Hawks fans: A slippery slope

Happy New Year to all Hawks fans.

While NBA.com may have been the first basketball web site to start the countdown to the trade deadline, you can bet that things will heat up as usual on all of the others. Can’t wait to see which wild ESPN-driven rumor is next? You won’t have to wait very long. Of course, things won’t really get going until February actually gets here. Until then, we’ll try to blithely ignore all the noise. Oh, who am I kidding? Not only will we watch and see what every other team is “reportedly” doing, but we’ll make bold statements as to which rumor is likely to be true versus which is not, all the while wailing and gnashing our teeth about the fact that the Hawks won’t be involved in almost any of them. Rumors, that is.

The more things change…

….the more they look the same, making Hawks fans wonder if there has been any change at all. Like it or not, Larry Drew is going to be judged in comparison to his predecessor for the simple reason that he has worked for him the last six years. While this is an inevitable persecution at the hands of the fans, what is management thinking? Drew’s offense is certainly different and effective, when the team cares to execute it. So is his defense. And yet, is it? Away went the switch defense schemes, but the Hawks look somehow worse. Are they? Does it have anything to do with the offensive changes? Possibly, what with Josh Smith playing more small forward. Look no further than Friday night, as Smith spent a good deal of the evening chasing Kevin Durant, since Marvin Williams is out with injury. On second thought, why was Smith playing small forward? Why in the world was Collins starting at center when the Thunder aren’t a particularly big team in the frontcourt? What was Larry thinking?

In the meantime, a lot of the boxscore looked familiar. There was Josh, turning the ball over and taking more jumpshots than many are comfortable with. There was Al Horford, limited in minutes due to 2 fouls, then struggling to get into a rhythm once he did return. There was Joe Johnson, making roughly a third of his shots. Yes, I know the man is recovering from injury. But you can’t tell me those 6-20 shooting stats don’t give you a sense of Deja Vu. And there were the Hawks, relying too much on their shooters to get the job done, while lazily going about things on defense.

Of course, those aren’t the only issues. Whatever happened to the development of Jeff Teague? Is Damien Wilkins hurt, and if not, why isn’t he playing?

When are the changes going to come?

Unwanted Change

Remember all that offseason hype about the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls, and how they were both going to leapfrog the Hawks in the standings? Well, it seems that the pundits were half right, at least so far. The Bucks seemed more likely to take that step based on the way they played the Hawks in the playoffs last season, in addition to their offseason acquisitions. Instead, they’ve struggled with injuries and inconsistency in scoring. The Bulls are another matter. A strong season start by point guard Derrick Rose, the recharged Luol Deng, and the belated arrival of Carlos Boozer’s health have all combined to catapult the Bulls past both Orlando and Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings. All this despite the injury to starting center and rebound magnet Joakim Noah.

So, here the Hawks sit, in fifth place. It’s a slippery slope, Hawks fans. A very slippery slope. Why? Well, the Celtics will continue their winning ways as long as they can remain as healthy as they are right now. Perhaps no team (outside of the San Antonio Spurs) is able to keep the type of focus that the Celtics have. They feel that they are champions, and they play like it. The Heat? They have a lot of talent, and it seems they are starting to really come together, which is bothersome for everybody else. In the past, I’d say the Bulls could go either way, but now that they have a bonafide 20 and 10 guy down low and Deng is finally looking like the guy they handed $71 million to, it’s not all on Derrick Rose. Barring another major injury or other collapse, Chicago isn’t likely to lose much steam. Then there is Orlando, who is having an identity crisis. What separates them from Atlanta right now is two games. The Magic have played two less games than the Hawks, which means that they could easily have the exact same record right now. However, are the Magic on the verge of no longer being Eastern Conference Elite? Possibly, but don’t bet the farm just yet. Now we come to the Hawks. The problem is simply this – there is no huge drop off after 4th/5th place. In 6th place are the surging New York Knicks, who are struggling to stay winners at home, but are doing better on the road than the Hawks, Magic, and Bulls. Again, there is very little separation between the Hawks and Knicks, as they have the same number of losses (14). The Knicks have three fewer wins, but have also played three fewer games.

The point to all of this? Slipperly slope. Atlanta can’t count on other teams regressing. Losing close games or losing games to inferior teams is going to catch up quickly this year. If the Hawks can’t get it going and keep it going, then the slippage will continue if all else is equal for other teams. So here are a few questions for you:

1) How much longer can Sund talk about patience with the team (and the coaching staff) ? Does a move have to be made by the trade deadline?

2) Can the Hawks get back into the top four of the Eastern Conference Standings, or is the writing already on the wall? How late is too late?

3) After 35 games into the season, who are you picking from the squad to make the all-star team?

4) Will the Hawks ever go on another significant winning streak before the all-star break? Maybe even things up on this road trip, at least?

 

HAWKS VS. CLIPPERS

The Skinny – The Clips can’t stay healthy to save their poor lives. Fortunately, they can stay exciting with an oft-overlooked Eric Gordon and a flashy-but-very-productive Blake Griffin. However, these two can’t do it all, and when you’re missing a starting center and point guard half the time, things tend to look bleak. Clipper fans have to hang onto the highlights and hope for better days down the road.

The Hawks are running out of things to say after games, but they still have what it takes to beat bad teams, even on the road. With most of their moving parts intact, they’re a formidable bunch of guys for any team to face. Starting small forward Marvin Williams may not be available to play, but the Clippers don’t counter with a potent small forward. And since they are missing the 7′2″ Kaman, there’s no real need to go with a big lineup.

The Prediction – Hawks are sour enough about losing to the Thunder and stay focused long enough to beat the Clippers by no less than 12 points. Big nights for Al Horford (look for 20 and 10 from him), Joe Johnson (23 points, 6 assists), and Mike Bibby (16 points, 5 assists). Off the bench, Zaza Pachulia will play well, along with Jamal Crawford.

281 comments Add your comment

[...] Hawks fans: A slippery slopeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)While NBA.com may have been the first basketball web site to start the countdown to the trade deadline, you can bet that things will heat up as usual on all … [...]

Tony

January 1st, 2011
7:09 pm

dstdeelite

January 1st, 2011
7:09 pm

IMO the Hawks are not playing up to their potential.

Al should be a lock for an All Star nod.

Tony

January 1st, 2011
7:12 pm

I have a question (which Big Ray or anyone can possibly answer):
What the heck is wrong with the hawks? We suck. Joe is not worth 120 million. Josh and AL are our two best players. If it were me I would get rid of everybody except Josh and AL and Joe (I don’t really have a choice with Joe). I mean c’mon what would you do?

Tony

January 1st, 2011
7:13 pm

Josh and Al should be on the all-star team; At least Al.

dstdeelite

January 1st, 2011
7:15 pm

It’s almost like they find ways to lose. I think LD’s motion offense, when executed, is waaaaaaaaay better than watching JJ dribble the air out of the ball. This team haven’t quite grasped how to execute Plan B when Plan A goes awry. No second pick and roll. No nothing. When in doubt, hero ball comes into play to save the game. As a fan, it’s brutal to watch. Countless number of games that could have, should have been won will no doubt come back to haunt them come playoff time.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
7:27 pm

From the previous blog;

Ray,

If Thabeet can’t find PT on a lottery team like Memphis, he will not find PT on a potential 50 win team like the Hawks.

ZaZa has struggled at some points this season, but at least there have been some games where he plays ok with enough PT. Thabeet has not shown enough flashes.

In 213 minutes of PT this season, Thabeet’s totals are 33 points, 32 rebounds, 12 blocks, 43 fouls, and 10 turnovers. Plus he shoots 46% from the FT line.

I would pass on him.

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
7:36 pm

doc

January 1st, 2011
7:37 pm

big ray it is possible no one makes the all star team. amare, howard and boozer supplant any need for al at center. josh possibly but there are others of note to be there ahead of him. jj is an all star no longer. jamal is not doing what he did last year. finally, the gilt leaves behind a tarnished idea that this team is elite as we fade a few games behind our results from last year. maybe at best we get one representative. a good showing against utah as well as expected wins might begin to swing a few votes along with their winning a few games against true elite teams to change things. only, it hasnt happened yet this year so voters and coaches may overlook us.

nice job my friend.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
7:40 pm

Big Ray,

We can talk about LD’s motion offense all we want, but the fact is we still have fourth quarters where we can’t score 20 points (especially against good teams), which is the same thing that happened under Woody’s ISOs.

Also, we are averaging 5 ppg less this season compared to last year, while giving up 2 less.

Last year, the Hawks averaged 101.7 ppg, while giving up 97 ppg. This season, they are averaging 96.5 ppg, while giving up 94.7 ppg.

Maybe the players are not buying into the motion offense consistently, maybe they are missing shots they should be making, maybe it’s the injuries…I don’t know what the problem is, but more change is needed.

JMar

January 1st, 2011
7:46 pm

Larry Drew talks the talk, but when game time rolls around, he’s just Woody 2.0.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
7:48 pm

From the hoopshype article Melvin posted.

He needs to become a defensive stopper in the backcourt to allow Alvin Gentry to feel comfortable leaving him on the floor despite struggling offensively. .

EJ was talking about Goran Dragic, but the same can be said for Teague. Teague is fast, and can pressure the ball, but we still need better defense from him.

[...] Hawks fans: A slippery slopeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)While NBA.com may have been the first basketball web site to start the countdown to the trade deadline, you can bet that things will heat up as usual on all …Game Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Atlanta Hawks 94Peachtree HoopsWestbrook, Thunder put away Hawks: NBA RoundupCBC.caNBA: Oklahoma City 103, Atlanta 94UPI.comMaddux Sports (blog) -SBR Forum -BetFirmsall 579 news articles » [...]

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
8:21 pm

How long is KG out? That will determine if Josh makes the ASG. My guess is that (if healthy) the first 5 bigs are Dwight, KG, Amare, Bosh and Horford. While Joe doesn’t deserve a spot, he may sneak in just because there aren’t too many guards in the conference having big seasons. I truly hope Joe does NOT make it… I’d like to see him get the rest.

In terms of the other squads in the conference, congrats to niremetal for accurately predicting that the Bucks would fall this season. The Bulls are scary because I doubt that they have had their starting frontcourt for more than 10 games and they still are in front of the Hawks. The Knicks worry me because they are the team most likely to improve their roster in the next few weeks (and are still within striking distance of the Hawks).

I predicted the Hawks would lose in 7 in round 1… I regret that nothing has happened in the first 35 games to make me feel like I should retract that prediction.

doc

January 1st, 2011
8:28 pm

astro, at this point, you think we get 50 wins?

tjhook

January 1st, 2011
8:29 pm

I would like to see the Hawks pursue Mo Williams. We need more balance on offense; Williams can drive to the basket and shoot – Teague and Bibby cannot do both. Defense can be taught but Sund needs to bring in a guard that is ready to take on the NBA’s better teams. I say trade Teague and Marvin Williams for Mo Williams.

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
8:35 pm

Remember all the criticism Marvin got the other day when Dorell Wright lit up the Hawks? Well he is 4-4 from 3 and 8-9 overall in the 1st half against some SF named LeBron James. Ha!

[...] Hawks fans: A slippery slopeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)While NBA.com may have been the first basketball web site to start the countdown to the trade deadline, you can bet that things will heat up as usual on all …Westbrook, Thunder put away Hawks: NBA RoundupCBC.caNBA: Oklahoma City 103, Atlanta 94UPI.comNBA Picks ATS: Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City ThunderMaddux Sports (blog)SBR Forum -BetFirms -Thunder.com (blog)all 617 news articles » [...]

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
8:42 pm

doc, I have my doubts about 50. I’ve been disappointed that everything seems to be a grind for these guys… nothing comes easy. I think that can be damaging over an 82 game season.

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
8:46 pm

20 first half points for Wright back in his old stomping grounds. And the Warriors hang 72 on the Heat in the first 24 minutes of action.

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
9:04 pm

Can the Hawks make a deal to get Hinrich. Heck, i would even take him in a package with Blatche…

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
9:05 pm

From espn.com;

The NBA’s first key date of 2011, when it comes to player movement, comes Wednesday.

That’s when teams are allowed to start signing free agents to 10-day contracts … and when players with contracts that aren’t fully guaranteed must be released in time to clear waivers by Jan. 7..

Will the Hawks keep Damien Wilkins for the entire season, especially with Marvin injured?

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
9:14 pm

Astro,

The Heat are on a 21-3 run. GS lead is down to 2.

Stone

January 1st, 2011
9:18 pm

Someone..anyone..Please tell Josh Smith to STOP shooting jumpers and complaining All the time. We have lost leads and games based on that alone…THANKS

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
9:24 pm

Melvin, yeah, I’m monitoring the game on NBATV and the internet. The Heat are locking down on defense and suffocating the Warriors.

Blatche has some of the same “opportunities” as a younger Josh Smith. I’d rather not have to deal with those maturation pains again.

Bulls with a bad home loss to the awful Cavs tonight.

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
9:24 pm

Oops, my mind’s playing tricks on me… never mind, Bulls are winning. Time to put down the Champale.

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
9:26 pm

Uh Astro, you mean Bulls with close win over the Cavs… Man, I love my NBA League pass….

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
9:28 pm

OB,

If Damien is in uniform for the Jazz game then his contract will becomes guarantee.

dooley

January 1st, 2011
9:31 pm

im tired of dominique wilkins every night talking bout joe will heat up!when?can u tell me that?he is no longer a good fit with this team and the organization should be slapped for giving him a 120 million.If you gone give some one a 120 million,give it to josh(our best overall player)because wen he doesnt have a guad game,the hawks usually don’t win.Joe can’t be traded because no one is stupid to pay him 120 million dollars to shoot 6 for 20 and be inconsistent every night and still not show up during the playoffs.Joe is very selfish.U see it in his eyes every night.He just wants to get his and forget everyone else.He still ops out of plays to do his iso and that usually results in a turnover or missed shot.Hawks need new owner because lets be reasonable,jamal crawford is gone after this year because we clearly know the owners they have now are not commited to winning a championship.They won’t go into the luxary tax,but all the contenders are over the luxary tax.um um um.

[...] Thunder and the Atlanta Hawks at the OKC Arena in Oklahoma City on Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. …Hawks fans: A slippery slopeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Westbrook, Thunder put away Hawks: NBA RoundupCBC.caNBA: Oklahoma [...]

Melvin

January 1st, 2011
10:11 pm

Heat came from 20 down to beat the Warriors… dang it, Bulls and Heat had comeback victories tonight. Hawks better go on a win streak b/c the teams ahead of them are not going to help them…

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
10:13 pm

Miami and Chicago both won tonight.

I think the Hawks will be competing for spots 4-6 in the playoffs. And if they dont have homecourt, they might lose in the first round.

cdog

January 1st, 2011
10:14 pm

the reason why the hawks can’t win on the road or at home against good teams is because they are playing scared and expect to lose.until they start believing in themselves and each other, they will lose and lose royally.

J from the A

January 1st, 2011
10:23 pm

Al should make the All Star team. [behind Dwight]

Josh will probably barely miss. [definitely behind Amar'e; Bosh and/or Garnett will probably get the nod ahead of Josh, but there is some hope]

Joe might make it, but I wouldn’t bet on it either way. [definitely behind Wade; for the second SG slot it is a tossup between J. Richardson, S. Jackson, J. Johnson?]

Astro Joe

January 1st, 2011
10:38 pm

Orlando has won 5 straight also. I wonder if LD and Sund hold to the same theory as many others around here… let’s just wait until the playoffs, the regular season is just a secondary concern. If so, then I wouldn’t expect any deals being made (other than maybe dumping Damien in favor of another back of the bench player). All of you “playoffs only matter” folk need to hope that your GM doesn’t easily dismiss these next 45+ games.

Ray

January 1st, 2011
11:05 pm

Man you know we need to part ways with Jamal Crawford really soon here I feel like because he doesn’t have that contract he’s looking for sometimes he makes the team look bad. On purpose mind you I don’t think he needs to be here after the all-star break.

If we could give him up to Washington for Hinrich and Mcgee or something else that’s much better I don’t even know anymore. Speaking of our PG situation I’m beginning to notice more and more than Bibby doesn’t have it as a starting PG yeah he’s doing pretty good this season scoring, but I think it’s time for him to hang up the hat on starting.

Speaking on Teague though people ask him to bring more defense I’m like what more can he do he’s really good at pressuring the ball, and he can do other things as well. He’s not CP3, or D-will, but he can get there with time on that level. So in that regard I’m like Big Ray what happened with the development of Teague?

Last thing Larry Drew good offense and everything, but he’s beginning to look like Woody 2.0 does a lot of things like him such as going back on things he says. I’m still waiting to hear about how if someone didn’t play their roles correct their minutes get cut down for punishment. Only one real thing he has brought to the hawks a different offensive look.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
11:25 pm

AJ,

I will not be surprised if the Knicks and Orlando both make moves before the deadline. If that happens, the Hawks could be looking at 6th place in the East.

And if that happens, then I think it will be a first round exit.

I think rather than wait and find out, Rick needs to make a move.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
11:50 pm

Big Ray, AJ,

I can see Al making it as a backup Center. However, dont forget Carlos Boozer at PF.

He is averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, and his team is currently third in the East.

jlewis

January 2nd, 2011
12:31 am

Most are down on JJ, but in my opinion he is worth every penny. No other shooting guard in the league has to do what he does, he’s on a team with no depth, no defensive stopper and he’s working his a** off every night. Did anyone not notice in these games how bad Al’s defense is, Josh’s momentum killing turnovers, Bibby and Jamal not being able to keep anyone in front of them, LD not having any scoring on the floor in the 4th quarter, making Wilkins a go to guy in the post, ridiculous.

Riddle me this batman, if Wilkins is getting all this PT after being signed so late, what does that say about the Hawks depth and management, if he was this good and had no job, why wasnt he signed before?

JJ is ASG’s fall guy for a team that has serious talent and depth issues, and some of you are falling for it.

doc

January 2nd, 2011
12:33 am

i mentioned the need to go on a run in a recent blog only i dont think this teamhas the mentality to do so. these guys dont have that golfing go low attitude at all. they get a few wins under their belts then forget to do the things that got them there

doc

January 2nd, 2011
12:55 am

to continue … they dont have the ability to put together 4 quarters much less 10 to 12 games. the best they can do is come out of the gate strong then hold on.

heard donnie walsh on the radio this week. the only thing they do is make a move to better the team for the long haul. there will be no short term moves for them.

amare and howard are the centers. bosh, boozer and garnett round out the bigs for sure. i dont think either josh or al are in that category and would be in the next tier down. al comes in the group of say bogut and lopez that might get consideration.

Ed

January 2nd, 2011
1:53 am

Good stuff Big Ray…I think LD’s back is against the wall as the top dog JJ doesn’t truly buy into his new offense. Yes he’s gotten a lot of assists but he has dominated play quite often and the ball has a habit of stopping with him. Then you have JC who puts up the second most shots and he’s never come close to buying in. But of more importance is JJ’s role as it’s hard for a coach to discipline his top player. JJ likes it best when he’s the focal point of the offense and this puts LD in the difficult position of having to make excuses for Johnson as opposed to calling him out.

[...] Hawks fans: A slippery slopeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)In 6th place are the surging New York Knicks, who are struggling to stay winners at home, but are doing better on the road than the Hawks, Magic, and Bulls. …and more » [...]

Ray

January 2nd, 2011
8:47 am

All I know is this we should have saw most of this coming such as Al Horford moving to the PF spot and pretty much forgetting his a Center on the team. J-smoove beginning to embrace actually being a SF not a PF. JJ not being who we thought he was(has to have the ball doing his own thing).

It’s apparent that we need people to help Horford battle down in the low post because it’s not long before he gives up being a C all together. Rick Sund should have made a move the moment Horford said he didn’t want to be playing Center all that much.

As for Marvin he might want to accept coming off the bench soon because if Smith moves to SF permanently either he accepts the role or he’s trade bait.

Will

January 2nd, 2011
10:11 am

The hawks will never get any better with their current roster, infact they look a lot worse than last season.
They have got to make some major trades on this roster, and no player or players should be exempt. After 6 seasons to together, they look absolutely terrible most of the time.

Their home arena virtually empty each home gm, anytime you have a historical loser sports franchise like the hawks, ownership management has to make bold moves to improve. For example ASG, LOOK AT MR. BLANKS ATL FALCONS, HOME GMS SOLDOUT CAN’T GET A TICKET.

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2011
10:19 am

Doc ,

I think Al Horford has a good shot at it, but JJ isn’t going to make it. Josh? He does so many things, but not enough of any of them. His assist and block averages won’t get him all-star recognition, and his points/rebounds are inferior to those of Al Horford.

O’brien ,

True. I think it’s a combination of not using the motion offense enough in fourth quarters, and an eroded ISO ability. We struggle worse this year in low scoring 4th quarters because we’re still relying on Joe and Jamal. You said it yourself – Jamal isn’t doing what he did last year, and Joe is struggling like crazy. Funny thing though, MC writes an article on this, and here is what Joe had to say…

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/johnsons-shooting-slows-hawks-792736.html

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2011
10:24 am

As a matter of fact, here is Joe’s reaction to things:

“It may be a little tough at times because defensively, I am normally guarding their main guy,” Johnson said. “Then offensively, I’m coming down and fighting against two or three other guys. So it’s tough and frustrating at times.

“But that’s neither here nor there. We could just make the easy plays and then things wouldn’t be so difficult, but we just don’t do that.”

And there it is. How many times have we heard this? Make no mistake, Joe is very lightly complaining about having to be THE perimeter defender on the team. And, he’s complaining about the team’s execution.

Now, we could use this to take shots at Joe for not being a leader, for pointing fingers, for complaining, etc. We could talk about his mammoth contract and his less than stellar production. No doubt, some will take this opportunity.

However, Joe is saying exactly what has been said for the last three years by players, coaches, fans, etc.

Guess what? Somebody needs to dial up Micheal Gearon and tell him the experiment is over. Your core is flawed, the exact same problems exist because of this, and you need to make a change. Let’s be patient and wait….for what?

Slippery slope….

niremetal

January 2nd, 2011
10:38 am

Big Ray/AJ,

Re: the Bucks…I honestly don’t see why on earth people thought they would improve in the first place. It seemed like the perfect example of thinking being “active” during the offseason will automatically lead to improvement, regardless of whether said activity addresses the team’s needs.

The Bucks’ issues last year were frontcourt depth, outside shooting, and turnovers. They attempted to address the first two issues by swapping Kurt Thomas for Drew Gooden, but while Gooden has a better offensive skill set and is a better rebounder than Thomas, he is an inferior defender and a less efficient offensive player than Thomas (Gooden has fallen in love with his jumper). They hoped another year of experience would make Jennings more efficient. It hasn’t really, and to make matters worse they forgot to get him a decent backup to replace Ridnour. They did absolutely nothing to address their outside shooting issues, unless you count adding two wings who shot 26% from deep last year.

They’ve had a tough schedule so far this year, and I definitely expect them to pull back to .500 by the end of the year. But I didn’t see why people thought the quantity of moves they made this summer would significantly improve the team.

niremetal

January 2nd, 2011
10:39 am

*first issues, not first two issues

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2011
10:48 am

jlewis ,

I can’t blame people for being down on Joe Johnson, but I think most have the wrong reasons for it. Here’s how I see it: Joe started the season struggling, and we’re not sure why. Is it due to the mysterious elbow issue? Has this been a problem for some time, but was never brought to the forefront? Besides all that, there are these depressing thoughts:

1) Joe is talking about not having enough range of motion with his elbow. He’s talking about maybe NEVER having that range of motion back. That effectively changes his shot, as we’ve seen. This is BAD, BAD, BAD.

2) Joe isn’t going to heal properly and get back to form this season. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that. Why? Because he won’t get the rest. He’ll continue to be our premiere perimeter defender. He’ll continue to work harder than he has to (or should have to) on offense. And he’ll continue to play at least 38 mpg as things get tight and the team fights for playoff position. That’s right. Joe isn’t going to get better until he has a full offseason to do so, and maybe even then he might not, if he’s right about his own elbow. So, we’re looking at 17 ppg on forty to forty-three percent shooting, with 5 boards and 6 assists per game. Want to be more depressed? We gave him Gilbert Arenas money. That can’t be helped now, which means management better realize that you have to surround him with better fitting pieces and better chemistry.

This chemistry experiment is closer to being set to blow than many think…

3) I woke up and realized that given his current health and struggles, Joe is not our best player right now. Or, if he still is, he’s just a slight cut above Al Horford, maybe. That isn’t good, because we need more than that. We can’t get it out of other sources. Jamal is less consistent and very one dimensional. Marvin? Who ever freakin’ knows. He plays crappy, then gets hurt. He plays well, then gets hurt. How will he play when he gets back? I’m not making any wagers.

Smith continues to be himself, even if he’s a better version of it every year. It’s still HIMSELF.

sigh

Slippery slope….