM, because you have this guy who has the potential to be a top 10 small forward, but he only plays like it every 3rd game. And you just keep hoping that one day it’ll all come together. When is it time to cut your losses?

i_am_soulstar

December 10th, 2010
9:46 am

“But to add to the conversation, I think what’s frustrting about MW is that he can ball, but he’s not consistent. It’s the worst thing in the world if you’re a GM, because you have this guy who has the potential to be a top 10 small forward, but he only plays like it every 3rd game. And you just keep hoping that one day it’ll all come together. When is it time to cut your losses?”

Actually, those types of guys make great bench players.

O'Brien

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

wordsmithtom,

This is Marvin’s sixth year in the league, and he has been a starter since year 2. And unlike Josh (who seems to improve one area of his game every season), we have yet to see any consistent improvement from Marvin (except one good season of making 3’s).

So when will his “upside” become reality, especially since he continues to be the 4th or 5th option on this team?

I will agree that he defends his position well, but it’s not like he is a lock down defender (like Artest, Bowen, Prince and thos guys used to be).

And despite Marvin’s versatility, I think you would be hard pressed to find a GM who would pay him $7.5 mil per year.

He seems like a good guy, and a very good team player. And its not his fault he was picked #2 over CP3 and Deron, and its not his fault he was given 5 years, $37.5 mil.

But the point still remains that he is very inconsistent, and is capable of producing more than he is.

wordsmithtom

December 10th, 2010
10:14 am

O’Brien, I agree MW is capable of producing more….HOWEVER, on THIS team with him the 4th option, it’s NOT going to happen. Not to say that’s a bad thing…just how the team is constructed.

If we flounder come playoffs, a trade might be a good idea. But, MW is worth more than most think.

Icecold

December 10th, 2010
10:30 am

TThis team is on a good path… I thought bibby might have been washed up… but he’s a good point guard for this team… josh smith is a small forward now… he can shoot good enough to make shots when he is open, he knows to pass the ball, and he opens the floor and makes people play honest offensively and defensively .. al horford is a natural powerforward.. and his mid range jumper is unbelievably accurate… but Collins is a better backup center then zaza…. I don’t know if anybody notice, but when he gets it.. he is just like Marvin, some times show brilliants, but most of the time, red start catching up if he is in..

But this the best thing too do where you can win a title this year
Tell the Denver nuggets, you can have zaza, Marvin Williams, and mo even and two future first round picks for carmelo Anthony.. that way they get two small forwards help take melo spot.. and a center until they centers come off their injuries.
Starting five be
Mike bibby
Joe Johnson
Carmelo Anthony
Josh smith
Al horford

Jason Collins come off the bench quickly when its time to play bigger teams ..
If u can’t get a great center, you might as well let your offense be your defense in a massive over welming scoring offense. Especially with jamal and Jordan Crawford coming off the bench lighting it up too…

If that won’t work, you still trade Marvin, evens and zaza, for either javele mcgee , or al Jefferson

Al Jefferson is a scoring center but he is 6-10, 280… he is strong too… he is only 25 so he would be worth the trade.. and I believe Marvin will work in Utah offense because he is athletic and can run the court with d Williams… and zaza can help do the same for that team

Mcgee is a 7 footer , and is only 22 years old… u probably could only trade Marvin and zaza… but he can guard centers good enough and still be a offensive threat

Josh smith would stay all small forward, al would be a power forward.. and one of those centers would be the starting center for good…

And start Jordan Crawford until Joe come back, I believe its enough defense to make up for him in this line up!!!

It might be a dream but they gotta make a move… this offense Larry drew has can work, but honestly, if Marvin can’t take a bench role, he has to go!!!

Rufus1

December 10th, 2010
11:26 am

The Biggest Difference.

I don’t think this is Mike woodson’s team anymore. I think our defensive effort tonight will prove that fact. I think LD is now coaching to defense and the Hawks are benefitting.

The defensive effort will prove how much we have improved as a team.

Question.. If the Hawks aren’t an elite team, how are they serviving without their best players? Because? The national consensus is that with Joe they are average, so how we getting victories on the road?

Astro Joe

December 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Marvin averages the 6th most FGAs on the Hawks. I wonder how many guys who average the 6th most FGAs on their team still produce close to 10 PPG? Someone has to shoot the ball the 6th most times on their team, right? On the Mavs, it is Jose Barea who averages less than 8 PPG. Same for Nate Robinson with the Celtics (less than 8). On the Thunder, it is Harden who averages 9 PPG and shoots less than 36% from the field (Marvin is at 46%). On tonight’s opponent, Dajuan Blair is 6th in FGAs and averages less than 7 PPG.

My point? Someone on every team ranks 6th on FGAs and our guy likely has one of the highest scoring averages, a very respectable FG%, plays above average defense and never whines, sulks, plays selfishly, hogs the ball or makes statements about playing out of position (even now when he clearly isn’t playing his “natural” position in LD’s big line-up).

wordsmithtom

December 10th, 2010
1:32 pm

The Detroit model, as Big Ray opined, is TEAM oriented, defensive minded. MW fits that to a T.

Thanks AJ for the stats…..speaks to what I’ve said about 4th option….he does well with what he gets. He’s no Magic Johnson, but he can start 3 positions and could fill in at center if necessary. That’s a TEAM guy. Plus, no whining.

CajunStorm

December 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

Folks I would love to see Carmelo here or Al Jefferson but they are not coming…. It just ain’t gonna happen. Carmelo WILL be a Knick (or the Hawks coould help him be a Clip) and Al Jefferson will be right where he is because he is productive as hell and well priced.

Now the realistic move the Hawks could make would be Jamal Crawford and ZAZA for Chris Kaman from the Clips. That would give the ever cap friendly Clips more cap space with Jamal’s expiring contract and a semi legit back-up to up and comer Deandre Jordan. They could possibly land Carmelo to go along with 25 pt scorer Eric Gordon and Beast Blake Griffin.

The Hawks slide Marvin into a back-up SF and SG role and Kaman, Al, and Josh max their advantages. NOBODY wants Marvin’s contract so we swallow it and move aead with a competitive and deep team.

PG – Bibby/Teague
SG – JJ / JC2 / Marvin
SF – Smooth/ Marvin
PF – Al / Powell
C – Kaman / Collins

As close as we get to a contender that I see.

CajunStorm

December 10th, 2010
2:04 pm

Great stat and point Astro Joe.

I guess we all wonder why doesn’t Marvin shoot the dang ball more but as you pointed out…at least he is tops in the league when comparing Apples to Apples.

Everett

December 10th, 2010
2:22 pm

since when did Ben Juice? Way to totally smear a player without any facts at all as far as anyone knows he has never tested positive.

wordsmithtom

December 10th, 2010
2:34 pm

CajunStorm, I like Kaman and that trade looks good. The only problem I have is turning JC2 loose without a replacement point for Bibby. We still don’t know if Teague will find his dog….

Astro Joe

December 10th, 2010
2:38 pm

Thanks guys. I just pulled a sample from some of the better or highly regarded teams in the league. There could be some other player who gets the 6th most shot attempts that produces more than Marvin, but it isn’t likely to be significant. I get disappointed by Marvin also, but at the end of the day, he’s a very good teammate who helps more than he hurts. And now that he is playing SG, I wouldn’t look for him to score more. For example, he’ll be chasing Ginobli all over the arena tonight and that doesn’t sound like something that a guy with Marvin’s body type needs to do. His legs will likely be shot by the end of the first quarter.

O'Brien

December 10th, 2010
2:44 pm

wordsmithtom, AJ,

There are 2 main reasons why Marvin is criticized the way he does, but neither of them are his fault.

1) Drafted #2;
2) Makes $7.5 mil annually. Is there any other 6th option on a team (unless its the Lakers, Boston etc) making $7.5 mil?

And its not just about ppg. It’s also about making a key play at the right time, and Marvin has not done as often as most people think he can or should.

Big Ray,

Good stuff as always. It will be interesting to see if and how our style of play changes when JJ comes back.

One difference with the Detroit model, is they were coached by a HOF. Also, I need to see the Hawks beat more good teams.

I’m not concerned if we lose tonight, but I expect focus, execution, effort, and a close game.

Go Hawks.

Booo!

December 10th, 2010
3:51 pm

Marvin is a team guy, but he has no ambition See Ron Artest:

6:38 p.m. — I ask Jackson why he’s playing Artest fewer minutes this season. “I’m not,” Jackson says. “Ron overheard [substitute forward Matt Barnes] asking me for more playing time, so he’s been raising his hand just to get Matt more time.”

Why, Ron Ron?

“Because we’re a team. I just want to win another title. Who cares about minutes? Who cares about points?”

Uh, everybody else?

——————————————————————————–

7:41 p.m. — Tonight’s assignment: Check Tyreke Evans, the Kings’ best player by far. Enter Artest Logic.

“I overtrained swimming this week,” he said on the way to the game. “So I’m going to be really tired tonight. Which is kinda how I like it.”

Sorry?

“I can be too strong for some small forwards, so they don’t want to go at me, so I get bored. So sometimes I overtrain on purpose before a game just to see if I can lock a guy down with only half my energy.”

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=5902468

The Truth

December 10th, 2010
3:57 pm

Great article Big Ray, it was a joy to read. I have one thing to add to the list that compares the similarities of these Hawks to the Pistons of the mid-2000’s. How about the fact they’re FINALLY no longer playing down talent wise. No long are they playing to their competition and instead are finally embarrassing some of the lesser talented teams…just like the Pistons did on their march to the title.

Chris E

December 10th, 2010
4:07 pm

I like the positivity finally about the Hawks and would like to add my 2 cents. I think JJ’s absence is a blessing in disguise. Our younger developing players have a chance to play more free and learn LD’s system better. People forget how effective JJ was in Phoenix playing in a real offensive system like the Hawks have now. I implore all to check JJ’s stats relative to other sg in the league. He is easily in the top 5. Woodson’s system is what has limited JJ and now he has to readjust. He is not as quick and explosive as DWade or Lebron but he is a solid and consistent scorer who is very hard to defend one on one. He will fare much better in the playoffs this year because of the new system and the multiple options we have now on the Hawks. With Horford and Josh playing better offensively teams will not be able to double team JJ as they have done in the past.

As for Marvin, I think he can be better but he to is a solid player and has had limited options. He to me would be better suited coming off the bench. This may make him more aggressive and enhance the Hawks bench scoring with JC1. Collins presence in the middle is great for the Hawks because it allows Horford and JOsh to dominate the 3 & 4. I have always said the Hawks don’t need much of a Center and maybe Collins is enough for now.

I like the Hawks chances this year!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

December 10th, 2010
4:13 pm

OB, I know why he is criticized, I’m not confused by the issue. Here’s the thing about the $7.5M, he is 5th in annual salary (I’m factoring in Al’s extension). He makes maybe $1.5M more than Bibby. So his salary ranking and shot-attempt ranking is pretty proportionate, right? Big plays from the 6th option and 5th highest salaried player… yeah, that would be nice, but relatively speaking…

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

And of course, Marvin gives us about 1 trillion times more defense than our third-highest paid player (Jamal) and about 100 billion times more than Bibby, which doesn’t show up on the stats. I mean, that’s not saying much, because half-digested plankton gives you about 10 billion more defense than Jamal and 1 billion times more than Bibby. Just sayin…

ICECOLD

December 10th, 2010
6:19 pm

I wonder if Marvin reads these blogs!!!

Booo!

December 10th, 2010
6:20 pm

ICECOLD

December 10th, 2010
6:22 pm

cuz all blogs end up being about him….. and zaza

Booo!

December 10th, 2010
6:27 pm

Jerebko is out with an Achilles injury So I took him out of the deal:

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=25qs644

ag

December 10th, 2010
6:34 pm

I think Marvin does read these blogs because every time I blast him, he proves me wrong. It is no doubt he is a very nice guy, but a lot of people are defending him saying it is not his fault. Yes, it is not his fault being the number 2 pick, but it is HIS FAULT for not improving his game! When your stats are worse your 6th year than your rookie year show a clear lack of development. He is the highest drafted player on the team and HE has to work on his game

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
8:29 pm

Duncan is craftier than Lopez or D-12. It’ll be interesting to see how Twin handles him.

Big Ray

December 10th, 2010
8:34 pm

Tony from Stone Mountain ,

Thankyou sir!

Sautee ,

I would be inclined to agree with that assessment.

Big Ray

December 10th, 2010
8:36 pm

Niremetal ,

Twin? Handle Duncan? I’ve never known you to purposely type a sentence with such blatant subject and verb disagreement. ;)

ICECOLD ,

I think I wrote about a few other guys on the team as well, and um….one line on Zaza (which he had to share with Jason Collins). I take it your sick of talking about guys that actually play for the Hawks?

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
8:38 pm

Oh, and in terms of bottom-line box score statistics, Deke never did better than he did in his rookie and second years. I’ll leave it at that.

Big Ray

December 10th, 2010
8:38 pm

Pound 4 pound ,

You bring up a good point. Bibby has been lights out from beyond the arc. Fact is, last I looked, he was leading the league in 3 point percentage. Is he re-energized? I don’t think so. I think he’s finally playing in an offensive system that truly takes advantage of what he has to offer.

Big Ray

December 10th, 2010
8:46 pm

Everett ,

since when did Ben Juice? Way to totally smear a player without any facts at all as far as anyone knows he has never tested positive.

Um….

1) It’s called speculation when I say that Ben Wallace was on steroids. It’s called misrepresentation when I didn’t say it, and you accuse me of smearing him.

2) That could just as easily be interpreted that Al Horford would have to “juice up” to be as much of a beast on the court as Ben Wallace once was. Or were you simply stuck on me accusing Wallace of juicing?

3) As far as anyone knows, a lot of baseball players didn’t do steroids and other “enhancement” drugs. They still were called into questioning. As far as anyone knows, Wallace never tested positive. As far as anyone knows, Wallace was never tested. Or do you have the facts on that? Just curious.

4) I do hope you got something more out of this article than the comment that Horford isn’t as physically aggressive and dominant as Wallace once was.

5) I am still waiting for a perfectly sound bit of reasoning that explains why Wallace left Detroit and turned into a mere shadow of the guy he used to be the very next season as he signed for 5 years and 60 million with Chicago. Nope, I still didn’t say he was juicing.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
9:03 pm

Why Horford is defending George Hill again?

lukas

December 10th, 2010
9:09 pm

Hawks need to control Spurs’s guards and keep the bigs in the paint. This is a game where JT0 defense might be useful. If Marvin can’t contribute offensively, he must play lock down defense and add some rebounds.

drmaryb (*_*)

December 10th, 2010
9:23 pm

Blu-Ray
(High Def)

Excellent and Insightful editorial as expected.
Happy Holidays!

Josh hot that three! Confidently with some swagger, his outside jumper looks no worse than Lebron or Wade, actually Josh is becoming a better out-side shooter than both those guys!

Josh may become a Super-Star if he keeps this up!
Kudos to The Rook! – Larry Drew, HC. Coach has encouraged Josh to shoot and now Josh is shooting like a believer! Great coaching there.

Hawks were ready to play tonight. Rise Up!
Let’s Go!

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
9:24 pm

DaJuan Blair commits about 5 fouls per minute. Why the refs let him get away with it is beyond me.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
9:33 pm

Ball is not moving AT ALL.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
9:36 pm

Jamal and Bibby vs George Hill and TP. If LD does not adjust, we’ll lose by double digits.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
10:21 pm

Quietly, a solid game from the invisible man.

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
10:24 pm

Mo, Damien, and Marvin all looking good tonight, in no small part because no one of them has had to chase Manu around all night. Adding Damien was key.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
10:27 pm

Hoow many steals already?

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
10:30 pm

They left the feed on during the commercial break on League Pass. The Spurs announcers were laughing at something. They sounded like Beavis and Butthead. Priceless.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
10:40 pm

Weak game by Horford tonight: bad passes, poor decisions with the ball, weak defense, fouls. His stats looks good, the real story is other.

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
10:44 pm

Josh throws a 3/4 court pass straight to Bonner, then puts his hands on top of his head while the Spurs run it back, then makes a half-assed swipe at Hill as he goes past him. That was 2 plays after Bibby made a dumb turnover. Lead goes from 5 to 10 in about 45 seconds (or so it seemed). *sigh*

STEEL

December 10th, 2010
10:45 pm

The Hawks are just too dumb

lukas

December 10th, 2010
10:46 pm

We have NO PERSONNEL to guard their guards!! ball game!!

lukas

December 10th, 2010
10:49 pm

Aparently, we might wake up tomorrow with Miami at first place in the division. ESPN is having an orgasm about that idea.

niremetal

December 10th, 2010
10:52 pm

The Spurs have always been masters of the drive-and-dish. They did it to perfection in the 4th and they didn’t miss their 3s. Meanwhile, the Hawks turned the ball over all the damned time. Josh went to the bench because he was making a plurality of the bonehead plays, but it didn’t matter.

As I say that, Jamal blows an open layup. I think I’ve seen 5 of those for the Hawks this game.

You can’t beat the Spurs unless you bring your best down the stretch. We certainly didn’t do that in the 4th.

lukas

December 10th, 2010
11:02 pm

Niremetal,

You cannot beat the Spurs with Jamal and Bibby playing together. Jamal was leading scorer, but for every point he scored, George hill or Manu or TP scored as well. In resume:

1. No defense at the top: Bibby and Jamal vs TP, Hill and Manu.
2. Bonehead plays down the strech. Coming from josh doesn’t surprise me, but coming from Al they do.
3. Iso offense when Jamal was playing the point.
4. The bench made things worse.

This was a game where JJ’s defense might have been a difference. Even Teague’s defense might have been a difference, but he’s clearly in the dog house.

vava74

December 11th, 2010
6:14 am

Astro,

If you want to keep record: I fell asleep again and woke up down 4 in the 4th quarter when I checked on my iphone the score.

kept the ESPN game track open and when I turned the phone off to sleep again the lead had gone up to 8.

I am not sure if I was the culprit, but there you go, we were doing fine and dandy whilst I was fast asleep…

vava74

December 11th, 2010
6:26 am

Now, on serious note:

Ray, please apologize to niremetal, Collins did an excellent job on Duncan.

Overall, we had a good game, we hustled, battled on the boards, contested shots, got good steals and blocks. No problem there IMO.

The offensive execution was another matter. With Jamal on the floor the offense stalled whenever it wasn’t him getting the points. He did have a terrific first half but again his second half was typically worse.

However, we did get canned by the refs horribly: Powell had 4 plays stopped or missed at the rim.

He got fouled at least in 2 of those plays. One of them was pretty crucial.

DeJuan Blair also got away with at least 10 fouls in pushes and shoves. In one of them he threw away Powell 5 meters away from the basket clearly pushing him with his arm to the point of finishing the movement with his outstretched arm. Clearer than that only Howard’s fouls which never get called.

The foul called on Bibby in the 4th was also an horrible call, Wilkins had a clean steal BEFORE any contact between Bibby and Hill.

There were other calls in the first half as well which went the wrong way.

That was a very important factor IMO.

The missed defensive rotations to close out the shooters were the direct consequence of our difficulty in defending dribble penetration.

There I believe that Drew botched the line up. Bibby had a decent game defensively (within his capabilities) but was clearly winded at the end of the game.

I think Teague should have gotten a few minutes as a “force a change of pace defender”.

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
10:06 am

Vava,

Collins did a good job on Duncan for the relatively short time that he was guarding Duncan. Unfortunately, we had Horford guarding Duncan for most of the game, and Horford did not do such a great job…

Pissed about Josh’s post-game “I coulda been the difference” comment. First off, he was blowing coverages repeatedly when he was in the game. Second, even if he hadn’t been, you don’t say sh!t like that if you’re the team captain. You just don’t. That’s a backhand at his teammates that were in the game, whether he intended it to be or not.

vava74

December 11th, 2010
11:11 am

nire,

I would not say short, they had quite a few possessions one on one and that was significant.

I think Pops saw that and kept Duncan off the floor because he was not being effective against Collins and he did not wanted to risk having his team look for their captain when he clearly was not delivering it.

As for Josh, plain horrible “leadership”.

Unfortunately Josh is full of himself and… full of sh!t most of the times.

vava74

December 11th, 2010
11:25 am

I’ve been posting consistently on Smoove’s blog calling him out for his shortcomings.

I am waiting for my IP to be blocked at any moment now… :-D

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
11:51 am

I really, truly think Al should have been made sole captain. Ironically, Mo Evans has sounded the most a leader in the post-game comments, but that doesn’t mean he’s saying the same things to his teammates (or that his teammates are listening).

Kelvin

December 11th, 2010
11:57 am

Listen, let’s be honest and objective if we can. First, the Hawks are pretenders. They will make the playoffs, but exit in the first or second round. They’ve only beaten one elite team this year Orlando, and that was more of an aberration than a trend. Secondly, this our team for the next two to three years because of the contracts we are stuck with. The problem with being mediocre in the NBA is that it’s difficult to improve unless you start over. Why? Because you are going to get pretty much the same results from the players you have and it’s rare that you can draft a player from a non-lottery position that will come in and help you. So, this is what I see happening with the Hawks. In a few years when the fans have grown weary of first and second round playoff exits, the ownership and GM (either current or new) will decide to trade-off expiring contracts and start over by re-entering the lottery. Just like we did a few years ago. Will the cycle ever end?

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
12:30 pm

O'Brien

December 11th, 2010
7:05 pm

Twin did a good job on Duncan (who didnt play the 4th).

“I just thought the team that was on the court was doing the job, so Manu and Timmy stayed in the bench,” Gregg Popovich said. “Sometimes there’s a certain flow going on in a game and a group is doing well, so there’s no reason to change it.” .

I like Pop. Great coach. As for Josh and his comment, did he forget that he had 4 turnovers during the game?

Jamal was -20, and Bibby was -17. Parker was +13, and Hill was +20. We really missed JJ’s defense.

I thought LD would have given Teague a few minutes, because we need more defense from our guards.

If teague is not the guy, Hawks need a solid packup PG. We can’t rely on Bibby and Jamal every night

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
7:46 pm

Good adjustment to change the lineup so that Josh doesn’t have to chase Granger around all night.

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
7:51 pm

I love having Marvin and then Damien guard Granger. Marvin takes a step back and uses his long arms to bother Granger, and then Wilkins comes in and gets right in his grill. Two different, effective styles. Individually, maybe Granger would eventually break one or the other down after a few possessions. But with the change-up, Granger hasn’t been able to find any sort of rhythm yet.

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
7:59 pm

And now Mo is on him and bodying him up before he even touches the ball. Man.

Have I mentioned what a difference having Damien makes? Because it’s not my imagination that Mo has played much better the past 2-3 games, is it?

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
8:00 pm

Mo forces Granger to call timeout while he’s falling out of bounds. Lovin it. Having some competition seems to have sparked him.

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
9:16 pm

That was a Man’s rebound and putback by Josh.

vava74

December 11th, 2010
10:06 pm

An apparently nice win. Again with me sleeping.

Back to sleep now and wait for the 6.30am alarm that will allow me to watch the game with the calm and quietness needed for a good analysis.

On Wilkins: more than satisfied, I am puzzled on why on hearth he was unsigned??? It’s a shame that he isn’t 2 inches taller, but his wingspan and wide shoulders seems to compensate…

O'Brien

December 11th, 2010
10:46 pm

Didnt see the game, but I’m glad for the win. Sounds like the combination of Marvin, Damien and Mo made Granger work really hard. Both Granger and Hibbert were 3-14.

Good to see Teague got some PT, and finished with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. And great game Al. 16, 16 and 8.

nire,

It makes you wonder why Rick didnt bring Damien in for a tryout in the offseason. Imagine if we had Damien all season? I think we would have won at least one more game if we had Damien all season.

My question is, when JJ comes back, who loses minutes?

niremetal

December 11th, 2010
11:46 pm

O’Brien,

My guess is that Mo and Marvin will see their minutes cut the most. One thing that might be interesting to watch is whether we go against Orlando with a lineup of Bibby-JJ-Smoove-Horford-Twin, given the success of our “big” lineup against them last week.

vava74

December 12th, 2010
2:01 am

I am up! ready to watch the game!

nire, OB,

For me its bewildering that Wilkins had not been called earlier to sign with us following his rookie try outs when he went undrafted.

Out of respect for ‘Nique and being just a small measure of nepotism he should have been signed by us.

In relation to matching up against ORL, I think we definitively need to go with that line up…

the sad fact I learned during what we have seen of this season is that although Horford is a very nice kid and an incredible learner (surpassing greatly your – nire’s – expectations of evolution as an offensive player), when he is faced with Howard, Shaq and, given Blair’s success, anyone else with a really big body, he craps his pants and wilts…

Big Ray

December 12th, 2010
8:57 am

Nice rebound win by the Hawks over an improved opponent. I didn’t figure we’d beat the red hot Spurs without playing mostly mistake-free basketball, and what do ya know? We lost due to mistakes.

Clearly we are still better than the Pacers by double figures, and we proved it. That’s always good to see, especially after a loss.

I don’t know who was guarding Granger (ahem, ahem), but he shot a gawdawful 3 of 14 from the field. In fact, holding the Pacers to 83 points total was a fairly decent defensive effort. And since the Pacers are staying around the .500 mark, we have to give them credit as a quality opponent. Barely.

Horford and Smith continue to show themselves to be this season’s early MVP candidates. Maybe a co-MVP?

Smith stands out for leading the starters in points and hitting 9 of 10 free throw attempts. His jumper and his free throws have improved by quite a stretch. Horford stands out by grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds and dishing out a team high 8 assists.

Jeff Teague got 8 rebounds??!

Jason Collins has been good enough to take some of Zaza’s minutes lately. His performance against the Spurs was encouraging.

Josh Powell continues to be the absolute best end-of-the-bench, minimum-salary guy we’ve signed in the last decade at least.

You really have to wonder just what you could reasonably trade Jamal Crawford for at this point. Without Joe, there is no other explosion in the backcourt waiting to happen. Dude proves his worth again. He’s a gunslinger.

Big Ray

December 12th, 2010
9:09 am

Vava ,

Al “craps and wilts?”

16 and 10 against Orlando. 19 and 9 against San Antonio. Dude, what are your standards?

I seem to recally you giving me a metric ton of ish over the summer and early fall for “raving” (as you put it) about Joakim Noah as a more natural center. Uh-huh. Shoe on the other foot, now? ;)

honest_abe

December 12th, 2010
12:38 pm

good job ray…

i wish the hawks could somehow trade jj.. even if they have to eat some of the contract it’s the only way the hawks can have the financial flexibility to get to the next step. give me a draft pick and several expiring contracts.. the hawks have proved, even if its only been 7 games that they can compete without joe. i don’t see the difference in the hawks with or without jj being worth 125 million.

O'Brien

December 12th, 2010
2:26 pm

vava,

Agreed on Damien. Even when Marvin and Mo were out, they didnt bring him in. In my opinion, Rick needs to be more proactive at times. I feel like he is reactive.

As for Horford crapping his pants, I think you’re making it sound worse than it really is. I agree that he doesnt play as well when matched up against Shaq, Howard, and Duncan. But he still makes an effort.

nire,

I wonder if Jamal will have his minutes cut. I think JJ being injured was good for Jamal because it allowed him to showcase his skills to potential suitors.

honest_abe,

I dont see the Hawks trading JJ for at least 3 years. And although we have been competitive without him, its still early.

Unless we can win in Boston, in OKC, at New Orleans without JJ, Hawks still need him.

Plus although Jamal has had some good games, he goes cold sometimes. We just need JJ to come back healthy, and be the JJ of old, not the JJ from earlier in the season.

Ken Strickland

December 12th, 2010
2:55 pm

I did a little checking and compared this yrs Hawks with last yrs, and here’s what I came up with. Last yr, after a 6gm win steak, we were 19-6 after 25gms, but we went 4-7 over our next 11gms. This yr we’re 16-9 after 25gms, and if we go 7-4 over the next 11gms, we’ll match last yrs record of 23-13 after 36gms.

Orlando is the only divisional foe with more wins than the Hawks, and Boston is the only other Eastern Conference team with more wins. We’re only one(1)gm out of first place, and we have as many wins as the Lakers. The Hawks are turning into a very good team, which is especially noteworthy with JJ out.

JPowell gives us an OFF weapon off the bench other than JaCrawford, especially on the frontline, and DWilkins gives us a versatile DEF option. It appears JCollins has replaced Zaza as our #1 backup center.

Sautee

December 12th, 2010
8:51 pm

vava,

you said this about Horford: “when he is faced with Howard, Shaq and, given Blair’s success, anyone else with a really big body, he craps his pants and wilts…”

OK, I’ll first say that Al DOES have trouble matching up with Dwight and Shaq. At least so far. Remember that the Bad Boys owner MJ for a few years. NO, I’m NOT comparing Al to MJ. But sometimes you have to grow past an obstacle.

Roy Hibbert is listed at 7′ 2″, 278 lbs. Taller than Shaq, heavier than Dwight.

Is that not a really big body?

Hibbert: 3-11 fg

Pacers coach Jim O’Brien gave credit to Horford for holding Hibbert to six points, nine below his average.

“He shut down Roy,” O’Brien said. “He didn’t give Roy anything in the low post. He was more physical than Roy. He’s a heck of a player. They have a really good basketball team.”

More physical than 7′ 2″ 278, a very big body.

Is that crapping and wilting?

Sautee

December 12th, 2010
8:53 pm

vava74

December 13th, 2010
3:12 am

Sautee,

Hibbert is not a physical player. He is heavy mostly because he his extremely long.

Ray,

Drew was forced to match Al with lesser opponents (Bass, Blair) and in all three games against foes which combine a given physicality and some “status” Al is clearly feeling his a-hole a bit loose.

He crapped his pants big time against Bos and his usually reliable shot was tight and short for most of the game against SA.

It’s visible that he gives in under that pressure: he shoots scared around the rim, doe not use his speed and shies away from contact.

One final note: in relation to last year, he looks less committed to bang and more in love with his perimeter game (which is fine and dandy whenever the pressure of a big opponent is not there).

The ORL game was – unfortunately – an abnormality with most ORL players in sub-par condition and without Jameer-Howard pick n’ rolling us to death.

vava74

December 13th, 2010
3:46 am

doc

December 13th, 2010
10:26 am

yeah interesting find vava thanks for passing it along to us.

it seems horford, powell, marvin jamal and bibby are not the way to close games. maybe josh was right, he was frustrated he wasnt out there to want to make a difference as it pushed powell into the spotlight. pretty vivid when you look at it on popcorn as to who and how they finish.

really glad to see the team hold focus for longer periods and showing fewer lapses the way it did at the beginning of the season against all comers. my hope is it is the maturity, focus of the tiger and the teachings of drew coming to fruition. maybe it wasnt lack of desire but confusion at the start of the season.

Astro Joe

December 13th, 2010
10:51 am

doc, I also think the team is more focused without Joe… because they know they have to be more focused without one of their big 3 in order to secure a W. I think Joe’s absence is also bringing out the best in LD. I thought he started out doing too much of what has been done before but with Joe out, he has been forced to try different combos and I think that tinkering is also keeping everyone on their toes. The team seemed too comfortable/bored with the status quo to maintain focus, but LD’s recent experimentation since Joe’s injury has resulted in more engaged players. I’m not sure if the “moving pieces theme” is sustainable, but it’s working now and that’s what matters most. (And it is also instilling confidence in the team that they can survive/thrive without a key figure).

Lastly, the team has gotten a good contribution from either Powell and/or Damien in the past few games. It’s been a while since someone other than Jamal has provided a good contribution from the bench.

doc

December 13th, 2010
11:23 am

it is nice to have a coach that fosters it as well, aj. yes woody’s way worked too but vets languished on woody’s bench never finding the time to get to nba game speed. wilkens is huge for us as maybe smith could have been or other well known names they practiced with and never got a call from our gm. glad our gm finally got it right after waiting so long to make that addition. d w’s name has come up before i believe.

Astro Joe

December 13th, 2010
11:35 am

doc, it helps that the GM brought in guys like Powell and Damien who aren’t taking Geritol at half-time. Funny thing is that Powell isn’t the banger I thought he was but his offensive skills are far better than I expected. We’re still getting a mixed-bag from Zaza, Teague and Evans (likely injury-related in Mo’s case).

doc

December 13th, 2010
11:44 am

funny, i heard woody wanted sheed also in geritol group and headed out of the league at the same pace as smith. woody rarely acclaimed guys, especially bench guys, the way LD does and it shows in the effort he gets is my guess based on past experience. it was like he wanted to keep a lid on it.

vava74

December 13th, 2010
11:48 am

Ray,

Before you jump on me about Horford’s production against SA he was 2-6 during the first 2 quarters with his shot looking quite bad.

He only came back to his usual self (actually better than usual) in the 3rd quarter.

vava74

December 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

I think that Wilkins’ signing may be having an impact on our team’s DNA.

He brings so much hustle coped with savvy that it may start to be contagious.

This is quite different from what Mario West brought, which was mostly out of control hustle and ultimately a joke.

… which was mostly entertainment

vava74

December 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

last sentence was not supposed to be there

doc

December 13th, 2010
12:33 pm

vava, what was wrong with the last sentence? i agree totally with it and made the team to be just as much a joke to me among others. remember when they made their big personnel move with the statement it would allow rick to see what was out there and they brought back mario. it showed me how either stupid he was or how the asg did not want to be competitive loud and clear. i lost interest right then and there. they were a joke going forward.

oh yeah, some say it was woody’s desire and decision. if it was it sealed his fate. personally, i dont think woody was that dumb.

Ken Strickland

December 13th, 2010
12:44 pm

VALVA74-It’s easy to find fault with any player if you selectively single out certain players he’s had trouble with, or gms where he’s played poorly. Would you say DHoward crapped his pants and wilted in last yrs 1st rd playoff series against Carolina after they shut him down?

You use 1 gm against Boston this yr to make your assertion, but you conveniently forgot what he did last yr in 4 wins against them. Every player has one or more players, or team, that gives them trouble. You’re using the same approach used by Woodson to justify ignoring and refusing to develop younger players, particularly Guards. It involves focusing exclusively on a players perceived weaknesses, rather than looking at, and taking advantage of, that players attributes.

I’ve been an NBA fan since the 60’s, and I have yet to see a Center or PG crap his pants all the way to an All Star berth. Would you say Wilt Chamberlain crapped his pants and wilted whenever he went up against Bill Russell?

Ken Strickland

December 13th, 2010
12:54 pm

WHAT’S UP DOC? I was wondering what had happened to you. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to end up fading away, much like our friend ANDO did. I actually miss him and his eloquence. There were several hardcore regulars that kept these blogs alive and well when the team was losing. It seems they started fading away as the team started consistently winning, and all of the ASG legal problems ceased to be a major issue.

doc

December 13th, 2010
1:16 pm

no ken, that is why i was here commenting and not why i havent had as much to say. sort of sitting back and enjoying what others say and evaluating this team as it goes forward getting up to speed with LD. glad you are around here my friend. been very busy recently coming back after ten straight days on the road studying.

Ray

December 13th, 2010
2:39 pm

Hey I don’t know if anyone saw this, but over on ESPN it says that the Grizz are open to dealing Hasheem Thabeet. Me I say we do a player swap Zaza for Thabeet.

vava74

December 13th, 2010
6:35 pm

doc,

This is the sentence that was not supposed to be there:

“… which was mostly entertainment”

All the rest I continue to sustain.

Mario West was – unfortunately because he looked to be fine young man – bball wise, a bit of a joke.

vava74

December 13th, 2010
6:39 pm

Ken,

Al has been complaining about playing C and he has clearly not been a true warrior against more forceful opposition.

He had quite a few games in which he has behaved a big like a pansy and I think it has been on purpose in order to “guide” Drew into playing him more at the PF slot.

Sautee

December 13th, 2010
9:29 pm

vava,

about this: “Hibbert is not a physical player. He is heavy mostly because he his extremely long.”

May I remind you that you said “anyone else with a really big body”. You didn’t say anything about being physical. Hibbert does indeed have a really big body.

Don’t pull an Astro and try to change directions. What you SAID was “when he is faced with Howard, Shaq and, given Blair’s success, anyone else with a really big body, he craps his pants and wilts”.

I’ve shown you that your statement was incorrect. Hibbert has a big body and Horford, according to Hibbert’s coach, got physical with Hibbert and took him out of his game.

doc

December 13th, 2010
10:37 pm

but vava there was some entertainment value in it, mostly entertainment. again not sure why you retracted such a truth. it wasnt solid basketball as he never got better in the nba. it was entertaining that his peak event was stopping d wade on one play and showing such emotion. it was also very entertaining to see him racing around though with little focus like the energizer bunny.

it wasnt entertaining that we didnt pick up morrow as a tech grad instead of mario as they were both under nose and close by within one mile of the phillips. we could have had one of the best three shooters in the league for a sing and had the ability to keep him for a measly 4 mil a year. that and it was not entertaining that rick sund passed mario off as a viable contributor to becoming a better team down the stretch last year. that was an insult to most anyone that had any basketball intellect.

dont look now but the heat are well and bosh has found his stride and space.

doc

December 14th, 2010
12:18 am

oh dear, phils get cliff lee. that sucks big time. that is the heat in pants with stirrup socks.

vava74

December 14th, 2010
5:20 am

Sautee,

Ok. You are right. I did mention big body when I should have mentioned anyone big and wide who plays very physical.

doc,

I know that “entertaining” was also applicable to mario’s appearances but that type of entertainment ended up beying a bit sad.

Nonetheless, even with his lack of skill I think woody never used him correctly. There is some merit in giving minutes to hustle guys even when they lack other qualities to contribute since it amps up the intensity of play.

Furthermore, with such an ISO-heavy system like woody’s there would be little negative impact to have a player with no offense getting some minutes.

IMO 5 minutes per game to try and stop spurts by opponents would have been an acceptable recipe. 15 second shifts? Heck no, that was ridiculous.

vava74

December 14th, 2010
5:21 am

Ray,
Blog monster…

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:21 am

Sautee said “don’t pull an Astro”… so when you engage in “drive by shooting” another blogger who isn’t even in the conversation, should that be referred to as a “Sautee”? Or maybe when you offer little original content to the blog but sit back and wait to pick apart someone’s opinion, that should be called a “Sniper Sautee”.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:25 am

doc, what, worried that a rotation of Holladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels might be able to shut down Nate McLouth and Alex Gonzales? No way. Barring several players have career years simultaneously (possible but unlikely), the Braves will be playing for a wild card spot until they find an owner who is willing to approach a $125M payroll.

doc

December 14th, 2010
11:06 am

vava, yes it did.

niremetal

December 14th, 2010
12:19 pm

So niremetal is back to shopping for a car (I didn’t have the dough for a down payment this summer). Anyone have a Corolla? Little Asian cars are pretty much the only things in my budget right now.

doc

December 14th, 2010
12:25 pm

got one in 1978 that lasted about fourteen years nire. does that help?

doc

December 14th, 2010
12:26 pm

guess they are better now, now that i ponder it a bit. :-)

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
12:33 pm

We have heard the team talk about the impact Josh Smith has when he plays with energy, focus, defensive intensity etc.

I think Damien Wilkins has a similar effect (on a smaller scale of course). When he is in the game, he brings energy, hustle and in your face defense.

I think guys are feeding off that.

nire,

My wife bought a Corolla 5 months ago, and she loves it. I’ve had a Honda Civic for years, and its awesome too.

AJ,

Freddie Freeman might be our secret weapon :smile:

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
1:13 pm

nire, no help here. My wife had a Corolla, but that was back in the early 90s. I’m still not convinced that Toyota has all of their issues worked out (didn’t they just recall a 2011 model yesterday), you may want to test drive a Honda or Nissan.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
1:20 pm

OB, yeah, Freeman is likely going to be a good player but many other teams have GREAT players at one of the corner positions and we’ll have a decling good player (Chipper) and a rising good player in Freeman. Oh well. Maybe Wren will pull a Matt Kemp out of his hat in a week or 2.

Looking forward to a blowout tonight (have I mentioned lately that Dumars should be unemployed?). I didn’t realize until recently that the Boston game is on TNT. Unlike our last TNT game (Thanksgiving against the Wizards), I suspect that there will actually be some discussion in the studio about the Hawks game. It should be fun watching Shaq “tussle” with Collins. But Marvin chasing Ray Allen around those screens? Not ideal. Neither is Josh guarding Pierce.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
1:21 pm

…declining good player…

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
3:32 pm

Ray ,

No offense intended, I assure you….but have you seen Thabeet play? Now, I don’t know how true these rumors are, but I can tell you this – if a team is willing to trade off a guy they made a high lottery pick (he was grabbed at #3, if I recall correctly) just two years after they picked him….something is seriously wrong.

Either management has lost their minds, or they are pretty much willing to admit that the pick has turned out to be a mistake. The team sent Thabeet down to the D-League last season, which I thought was a wise move. Hasn’t done much for the guy. Truth is, he looks to be as dense as a bag of hammers and isn’t giving that team much of anything at all.

I can’t see trading a guy who actually produces in the League (Zaza) for a guy who looks more and more each day like he doesn’t even belong in the League. Now, would I trade Pape Sy for him? Of course. But even the Grizz aren’t that stupid.

Astro Joe ,

Truly scary thoughts. Perhaps a few more minutes for Mr. Wilkins, if he’s healthy?

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
3:42 pm

Vava ,

I agree that Horford seems less committed to the banging against the best of the bigger opponents he faces. But the fact remains that when he was, he was less effective. Back when he started at center against Dwight, he produced several of those 6-8 rebound performances along with as many or slightly more points. He doesn’t match up well with Dwight. He also doesn’t match up well with Perkins or Shaq, but the Boston Celtics (and most especially their coach) have a lot more respect for his physicality than you do. Just look up the quotes.

Speaking of that Boston game, I felt that the whole team wilted against them. Singling out Al is not incorrect, but I also don’t think it tells the whole story by even a fraction. Am I making excuses for him? Nope. Just saying….notice how much more productive that he has been when adding more of his perimeter game. The guy is averaging a career high in points and looks to be even more deserving of an all-star nod than last season.

When he is faced with the second tier centers in the league, he dominates. Hibbert is one example. Javale McGee will not soon forget how quick Al can get to the hole and dunk on him. ESPN loved that one. So did I.

As for San Antonio….any great defense can take a good, very good, or even great player and make him look less than he is. Case in point, Boston has owned Lebron so many times. A team like San Antonio has some of the best coaching and schemes in the NBA, along with the players committed to executing those schemes. As a result, I’m not the least bit surprised that they kept him off his rhythm. Yet, he still managed a respectable double double.

Well, we can agree to disagree, as always. I do agree that Horford is leaning hard towards being a PF…which he always was in my mind. But I also saw him as a PF/C hybrid. Rarely do those types of guys work out well against the biggest and baddest centers in the league, though.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
4:10 pm

Big Ray, Paul Pierce is the master of the pump fake and Josh has been vulnerable to that move in the past. That’s what has me concerned with that match-up. I haven’t paid much attention to Shaq’s minutes but I’m guessing that he isn’t playing more than 20 a game, which means that Josh and Marvin just have to “tread water” until they can move back up one slot where they have better match-ups against the Celtics. And yes, either Wilkins or Evans are clearly the best options on Ray-Ray.

vava74

December 14th, 2010
7:38 pm

Astro,

Stop worrying about Paul Pierce next Thursday.

Worry about tonight… I am wide awake! :-D

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:12 pm

yep, everyone is thinking about the BOS game…

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:20 pm

Al vs Ben (old but physical) = another bad start from Horford

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
8:31 pm

AJ,

Hawks are down 10. I assume thats not the blowout you had in mind.

Hawks are not showing any defensive intensity, and their ball movement is lacking.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
8:33 pm

vava,

Al has 7 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes. Go easy on him.

Josh is 1-5 from the field (although he is 8-10 in FT). Jamal is 1-4, Marvin is 0-2, ZaZa is 0-2.

It sounds like you’re singling out Horford…

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:45 pm

oh boy… is LD making an ass of himself tonight…

why defend Rip with Bibby, Crawford and then Teague?

because of Stuckey? for crying out loud, he creates two miss matches instead of one…

talk about a woody revival night!

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:47 pm

OB,

Al got his point and his rebounds without Big Ben on the floor.

He had to play against Wilcox and Villanueva to get his points and rebounds.

His shot is tight, he travelled, …

Josh is missing his shots but he is driving or posting and getting his FTs.

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:53 pm

but you are right, the problem is elsewhere.

LD has set up the team completely wrong for this game. Completely wrong.

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
8:53 pm

Yuck. Pistons thoroughly outplaying the Hawks. Barring a second half surge, this one is curtains. We certainly see the difference between playing Detroit when they have Rip Hamilton vs. not having him. Missing Joe’s defense, too, not to mention his scoring. Crawford is NOT having a good night and the rook is not available.

Maybe we can count on Teague for some offensive spark? Okay, that was far-fetched…

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:56 pm

…or it’s the jinx!!!!

I am going to sleep and watch the rest of the game tomorrow… maybe we me sleeping the Hawks start to play ball.

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
8:57 pm

Vava ,

Okay, have to concede that Al has played soft tonight. Very soft. At the same time, he’s very nearly the only Hawk rebounding worth a crap, at least in the starting lineup. Hawks outrebounded 24 to 14 in the first half.

LD may not have this team set up well defensively, but how well set up can we be with no Joe on the floor? Wilkins can defend, but he can’t guard two guys. Jamal is Jamal, while Bibby and Mo are getting called for fouls. What’s your solution?

vava74

December 14th, 2010
8:57 pm

Ray,

If Teague was on Stuckey, I would count on it, but LD put the kid on Rip, who has a 5 inch advantage coped with long arms and one of the quickest and purest releases in the league.

Not a good combo.

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
8:59 pm

We need more rough-housing out of Al, more of the same from Josh (on offense, that is), and more from other guys. The bench isn’t scoring, and Marvin is doing his disappearing act (again). Mo gives us little tonight. I could easily pick out each guy who isn’t getting something done, but why play favorites when it’s obvious that our ball and personnel movement is both inconsistent, and ineffective?

Big Ray

December 14th, 2010
9:02 pm

Vava ,

Did LD put him on Rip, or did it just happen that way? I really had a hard time telling, but it seems to me like LD and the Hawks are failing to adjust while the Pistons have exploited us by making sure Rip was either on Bibby (2 early fouls) or Teague. Looks to me like Pistons imposing their will and Hawks going the other way….. again ….

Coach and team deserve the blame. On the other side of the court, Josh is the only one imposing his will while Horford gets his points from 15-18 feet out. It’s fine if he hits a bunch of those and it opens things up. It’s not if he begins missing and nobody else can get rolling, while we trade baskets.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:07 pm

Big Ray,

Bibby was on Rip from the start of the game, but I dont know if its LD’s plan, or the Pistons coach creating a mismatch.

I blame LD though, because like vava said, Teague and Crawford have been on Rip.

I dont know whats up with these Hawks though. At least they are making a run, lead down to 6, and we have the ball

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:08 pm

Great ball movement by the Hawks. Good finish by Josh, and then good 3 by Marvin next time down.

That is what was missing in the first half. Could it be that LD makes adjustments at half time? Something we didnt see much of from Woody…

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:09 pm

OB, we’ll have a comfortable lead by the 5 minute mark of the 4th quarter… Teague may even get some PT.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:12 pm

Why cant these Hawks set screens?

It seems to me that they are called for an illegal screen every game.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:16 pm

Ben Wallace is playing some good D against Horford. And I remember when Kurt Thomas played well against him in the playoffs last year.

Al needs to toughen up though.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:25 pm

Josh will get a tech tonight.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:33 pm

AJ,

Hawks are not getting any calls.

And why hasnt LD played Collins tonight?

As for Marvin, we need him to knock down those shots more consistently.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:37 pm

Hawks are getting nothing from Marvin, Jamal or Damien tonight.

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:42 pm

I thought the motion offense was supposed to cure these droughts.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:47 pm

6 turnovers in the fourth quarter for the Hawks. That is becoming a problem.

AJ,

If hawks are going to get a lead, they better hurry up. Time is running out

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:48 pm

Like I said, Teague will even get some 4th quarter time tonight. :twisted:

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
9:51 pm

I think Charlie V has outscored the Hawks in the first 10.5 minutes of the 4th quarter. Oh, and the Pistons may score 40 in the quarter.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
9:52 pm

36-13 in the fourth. Wow.

Melvin

December 14th, 2010
9:53 pm

Ray,

What a fitting blog title for this beat down tonight… duh

Melvin

December 14th, 2010
9:55 pm

OB,

TMac showed out tonight. I’m still with you, would have like to see him in a Hawks uniform….

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
10:02 pm

Astro Joe

December 14th, 2010
10:04 pm

Mike Glenn just summed it all up, “it was physical vs. finesse”.

niremetal

December 14th, 2010
10:10 pm

Thanks a lot, Vava. You had to watch a game that shoulda been a gimme :twisted:

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
10:19 pm

Stinger said the Hawks did not play with any force. And he was right. That goes back to Al not banging, not being physical. And ZaZa is soft as usual.

I think LD should have brought in Twin or etan for a force inside.

O'Brien

December 14th, 2010
10:20 pm

AJ,

Interesting twist. We let Joe Smith go, and signed Josh Powell.

Lakers let Josh Powell go, and might get Joe Smith in a trade.

hawks outscored 39-19 in the fourth.

vava74

December 15th, 2010
4:02 am

I hate to be right…

… but faced with a physical C we played like pansies again.

When we don’t hustle, we don’t win. It’s very simple. This loss was a carbon print of previous losses. We were completely handled on the boards.

Additionally, LD was horrible last night, completely messing up the defensive assignments to start the game and the Pistons capitalized on that, never looking back.

Unfortunately, given the fact that Al is starting to become a non banger and Josh is becoming in love with being a SF, LD should have stuck with the big line up with Collins inside and Al on the PF slot.

Also, Josh-Tayshaun could have been an interesting miss match to go inside and pound their interior D.

Anyhow, Josh’s performance on the boards is inexcusable.

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
9:37 am

I get that guys have individual goals and want to work on improving their own games… but from a team skill perspective, we need someone to play consistently and effectively in the post. We need someone to work on their low post skills, playing on either block, spinning to the right and to the left, finishing at the rim with either hand, moving around from the initial defender and then navigating around the help defender, etc. Stretching the defense is good but grinding out wins by playing closer to the basket seems like a key variable in the path to playoff success (and against physical teams in the regular season). Those issues won’t be resolved this season but hopefully the “team” addresses this skill gap during the summer.

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
9:52 am

Al’s shots per game are up 20% year-over-year but his FTAs/game are flat. Josh Smith’s FTAs/game are down 30% from last season. So who is supposed to be living in the paint and helping us grind out wins if not the guys with the best low-post skills? Jason Collins? Zaza? Josh “Chuck Person” Powell?

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
10:06 am

Golden State doesn’t do a whole lot right, but they sure can find these “yard sale” gems. Gilbert Arenas was the original example, followed most recently by guys like Anthony Tolliver, CJ Watson, Anthony Morrow and now Reggie Williams. I wonder if it is their scouting department or their offensive system that allows them to seemingly have at least one inexperienced, less than $1M player to excel every season for them. Of course, it’s also easier to play those guys when you’re only expecting to win about 38 games.

doc

December 15th, 2010
10:44 am

good call yesterday aj, you got a blowout.

waxed by the pistons faltering in the fourth quarter, ugly, hmmm reminds me of the collapses if last year.

still say i would rather have stuckey than any of the pretenders marched through here. folks he is also better than marvin and would have been a pretty good match with jj over the years.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
10:50 am

Smoove jumper watch: 5-7 yesterday (after going 2-7 and 3-7 in the previous two games).

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
10:57 am

doc, yeah, I was WAYYY wrong on my prediction last night (not that I will learn my lesson about making predictions). But I completely disagree with you on Stuckey… dude is a product of getting 30+ minutes over 3 seasons on a bad team (one playoff series in that span). IMO, he is no better than Randy Foye or Mike James (in his “prime”). Once Dumars gets gone, Stuckey will follow Foye and James into a world of NBA obscurity.

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
11:03 am

Remember during the summer when Zaza expressed concerns with how he was used last season and how he expected better times this year? Well, check out the comparison from last year to this year. Someone please let me know when it is time to re-evaluate his designation as one of the league’s “best back-0p centers”. Because if we can’t do it after 100 games, I’d like to know when we can go there.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=2016

slimjr

December 17th, 2010
10:47 am

Marvin Williams will avg 26 a night for the rest of the season and the Hawks for the first time will win the Eastern Conference finals then a Championship in 2011!! NOT! But maybe in a parallel universe?
RICK SUND= Billy Knight Jr.