Hawks lose, but who let the (inner) dogs out?

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t able to get revenge on the rival Celtics, but at least it wasn’t a bewildering blowout like before. Winning the battle on the glass was not enough to overcome 18 turnovers and the fact that the Celtics had 28 assists, whereas the Hawks only had 16. Suffice it to say that Larry Drew’s offensive sets were hardly executed to any consistent effect.

While the Hawks predictably struggled against another good team without star guard Joe Johnson, there were other factors that affected this game every bit as much, and could continue to do so in upcoming games.

 

Running with the Big Dogs

- Marvin Williams. The much maligned Atlanta forward had arguably his best performance of the year on offense, scoring a team high 26 points and looking good from everywhere on the floor. What was different? Marvin didn’t hesitate and looked to be on the attack nearly every time he got the ball, whether it was slashing to the basket, hitting jumpers with a defender in his face, or spotting up from behind the arc. In short, Marvin looked like he knew the team needed his scoring, and was eager to provide it. With Atlanta’s current top two scoring options all but non-existent, Williams was the difference between a loss and an outright blowout. History says we won’t see a game like this from him again for many moons, but it’s always nice to see when it does happen. Can Marvin give us a few more good games while Joe is out (or whenever needed), or will he go back to being the daily whipping boy?

- Damien Wilkins. The man’s defensive verve cannot be underestimated or underappreciated. But Wilkins doesn’t just bring defense (though we love to see how he does it on the perimeter, and all the way to the basket), he also has some decent offensive moves, and the Hawks would do well to go to him a little more often. There’s no “inner dog” with Damien. He brings it every time, and does so without fail. It would be a pity if the Hawks didn’t find a way to hang onto him, as using him in some way to acquire or make room for another much needed and useable talent, would be the only consolation for losing him.

- Jeff Teague. This might be the best game Jeff Teague has ever played for the Hawks. Maybe his ankle simply feels better now (as was suggested by one or two of the TNT commentators last night), or maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s because Jamal Crawford wasn’t out there. The only other credible caveat would be the absence of Rajon Rondo. But if you don’t want to make excuses for Teague’s dazzling performance, then just settle for this: the second year point guard hasn’t shown this level of aggression and predatory instinct since his days at Wake Forest. Few things beat the sight of Avery Bradley totally getting lost and Paul Pierce leaning back (and out of the way) as Teague dunked it harder than any Hawk not named Josh Smith, has in a while. Whatever the reason for Teague’s level of aggression last night, somebody needs to bottle it and pour it on him for each game. Check that, enough of the external factors and jokes about them. Whatever got Teague going should have (and probably did) come from the inside. It’s up to him to bring that fire, speed, and penetration from night to night. Can he/will he do it?

 

All Dogged Out

- Josh Smith. Some of Josh’s deplorable outing can be attributed to Boston’s defensive scheme, but I’ll give it 30% at best. Most of this was Josh’s mental and emotional state….again. Instead of trying to establish himself inside early on not trying to get his offense going from the perimeter, Josh did the opposite and fell flat on his face. The explosive forward was a fizzling dud from every area of the floor, and while a few calls didn’t go his way, that was no excuse. Where was his newfound ability to find his way to the free throw line? Smith also was very little help on the boards and spent more time succumbing to the one thing that seems to be his self-derived kryptonite these days: despondency. No one can really stop Josh, except Josh. Wants he gets in a funky mood, he has the worst time getting out of it, and his play hurts the team. That’s the trick with Josh, you see. He can’t NOT affect a game. No middle road. The question is whether he’s affecting it negatively or positively.

- Al Horford. The All-star PF/C still shot above 50% from the field, but 4 of 7 shooting with no trips to the free throw line isn’t going to wow anybody. Horford’s 7 rebounds led the team, which is a sad commentary in and of itself. His beautiful midrange jumper looked good, but Al often either hesitated, or passed it off. It seemed like his one attempt to go directly at Kevin Garnett was a deciding moment for him. After not getting what looked like it should have been a sure foul call, Horford failed to respond to much of anything for the remainder of the game, and there were a number of times that Mike Bibby tried to set him up for scores. Whatever happened to the warrior in this guy? Am I off base for calling him out?

Doggin’ it the best they can

A shout out goes to Zaza Pachulia, Mike Bibby, and Josh Powell for their efforts last night. Bibby continues to play like  a man renewed, and I truly believe he should have been named a team captain. His team high 8 assists (exactly half the team total) was an example of his effort to get teammates invovled, even as he continues to score decently, including leading the league in 3 point percentage.

Powell and Pachulia were solid off the bench, both providing some points and rebounds in pivotal minutes. You have to hand it to Zaza on that fake he put on Big Baby Davis. And did he sell that flagrant foul or what? For what it’s worth, Davis did hold onto him too long (especially around the head/neck area), I thought….

It was nice to see Jordan Crawford get some minutes, though clearly the rookie was rather jittery. Normally, his passing is more crisp, but there’s no denying his mindset when he gets the ball in his hands. The kid is a shooter/scorer predator type. No doubt about it.

Charles Barkley continues to rant (though shortly) about Mike Woodson’s lack of employment and the TNT commentary crew think Teague must be played more. I say he has to earn it and these guys haven’t been watching him play enough to say that.

What do YOU think?

136 comments Add your comment

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
7:53 pm

Or daniel for that matter, though I haven’t seen him around here lately…

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
9:38 pm

Joe knows how to make this game so much easier for his teammates. 4 minutes left in this game and Joe has 0 TOs in his first game back (while still getting his timing back).

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
11:13 pm

Josh’s jumpers watch update.

vs. Detroit: 5-7
vs. Boston: 0-4
vs. Charlotte: 0-5

O'Brien

December 17th, 2010
11:57 pm

Did not see the game, but I’ll take the win. Rebounding is still an issue though. We gave up 18 offensive rebounds.

Props to JJ for coming back early, although he did go 1-6 from behind the arc, bringing his season numbers to 22-88 (25%). Ouch.

As for Oden, why would Portland offer him a QO of $8.8 million? Isn’t that too big an injury risk? I think they will offer him a one year incentive based (number of games played) contract for maybe the mid-level.

AJ,

The issue with waiting on Uggla is if he has a great year, then his price goes up. And his average for the last 4 or 5 seasons have been fairly consistent, plus he usually hits well at Turner Field.

However, I would have preferred to overpay each year for 4 years (for example, 4 years $56 mil), or at least make the 5th year a mutual option.

vava74

December 18th, 2010
4:17 am

Astro,
In case you are wondering… Yes, I fell asleep…

Ray2

December 18th, 2010
8:27 am

As far as Josh Smith is concerned I’m not going to panic with his jumpers yet because he still hits the rim except that one shot last night that was a horrible brick.

I’m glad that Teague is beginning to look like a good PG on the court maybe it was because of Jamal not being there either, and like some have said both the iso-twins not being on the court.

Still good win got to go and get the W from NJ though.

MannyT

December 18th, 2010
5:01 pm

Wake Up. Otis Smith is reloading in Orlando. Figures he needs to shake things up. Hedu is coming back and I think that will help them significantly…as well as moving Lewis out to clear more time for the more productive PFs on their roster.

Will the Hawks make a noteworthy move this season or will they be happy with minor tweaks (no disrespect intended for brining in Wilkins as he contributes, but min salary, non guaranteed is the poster slogan for minor tweak.)

Big Ray

December 18th, 2010
5:47 pm

Blast ,

Man, it’s good to see you around, I hadn’t been on MC’s blog for a while, so I haven’t heard from ya.

Doc ,

I think it’s too late to do anything about the size of my cranium, outside of going to some primitive voodoo doctor of some obscure South American tribe. ;) Something about shrunken heads disturbs me, though.

Well, JJ clearly has some rus on that jumper, but I’ll take his defense, rebounding, and unselfish playmaking any day. Comes right back and leads the team with assists, you gotta love that.

We had some defensive issues, as in every game so far this season, but clamped down enough times to drive Larry Brown and the Bobcats bonkers with shot clock violations and hurried shots. I swear, somethings there are fewer things funnier to observe than an angry Larry Brown…unless it’s a pissed off Stan Van Gundy.

Horford is still a slave to Drew’s paranoid early foul rule, I see.

The inner dogs of Jeff Teague and Marvin Williams are still on the loose. Who knows when they may be found and corraled again. Never, I hope….

Josh Smith was visibly angry with himself over several plays that resulted in bone-headed turnovers. Don’t worry Josh, you weren’t by yourself. We were cussing you as well….:lol:

I’ll take the win, though the ‘Cats are clearly not the same without Gerald Wallace, and probably won’t be a playoff team this year. It is what it is.

Who’s next?

Big Ray

December 18th, 2010
5:50 pm

Niremetal ,

Josh’s jumpers – he’s trying to get himself into the game with them, which is probably why he’s missing them. Rhythm first, jumpers second. It can’t be that hard…..can it?

Big Ray

December 18th, 2010
5:53 pm

VERY INTERESTING.

Here we have the a team like the Orlando Magic, who are competing for a championship, realizing that their “core” isn’t going to get it done as currently constructed. So, they make a move to try and retool, correct their chemistry, and get back to playing at the type of level that they’ll need to be at to do what they say they want to do.

And that’s a team looking for a championship.

The Hawks are a team looking to get into the second round and advance. The question going out from MannyT is whether or not the Hawks will try to make a move that is noteworthy, or continue to be totally in love with an all too often underachieving core, making the most minor tweaks.

Well, tweaks like Damien Wilkens have been nice, only they were done by pure force of injuries, not critical forethought.

I hold out no hopes at the moment.

Big Ray

December 18th, 2010
5:55 pm

Now, let’s not take for granted that I’m lauding the moves Orlando made. Half if not all of those moves could blow up in the Magic’s face. But identifying the issues and trying to work solutions to those issues while working around your franchise player is something I have to admire.

These don’t look like moves for the sake of moves, to me. These look like real live attempts and maintaining a true contender.

Big Ray

December 18th, 2010
5:57 pm

And to be honest, I was just getting comfortable with how our team was matching up with and competing with Orlando. That feeling just took a hit, because if Orlando can get back to what they were a couple of years ago, then we could be back to getting blown out by 25 on the regular.

niremetal

December 18th, 2010
6:18 pm

Ray,

Sorry, but I don’t think any move that brings in Gilbert Arenas is a move designed to make a team a real contender. I also find it hilarious that it took them a year and a half to realize that it was a bad mistake to let Turkoglu walk while overpaying to keep Gortat. Hopefully Turkoglu will re-find his groove back under SVG. But I suspect he’s coming back a year too old and a step too slow.

That being said, I applaud the trade with Phoenix. But the one with Washington makes no sense to me. And really, they just took the league’s second most overpaid player (Lewis) and traded him for the league’s most overpaid player. They simultaneously traded their own second most overpaid player (Gortat) and traded him for the Suns’ even more overpaid player (Turkoglu). And the

Count me as happy that they made these trades. They won’t be able to shoot over the top of us as easily as they used to without Lewis, and they’ve boxed themselves into using lineups that are at least slightly undersized at 3 positions.

niremetal

December 18th, 2010
6:19 pm

*And the Carter-Richardson swap strikes me as a total wash.

niremetal

December 18th, 2010
6:33 pm

On the other hand, I can’t think of a better place for Arenas than the home of Fantasyland and the Space Center :twisted:

niremetal

December 18th, 2010
6:42 pm

In all seriousness, I think this was a trade designed to get the team to match up better with Orlando, since Turkoglu has traditionally guarded LeBron relatively well, you don’t need a particularly tall SG to stay with Wade, and the need for depth at center against Miami is minimal (if Dwight gets hurt, they’re screwed anyway).

Against the other 29 teams, I don’t get it. The Celtics in particular must be salivating at the prospect of being able to overpower Orlando’s now-undersized backcourt and wings.

niremetal

December 18th, 2010
6:42 pm

*match up better with Miami

O'Brien

December 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

I’m with nire. I like the Phoenix trade for Orlando. But I do not like the Arenas deal.

That being said, the Magic are trying to make moves to correct what they see as issues.

What I dont understand, is why GMs (in this case, Orlando’s GM) always out-think themselves. Why did Orlando think they would be ok losing Hedo in the first place?

And why did they give Gortat the money they did, when he was the backup to D12?

Why would they offer Lewis the contract they did?

kwooden1

December 18th, 2010
7:55 pm

The trade to Phoenix makes sense and is pretty positive. Giving up a PF for a guard is never really a good idea, especially a PF that can shot the 3. But with that said Orlando is trying to do anything to compete with Miami and when a championship, along with getting rid of the Lewis contract. I respect the move.

PS – I’m a Maryland guy and I’ve watch Arenas every year he’s been in Washington. He’s not the guy he once was and I’m not certain his knee will every be right.

MannyT

December 18th, 2010
10:47 pm

As an alternate point of view.

Arenas is the latest attempt to get a closer for the end of games. He may not be what he was, but the comparative question is can he be more now than Vince Carter is nowa at the end of games. Jason Richardson steps in at SG and should be an upgrade.

On the $$ front, swapping Arenas for Lewis is a short term wash. Lewis was not having a good year. Moving him frees up more playing time for Anderson & Bass. Anderson can shoot from the perimeter and Bass can be more physical than Lewis.

At the SF, my opinion is a point forward is usually more disruptive on offense. Hedo may not be quick, but he is still tall enough to initiate offense and shoot the 3.

Bottom line, I like what Orlando did. It was proactive, corrective, and took some guts that many teams won’t step up and do. They realize winning time is now…before miami can fill out that team over the years with good MLE players. (Aside from magic beans deal to get Gasol, note that most big moves in Laker land are off season MLE adds to address weaknesses.)

Sometimes you don’t need balls of steel, you just have to be the first guy to kick the other guy there! 8-O

…and how bout those Thrashers tonight.

doc

December 19th, 2010
10:44 am

nire on jj u r right on

good to see u have a good ride also glad ur stuff with flying are over.

on the magic it is more a testament to the risks a team willing to spend van take and this is not a knock onthe askg but to state he obvious. if you have money you can take risk. that is how the true contenders work. of corse some do it better than others but money on sports is like a handicap system.

time will tell on the trade.

what i like is they definitely smelled a true downturn and did the best they could to salvage a season that was going downhill fas for reasons other than the flu. they will be better is my opinion as gilbert might pull a vick and save his “legacy”, hedo find his magic mojo and i like richardson. getting rid of r lewis and vince carte in one fell swopp is an accomplishment and suggests where the real problem lay as they were to be the triumverate neeeded to compete with the big boys. that tells you about the behind the scenes issues they have right now. that is my opinion with no insider sources just calling it as i see em.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
12:25 pm

Niremetal ,

Orlando was a championship contender before any of this started, is my point. If you’re a championship contender and make a series of moves that doesn’t help, the best you can do is make a different series of moves.

Yeah, it took them a year and a half to realize something went wrong. At least they are attempting to fix it. Like I said in black and white print earlier, don’t take this to mean that I’m lauding their moves, and at least half of those moves could blow up in their faces. But they ARE moves, not standing pat and saying “hey, I think we can get it done with what we have.”

I DID say that, didn’t I? Anybody else see it besides me?

doc

December 19th, 2010
12:28 pm

nire, to back up your comments to aj in your conversation about oden on how much teams will pay a real big, look at what the lakers are paying an oft injured bynum. he is at 14 mil a year and third on their payroll ranking behind kobe at 24 mil and gasol at 17 mil. he should be entered into that most expensive list or bad contracts as he heads to an early knee replacement. again, the lakers have the money to spend so they dont blink. other teams will have the same prerogative with oden who may be able to eek out a career like walton did after his wheels came off due to foot and ankle issues just because of his mammoth size.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
12:35 pm

Nire ,

Upon further thought, I kind of half agree with your assessment on the Richardson-Carter swap. On the one hand, I immediately agreed with the thought. On the other hand, Richardson is less “needy” than Carter. Sure, both guys have to have the ball to do what they do, but I never liked the idea of Orlando adding Carter. The chemistry issues started early, with the Magic going to him a good bit more than they were to Dwight, and Vince just ain’t what he used to be (which was never a good teammate in the first place). I think Richardson will be less of a locker room and court issue.

Does this make them a better team? Maybe not on paper, but it may make for a few less headaches.

I’m not predicting anything special for the Magic after these trades, but I like our matchup with them a bit less, now. If they get some chemistry going, it will simply be tougher to beat them. I had felt like we were really getting there what with Jason Collins doing his job on Dwight, and our offense making them work hard (and get into foul trouble), especially with the ability to pull Big Al out for one jumper after another.

Now, we have to go back to making sure we defend Turkoglu, who makes plays from the 3 spot and guess what? If Marvin isn’t on his game, we’re in trouble. He’s the only guy at that spot with the quicks and length to deal with Turkoglu. Love Damien Wilkins’ effort, but he lacks the size. Let’s not even talk about Mo Evans, and JJ will be needed against the still-explosive Richardson. Plus, this takes pressure off of Jameer Nelson as THE playmaker on the squad.

And look for more minutes for Brandon Bass, the kind of power forward that always gives us trouble simply because he plays with a great deal of energy, likes to rebound, and has some strength.

Never was an Arenas fan, but he is trouble if he’s focused. Don’t know how he’ll fit, that deal is the one that could go bust, but if you’re taking chances with a guy who is making that level of money, why not go with somebody who actually feels like he has something to prove, not a guy who acts like he doesn’t give a damn anymore.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
12:38 pm

I hate watching the better teams do what they can to get better. I just hate it. Because, all most of us really want is to have our front office work a decent deal where we give up somebody like Jamal, which really should have been done this past offseason.

Ugh….

Well, forgetting that now and waiting to see if we can stomp a mudhole in New Jersey, just so I can watch Avery Johnson look like a retarded member of the Lolly Pop Guild….

I don’t know which is more entertaining – Stan Van Puffalot, Larry Brown coniption fit, or Avery “why did I take this job” Johnson.

doc

December 19th, 2010
12:39 pm

nire lety me add you were right on in your present comments. i need to clarify your earlier comments about his surgery as being routine and he should have no repercussions from the surgery and should be back in due order. there is nothing routine in surgery as there are so many complications from it that the true incidence of problems is about 5 to 10 % with even the most routine. infection is very high now and rising for routine surgery from my day i was shocked and the organisms at play very hard to get rid of.

i commend jj for trying to play through it, getting the surgery and getting back before schedule. yes, if surgery goes well it can go very well for the reasons you gave as long as when they peeked they didnt see something that might come back to haunt him later. not really sure why he had the foreign loose body to begin with. it is an unusual spot to have one. is it due to constant tension and pressure from jacking up shots or was it a one shot deal of trauma to the area? that is what will give him the long term prognosis that we may not ever know until it creeps back in to haunt him later.

doc

December 19th, 2010
12:57 pm

ray, again it says that they lost confidence in carter and lewis and had to make a move once they realized they could move these anchors. they realized there was no organic growth in those guys. ;-)

pound4pound

December 19th, 2010
1:00 pm

If Lewis can moved then certainly Marvin can as well.

Teams that are going on a firesell:

Detroit – Prince
Houston – Battier
Cleveland – Williams
Charlotte – Jackson
Clippers – Jordan
Golden State – Biedrens

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
3:06 pm

Bibby’s the only one keeping us in this game offensively. Of course, that’s at the cost of letting Harris shred us defensively.

lukas

December 19th, 2010
3:26 pm

This game is a clear message to Rick Sund: shake and bake!! If his m.o. keep being based on passiveness and conservativeness, the only place we’re going is to a playoff 1st round exit. The thing is, to get quality in here either Josh or Al has to be traded, aside of Jamal. I don’t think the Invisible M, Mo, and Zaza have some trade value. Teague has some, but are they ready to trade the only PG they have from the bench?

doc

December 19th, 2010
3:37 pm

fugly outcome

not sure to even come close to projecting what might come tomorrow night.

lukas

December 19th, 2010
3:46 pm

Orlando’s newcomers are going to be “adjusting” to the team, so i won’t be surprised if they lose. If Hawks win tomorrow it won’t mean much because of that process; if Hawks lose, there will be plenty of material to debate, starting with the impact (positive or negative) of JJ’s entrace on this team play.

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
4:42 pm

The team looked reinvigorated and seemed like they had a new swagger when JJ first came back against the Bobcats. They came out of the gate looking the same way today. But they seemed to get complacent and bogged down as the game wore on.

Josh’s jumpers watch update:
vs. Boston: 0-4
vs. Charlotte: 0-5
vs. NJ: 2-5

LionHearted

December 19th, 2010
4:44 pm

Astro Joe

December 19th, 2010
5:10 pm

As I understand it, Otis SMith drafted Arenas… this trade reunites Areans and J-Rich who played together with GS. Arenas considers Smith a personal mentor, so to the extent that Areans can get his noggin together and become “Jamal Deluxe” it may work out for Orlando. As others have said, you have to admire the effort to be more than just a good team. Oh, and J-Rich is a much better spot up shooter than Vince.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
5:11 pm

Lost to the Nets. Again. Wonderful.

Core looks great.

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
6:10 pm

I’ll give it until mid-January, but it’s looking more and more like the switch to Drew happened too late to make a difference. Ironically, I think it would have worked had the owners let Knight make the switch back in the spring of ‘08 or if Sund (and the owners) had the guts not to re-hire Woodson back in the summer of 2008.

As it is, though, it looks like the team has too many bad habits that they look unwilling or unable to break. The offense has a bit more ball and off-ball movement than in the past, but it still bogs down too often as the players look to isolate or post-up instead of working through the offense – especially in the second half. Josh still takes plays off, Marvin still defers, Al still gets tight late in the game and has less and less confidence against bigger players.

Ironically, Bibby and JJ – the two most veteran players on the team – seem to be the two who have made the biggest effort to adapt their games to Drew. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising, since they played with other NBA coaches before Woodson. Jamal? Well, he’s the exact same player he’s always been.

I don’t think the team needs to be blown up, but we need to bring in a new starter. I think that who we get rid of is less important than getting new blood in the starting 5. We need someone to come in who hasn’t been part of the “core” for the past 3 years, who doesn’t have bad habits. Someone who will force the rest of the team to adjust to him. I know that sounds vague, but that’s a good thing – I don’t think it needs to be a guy at any particular position. But we need someone new.

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
6:41 pm

*who doesn’t have the same old bad habits.

vava74

December 19th, 2010
7:35 pm

I would start Wilkins, make Marvin the 6th man and trade for true banger (for the bench), someone who likes hurting people.

By the way, I did not watch the game but… I turned league pass on and we were up by 7 and watched 2 or 3 plays until the end of the first quarter.

Then I switched it off and just followed the score from time to time…

…so there is a pretty good chance that I jinxed it again…

vava74

December 19th, 2010
7:36 pm

O'Brien

December 19th, 2010
8:12 pm

Hawks scored 30 points in the first quarter. Then they scored 13, 19, and 20 in the other quarters.

We have seen these losses under Woody as well. Coach calls for penetration, Hawks settle for jump shots.

And why does JJ keep taking 3’s? he was 1-6 today, 1 for 6 against Charlotte, and 23-94 (24%) on the year. Overall, JJ has not played well enough this year (imo).

Nets have 8 wins. 2 of them against the Hawks. The only good thing about this loss is maybe Rick Sund will be forced to make a move if they continue.

I would see if Portland wants Jamal (since Brandon Roy is injured), and maybe we can get Pryzbilla, and add whatever lesser pieces are needed to make it work.

Astro Joe

December 19th, 2010
8:48 pm

Poor Lucifer, he still can’t win. Offense looks good at one point and it’s “see, this is what a real offense looks like”. Now, it’s “Lucifer allowed for so many bad habits that the new guy can’t catch a break”. Poor Lucifer, still gets blamed for everything that goes wrong with the team while someone else gets credit for any good things from the team.

Meanwhile, if you previously believed that the playoffs would serve as the lone time to evalue this combination of coach and players, then surely no one should be requesting a trade months prior to the playoffs. Surely with this improved roster and improved coach, defeating either Boston or Miami in the 2nd round should be entirely plausible.

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
9:24 pm

Astro,

I don’t know what you expect me to say different. I basically was saying in my post that it’s starting to look like simply changing the coach wasn’t sufficient to get the team over the hump. I still think it’s necessary, but it’s starting to look as if it wasn’t sufficient. Isn’t that the same thing you were saying over summer? How was I blaming Woody “for everything that goes wrong with the team?” Seems like I criticized Marvin, Josh, Al, Sund, and ASG too. Or are you reverting to your strawman ways again?

I do think that if we’d gotten rid of Woody during or immediately after Al’s rookie year, things would have been different. Marvin and Al were different players in college than they’ve become in the NBA. Both played with a level of swagger and intensity that, for each, steadily faded during their time under Woody. The difference in Marvin is by far the most striking. Would that have happened even if Drew had taken over in ‘08? Maybe. Hell, it might have even happened no matter who was coaching them.

But one of the main criticisms of Woody (most notably the now-departed Childress) was that he played favorites. He didn’t get in the faces of his favored players when they screwed up. That type of style, IMHO, is bound to allow bad habits to set in. After a certain point, those bad habits become so ingrained that they are impossible to break. Marvin become more and more passive during his time under Woody, and Al became less and less sure of himself playing center. I was hoping that a coaching change would be enough to reverse those trends. So far, it doesn’t look like it was. I don’t blame it all on Woody. But I certainly think that having a different coach 2.75 years ago could have stopped it from getting to this point.

And I do think the playoffs are the only time we can look back and say whether the coaching change was good/bad/sufficient. Unfortunately, GMs don’t always have the luxury of waiting that long before making a decision. Trade opportunities that come up in January and February might not be there in July. Certainly that will be the case with Jamal’s expiring contract. The fact that the playoffs are the ultimate measure of a team’s success doesn’t mean that the team should refuse to consider any roster moves until then. To use an extreme example, surely you realize that when I and others said they would judge Drew as a coach by how the team did in the playoffs, you didn’t think they meant that if Orlando called us up and offered Dwight Howard in exchange for Jamal and Twin, we thought we should reject the trade…right? Simply saying “I’ll judge the coach by how he does in the playoffs” doesn’t mean “everyone in the rotation is untouchable until the playoffs are over.” So saying:

if you previously believed that the playoffs would serve as the lone time to evalue this combination of coach and players, then surely no one should be requesting a trade months prior to the playoffs

…either means that 1) you did not understand the purpose of the playoff evaluation statement; or 2) you were setting up another strawman. Hmmmmm…

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
9:26 pm

In sum: I think getting rid of Woody was necessary for the team to be able to get to the next level. It’s starting to look, however, like it wasn’t sufficient. And there’s no way to build a time machine and see if making the same coaching change in January 2008 would have been sufficient.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2010
9:37 pm

I still say Sund should have let Woody go after the Celtics playoffs loss in round 1. I know we played Boston tough at home, but we still got blown out on the road.

Changing coaches at that time would have allowed Rick more time to evaluate the play of Marvin, Bibby and ZaZa before giving them another deal. And we would have gotten to see JJ operate under another coach before giving him the max deal.

The interesting thing to me, is most of us bloggers have been saying that changing coaches are not enough, and that its not all Woody’s fault.

Rick, on the other hand, believes Woody was the only one to blame. So far, it looks like he is wrong.

vava74

December 19th, 2010
9:49 pm

Just saw the game, a few remarks:

1. Shots simply did not go in. That happens some times. Whenever we had a crucial shot to extend a lead or to get back into the game, they simply did not went in.

2. Call me cry baby but the officiating was nauseating again. Many many examples, but amongst crucial mistakes were the double criteria for moving screens, the second foul by Smoove (who slapped the ball), the foul on Teague (which played well IMO in the minutes he got) by Murphy and a phantom call on Horford which gave Lopez two free throws to close the game.

3. Al is too in love with his jump shot. Defensively and on rebounding he played well and held the fort but offensively he has to take it inside.

4. Bibby may have kept us in the game to some extent with his shots, but IMO those two three pointers in the last couple of minutes only masked a very very bad outing where he was burned to a crisp by Harris AND on offense was horrible with the ball with several bad passes and over handling in many possessions.

I credit him with several plays in which our offense looked stale.

5. JJ looked really good and then looked horrible. That ISO shot over Lopez at the end was horrendous. He will improve but he should have stopped shooting.

He did act as a decoy but as I said, shots did not go in.

doc

December 19th, 2010
9:51 pm

never was it sufficient nire, never. either change the team or spend more otherwise nice team.

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
9:56 pm

Teague (which played well IMO in the minutes he got)

“Which” played well? Has your opinion of Teague fallen so much that he has now been rendered an inanimate object?

niremetal

December 19th, 2010
10:00 pm

Doc,

Maybe. But frankly, I will never get over the remarkable potential Josh has always had (and never reached) and the incredible motor that Marvin had at UNC (which seemed totally dead by the end of last season). Add that to one of the most dangerous offensive players in the NBA (JJ) and a young all-star center, and I think there’s enough raw talent on this squad to break through to the conference finals (which, as I said, seems to be the revenue tipping point to spend the luxury tax) under the right coach. It might have taken a truly great coach to get the best out of what we have, and it’s looking more and more like Drew is not that guy (at least for *this* team), but I think it was at least possible in 2008.

But none of us have a time machine. So it’s all academic.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2010
10:17 pm

vava,

At some point, we have to stop blaming the refs. The Hawks have been in position to make plays, but they don’t.

They take a bad shot, have a bad turnover, make a critical mistake, or miss a defensive rotation etc.

When the shots are not falling, they have to find a way to take the ball into the paint.

JJ knows his 3 is off. Why keep shooting it? Josh is usually okay when he when is feet are set. But why is he doing a behind the back dribble, step back jumper (which resulted in an airball)?

To me, the Hawks do not play to their strengths consistently enough. And they have certain bad habits, which they havent figured out how to break them.