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

Trig

December 17th, 2010
8:06 am

I agree with the Teague part..every time I see him play he looks productive, and the only person to really take time away from is Bibby. The Mike Woodson thing? Maybe. At least the Hawks seemed more consistent with him as coach, and this is from a guy who wanted Woodson gone from years.

Also, after last nights game, I’m ready to trade JSmoove. Lot of talent there, but Im exasperated with his inconsistency.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

wordsmithtom

December 17th, 2010
8:31 am

Big Ray….
3rd quarter was the tell: Marvin & Bibbs hit 3’s to get Hawks even followed by Josh and Al missing 3 footers. What should have been a run turned into confidence building pushbacks by Celts. The game was lost in the 3rd quarter, not the 4th…..

JS has the talent to be another Barkley, if he can ever get control of his mental state. Sometimes, I wonder. Horf is a very good player. But, he’ll never be a great player like Duncan, who he reminds me more than the classic center, unless he gets more mentally tough.Ultimately, I’m concerned we don’t improve with both guys going forward.

It’s a tough one…..Obviously, MW CAN play….why doesn’t he do it more often? I suggest it’s what he thinks his role is. If we traded Horf for a true C and moved MW to 4, this team could be a force. All that’s conjecture, mind you. Also, keeping JS at 4 and MW at 3 could also work, if coach can get it through JS’s head to do what he is supposed to do. Iffy….

wordsmithtom

December 17th, 2010
8:33 am

But, as constructed, this team goes no further than the 1’st round of playoffs. Not bad….just NOT elite.

wordsmithtom

December 17th, 2010
8:35 am

Oh, and yes, MW could bring that C keeping JS and Horf. That too could work. But, as a three position player, I’d rather keep MW and move one of the other two. MW proved the value of being a 3 position player, and a number of GM’s, especially on the west coast, would LOVE to have him at current contract costs.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Rudy

December 17th, 2010
8:49 am

Teague look great lastnight but i can see why he dont get much playing time, he made some crucial turnovers at the most important part of the game. they seemed like they were all back to back.

drmaryb (*_*)

December 17th, 2010
8:58 am

The Sum!

The whole is NOT greater than the Sum of it’s parts.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

doc

December 17th, 2010
9:14 am

who will be the first to ask; “i wonder if it is marvin’s knee?”, when he disappears again.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

drmaryb (*_*)

December 17th, 2010
9:21 am

doc

I hope it won’t be the “Bees Knees” story line.
Maybe, someone will reach deeper into the BS-bin and say, “He hurt his back two seasons ago, and hasn’t been the same since.”

Either way, there is no excuse to not bring your “A” Game every night.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Mike is back

December 17th, 2010
9:33 am

Big Ray, Great commentary on the game…I especially like your insight on Josh…I notice the same thing…he is a lot closer to putting everything together…than a lot of people think…dude is still going to have his days.

I also agree on Teague…he needs to earn it.

Man, the way U and MC are flowing now days…all a brotha got to do is read…no need to be a part of that group that make the same repetitive comments.lol

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
9:33 am

A chance to play without any iso-ball hogs and the team looked “scrappy” but never really like they belonged. Oh well, they play again tonight.

Marvin won’t have so many shot attempts next time, when Jamal is back or when Josh and Al are in rhythm. I haven’t seen many (if any) games that were lost because Marvin didn’t attempt 12+ FGAs. Better rebounding, better defense, knocking down jumpers on kick-out passes… absolutely. But I can’t find another team’s 5/6 option who is averaging 14 a game.

I think Teague could easily score 8-12 points if he were the “lead guard” off the bench and played with guys like Evans or Wilkins in the backcourt. He’ll make bad turnovers, but that is to be expected. Bad turnovers when you’re struggling to run the team as a pure PG is much more damaging (IMO), than when you’re in a George Hill/Lou Williams role.

Our captains need to have a strong game tonight… they barely broke a sweat yesterday so they should be ready and willing to go.

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
9:34 am

Doc,

From the last blog – ain’t much to tell. It’s a red 2010 Corolla S. I was surprised how roomy it was. The clincher was that it was snowing up here yesterday, and the car handled really well through the ice and snow. I haven’t had a car for the past 2 years and had a rickety 1989 volvo 760 wagon (with 189k miles) before that, so I don’t even notice the supposedly bad noise and ride quality :lol: .

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
9:35 am

Big Ray, I also like your Teague “needs to earn it” comment. Gee, it sounds eerily familiar to something that someone was saying last year. :roll:

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
9:41 am

OB, from last night, I’m worried about this Uggla signing. I wish we would have waited to see how he does on a team that has a different set of expecatations. I guess I’m still smarting from watching small market stars like Dan Kolb and Nate McLouth come to the Braves and look like a deer in headlights. I’m also concerned about our up-the-middle defense between A-Gon and Uggla (and McLouth in CF). But hey, we’re only playinng for a wild card… the Phillies took care of that earlier this week.

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
9:46 am

Add the Rockets to the list of teams that may be holding a January/February yard sale. Sad news about Yao.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Yao-Ming-s-career-could-be-over?urn=nba-297005

steve brown

December 17th, 2010
10:25 am

Josh Smith is Josh Smith-lots of great moments-lots of crazy. Steve Kerr in an interview yesterday said the Hawks will probably need to gamble on a trade in order to get to the next level. Kerr would explore trading Smith as the Hawks should be able to get the most for him. I couldn’t agree more.

steve brown

December 17th, 2010
10:26 am

Maybe there is life in Teague after all!

JM

December 17th, 2010
10:34 am

Big Ray, you’re on point once again. There will be days like this. If they had won it would have been a steal, so they just need to move on. LD, though, should develop a plan to puncture Boston’s D, because it still gives the offense fits. Teague showed that when his head is there, he can contribute. There are a number of players who have mental blocks on their game from time to time, Smoove being number one. LD needs to find a way to talk it out of them, kinda like what a pitcher needs after throwing a homerun, gotta be able to shake it off.

slimjr

December 17th, 2010
10:40 am

JOSH SMITH COULD NOT HOLD BARKLEYS JOCK!!! And will never be able to. Josh offensive skills are that of high school level…..Sorry to bust your bubble…

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
10:51 am

I would be interested in Battier from Houston, but his contract is expiring so I doubt he’ll be part of any firesale. The first guy on the block for them if they do decide to rebuild will be Kevin Martin, and I want no part of him.

lukas

December 17th, 2010
11:35 am

Big Ray,
“In short, the Hawks need Horford to be “The Boss” a little more, down in the pivot”.
“Whatever happened to the warrior in this guy? Am I off base for calling him out?”

On your last excellent 2 post, these 2 lines standout for me. Are you off base by calling him out? NO you aren’t because, indeed, the guy is getting softer by the minute. There’s a huge difference between the rookie Al Horford that flexed his biceps on strong plays and taunted Paul Pierce and this “offensive” Al Horford that scores a lot but does not box out, does not bang inside and is more focussed on getting minutes at the PF than playing were his team needs him to. I want him to be Karl Malone, but instead i’m getting Chris Bosh.

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
11:38 am

I want him to be Karl Malone, but instead I’m getting Chris Bosh.

OUCH!

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
11:48 am

My dream that Horford would become Duncan-light have been close to destroyed. A fundamentally sound BIG who doesn’t worry about position titles, just a guy who anchors his team’s offense and defense and gets it done regardless of the size or skill of the opposing big.

Sund needs to find a center to match with this new version of Al, the “natural PF”.

Fundamentals

December 17th, 2010
12:10 pm

Amen Ray – great job!!!

sam'l

December 17th, 2010
1:02 pm

Teague played very well, but when he had a chance to help the Hawks win, Had Teague kept his head the Hawks could have won that game. Josh Smith was unbelievably bad.

Right after the last Boston games, coach Drew said something about he didn’t know what happened the night before games as a clue to his team’s readiness. How better to explain this group’s erratic play over the years? Sex, drugs or alcohol? .

Miles D

December 17th, 2010
1:51 pm

AGAIN!! SEVEN YEARS IN THE LEAGUE AND STILL NO POST GAME!! I’M TELLING YOU JOSH’S LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM AND ATTITUDE IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE REASON WE DON’T OR WON’T GET OVER THE HUMP!! HE THINKS BEING A LEADER IS TELLING EVERYONE ELSE WHAT TO DO INSTEAD OF DOING THE “LITTLE THINGS” THAT TURN OUT TO BE “BIG THINGS” HIMSELF FOR HIS TEAM TO WIN!! HE IS A CANCER!! SORRY… BUT THATS THE ONLY WAY TO PUT IT NOW!! AL IS PLAYING OUT OF POSITION BUT SHOWS THE WILL TO DO WHATEVER TO GET THE JOB DONE AND JOSH DOESN’T!! FOR THE VERY REASON JUST MENTIONED, WILL BE WHY AL WILL GET VOTED TO THE ALL-STAR GAME, BY COACHES AND GM’S, AGAIN OVER JOSH FOR THE SECOND TIME IN HIS FOUR PRO SEASONS AND JOSH WON’T MAKE IT IN HIS SEVENTH!! EAT THAT WITH YOUR HASHBROWNS!!! TIME TO FED-EX “SMOOVE”!!! HIS CRYING TO THE REFS MAKE IT HARD FOR THE REST OF OUR TEAM TO GET CALLS!! AND HE STILL MAKING EXCUSES SEVEN YEARS INTO THIS THING!!! TIME TO KICK HIS A** OUT OF THE NEST!!! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

December 17th, 2010
1:58 pm

Big Ray,
I don’t know if awesome is ur first, middle, or last last name.
But please note ……. what you do is …. APPRECIATED !

Big Ray

December 17th, 2010
2:55 pm

2 FOR JOHN DREW ,

Man, I’m just trying to lay it down for y’all, AS one of y’all. Thanks for the kudos!

doc

December 17th, 2010
3:07 pm

ROFL at DMB, yeah baby it is known as going to the “phantom file for the phantom man”, when you talk about marvin.

cool nire, got to be a pleasure for you. safe travels. speaking of traveling, you never did say much about your flight to the big A or was it that bad? ;-) bet the wheels might roll a bit this way if you dont like flying that much.

doc

December 17th, 2010
3:11 pm

got to get big ray straight here, you suck at this man.

good, now i feel better got some reality going. ;-)

man guys, he already has a big head, its going to swole to barry size if i dont intervene as the doc around here.

going to be at the game tonight with oldest daughter. nice.

chuckw/deadjournalist

December 17th, 2010
3:19 pm

As much as any team I’ve watched, this team can have their confidence jacked-up or ripped-out around a play or two. I hate watching Paul Pierce – I don’t like the dude – but I’d want him on my team. He moans and complains, but he never lets it shake is confidence.

Night-in and night-out, you just don’t know which Hawks players are going to be flying high or laying low. Last night, Marvin, Teague and ZaZa were playing like they knew they belonged. Smoove and Al looked totally out of it. Tonight, it may be 180-degree flip.

Which brings me to Wilkins. His play is steady. And when JJ returns, I’d rather have him as the back-up option that Mo Evans (who is the lost and forgotten rotational wing). Evans has looked horrible. Is it rust from the injuries or is his confidence shot, too?

I’m going to get on my soap box again that what this team needs are more leaders – i.e. Battier. Wilkins is helping the second unit a great deal because he’s all effort, almost all the time. But the starting line-up needs that as well. While JJ’s game is consistent (for the most part), he’s not the vocal on the floor leader.

It always helps to have guys who know what it takes to win on your team. Although the announcers were horrible last night, they did make a good point on Josh Powell understanding the patience needed on the court – something the TNT crew attributed to the Lakers.

We all give credit to Al for this college pedigree, but Bibby is the only big-minute player to get as far as the conference finals. The team needs a big-minute player to help the younger players the steps it takes to refrain from the mental lapses that take them out of their game.

chuckw/deadjournalist

December 17th, 2010
3:21 pm

And I still thing the team would be better with Marvin coming off the bench. If he’d except his role, he might thrive against better match-ups and by also being the primary of secondary scoring option of the second unit.

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
3:51 pm

niremetal, any chance Portland trades Oden? No way they would offer him an $8M QO, but they could at least get value back in a S&T for him. I was thinking with Roy having all of those issues, that a trade of Jamal + Zaza for Pryzbilla & Oden would at least get them a dynamic scorer while Roy deals with his issues and Zaza can back-up Camby. We would get an upgrade on Collins (also 2 expiring contracts) and save a little money next season. A bench of Collins, Powell, Marvin, Wilkins and Teague would at least be much better defensively while allowing Teague a little more offensive freedom (and Marvin also). Pryz can be the 18 minute/game starter to make Al happy (and provide some more rugged rebounding/shot-blocking than Collins). But my guess is that Portland views Oden as too big of a trading chip in the summer to make that deal.

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
4:21 pm

Doc,

Actually, my flight from Philly to Atlanta had to make an emergency landing back in Philly because we hit some birds on our ascent. We turned out ok, and I flew out safely the next day. Actually, I feel a lot better about flying now – I figure fate has already sent me my allotment of harrowing flight experiences for my lifetime :grin:

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
4:23 pm

Astro,

I actually think the Blazers will end up keeping Oden past this summer. I think they’ll make him the QO and Oden will end up staying with them for a bit above the mid-level. If we blew the Blazers away with an offer (ie if we offered Josh, Joe, or Al), they might bite, but I don’t think they’ll part with him just for an expiring and a solid backup C.

Astro Joe

December 17th, 2010
4:45 pm

Wow! Offering him $8M with that injury history? And Roy on the books for something around $50M with his injury history? And another $11M on Camby (although he has been mostly healthy of late). If you keep buying known lemons, can you really complain when your car breaks down? OK, bad analogy for a recent car purchaser. If you keep buying Colby electronic equipment, can you really complain when you can’t get any sound out of the speaker?

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
5:31 pm

Astro,

Roy’s contract is sunk costs that they’ll have to pay regardless of whether they keep Oden, and Camby is old and only there for two years. Camby was basically a rental supposed to last them until Oden got back on his feet. Oden is a #1 pick and unless there’s some discernible connection between his injuries (and from everything I’ve heard, there isn’t), they likely are not going to throw him away easily. They will hope that he turns out to be another Ilgauskas rather than another Bowie. They aren’t going to write off Oden’s career as easily as many fans outside Portland are writing it off.

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
5:36 pm

It should also be said, obviously, that big men get overpaid in the NBA at any rate. The fact that we were able to get even a halfway decent backup center for under the mid-level was unusual. A 23 year old 7-footer who was averaging 11 and 8.5 when he last was on an NBA floor? Injuries or no, it would be unprecedented for a team to let such a player go without getting something good in return, much less refuse to extend the QO and let him walk altogether.

tbhawksfan

December 17th, 2010
5:50 pm

Some players complain to gain an edge with the refs. It’s psychology and can affect the refs if you do it right. Smith gets carried away and just whines which probably only has a negative effect, on him and the refs. it’s about respect. If you can complain without showing them out, you get their respect. If you whine little league, there is no respect.

tbhawksfan

December 17th, 2010
6:25 pm

Poor birds. We’re they Hawks…

tbhawksfan

December 17th, 2010
6:26 pm

“were” they Hawks

Sautee

December 17th, 2010
6:48 pm

WOW! MC just tweeted that Joe Johnson will start tonight.

That’s a quick healer.

Blast

December 17th, 2010
6:54 pm

Big Ray.

Nice work as usual. Keep it up.

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
7:46 pm

Doc,

Correct me if I’m wrong on this, because I’m going based on what I remember my docs telling me when I got an arthoscopy last year.

JJ was getting loose cartilage removed, based on what I’ve read. Thus, there was no underlying structural injury to repair. In a situation like that, when there are no internal sutures or tears that need to heal, the only obstacles to his return are:

1) The healing of the incision sites. This usually takes ~ 1 week.
2) Swelling from the procedure. With an arthroscopy, this heals pretty quickly because you’re not sewing anything up inside the body and it’s a minimally invasive procedure – you just have to wait for the area where the scope went in to heal. When I had mine done, they actually told me to start doing moving the joint around again to avoid the risk of tough scar tissue build-up. You could conceivably prolong the swelling by overdoing it too quickly, but a trainer or doctor can detect swelling easily. Even if you play through it, there’s no real risk of exacerbating it because, again, we’re not talking about a structural injury. So if Joe starts playing tonight and some pain creeps back, he can rest another couple days and try again, but he can’t “re-injure” himself because there’s nothing left to re-injure.

Am I roughly right?

niremetal

December 17th, 2010
7:46 pm

Drmaryb, you can confirm too if you’re around – didn’t mean to leave you out ;)

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.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
10:22 pm

Astro Joe ,

LOL. You must be either bored or separated at birth from Charles Barkley. “Poor Lucifer” indeed…..

Big Ray

December 19th, 2010
10:25 pm

Doc ,

You never know. I would have liked to have seen this team under Drew back in 2008 as well. I do think they’d be far less predictable and stagnant on offense, if nothing else. Amazing how Bibby is playing under Drew nearly 3 years later….or did he find some miracle pill? He never played like this under Woody (sorry, AJ….I know I’m picking on your hellish friend, but it is what it is). Must have been the system.

Am I suggesting the team had the sufficient talent level all along? Surely not, but we’d have know sooner having plied the same talents under two different coaches, no?

Then again, guess what? If we go back in the time machine, our guys get younger and their experience goes away.

So it’s all a moot point, and we’ll never know.

doc

December 19th, 2010
10:44 pm

nire, i think ld is a good coach but not a world beater. these guys need a real big time guy to look up to. ld is what he is, a rookie, so maybe he will blossom only time is short in the nba, windows snap closed quickly. this points back to a very sluggish and inefficient organization. if ld was their man in house he should have been the first and only candidate to interview with the job to be lost by him not as a courtesy. they knew they were jettisoning woody so they should have had a scalpel out to cut the deal within days of the change.

sorry, it is more than just a lack of spending money and not sure i would have either once miami did its thing, only to be competitive you have to. a coach is the best way to spend significant and not outrageous money wisely to bring the horses together. the problem is these guys take forever. it took close to two and a quarter years to follow the suggestion of bk and that has irked me from the day it was announced, pure folly. now the magic make a move, no two moves within days of a downturn that turns out to be more than the flu. so you wonder why i question the organization?

i really want these guys to do it but they wont as a nucleus in the east the way it is stacking up with a rookie coach and without a true, first class superstar without reconstructing this team in some way or spending money for better talent on the bench. it is a haves and players league.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2010
11:01 pm

doc,

Another concern for me is we have 3 captains, but yet leadership on the court is still a concern.

Who (on the court) gets on Josh when he is pouting or taking bad shots? Who gets on JJ and tells him stop taking 3s, and focus on driving the ball? Who gets on Al and tells him to stop being so timid.

This team has issues. There were Chemistry porblems that showed up last year, and Rick thinks changing the coach will cure all the issues?

I look forward to hearing his opinion of the team at the half-way point.

doc

December 19th, 2010
11:48 pm

vava74

December 20th, 2010
3:15 am

Ray,

Ok. I was sleepy and it slipped.

“Who played well”.

OB,

One of the great benefits about watching a game only after knowing the outcome is that without any emotional involvement you can detect “little turning points”, “little crucial moments”.

Many of our outside shots which did not go in where good shots. Yes, there were a few really bad shots but which team never takes bad shots?

Also, read my post, didn’t I point out other issues?

One of the thinks that struck me violently was how poorly bibby played in spitebof his offensive movements. He was horrible most of the game and I am convinced that what we really need is to replace him on the starting line up. Even for Teague, right now.

vava74

December 20th, 2010
7:54 am

“in spite of his offensive numbers”

vava74

December 20th, 2010
8:00 am

Basically the reasoning is very simple, with Bibby any team with a good coach, a decently quick and able PG and a decent big man will pick ‘n roll us to death.

And Bibby’s offense cannot offset that huge comfort that he gives to opposing teams.

Yes, there are games which go better for him and he manages to keep things more or less balanced but yesterday NJ simply felt that they had a money play to resort to whenever they needed so they never panicked when they were down by 7-9 points.

We, on the contrary did not have a bread and butter to resort to when dealing with NJ and IMO that money play would have been to have Teague exploit Harris sub-par D getting fouls on him and on NJ’s bigs.

I am 100% sure that this would work simply because we managed to see Bibby go to the rack 3 times in one game, something that probably did not happen since 2007.

vava74

December 20th, 2010
8:02 am

Yesterday would have been a game in which Jamal would have been productive and very useful IMO.

LionHearted

December 20th, 2010
8:17 am

Damn the attendance numbers are atrocious lol

They’re below the Sixers. They’re 25th. Thats Pathetic lol

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
9:23 am

niremetal, I disagree witht he “bad habits” comment. I have said ad nauseum that I supported getting rid of Woody in the summer. Likewise, I have said ad nauseum that hiring Drew felt like dating the sister of your ex-girlfriend… stupid, stupid move.

But there should also be some venom for LD. IMO, LD has allowed both Al and Josh to become WAYYY too comfortable shooting jumpers. Where’s the accountability we heard about so often during those riveting interviews? Josh Powell? Jump-shooter. In fact, I even thought the motion offense would lead to more baskets at the rim, but seemingly, it has led to more uncontested JUMPERS. While that is a good thing, we are still living/dying by the jump shot. We have a super athletic team that has devolved into a collection of jump-shooters. We were ultra-soft under Woody and yet, somehow, we are softer now than before.

I don’t view any of that as “bad habits” learned under a previous head coach. How do you play Joe an average of 39 minutes in each of his first 2 games after returning (early) from injury… when he is clearly not shooting the ball well. What message does that send to the rest of the team that fought fairly well in his absence? “I’m so happy to have Joe back that I will play him big minutes regardless because I really hated having to play the rest of you guys that much”. Hard to believe that 8-10 of those minutes couldn’t have gone to a combo of Wilkins/JC2.

I think we’re experienced some of LD’s growing pains, which is to be expected for a first year coach. But let’s not look for ways to blame Woody because our first-time coach is making some rookie mistakes.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
10:32 am

Where’s the accountability we heard about so often during those riveting interviews?

You do realize that LD benched Josh down the stretch of a close game last week precisely because he was shooting too many jumpers, right? He was benched again down the stretch of the SA game, though (according to Smoove, at least) that was because he was cramping rather than because he was playing poorly (though he was). I agree that Drew should do more to clamp down on Josh’s jumpers in particular, but it’s tough to strike a balance with it that won’t tick off Smoove so much that he’ll be pouting and useless every game.

I agree that the team is shooting too many jumpers. That was a problem under Woody, it’s still a problem now. You can disagree with me, but I think that’s largely a bad habit that Josh and (to a lesser extent) Al got used to under Woody and that they are having trouble “unlearning.” At least Drew has made some effort to hold Josh accountable for his jumpers

vava74

December 20th, 2010
11:16 am

Astro,

LD’s work is seen when we get back door baskets, which has happened often in the nights (or maybe we should only mention “quarters”) in which we are playing well.

I insist: 3 of the last 4 games were officiated very poorly leading to either Al or Josh being benched in foul trouble for long stretches in 2 of them.

Also, the absence of Jamal, who acts like a can opener sometimes is difficult to replace given the fact that team relies on him.

This does not mean that we should not trade him, quite the contrary:

The major problem with the Hawks is that they RELY on two very inconsistent players: Josh and Jamal, one for defense and the other for offense.

You cannot achieve consistent success with so much inconsistency playing such a big role in the way we play.

Hence, I would be very very willing to trade at least one of the inconsistency factors and I would do it for whatever “hustling big” we could get in return.

And by “hustling big” I mean anyone who like to hurt little guys driving to the rim and throw elbows.

Reggie Evans would be paradise.

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
11:28 am

niremetal, 82games shows that Al and Josh are shooting over 20% more jumpers this year than last year. Over 20%… that is not an insignificant increase.

Josh was benched in the ‘08-09 season.

The latest butting of heads happened last Friday in Charlotte. After watching Smith fire up a few too many perimeter bombs in the first half, Woodson reportedly teed off on him, calling his shot selection selfish. When Smith said something back, the two got into a heated exchange that was serious enough to warrant Woodson benching Smith for the entire second half.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/chris_mannix/03/11/smith.woodson/index.html#ixzz18faADO24

We know that he minimally gave up 3-pointers last season but has become a Charlie V. impersonator this year. I don’t recall any mention of him being benched in the Spurs game, but I do remember him hobbling around. If he was benched for play, I hope he knows that… although I suspect that he was truly cramping up.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
12:28 pm

Well, benching a player for talking back to the coach is quite a different matter than benching him for shooting too many jumpers. We all remember that game against Charlotte. Everyone, including Smoove, said that it was because of his blatant insubordination. Frankly, I can’t think of a coach who wouldn’t bench a player in that situation. This time, LD benched him based on his play alone. If you don’t see that as an important distinction, fine. I do.

As for the increase in jumpers, I never once have absolved LD of responsibility for that. I agree that he needs to do more to cut down on it. It’s a problem that has gotten much worse, especially with Josh. To a certain extent, that’s explainable by the fact that both have been hitting them more, but I’ve always suspected that won’t last. But Josh shooting too many jumpers is the textbook definition of old news. He got used to being able to shoot them with impunity under Woody. It seems likeafter working hard on them this summer, he came back thinking that he would have a green light to shoot them even more this year. It’s LD’s fault for not quickly disabusing him of that notion. But that doesn’t mean I absolve Woody for allowing Josh to develop that mentality in the first place.

yodaddy

December 20th, 2010
1:17 pm

Too many jumpers…we don’t have Kobe or MJ or even Karl Malone or Arvydas Sabonis….

so that means please take the ball to the basket, get fouled. You have to make the refs use that whistle.

And I don’t mean take it to the rim with some weak floater nor whatever that is ZaZa Pachulia throws up that gets blocked everytime and expect a foul called. I mean take it to the rim with the intent to score and create contact.

After much pondering, I believe we have a weak and soft mentality. We are not aggressive. The Coach isn’t, our “star” isn’t, and our bench nor big men are. I need one of these Hawks to get a flagrant foul…I need these little guards to be sent to the floor hard every time trying to come in the lane with finger rolls. Far too many times at the end of games the Hawks give up dunks and layups. It’s unacceptable. I don’t care if you foul out the game or get suspended…make them earn the points at the free throw line at least rather than giving up a layup that a 7th grader can make. Let ETAN play…he will get physical and hustle, if nothing else.

If teams want to continue that pick and roll, then Bibby needs to pull a Derek Fisher/Vince Carter move and just barrel through it every now and then. I’ll take the foul and if it’s hard enough I’ll take the technical foul and/or ejection.

Somebody on the team needs to say that enough is enough.

yodaddy

December 20th, 2010
1:25 pm

@vava

I agree..we need to start hurting these little point guards coming through slicing up the lane on the pick and roll. It’s not hard to do…CP3, Tony Parker, Rondo, Jennings, Devin Harris etc…..these are small players with history of injury so we need to see how durable they are. Collins, Zaza, Al & Josh…use up all your fouls I don’t care…Bibby having trouble getting through the pick then throw a forearm/elbow into that chest

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
2:04 pm

Good, because there is no way to absolve LD, especially considering his 6-year tenure with the team. And especially when he went out of his way during his introductory press conference to inform the public on how he planned to use Josh in the offense.

Regarding the Charlotte game, Woody yanked Josh from the court after the bad shots… would he have kept him on the bench the entire half had he not acted like an angry girl? We don’t know. But the fact remains that the previous coach did in fact attempt to correct the behavior. His jumpers went down over 20% from ‘08-09 to ‘09-10.

Of course, the “bad habits” issue comes back to the basic question… who is more likely to fix bad habits, someone who was an integral part of the environment where the bad habits were bred (2nd in command to be exact) or someone with a completely fresh perspective and the likelihood of more turnover across the entire coaching staff? If I were the Chairman of the Board and felt like I needed a new CEO to change the culture of the company, I think I’d roll the dice on an outsider rather than promote the existing COO who helped shape the culture.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
2:34 pm

But the fact remains that the previous coach did in fact attempt to correct the behavior. His jumpers went down over 20% from ‘08-09 to ‘09-10.

And you’re giving Woody credit for that…on what basis? Simply because it happened while Woody was coach? Careful. Because if you’re giving Woody credit for the improvements players showed under his watch, then don’t you have to give Woody the blame where players failed to improve something or took a step backward.

If I were the Chairman of the Board and felt like I needed a new CEO to change the culture of the company, I think I’d roll the dice on an outsider rather than promote the existing COO who helped shape the culture.

A fair point, and one I’m starting to agree with more and more. Unfortunately, I doubt simply a coaching change – any coaching change – would fix the problem at this point. I think our starting 5 has grown to used to playing with one another. They are capable of incremental adjustments, but nothing more. That’s why I suggested making a trade that would bring in a new starter. I think this starting 5 has grown too used to one another. They need someone who will force the others to adjust to his style of play, who doesn’t have the same bad habits and thus will make the other starters have to think about what to do while he’s on the floor. I think it’s safe to assume that JJ and Horford are staying. We could get a new PG, and the difference that could make should be obvious. Or we could have an SF who is not so used to deferring to his teammates on offense that his teammates only look for him in bailout pass situations. Or we could have a PF who doesn’t fade to the perimeter on every other possession. Or a combo forward who makes backdoor cuts like there’s no tomorrow. Etc, etc, etc.

O'Brien

December 20th, 2010
2:46 pm

I know that Josh is making his jumpers at a higher % than most of us thought he could, but IMO, LD has softened his “less jumpers for Josh” stance.

At his press conference, he said he wants Josh to establish himself in the post first and foremost. But how many games do we see where Josh’s first 3 attempts are jumpers?

And now, LD has softened his stance to “he doesnt want Josh taking jump shots if the play calls for him to be in the post.”

As improved as Josh’s jumpers are, I think he is very inconsistent with his shot selection, and when we play a good defensive team, he will struggle (like he did both games against Boston).

There has been a change in Josh’s mentality. There have been games where with the shot clock winding down, Josh is camped out by the 3 point line to take the shot. And LD has helped Al to blossom into a very good PF, but that has taken away Al’s aggressiveness and his post mentality that he had earlier in his career.

AJ also raises a good point. JJ comes back in 2 weeks (instead of 4-6 weeks), and LD plays him 39 mpg. I know Jamal is hurt, but if it was Woody, he would be criticized a lot more for playing JJ so many minutes.

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
2:58 pm

nire, I’ve been screaming about the ridiculous “sacred core” for a while. But I concede that breaking apart a team is much more challenging than hiring the right coach. It takes 1 (or more) willing GMs to change the roster… hiring the right head coach doesn’t require much (if any) cooperation from teams looking to kick your teeth in. You wanted a new starter, I would have settled for a top 7 player… we got neither. We got sameness.

Careful. Because if you’re giving Woody credit for the improvements players showed under his watch, then don’t you have to give Woody the blame where players failed to improve something or took a step backward.

Huh? Woody does take heat for Teague’s non-development, right? Isn’t he the scapegoat for Teague, Acie, Solo, and every other young player who didn’t develop? Isn’t he the lone reason why Salim is out of the NBA? The reason Childress didn’t stay (because Woody refused to start him over Marvin), the reason Diaw was a bust as a Hawk, the reason Zaza struggled mightily last year, the reason for 4th quarter collapses in the past, epic playoff losses, Joe being tired in the postseason, Josh being positioned away from the basket, too many isolation plays, quick PGs scoring on us and a major contributor to every awful draft pick in the past 6 years? The only mistake that he hasn’t been blamed for is Speedy Claxton. Come on nire, you’ve read all of that before… it’s the reason he isn’t coaching because he was Lucifer (or the Boogeyman, as vava and Teague call him). Because he took a wrecking ball to this otherwise promising team. The man behind the “bad habits”. And from this evil, we chose our new head coach. BRILLIANT!

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
3:08 pm

Careful. Because if you’re giving Woody credit for the improvements players showed under his watch, then don’t you have to give Woody the blame where players failed to improve something or took a step backward.

niremetal, are you kidding me? Woody has been blamed for everything (with the exception of Speedy Claxton’s knee). He is the lone reason why Teague, Salim, Acie, Solo and every other young player failed. He is the exclsuive cause for Diaw being an awful Hawk, for Josh being “positioned” away from the basket and forced to shoot long jumpers as the shot clock wore down. For quick PGs abusing us, for losing 4th quarter leads (when was the last time we had a huge 3rd quater lead to blow, BTW). He is the reason Childress left, because Woody refused to start him over Marvin. He is the evil that kept Zaza from excelling last year, the demon behind Marvin not knowing where his shots would come from. Woody was a contributor to every awful draft pick and for every bad thing associated with this team. He was Lucifer. He was the man behind the “bad habits”. It’s always been Woody’s fault, right down to the hire of the ugly fat Hawks cheerleader. Act like you know man, act like you know.

O'Brien

December 20th, 2010
4:21 pm

Woody was also the man behind playing JJ too many minutes, so he was tired down the stretch :smile:

I wonder if Woody is the reason why Steve Smith left, leaving us with ‘Nique? :smile:

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
4:31 pm

I’m not sure what you responding to with that, Astro, but it sure wasn’t to what I said. Your response was one long straw man (surprise!). The “lone reason?” The “exclusive cause?” For “every bad thing?” Yeah, no one here ever criticized anyone other than Woody. No one at all.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_GkzIp67B66s/S77ictU682I/AAAAAAAAAas/vGNJUjhtzGE/s1600/Strawman-motivational.jpg

I simply pointed out that you provided no explanation for your statement that Josh’s reduction in jumpers last year was due to Woody’s “attempt to correct the behavior.” It seems your only reasoning was that it happened under Woody’s watch. If that’s the case, then isn’t it, in fact, fair to blame Woody for every single bad thing that happened under his watch (an argument that neither I nor anyone else has made)?

Straw, straw, straw. Looks like you’re slipping back to your old tricks, AJ. You apparently are unwilling to address my arguments on the merits. So instead, you set up a straw man and knock it down. You say that Woody is blamed for EVERY problem, nevermind that there are many problems – for example the overpaying for JJ/Marvin, the drafting of Shelden, the new 3-headed captaincy, etc that neither I nor anyone else have blamed on Woody, far as I know. You say that Woody is named the “sole/exclusive/lone” cause for problems, nevermind that no one here has even come close to saying that the shortcomings of Josh/Al/Marvin/Jamal/JJ/Bibby are due solely to Woody and not to the players themselves (or, now, LD).

I mean, you’re not fooling anyone AJ. No one has portrayed Woody as Lucifer, saying that he was the sole and exclusive cause of the Hawks’ ills. People have just said that he caused or contributed to many of the Hawks’ ills, including some of the most detrimental ones. Why is it so hard for you to respond to those specific arguments head-on? Why are you only willing to respond to caricatures of what people said instead of responding to what they actually said?

Hmmm?

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
4:39 pm

I guess Astro missed all these portions of my previous points. They are, after all, quite inconvenient to his tirades about how Woody is blamed for EVERYTHING.


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…

I don’t blame it all on Woody…

As for the increase in jumpers, I never once have absolved LD of responsibility for that. I agree that he needs to do more to cut down on it. It’s a problem that has gotten much worse, especially with Josh…It’s LD’s fault for not quickly disabusing him of that notion…

A fair point, and one I’m starting to agree with more and more. Unfortunately, I doubt simply a coaching change – any coaching change – would fix the problem at this point. I think our starting 5 has grown to used to playing with one another. They are capable of incremental adjustments, but nothing more. That’s why I suggested making a trade that would bring in a new starter.

And that’s just since your first “Lucifer” strawman post in this thread. Hell, even this:

You can disagree with me, but I think that’s largely a bad habit that Josh and (to a lesser extent) Al got used to under Woody and that they are having trouble “unlearning.”

Note that largely does not mean “solely,” “exclusively,” etc.

Come on, AJ. Act like you know ;)

ATL in DA HOUSE

December 20th, 2010
4:55 pm

The same Woody that “limited” Josh’s jumpers also limited Al’s touches. Al is too comfortable with jumpers? Should we also be uncomfortable with his career high 57% from the field. Josh’s jumpers are the perfect darkhorse whipping boy. He shoots too many, yet is hitting them at a better rate than ever, a more acceptable one than ever, at that. Larry Drew is making mistakes. Are we directing the hate at him, or at the people who decided he should be the next head coach? I find it so funny that a guy’s years as an assistant coach with a team seem to count as years as the head coach with some people. No such thing as being a rookie around here. I guess that also means that working under a guy for six years means there is no way possible that you could have a different opinion, outlook, or approach to how things are or should be done. Yet, you should know how to solve all the problems within a few months. Something tells me no matter what the coaching change would or could have been, the results would have been similar.

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
5:09 pm

nire, I thought that you were talking about bad habits. I thought that you gave credit to LD for attempting to correct Josh’s penchant for taking jumpers by benching him recently. If at this point in this post, I have misrepresented your earlier posts, it is not intentional… I thought that was the pattern of the discussion. When I suggested that Woody did the same (benched Josh for shooting jumpers) AND suggested that Josh actually improved his shot selection shortly after the benching, you responded to be careful about giving Woody credit. Is that a fair summarization? It isn’t an attempt at any bloggong violation, just my interpretation of the discussion.

My rant back to you was that there is no need to “be careful” for fear that it could lead to a slippery slope of Woody’s faults.

niremetal, I am completely and utterly guilty of not being able to remember all of your opinions against those of other bloggers here. So my rant was by NO means an attempt to say that you personally blame Woody for that laundry list of alleged offenses. I would never presume to know where your specific list begins or ends of Woody’s past failings. I was just pointing out that the blog-at-large has found a few faults with our previous head coach. What is there to “be careful” about? That you would fine some fault about Woody? That is what I am responding to… the “be careful” quote (which is certainly not misquoting).

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
5:15 pm

ATL in DA HOUSE, that may be true, which is why you shake up the roster. If you’re not willing to shake up the roster, then you go for a for definitive change in coaching voices. Sure, LD can clearly be “his own man” and no one is suggesting otherwise. But if you need to make a grand change and can’t afford (or choose not to ) change out the core of the team, then you need to do more than promote someone who has served as “Uncle Larry” for 6 years. Not to mention his decision to retain 2-3 assistant coaches. If you want a change, then why are the players seeing 3-4 coaches that they have worked with for 5-6 years? That feels like an incremental change which at best will provide incremental results. And in this case, incremental results likely means 1-2 2nd round victories (at best). Excuse me if that doesn’t have me cheering from my office. Hard to get excited by an off-season plan to “lose better”.

Astro Joe

December 20th, 2010
5:20 pm

You say that Woody is blamed for EVERY problem, nevermind that there are many problems – for example the overpaying for JJ/Marvin, the drafting of Shelden, the new 3-headed captaincy, etc that neither I nor anyone else have blamed on Woody, far as I know. You say that Woody is named the “sole/exclusive/lone” cause for problems, nevermind that no one here has even come close to saying that the shortcomings of Josh/Al/Marvin/Jamal/JJ/Bibby are due solely to Woody and not to the players themselves (or, now, LD).

You’re getting literal on me again, nire. There is a writing style that is not always found in reference books. It employs nuance, satire, humor, hyperbole… it is a little more fun than writing well-researched, Harvard Review-type editorials. And for a basketball blog, I personally find it more exciting than reading posts with footnotes and bibliographies. No, Woody is not literally to be blamed for each and everything that is foul with the Hawks. Feel better now?

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
6:11 pm

Ah, so you respond to caricatures of what people said because you find it more exciting than responding to what they actually said? Is that the lesson I should glean from all this?

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
6:15 pm

As for the “be careful” bit, that was tongue-in-cheek. It was me noting the, shall we say, dissonance of your willingness to give Woody credit for an improvement that Josh made, seemingly based solely on the fact Woody was coach when said improvement occurred, in light of your criticism of others for blaming Woody for the ills that did accumulate under his watch. Good for the goose and all that.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
7:46 pm

I didn’t think the refs have been as bad to the Hawks during the past couple weeks as Vava thinks, but tonight…wow. A bunch of no calls with clear contact so far.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
9:07 pm

Anyone who looks at Dwight’s stats might think that Collins hasn’t been effective against him. But anyone who has actually watched the game wouldn’t say that. Dwight has 17 boards, but the Hawks are outrebounding the Magic 39-31 and Dwight has clearly been frustrated at the difficulty he’s had getting off decent shots.

niremetal

December 20th, 2010
9:15 pm

8:15 left in the 4th: Now THAT is what I call ball movement!

vava74

December 21st, 2010
2:15 am

I was asleep, my broadband connection was down.

We won.

Maybe the Hawks organisation should pay me to sleep over every match.

O'Brien

December 21st, 2010
7:44 am

Regardless of Orlando’s situation, I am happy for the win. I just wish we could play with this type of effort more often.

Collins played well against Dwight. And even ZaZa gave us 7 rebounds. Marvin also played well in the 4th.

I think Marvin needs to come off the bench. When he is on the court with the starters, he gets lost out there. Maybe coming off the bench (like he did in college) will make him more aggressive, and produce better results. Plus we wouldnt be so dependent on Jamal.

I did not like the way JJ played however. And from MC’s blog;

“It’s clear that Joe is going to play the same way whether he’s rusty or not. He forced a few shots and had five turnovers.” MC .

JJ needs to not force the issue. Let the game come to him. He took some bad shots last night, and he struggled from 3 again.

But it was a good night for the Hawks. They win, Orlando and Miami both lose.