Impressive road win for Hawks

I don’t think anybody saw this beating coming. I know the Utah Jazz certainly didn’t, as evidenced by the look on Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan’s face.

It’s a common refrain: “when the Hawks play like this, they’re tough to beat.” Heard it enough times already? I’ll bet you have. No one can deny the validity of such a statement, though. Atlanta hit shots from everywhere, including a blazing 14 of 25 from 3 point territory, and even went 16 of 18 from the free throw line. What could go wrong with Joe and Jamal coming fairly close to 30 points apiece for the second night in a row, and Al Horford joining in the fun? Four guys hit 50% or better from beyond the arc, and four guys also had at least 4 assists. The ball swung a lot more often than it got pounded in place, and everything went right for the Hawks, or so it seemed.

Small note: The officiating was horrible all night long, for both teams. Where did they get those guys? Obviously none of them stayed at a Holiday Inn….

Total Effort beats Eraser

As much as can be said about the offense, the bigger story was the defense. For once, the Hawks played defense as a team, and it really showed. The only Jazz player to play significant time and shoot 50% or better was Andrei Kirilenko, who also happened to be the only Jazz player who seemed to get much daylight. Kirilenko was open more often than not, and guess what? Marvin Williams wasn’t in the game, so he can’t be blamed. Nope, this time it was Josh Smith who constantly lost his man. And there’s the rub – the Hawks defended very well and won big because their team defense got the job done. When the Hawks give a total effort, they don’t need their “eraser” so much. Nothing against Smith, but this is exactly where the Hawks want to be – able to defend a team well without relying on a athletic, shot-blocking risk taker to make up for two or three botched assigments on a single possession. Nothing showed the effort more than Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby fighting tooth and nail to get through screens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Crawford fight that hard to stay with his man. Seriously.

So of course, here’s the big question. Will the Hawks have short memory syndrome and forget the results of a defensive effort like this, or will they commit to playing like this more often? After all, it’s not like that hail fire of jumpers is going to rain down on every opponent every night. That would be a problem, as the Hawks often act like they don’t know what to do when their jumpers aren’t falling.

Going big, or going bust?

If Larry Drew sticks with his big lineup most nights and leaves Marvin on the bench, how long before playing Josh Smith at the small forward spot begins to hurt the team? Smith can guard a lot of guys, but he’s not the best on-ball defender. Unfortunately, an on-ball defender is what you must be against many guys who are playing small forward these days, most especially the better ones. After all, not every guy playing a position is a natural at that position. Some centers are really power forwards. Some power forwards are really small forwards. And some small forwards? Really, they are shooting guards. Of late, Smith has been getting into foul trouble, and it has limited his play on both ends of the court.

It’s not just positioning. We all know that when Josh begins to play bad, he gets into a funk and then seems to hardly be able to do anything right. The question is, can the team survive with him logging serious miutes at SF, or is this going to be an issue that Drew will have to address? Let’s keep in mind that effort notwithstanding, it will affect Josh’s production when rebounding and defending the rim are concerned. Also, Josh seems to gamble on steals a lot more when he’s defending guys who are adept at handling the ball, which is something he will come up against a lot when defending small forwards. It’s not nearly the same issue when he’s defending low post guys.

Moving Forward

The Atlanta Hawks have 11 more games to play in the month of January, and 7 in the month of February, prior to the trade deadline. While most expect the Hawks won’t make a move (or perhaps only a minor one) prior to the deadline, this may be the time to watch closely how some things are going for the team. As it stands right now, the Hawks do well in some games with a guard rotation of Bibby, Johnson, Crawford, and Evans. Much of this depends on the defensive efforts that the Hawks make, as this is the only way Jeff Teague can possibly crack the rotation. Does the front office see a need for a third point guard that can play defense and take care of the ball, while hitting a shot or two? Maybe not, if Crawford keeps playing well, as his offense is clearly acceptable as an offset to his usually shaky/nearly nonexistent defense, at least where the coaching staff is concerned. How patient are the Hawks going to be with Jeff Teague? Could there be in deals lurking in the background that may be offered? Somebody we don’t expect to be moved, could actually get moved. Again, this largely depends on how the Hawks play during this stretch.

Getting back to the schedule, Atlanta will play 8 road games and 10 home games between now and the deadline. Of those road games, only two are against opponents with winning records. Of the 10 home games, only two are against opponents with winning records. What does this mean? If the Hawks can play with more than a modicum of consistency for the next 18 games, they could go on quite a run.

What do YOU think? A realistic thought, or a pipe dream?

139 comments Add your comment

Show me state

January 6th, 2011
1:39 pm

This was a very impressive win for the Hawks. This was how they supposed to have played since the start of the season but injuries and lack of efficiency to the offense prevented them from reaching their peak as we saw last night. Hopefully this is a good sign for things to come as long as “they” as a “team” buy into it. I believe they have turned the corner but only time will tell but in the meantime. Go Hawks!!!

vava74

January 6th, 2011
1:40 pm

ummm… yesterday the stars where definitively aligned and that will not be happening all the time like that (specially Jamal’s current blazing moment).

I think that we do not need another PG simply because the existing 4 player rotation can be complemented with Teague whenever necessary, so why should we pack our roster with another G when we are already heavy on that front?

It’s not MY rotation though, merely my opinion on the existing rotation.

If push comes to shove, heck I would even go with JJ at the PG slot and fulfill Billy Knight’s wet dreams of a team full of 6′5” and above guys (counting on Mo and Jamal at the SG).

Given his showing against Lebron I am partial to re-signing Wilkins.

On Josh… I think that he and Marvin will have to split minutes and that will allow us to have a stronger and more consistent rotation on all front court slots.

I sympathize with Powell but his advanced stats on http://www.82games.com simply kill him, exposing him as a defensive liability, a poor man’s Jamal at the PF slot with his nifty moves and quick release jumpers and little D*.

* I think his game has been hampered severely due to his bum knee: it’s not that he does not get to right spots, it’s just that he physically does not respond.

O'Brien

January 6th, 2011
2:27 pm

Impressive win last night, from start to finish, on offense and defense.

However, almost any team in the league can say “when we play like that, we’re hard to beat”. The fact is the Hawks (and most teams) don’t play like that very often.

So what will the Hawks do when the jump shots are not falling? Or what will they do when they play a very good defensive team and are not getting the open looks? That’s the concern.

Schedule wise, they should be able to rack up some wins before the trade deadline, and this will lead to the annual “we will explore all the options, but we like our team” comments by Rick and the ASG.

Jamal’s decision making at PG seems to have improved, so I think Teague will continue to be 3rd stringer. And realistically, I dont know what deal might be available for them to improve without picking up extra salary.

O'Brien

January 6th, 2011
2:31 pm

When the season started, LD would only start Jason Collins against certain teams. Based on his comments, I think Collins will start more often than not, and Marvin Williams will be the one to only start against certain teams.

If that happens when Marvin comes back, I think Josh will start at SF, but he will also play minutes at backup PF, essentially taking most of Josh Powell’s minutes.

With Jamal playing so well, he is increasing his value, making it more unlikely that the Hawks can afford him this offseason. Maybe the Hawks will do a sign and trade with the Knicks for Jamal, in return for a TPE.

doc

January 6th, 2011
3:12 pm

it would be good to see them go about 14 and 6 at least in the next 18 games there BR. i think they have to to keep pace and continue to rally toward the top four again. realistically it may take a run of 15 and 3 to gain on those ahead of us. seems like schedule might be favorable. i hope the trend to more drew ball continues and we stay away from injuries. as far as lone ups still would loke jj at 3 more and maybe see the smurf ball marvin we all bust around doing some four work in spreading the load and making other teams take notice and have to match up in different ways to us.
any way good road trip yhat almost went south in l a and sac as the guys put 4 quarters together finally against one of the gooduns.

i_am_soulstar

January 6th, 2011
3:25 pm

I saw this coming (and won a little doe as a reward from my clairvoyance, thanks to a blind Jazz fan who doesn’t watch his team’s injury report), but only because Milsap and Okur were out and Joe and Jamal have been beasting on all opponents.

Didn’t predict them playing 4 full quarters of solid basketball. Did anyone else feel like a proud dad?

It seems like we had more of these blowout wins last year by this point, but we’re still about where we were record-wise. Great win by the Hawks.

newkid

January 6th, 2011
4:14 pm

“Of those road games, only two are against opponents with winning records. Of the 10 home games, only two are against opponents with winning records. What does this mean?”

What it should mean is that this period is perfect for making ‘early’ moves and acclimating the new acquisitions to new teammates and LD’s system for what’s sure to be a very difficult stretch run, and extremely competitive EC playoffs. If he has anything but a ‘do nothing’ plan for this year, we should expect Sund to reveal it during the early part of this period.

Rufus1

January 6th, 2011
4:15 pm

@Big Ray

Be careful Big Ray saying Josh isn’t the best on ball defender…his supporters might hunt you down.

I believe Collins Starting gives the Hawks roster the much needed balance…I believe he is our Kendrick Perkins. If we look at him that way, I think our roster looks more elite.

Marvin off the bench and Jamal as the 4qt PG…..(:

Jamals growth at the PG, makes Bibby more valuble as a shooter(imo). Jamal has been penetrating more and creating open shots for his team.

I believe we are getting closer to the ECF.

Rufus1

January 6th, 2011
4:21 pm

18 game record 14-4 38-18 with 26 games left, 17-9 get the Hawks to 55 wins…

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2011
5:08 pm

Good comments, Big Ray. Collins is averaging right at 19 minutes in this most recent set of starts, so assuming that he and Marvin are mutually exclusive (which they are not), that gives Marvin close to 30 minutes a game of playing time.

Here’s my preemptive question for Marvin’s numerous detractors, as he returns tom the team given the most recent set of data points (i.e. Joe/Jamal scoring 55+ points, Mo stroking it from deep and Al still mostly having an effective mid-range game), should Marvin return to the team with an aggressive offensive mindset or should he “let the game come to him”? The latter may mean 4-5 FGAs when the other guys are red-hot. Will the detractors acknowledge that in order to “feed them and fan them” someone needs to take fewer shots? Or will someone suggest that Al Thornton would be a better fit than Marvin (laughable I know, but possible on these AJC blogs)?

More than worrying about his scoring average, Marvin needs to do what is needed to keep the team on it’s current winning streak. Sometimes that may require 10+ FGAs in a game, sometimes 4-5 may be sufficient.

O'Brien

January 6th, 2011
7:40 pm

AJ,

Good point. Depending on the flow of the game, Marvin’s role will change.

His number of shots may change, and sometimes all that might be needed from Marvin is lock down defense so that JJ doesnt have to guard the other team’s best player.

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2011
8:14 pm

OB and lockdown defense is a very relative term. IMO, holding a player below their season scoring average is about as close to “lockdown” as you’re going to get… especially at the SF position. If Granger averages 21 points and Marvin holds him to 19, that’s “lockdown” defense.

Big Ray

January 6th, 2011
8:43 pm

Good points all around, guys.

Newkid ,

I suspect you are right. As O’brien says, a solid winning streak or two will only serve as justification to stand pat, which is quite possibly the plan anyhow. Of course, we don’t know that for certain, but speculation and blogs go hand in hand….

O’brien ,

No deal involving extra salary is likely to be approved unless the acquisition is a highly prized asset, or it’s a salary that expires at the end of the season. Since Jamal’s expires at the same time, it’s hard to see why one expired contract will get traded for another. Again, we don’t know, but we can speculate.

Big Ray

January 6th, 2011
8:50 pm

Astro Joe ,

Excellent, excellent point where Marvin Williams is concerned. Fickles is the viewpoint on this guy, as some swear up and down that he needs to be more aggressive.

I think a more realistic and understanding view is to expect him to be flexible. He says he knows where his shots are coming from in LD’s offense, which is good. That should mean that he knows when to shoot and when not to. My only issue with his production is when his contribution is needed, but he doesn’t contribute. Or, when he misses the bulk of the few shots he takes (mainly an issue if they are open shots).

On the other end of the floor, there is never such a thing as grabbing too many rebounds, contesting too many shots, or playing too much defense. I really like your description of lock-down defense. Allow me to elaborate – if you hold a guy under his season average and also keep him from shooting a high percentage, you’ve positively affected the game from a defensive standpoint. As long as the effort is there, the results generally follow. And, we all know there are nights when guys are just hot, and can’t be stopped.

Marvin rarely gives up the kind of night that he did to Golden State’s Dorell Wright. And for that, we should be grateful.

Big Ray

January 6th, 2011
8:55 pm

Rufus1 ,

Well, they can come if they like, LOL. I’ve been a longtime supporter of Josh Smith. And as such, I know what he’s good at, and what he’s not. Defending the rim and changing shots? Yes. Ball-hawking guys who handle the rock? No. That’s no insult or offensive criticism, it’s just how things are. Nobody talks about Josh being a steals leader or lock-down perimeter defender. They talk about him being the best shot-blocker under 7 feet of height, and the youngest in the history of the League to block as many shots as he has.

The facts say it all.

Having said that, he’s not a bad on ball defender, but you don’t want him out there chasing a quicker guy who can handle the ball pretty good. It invites fouls and keeps him away from doing what he does best: blocking/altering shots, and coming from the weak side to pick off passes.

Big Ray

January 6th, 2011
8:56 pm

I am Soulstar ,

Definitely proud of last night’s efforts and results. I think the difference between last year and this year (besides not having as many injuries) is that we have a better road record early on.

v8dreaming

January 6th, 2011
11:43 pm

Jamal Crawford and ? to Denver for Anthony?

Melvin

January 7th, 2011
12:22 am

Ed

January 7th, 2011
1:57 am

Good work Ray…“Of those road games, only two are against opponents with winning records. Of the 10 home games, only two are against opponents with winning records. What does this mean?”

I say it means business as usual if you look at the ratio of winning teams the Hawks have played so far this season. It seems they have seldom played teams with a winnng record. Is this an indictment on the quality of teams in the league, or is the last third of the season backloaded with mostly playoff teams?

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
8:33 am

Big Ray,

And with Josh defending quicker guys (at SF), we dont want him to pick up 2 first half fouls, not with LD’s 2 foul rule.

I dont think the ASG will make any trades, so I hope the Hawks keep winning. Nothing would be more frustrating as a fan than to see your team losing, while the front office does nothing.

Speaking of trades, if you’re the Nets, are you willing to give up multiple first round picks in the trade for Carmelo, when all indications are that he will sign with the Knicks?

wordsmithtom

January 7th, 2011
8:51 am

Melvin,
Good find.
Speaks to what I think will be potential for moves next year under the new CBA that Hawks owners are unwilling to attempt now. That article specifically targets the Lakers, who IMHO, are a wildcard in the D Howard lottery. They already have $$$ issues with Kobe, Pau, Odom to ink…do they switch directions??? Until they stopped their recent losing streak, the natives were starting to get restless. Suffice to say: Lakers won’t stand pat if they fear falling by staying in place. There will be players available if they make changes, and if the CBA is more restrictive.

Crawfard in the HOT list for Yahoo today. Love the guy, but now is the time to look for that PG of the future, and JC1 will never be more valuable. Just sayin’. Like his game, but the new CBA looms large.

Rod from College Park

January 7th, 2011
11:54 am

Astro Joe,

I’m sure I’m considered to be one of Marvin’s main detractors, and my response to your question is this. I could care less how many points Marvin averages. The real issue with him is that he does not force the man he is guarding, (Granger, Lebron, Pierce, Iggy……) to respect him offensively. Teams rotate their worse defenders no matter what size to check Marvin, and he can’t take advantage of it. When he is on the floor with the starters, we are really playing 5 against 4 offensively. It’s the same concept when we have Bibby on the floor defensively. Teams always try to attack Bibby. With Marvin, teams leave him alone and pressure Joe Johnson, which in turn leaves us with Josh and Al shooting Jumpers. At least with Collins on the floor, he sets screens, and occupies space, which in turn should open up driving lanes. Another issue with Marvin is he is a jump shooter, who gets no jump shooter respect. He is left open Just like Josh, who is not a jump shooter. The difference is teams still have to keep a man on Josh, and they would not dare put a 6′2 guard on him like they do with Marvin, because he would take them straight to the post, which Marvin can’t do. When everyone on the floor has to be respected on the offensive end, it opens the floor up tremendously, which should in turn help the offense, as we have ssen to some extent. Again Collins is not an offensive player at all, but his big body and screen setting, and dirty work will help the offense. I would much rather a Al Thorton type of player at the 3. Much less money, would be able to put up better numbers than Marvin in our offense easily, and he would bring us something that no player on our roster does very well. He is able to take his man of the dribble, and finish strong. That alone would help this team tremendously.

Big Ray,

We are on the same page about Josh. The Rufus1 comment was directed at me because I told him that Josh is a better defender than Marvin and Horford. Would I prefer Josh running around chasing Lebron, Granger and Pierce, NO. But if my option is Josh, or Marvin, I’ll choose Josh everyday of the week, and twice on Sunday. Josh is a playmaker defensively period. Marvin is not. Playmakers take chances. That is what makes them great. My question to anybody who has this Josh is a terrible on ball defender crap in their head. Ten seconds left in the game, Lebron (insert any other great player Wade, Kobe, Melo….) at the top of the key iso’d, who would you want guarding them, Marvin or Josh? I know who I’d pick. A particular play against Wade a couple of years ago come to mind.

Big Ray

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
12:26 pm

Rod,

I consider myself a Marvin detractor (and with his play, he has deserved it).

However, since November 28, Marvin has scored 15 or more points in 8 of the 17 games he played in. If he keeps it up, then he will get more respect on the offensive end as the season continues.

wordsmithtom,

The issue with trading Jamal for a PG of the future is LD only has a 2 year contract, and since Woody was fired despite 53 wins and a second round appearance, I doubt if LD can afford to think about the future.

He has to think about this season and this playoff, and the way Jamal is playing, I can’t imagine LD or Rick trading him.

And I’m not sure there is a long term PG available via trade right now either.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
12:29 pm

In 5 of the 17 games, Marvin scored less than 8 points, so he does need to be more consistent too.

wordsmithtom

January 7th, 2011
1:44 pm

O’Brien,
I’m sure it’s the owners, not LD who will decide what’s to become of the “asset” JTO, not the player. I have no doubt LD wants to keep him. Ownership, OTOH, has to weigh his expiring contract with the consideration of whether they can or will sign him going forward and if not, do they want to lose his VALUE with no compensation. A sign and trade with New York could cure that. But, it won’t be LD’s decision.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
4:59 pm

wordsmithtom,

From a financial POV, I think ownership will be fine with losing Jamal for no compensation because that means a lower team payroll next year.

Without Jamal (and Mo Evans), Hawks are already at $64 mil payroll next season. And with a lower CBA coming, ownership will not want to give Jamal a multi-year deal (imo).

Big Ray

January 7th, 2011
5:38 pm

Rod ,

I have to agree with the offensive issues. As O’brien has stated, he’s played quite well of late, with more aggression. However, like you say, he does not seem able to take advantage when teams run smaller players at him. I cannot for the life of me figure out how, at 6′9″ and 240 lbs, he is not able to back down guys who are 6′7″ and shorter, or 220 lbs and lighter.

You’re right, opposing teams too often run smaller defenders at him. I’ve concluded he’s not an off-the-dribble guy. He’s a jump shooter and somebody you give the ball to while in transition. Not to mention, he usually has about a 3% chance of converting an and-1 when going to the basket. I don’t know what to say other than we have what we have in him, and it’s not enough.

I know one thing about Josh’s gambling. 10 seconds left in the game, he’s not going to take a risk going for the steal. He is much more likely to block a shot or something to that effect, if he’s successful. But you forgot option C. Most likely, it will be Joe Johnson guarding Lebron/Granger/Melo/Kobe. Smith might actually be second choice to him.

Marvin? Usually not even on the floor at that point of the game, or so history has shown us.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2011
6:38 pm

O’brien ,

I’m curious as to how well Marvin rebounds from injury. If he starts back slow again, it’s trouble for him at least, although the team will be affected as well (especially with Damien Wilkins being on the fence at the moment). Also, how will he take to the bench role that may very well be waiting for him?

Big Ray

January 7th, 2011
6:48 pm

Wordsmithtom ,

Agreed. I doubt LD will even be asked for input, much less be in on the decision-making.

Crawford’s “pay me or trade me” request was an empty gun. He’s a good guy and a model community citizen, so the Hawks knew he wouldn’t sit out and refuse to play. He likes being here and wants to stay, so they knew he wouldn’t be a disruptive force in the locker room or on the court. His contract doesn’t expire until after the season is over, so they knew he couldn’t sign with anybody else.

In other words, this was going to get played out from the beginning.

As for foresight into how the CBA may go, and what opportunities can arise from it, I’m afraid that all hinges on what Gearon and his partner want to do. I don’t know how much they understand about the CBA and what not. The bottom line for them is how to keep the payroll from reaching the luxury tax, as we’ve been told already (ah yes, unless some special Lebron-level player becomes available somehow). So, this is what Sund will work with, regardless of what he sees or knows, and Sund probably isn’t going to make any clever suggestions.

I’m not saying he has no clever suggestions. I’m just saying he’ll probably go with the financial flow. The question is, will he be able to successfully operate under the ASG restrictions (whatever they entail), or will he not .

You can hold your breath on that one if you choose. Just remember that doing so causes you to pass out, at which point your body will begin breathing again, thereby negating your original action. ;)

Ken Strickland

January 7th, 2011
9:09 pm

Has anyone considered that the ASG’s current position on not resigning Jamal has something to do with the unknown CBA situation, and the possibility of the luxury tax and cap being reduced? It makes sense to me, since no team really has any idea of what the salary or luxury tax cap will be.

Once the current CBA expires, no team will be able to make any offers or deals. So, with his stated preference for remaining a Hawk, we might still have the inside track for his services, once a new CBA is signed.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
11:04 pm

Ken S,

The Hawks payroll is roughly $70 mil right now. With Jamal and Mo off the books, they will be at $64 mil next season. If they resign Jamal, they will probably be at $70 mil again.

And with a new CBA comes lower team payroll. So I cant see the Hawks keeping the same payroll, while they have Jordan Crawford who has lots of potential.

I think they are more likely to resign a vet min SG as a security blanket for Jordan.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
11:12 pm

Big Ray,

Hopefully Marvin will realize that its better to be the 2nd option on the bench, instead of the 5th option as a starter.

And if he looks at Jamal’s example, he will see a legit scorer who also ws a starter, but Jamal accepted the challenge and became SMOY.

Marvin’s goal should be to compete with Jamal for SMOY for the rest of the season (if LD moves him to the bench).

O'Brien

January 7th, 2011
11:16 pm

Some interesting stuff from the Ken Sugiura (filling in for MC).

Drew said that when he got the job, he sat down and wrote down a list of things he thought would make the team better. First was, as you might guess, an offense in which players would be forced to move the ball rather than playing isolation.

Said Drew, “I also kept saying Al is not a 5. Al is a 4. I wanted to have him playing more 4.” He wasn’t sure if that could happen, though, because he didn’t want to start Zaza Pachulia because he thought he helped the team the most coming off the bench, which left Collins, whom Drew knew from his one year as an assistant with the Nets.

6) A funny Drew observation about the other Hawks big men: “Let’s say they can’t guard Dwight (Howard). They think they can guard him now because of what Jason is doing. He’s going out there and battling and banging. So it’s a little bit of a ripple effect.”.

I can’t help but wonder if LD was really making all these suggestions to Woody.

Ken Strickland

January 8th, 2011
12:07 am

OBRIEN-you know that at some point LDrew tried making suggestions to Woodson, to no avail. You also know that at some point he stopped wasting his time making suggestions to him. I’m also certain it wasn’t lost on the players, or the ASG, that LDrew had offered viable resolutions to certain Hawk problems. This is likely why he was favored by Sund and the ASG all along.

It appears LDrew is finally turning the corner when it comes to his ability to push the ISO, high low post, or motion OFF button and the players immediately respond.

Ray

January 8th, 2011
11:02 am

Man I’m back out in the country again at college what wonderful fun lol.

Seriously I don’t have a clue what’s going on with the hawks at the moment remember the blowout win at the Jazz(awesome). What’s going on with Marvin has he heard about this bench role how’s he taking that?

Plus are we even in the market for a C I’ve heard Dalembert hope I didn’t misspell that and some others are available. Plus it seems like Pryzibilla might not be up for grabs big emphasis on might because he might be looking at the bucks.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2011
3:01 pm

O’brien ,

Very interesting comments by Drew. Never heard of that stuff before, but it certainly gives us some insight into how/why he’s doing things. I particularly noted Drew’s assertion that Al is not a center, but a PF.

Again, we’re having to make a choice here. Al and Josh can’t both be power forwards, and Josh isn’t the same player at the 3 spot. It doesn’t work the same way it does for the Lakers and say, Lamar Odom. Not without a higher caliber center. Oh, Collins is doing a good job for us, don’t get me wrong. But is he the best the Hawks can do as a starting center, and for how long does this last?

Ken Strickland

January 8th, 2011
4:44 pm

According to Hoopsworld, it appears DWilkins has been signed to a 10 day contract. Considering no one seems to know exactly when Marvin will be able to return, it makes sense. I think Damien would really be valuable after he’s gone through a training camp and preseason, and learned the complete OFF/DEF systems.

JPryzbilla stated that resigning with Portland was his 1st preference, and returning to the Bucks was his 2nd. I guess that sort of leaves the Hawks out of the running for his services. If, and this is a big if, the Hornets decide to trade CPaul, it would be an excellent opportunity for JJ to do some of the campaigning for his services, like he said he’d do. I remember when they played together during the World gms, and both indicated how nice it would be if they could play together.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
7:43 am

Nice, easy win for the Hawks, as it should be. If the guys continue playing like this, they could go on a very nice run and get back into the top 4 of the East. Of course, they won’t receive any credit for beating the slew of sub-.500 teams unless they win the 4 games against the winning teams……but so what? Wins count in the W/L column, and in the standings.

Comments:

1) How about this stat line? Joe, Josh, and Al each had 6 assists last night. That’s Drew’s offense when it’s being executed.

2) Jamal has been dialing up the assists lately. He had 4 last night. Over his last six games, he’s had 28 assists, good for an average of 4.67 per game. In the meantime, he’s averaging 25.4 ppg in his last 5 games.

What’s this mean? Jamal Crawford – penthouse.

3) Jeff Teague – outhouse. The rotation is settling into place. Jeff Teague isn’t in it. What’s more, he likely won’t be this season, as I said might be the case, back at the beginning of the season.

4) Horford can still function and compete as a center against certain opponents. Good to know Drew sees this as well.

5) Josh has one of his best games of the season, statistically. Not surprisingly, it comes when he’s playing PF, not SF. Hmmmmm.

6) Joe looking like his old self. You have to love it. And he plays well at the 3 spot. Everybody likes that. Except Danny Granger :twisted: .

7) Zaza always plays his best in a clearly defined role: THE backup center. Don’t know why Collins got the DNP, but Zaza certainly benefitted from it.

8)Mo Evans didn’t hit a shot or score a point. But 5 boards and 3 fouls will always let you know he was working out there.

9) Josh Powell – wondering if he’s still got any L.A. privileges left.

10) Free Jordan Crawford!

11) Damien Wilkins – best 10 day contract signing since….He’d also be my candidate to replace Mo Evans if he moves on next season. Seriously.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
7:51 am

Ken Strickland ,

Oh please don’t start passing that pipe around again. We all got the munchies last time. New Orleans isn’t trading CP3 unless he gets really unhappy again. They have a winning record now, and should maintain position as a playoff team.

As for Pryzbilla, he feels a lot of loyalty to the Portland organization, seeing as how they were the only ones to offer him a contract with guaranteed money early on in his career. Nobody else did, including our very own Atlanta Hawks, who let him walk as a free agent after he had been traded here. Reportedly, Atlanta either never offered him anything, or offered him some meager, not-worth-the-time contract that had no guaranteed money. He’s not wanted to have anything to do with the Hawks ever since. I doubt you’ll EVER see Prizz in the Highlight Factory unless the Blazers are in town for a game.

wordsmithtom

January 9th, 2011
10:45 am

Big Ray,
With Jamal buying into LD’s scheme and putting up assists, JT will have to find his dog and bite somebody before he sees the floor again. As DrMary so wisely said: the NBA is NOT a developmental league. Those who are willing to ball get to…. Jamal is obviously willing, as he has a lot to prove in front of an expiring contract. Good for him; good for us.

Again, we have 2 very good power forwards and no legitimate center. 2 good backups, true, but no real starting center. We’ve managed for several years this way, so I don’t expect a change this year. But, under the new CBA, we just might.

Hope this 4 game run can build. We need wins with Chicago and New York ballin’ and bitin’ at our heels.

Ken Strickland

January 9th, 2011
10:53 am

BIG RAY-I referenced Pryzbilla only to let everyone know not to expect him to ever end up in a Hawks uniform. At one point I was high on us acquiring him, but I’ve come to realize he wouldn’t be a good fit. He’s turned out to be just a notch or two below Oden when it comes to being injury prone.

You should know as well as anyone that $$$MONEY$$$ is what fuel’s Shinn, not a winning record, and the Hornets aren’t making any. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN Shinn will start bailing out on New Orleans like he did Charlotte. He’s either going to have to move the franchise, or sell it. I may have gotten it wrong, but didn’t the NBA seize control of the Hornets franchise?

If he wants a quick fix to cutting his financial loses, he’ll sell rather then move the franchise. Moving would require a lot of negotiations with potential prospects, as well as league approval, which would take considerable time. Selling would almost certainly require him to cut salaries, and he’ll start with his highest salaries.

I’m pretty certain most fans took the same attitude, regarding the possibility of Miami signing the big 3, that you’re taking concerning the possibility of CPaul becoming available, and us signing him.

Ken Strickland

January 9th, 2011
11:19 am

I read a series of comments by Jamal Crawford last night, and it looks like he doesn’t expect the Hawks to offer him a new contract. He basically said he’s now excited about his future prospects, and he gets to choose when he goes.

Unless he’s just blowing smoke, it appears that dumping his $10.8M expiring contract is more important to the Hawks than anything he provides on the court. If money is the issue, and if the CBA reduces both CAPS, there could be some major changes with the Hawks.

We could see the last of Jamal and MEvans in a Hawk uniform, as well as JSmith, since he can be replaced at PF by Horford. He’s also a more expensive option at SF than Marvin, and a far more valuable trade chip. With Bibby having a very tradeable expiring after this season, he could be gone as well.

With the Hawks losing $13-15M in expiring contracts(and the possibility of a S $ T with Jamal), and having Bibby’s very tradeable expiring contract, with JSmith as trade bait, we could definitely go a long way towards solving our PG and C problems without going into luxury tax territory. JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

O'Brien

January 9th, 2011
2:08 pm

I think Josh is more effective as a PF. However, I think he is a better all-around SF than Marvin because of his versatility.

How ironic is it that Marvin is probably the 3rd best SF on this team (behind JJ and Josh).

Ken S,

I think what will dictate the Hawks offseason is their playoff performace. Rick and the ASG like the core, but if they get swept in the playoffs again, I think there will be major changes.

Regardless of what happens though, I think Jamal will sign with somebody else, especially if they make him a starter.

My theory is the Hawks will do a sign and trade with the Knicks in return for a TPE.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
4:22 pm

wordsmithtom ,

How right you are. Except about one thing – Chicago has managed to stay ahead of us, and done it in style as the Bulls just recently knocked off the Celtics.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
4:29 pm

Ken Strickland ,

You may very well be right about New Orleans, CP3, and most certainly Shinn. But I didn’t see the “Big 3″ as being comparable in any way. The only thing I didn’t expect there was LeQueen choosing to follow, rather than lead.

As for the matter of contracts, I don’t know what to think. I tend to lean towards the finance part outweighing the need to field a better team. I have a feeling the owners are just fine with fielding a playoff team and cutting some contract fat loose. Is that good business? Yes. Is it good basketball? Maybe not. But I don’t know what the ASG’s thinking is, other than “we will avoid the luxury tax at all costs, unless a megastar is available, who will win us rings and have revenues shooting throught the roof.”

Ok, so that’s my interpretation. But it ain’t far off from what Michael Gearon said….

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
4:31 pm

O’brien ,

Marvin as the 3rd best SF on the team? That’s quite a statement. I’m sure there will be some fire coming from certain corners on that one, LOL. Your first advocate though, will be Rod .

LOL, sorry Rod , but I just don’t see you disagreeing with the notion. And to be honest, I think the concept has some merit anyhow. But what do I know?

Big Ray

January 9th, 2011
4:40 pm

I don’t know how much change we can expect if we get swept in the playoffs, which I don’t think we will.

What I see is too many opportunities to make excuses or get out of making major moves of any kind. If we have any major injuries during the postseason, that will be used as a reason for losing. If we lose in the 2nd round to a team that wins it all or comes close, then is management really going to say “hey, we need to make major changes”, or are they going to say “well, we need to tinker with some non-core parts”? I’m thinking it will be the latter, not the former. At most, letting Jamal walk could be proclaimed as a major change (when in fact, it WON’T be, but a trade WOULD be). There won’t be a S&T with Jamal, I’m betting. I’m thinking it would be a regular ol’ UFA deal. A S&T is more work than the Hawks like to go through these days. When’s the last S&T you’ve seen around here? I’m not being critical, I’m just going with what history tells us.

I think we would have to lose in the first round of the playoffs, and do so in a non-competitive way, for this franchise to even entertain any core-changing moves. I don’t know whether this is good or bad, but the fact is, this team probably just isn’t bad enough to have that happen. At least not if fully healthy (or close to it).

It could be the perfect trap: bad enough to not get better (and maybe get slightly worse), but good enough to justify management sitting on it’s collective hands. Who knows.

O'Brien

January 9th, 2011
5:34 pm

I don’t think the hawks will get swept in the playoffs either. But after getting to the second round the last 2 seasons, will it be enough if we lose 4-3 in the first round?

Although if that happens, rick will probably say we lost because we didn’t have homecourt, and the reason we didn’t have homecourt, is because of Injuries. So he will give the core one more year.

As for the bulls winning despite injuries, I agree with Ken. Their biggest advantage is a PG. Bibby (IMO) is more a combo guard. I look forward to the hawks-bulls games.

Astro Joe

January 9th, 2011
5:41 pm

I wonder if all fan bases complain that the guy who takes the 5th most shots on the team doesn’t score more? I guess Marvin would need to shoot close to 70% to score more on those nights when he gets like 6 shots.

Astro Joe

January 9th, 2011
5:46 pm

OB, I’m sure LD talked to Woody about his ideas. Don’t you think Lester Connor offers ideas to LD? And don’t you think LD accepts some and rejects some?