Hawks fans: The view on Coach Drew

Well, after 41 games played, the Hawks sit with a record of 26 wins and 15 losses at the literal halfway point in the season. Is this where we should expect them to be? Are they further along than last season, or behind it? On pace to win 52 games if they can match the results of the first half, the Hawks would seem to have not lost much ground. However, two major factors could stand in Atlanta’s way of once again winning a top 3 or top 4 seed to the playoffs: a tougher second half schedule, and the Chicago Bulls.

In the meantime, how is Head Coach Larry Drew looking? At the suggestion of Hawks fan and blogger Astro Joe, we’ll review some major topics involving the “new” sideline prowler. I would post Astro Joe’s thoughts on the situation at the time of his excellent suggestion (which was weeks ago), but he may have taken a different view on some subjects by now. At any rate, here is some of what he (and I’m sure many of us) thought we should review on Larry Drew:

1) The offense. Clearly, things are different for the team from this aspect. Well, that is to say that they have the potential to be different. Two things have been constant for  Atlanta the last couple of years. One, they knew they could win by sharing the ball, and often win big. Two, they have relied on the work of two go-to scorers in the backcourt when other things weren’t working, or when things got tough. In other words, the ball movement of Drew’s offense makes this team better when they choose to execute it consistently. Truthfully, the ball and player movement is better. But neither is as consistent as it should be. Is this an issue with the guys wearing the jerseys, as it was last season? Does it fit a team that boasts two of the most talented offensive backcourt players? Has Drew truly improved the offense, or does more credit go to the growth of guys like Al Horford? How has this new offense fared in the tougher, tighter games? Last season, the Hawks scored 101.7 ppg on 46.8% shooting. This season? 98.1 ppg on 46.9% shooting.

2) The defense. Larry Drew said he would hold everybody accountable on defense, and he’s more or less been true to his word. That is to say, Drew has the Hawks playing man-to-man defense, rather than switching all the time. What of the results? The Hawks are allowing 95.3 ppg and 45.3% on field goals for opponents. Last season, the Hawks allowed 97 ppg on 46% shooting. However, it seems more like the Hawks are trying to outscore opponents more than they are trying to stop them. But, as some of you have already noted, this may be the best path for a team that isn’t built for great team defense. Also, the Hawks are rebounding slightly less than last season. Is Drew truly holding the Hawks accountable on defense? The last game (a loss to the Rockets) demonstrated some unfavorable defensive results, as well as more of the same observations. How about what Coach Drew thought about it? Well, it’s a bit interesting. At the same time, we’ve seen better defensive efforts out of Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford than we’ve ever seen out of them in a Hawks uniform. Is it enough? What about team defense overall?

3) Developing the youngsters. Where does second year guard Jeff Teague truly stand? In the beginning, Larry Drew proclaimed that he wanted Jeff Teague to compete for the starting job. Teague didn’t even look the part, to be honest. After probably 30 games, it seemed that the kid finally came out of his shell, showing himself to be more aggressive on both ends of the court in most games where he got any real playing time. However, he still isn’t even a part of the rotation. Is he simply not good enough? I’d argue that the answer is “yes” in the beginning of the season. But now? Well, it seems that Drew is seeing things precisely the way his predecessor saw them: it’s more productive from an offensive standpoint to bring Crawford off the bench as THE backup guard. Is Drew still committed to Teague’s development, or is the young point man simply caught up in a situation where Crawford’s recent offensive output is just too much to ignore?

What about Jordan Crawford? With Joe Johnson back in his groove, and Crawford playing like he’ll get the Sixth Man award a second straight year, the rookie shooting guard doesn’t look to have much of a chance at playing more than 2-3 mpg. Maybe Drew can’t be blamed here, seeing as how the Hawks have trouble finishing a game off early these days. But back to Teague – is it situational, or is the head coach simply not keeping his word?

4) Josh will play more in the paint, Horford more at the 4. This is sort of like the promises a presidential candidate makes during his/her campaign. Drew said he would get Josh off the perimeter, and more into the paint. He also said he would play Al Horford more at the power forward position. The latter? Check. The former? Well, um…..

The situation with Josh Smith continues to be a bit of a roller coaster. From a positive perspective, Smith has finally developed an actual jump shot, and is shooting respectably from three point range. From a negative perspective, his field goal percentage is down from last season’s 50.5% to 46.6%. What about all the shots in between the paint and the three point arc? This is where much of the trouble is, as Smith doesn’t hit enough of those to justify his shot selection. If you want more details into this one specific aspect of Hawks basketball, read the blog after every game and look for Hawks fan/blogger Niremetal’s “Josh’s jumpers update.” Yes, we do some interesting things around here.

Either way, Josh hasn’t gotten into the paint more than usual. Perhaps the most likely indication is his free throw attempts. Smith is on pace to have fewer of those this season than he did last season. Suffice it to say that he doesn’t get fouled much on jumpshot attempts. Is this typical stubborn Josh, or is it a result of Drew’s offense? Either way, the promise isn’t being delivered on.

5) Lineups and use of the bench. Larry Drew has made his mark with the way he uses this roster, if nothing else. Marvin Williams’ absence due to injury is possibly all that keeps Drew from revealing whether or not he’ll go with a different starting lineup from here on out, than in year’s past. Interstingly enough, it may be Marvin Williams who finds himself a starter no longer, and a super sub (we hope, if that be the case) instead. Drew helped motivate Jason Collins into better physical condition, then rewarded his hard work and savvy with 14 game starts, mostly against teams with bigger centers. The results have largely been favorable, as that Hawks lineup has proven statistically to be the most effective lineup overall in many situations. Oddly enough, most guys are playing the same minutes they played last season, with some notable exceptions. Joe Johnson is down to a more manageable 36 mpg, while Mike Bibby is up to 31 mpg (27.4 last season). The difference? More guys playing double figure minutes when they do get into games. Last season, 9 guys played double figure minutes, with a tenth averaging just under 10 mpg. This season, there are 11 Hawks playing in double figure minutes, with a twelfth averaging just under 10 mpg. The rotation itself is largely the same.

Yet, another major difference is where guys are playing. While Al Horford enjoys more time at his more natural position of power forward (don’t argue with me, he says it and the coach says it), Joe Johnson has played more small forward, and Mo Evans has played more shooting guard.

 

So there you have it. How would you grade Head Coach Larry Drew so far this season? You can grade him according to the above categories, but don’t stop there. Come up with your own categories and grades as well.

HAWKS VS. KINGS

Last Meeting: The Hawks needed a heavy dose of Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford to close out a somewhat tight win over the Kings. The frontcourt struggled all night. But that was in Sacramento. Will the frontcourt guys get their act together and supplement the red hot Johnson and Crawford back home in the Highlight Factory?

195 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
7:38 am

To weigh in on the marketing discussion, I dont think we should judge attendance on strictly where the team ranks in the league (attendance vs standings).

Are we taking stadium/arena capacity into consideration, or are we just looking at number of fans at the game?

Along those lines, I hope the ASG marketing department is not concerned about where the team attendance ranks in comparison to other teams.

They should be concerned about the number of empty seats in the arena, and are they doing all they can to bring in more fans (regardless of the history of ATL Sports fans).

doc

January 19th, 2011
8:51 am

that sorry jamal only +14 last night. guy csnt play at all. never shows up for big games either because his defense is so sorry. cant wait for sund to replace him with another player the league picks up some of the salary for.

doc

January 19th, 2011
8:57 am

o’b they suck when they get too much rest, it seems. comments like, no focus, no energy, come out flat …. seem to follow those long rests. amazing we were able to win on the road not at full strength.

UGASlobberknocker

January 19th, 2011
9:20 am

The Hawks take off too many nights. Drew is not pushing for 100% effort. He is the players choice and that never works. I would place him in the bottom 5 coaches in the NBA.. Certainly the worst coach who isnt old and white.

Melvin

January 19th, 2011
9:34 am

UGAslob,

You chose to bash the Hawks after their biggest win of the season. Now that’s good timing…..

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
9:42 am

Interesting perspective from Josh on chasing LeBron through all of those screens. Presumably, this is true for other SFs (like Granger, Pierce, Hedo, etc.). I wonder if other SFs on the team sometimes “lose their legs” when fighting through all of those screens.

“It’s so hard to be able to guard so many re-screens,” Josh said. “You find your legs getting tired. They beat you up on the screens. But it’s all mental for me and I just fought through it.

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
9:51 am

AJ,

Assuming they do, one way to help is for the other SFs on the team to be an offensive threat. That way, the other team’s SF has to play defense, run through screens etc, and not get the chance to rest on defense all the time.

Fortunately for the Hawks, Marvin has been playing better (15 ppg)of late. Hopefully he will come back healthy and pick up where he left off.

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
9:53 am

doc, Jamal had a very nice game, no doubt. And the Hawks are exceptional on the second night of back-to-back games… so there is definitely something to your earlier point about struggling after too much rest. More than the fact that they won the game, I love HOW they won the game. Much less finesse and much more toughness and determination. Now, can they keep that up when all are healthy or does that resolve only show up when a key figure is hurt (e.g. Joe or Al)?

It was funny watching Bibby “moisturize” himself in the background while Joe was being interviewed after the game. I think he was putting on a show for the camera, at least, I’d like to think that he was putting on a show… :lol:

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
9:58 am

Doc,

I’ve heard baseball players say when they are sick, they have better at-bats sometimes, because they are more focused on the task at hand, and things slow down for them. Maybe thats what the Hawks are doing when they are a little tired. More focus.

As for Jamal, I wish the ASG can afford to resign him. He is a great asset to have on the bench, as long as the coach keeps an eye on minutes and whether he is hot or not.

But we need to upgrade other areas of the bench too. Maybe the Hawks will go on a run in the playoffs, and convince the ASG to spend more money.

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
9:58 am

OB, I think it comes down to playing roles within the team. If Marvin has 10 gallons of fuel to burn in a game, on this team when everyone is healthy, I think he needs to burn about 7 of those gallons on the defensive end. What I took from the statement is that chasing SFs through, over and around screens can affect your legs, which we know, can affect your offense. But on this team, I’d much rather see him burn his fuel on defense than not close out or not chase the opposing player so that he is fresh to take a 20 foot jumper. And we have definitely watched some players decide not to spend the fuel on defense.

UGASlobberknocker

January 19th, 2011
10:05 am

Hey Melvin, Im not bashing the Hawks. The blog asked what we thought of Drew. I answered.

It was a great win last night Dont know how long youve been a Hawks fan, but I attended the first ever Hawks game at Tech in 1968 at age 10. Been a fan for better and mostly worse since then. Sweet Lou, Pistol Pete, Nique, Tree, Doc, Willis and more. so not a Hawk basher but a long time fan who knows a bad coach when he sees one.

UGASlobberknocker

January 19th, 2011
10:25 am

I didnt get to the Kings game this yr on MLK day. Even tho Im a kinda old white guy, I think the day game on MLK day is the biggest home game of the yr. I also think the Hawks could do so much more than they currently do to honor King while they have that natl stage. I am not qualified to say how that would be done..but I do have one idea:

At halftime, dim the lights and then run Dr Kings famous speech in its entirety on video screen. I would bet that when he finished up swoth :Free at last….” the place would be standing and roaring. Just a thought.

vava74

January 19th, 2011
1:12 pm

doc,

Jamal had a very good game last night and I have no problem acknowledging that he was decisive.

However, Miami is a good match up for the Hawks and in particular for Bibby and Jamal since their PGs are sub-par players and don’t handle the rock and penetrate.

Also, Jamal’s shots, even the tricky ones, were going in, which is something that does not happen all the time and when that does not happen, along with his poor D usually comes pretty poor shot selection and ball management.

vava74

January 19th, 2011
1:46 pm

My general notes on the game:

1. I only watched the game today – finished a few minutes ago – so I could do it with a clear head.

2. We played a good game overall from an intensity point of view.

3. The execution on D was the best part of the game with everyone playing most of the time a very solid fundamental game on that end.

4. On offense we executed well at spaces and terribly on others, but so did MIA in what looked like a playoff game.

Some clean and open looks which did not go in could have given us a bigger margin to work with but they simply did not fall.

IMO, we had better misses from 3 point land than the Heat who had more contested/forced shots than we did. So, if we adjusted the % slightly in accordance to the quality of the shots I think we would have been better off than MIA.

5. It must be noted that Lebron (Wade as well) seemed to be below his physical standard thus limiting his ability to zip through the lane and get to the rim.

On the other hand, we lost Al with a lot to go and still won, so we may have be even on physical availability.

6. Our defense on Lebron was only so-so IMO and sincerely I did not see Josh “fighting through screens” like he claims he did.

He used his hands and moved his feet well at times, but I would not consider his defensive effort on Lebron more than a C+.

He did rebound well and hustled and that dunk was extremely important for many reasons. Also, he did well in the clutch with that lay up.

7. JJ had a difficult game from 3 point land, missing clean open looks. If he had connected 2 of them, which would not have been nothing out of this world, his shooting would have looked much better overall and his final numbers up to the level we would all have liked to see.

Overall IMO I think he only forced 3 or 4 possessions, 2 ISO plays which were really bad options and two 3 pointers which were really stupid, being that the 2 ISO and 1 3pt were during the second quarter.

So, I don’t think that anyone can say that “ISO Joe” was that damaging during the 2nd period as many pointed out since of his 6 misses (1-7 during the period) only 3 possessions were actually bad IMO.

His other misses were good looks or good ISO plays that he did not get to go in with one being a clear foul on a drive which was not called.

JJ also played, IMO, the best D on Lebron, being penalized twice by bad calls from the refs when he swiped the ball from behind twice.

8. As I said above on a post for doc, Jamal had a very good game and so did Bibby, but MIA is a good match up for them (since they both spit minutes at the PG slot and MIA’s PGs are not ball handling penetrators).

9. The officiating was terrible at times, in particular during the 2nd and 3rd quarters when they got MIA back into the game.

I counted 11 bad calls going against the Hawks. None against MIA.

They did call Wade and Lebron for travel offenses which is something rare, so even with the FT disparity and the number of bad calls against us, I think that this crew ended up doing an almost acceptable job given what is the expected (bad) standard when facing Lebrat.

A very satisfying game.

And while we are at it, I was giving a bit of a thought on how much difference would Bosh have made and on our side Marvin and ended up thinking that Marvin may be better suited to defend Bosh or at least to split minutes since Bosh is a pansy and a jump shooter and Marvin defends shooters better than Smoove who usually gives them too much space when he is afraid to be beaten off the dribble.

So, my defensive assignments on an eventual series against MIA would have JJ, Wilkins and Mo splitting time defending Wade.

JJ, Wilkins, Marvin and occasionally JSmoove splitting time defending Lebrat;

Marvin, JSmoove and Al splitting time defending Bosh.

vava74

January 19th, 2011
1:52 pm

oh, by the way, I was very impressed with Dampier! :-D

being swatted by Powell is a honor which not many 6′11 guys can boast about :-)

A-non-ee-mus

January 19th, 2011
1:52 pm

Most underrated big man: Al Horford

——————————————————————————–
By Tom Haberstroh
ESPN Insider

Al Horford’s superior handle and solid jumper make him a nightmare to guard.

According to the latest All-Star ballot update, Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford received less than 200,000 votes, which ranks fifth among centers in the Eastern Conference and 12th if you include the Western Conference lot at the position. Even Dallas backup center Brendan Haywood, he of 4.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, has garnered more love from fans.

That’s a shame because, outside of Dwight Howard, there may not be a more complete center in today’s game than Horford. Speaking before Tuesday’s game against Miami, Horford said he knows he won’t surpass Howard in the fan vote, but the former Florida Gators’ forward hopes the coaches give him the nod to play in Los Angeles in February.

“It’d mean a lot,” Horford said. “I’ve put in the work and put myself in the position, I feel, to be able to make the All-Star team. That would be special. All I can do is keep playing.”

In his fourth season in the league, the 24-year-old Horford is currently averaging 16.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while shooting 57 percent from the field. Put it all together and we find that his 22.6 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranks second among qualified centers, not to mention outpaces every Hawks player by a wide margin.

So if you’re searching for explanations as to why Atlanta, at 28-15, is still chasing a top-four seed in the East, you might want to start with the unheralded big man. The Hawks played nine games in December without go-to scorer Joe Johnson, but they stayed afloat with a 5-4 record, thanks to Horford taking on a bigger role on offense and averaging a double-double in Johnson’s absence.

While Horford has seen more touches this season under new head coach Larry Drew, it’s puzzling why he doesn’t get even more. Horford’s usage rate — the estimated percentage of team possessions used by a particular player while on the floor — has climbed from 17.6 percent in 2009-10 to 20.4 percent this season, which is a welcomed boost but still not commensurate with his scoring talents. He’s still very much a fourth option on offense, and there’s good reason why he demands a higher spot in the pecking order.

Seventy players in the league — big and small — have made at least 70 isolation plays this season. Take a guess how many of those players have a higher efficiency than Horford’s 1.1 points per isolation play. Three — Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Martin and Chauncey Billups. That’s it.

Normally when a player shoulders more scoring responsibility, we tend to see his shooting numbers dive in the opposite direction. But not Horford. In fact, the big man’s efficiency has improved with more touches this season, as his field goal percentage has risen from 55.1 percent to 56.6 percent. Not only that, he’s cut down on his turnovers, too.

If you watch Horford play, you can see why he’s able to maintain his lofty efficiency. What sets Horford apart from other league big men is his rare ability to put the ball on the floor and create offense away from the block. That diversifies his attack and keeps the defense guessing. Skill-wise, Horford has no problems starting out on the perimeter from the triple-threat position and crossing up his defender off the dribble en route to the basket. According to Synergy data, 70 players in the league — big and small — have made at least 70 isolation plays this season. Take a guess how many of those players have a higher efficiency than Horford’s 1.1 points per isolation play. Three — Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Martin and Chauncey Billups. That’s it.

Horford is an absolute nightmare for opposing big men to defend out on the perimeter because he can blow by if them if they play too close. But play too far off and he’ll happily drill a jumper. So far this season, Horford has nailed 58 percent of his long-2-point attempts (from 16-23 feet) this season, which is hands-down the best conversion rate in the league, according to Hoopdata.com. Nowitzki? 53 percent. Kevin Garnett? 48 percent. Kevin Durant? 41 percent. Horford has them all beat.

“I just worked a lot in the offseason,” Horford said about his jumper. “A lot of people are not necessarily acknowledging that part of my game, so they’re letting me shoot the ball. I’ve been working on that and I feel more confident.”

But despite his scoring talents, Horford doesn’t just create for himself; the big man can pass, too. Double team him in the post and he’ll dish out to Mike Bibby or Johnson spotting up on the perimeter. After dropping eight dimes against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, Horford followed up with another six assists against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. How many turnovers in those two games? Just two.

Horford believes a late growth spurt has something to do with his ability to make those types of plays. He grew up playing the 2 and 3, which enabled him to build ballhandling skills long before he became a big man. He also credits his collegiate experience at Florida, where he won two straight national championships alongside fellow NBA players Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer.

“[Florida] coach [Billy]Donovan gave us a lot of freedom once we got the rebound on the defensive end to bring the ball down, and our shooters would spot up for 3s,” Horford said. “I came here, and in my rookie year [former Hawks] coach [Mike] Woodson would let me play, and this has been a carry over for me.”

Perhaps the most impressive aspect about Horford’s game is that he’s displaying All-Star-caliber basketball, despite playing the majority of the time out of position.

“I still consider myself a forward,” Horford said. “I just have to play the center here. We have Josh [Smith], and he does a good job playing the 4. And I don’t mind playing the 5.”

The 24-year-old stands 6 feet, 10 inches tall and plays predominantly against the league’s biggest players. But despite the size disadvantage, Horford has managed to be a top-10 rebounder for the second straight season.

All things considered, there’s not much Horford can’t do out on the court. The disparity between his actual value and fan voting places him among the most underrated players in the NBA. If the coaches select him to the All-Star game as a reserve, he may not go under the radar much longer.

Tom Haberstroh is a frequent contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN.com’s Heat Index

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
2:10 pm

I’ll take that win. Intensity level was high, even if there were plenty of errant shots and some mistakes.

Glad to see someone besides Joe step up when the end came, and I really wasn’t sure whether or not Josh would be a part of that.

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

UGA slobberknocker ,

Welcome to the blog, hope you stick around. By the way, I think Drew is a better coach than you do, but I also think the sample size of a half season isn’t enough to prove anything either way.

Oh, and there’s an “old white guy” coach that I’d take in a heartbeat for a coach, if he wasn’t too old to coach now. Name’s Hubie Brown. And that’s coming from a black guy….which shouldn’t really mean anything. ;)

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
3:15 pm

Maybe we could put Hubie in one of those Back to the Future time machines. I’m not greedy, just make him about 8 years younger and we can hire him in a heartbeat (even Gearon would like give his approval on that one). Good read on the Horford article. Surely the Hawks will have at least one player on the All Star team… so my vote goes to “The Boss”.

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
3:16 pm

My vote goes to “The Boss” even if I am a little sick of hearing him tell everyone under the sun that he considers himself a PF.

Melvin

January 19th, 2011
3:48 pm

UGASlob,

Fair point and not a bad idea for the MLK game as well…

niremetal

January 19th, 2011
5:44 pm

Niremetal’s random thought of the day, culled from a discussion on Hawksquawk as to whether the Hawks are a better/worse/neutral team without Marvin:

I calculate us as being 23-12 (.657) without Marvin and 105-67 (.610) with Marvin since the beginning of the ‘08-’09 year. The math is a bit more interesting if you break it down into home and away:

W/O MARVIN: 23-12 (.657)
Home: 13-6 (.684)
Road: 10-6 (.625)

W/MARVIN: 105-67 (.610)
Home: 66-17 (.795)
Road: 39-50 (.438)

The discrepancy makes more sense if you see the teams we have played at home and on the road during his absences. His injuries have tended to fall during homestands against relatively strong teams – we played NO, UTA, POR, DAL, SAS, BOS, LAL, and ORL at home when he was out in ‘08 (of which we won 5 and lost 3 for a below-usual .625). The road games, on the other hand, have tended to be against relatively weak ones – this year, we went 4-0 without Marvin in road games against MIN, LAC, SAC, and TOR, but 2-2 in our road games against playoff-bound teams (ORL, OKC, UTA, MIA).

To me, the big thing is the broader trend that the Hawks seemed to get off to hot starts when players missed games due to injury during the Woody era, only to regress and play worse-than-usual once other teams adjusted. That’s what happened after JJ’s leg injury in ‘07, Josh’s ankle injury in Dec ‘08, JJ’s two-game flu absence in Feb ‘09 (which saw Marvin go off the chain), and Marvin’s back injury later in ‘09. The only exception was Al’s knee bruise early in Jan ‘09 – Woody couldn’t scheme around Al’s absence. Other than that, the only variable was how long it took other teams to figure out what simplistic adjustments Woody had made and respond accordingly. The first couple games after a player went down were the only times the Hawks weren’t depressingly predictable. But that, of course, is an observation that’s tough to quantify precisely.

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
7:08 pm

From the Denver Post;

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said today his team is no longer interested in pursuing Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony.

“There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,” he said during a news conference in New Jersey this afternoon. “I’m instructing our team to walk away from the deal.”.

I’m glad thats over. maybe now we can some other trades being made.

Ken Strickland

January 19th, 2011
7:30 pm

When your 2 worst defenders, one a starting PG and the other the 6th MOY SG/PG, averages 30+MPG, your DEF has to suffer, unless you have an eraser type of center to compensate. Unfortunately, there’s very little, if anything, that Bibby is capable of doing at this point in his career that necessitates him playing 30+MPG.

We need Marvin to return, but we can’t expect him to return to his preinjury level of production, because of poor gm conditioning. Back problems limit the ability to maintain gm level conditioning. His return adds more needed bench depth, whether he starts or not.

With more astute coaching and better situational substitutions, Bibby’s mins can be reduced by 5-8MPG, with minimal reduction to his overall production. Adding those 5-8MPB to Teague’s 11.7MPG would certainly increase his contributions to the team, as well as accelerate his development. It’s a win win situation.

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
8:35 pm

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
8:36 pm

That’s what I thought of the ‘Melo talk. Seems that Prokhorov knows his b-ball a little bit. Now ‘Melo can wish he had gone to “The Summit”…. :lol:

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
8:37 pm

Nothing says “you ain’t all that and a bag of chips” like a hot and heavy suitor suddenly, finally just losing interest.

Either that, or the Nets are posturing. I’ll go with option A….

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
9:08 pm

Big Ray, I’m going with Option B. I think he is trying to punk Melo into accepting the deal now or losing millions next year. IMO, this guy wants to make a big splash and he struck out in the summer and if he strikes out now, then what? So I think he is trying to “punk” Melo.

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
9:11 pm

Big Ray,

Carmelo has been wishy-washy with his comments, so I think he did not want to go to NJ, but did not want to be the one to tell Denver or NJ no. He wanted it to work out the way it did, where the deal is off, without him having to make a decision or say anything.

I think he will still be traded though. Either the Nuggets will get the Knicks to up their trade package, or maybe there is a team willing to rent Anthony for half a season.

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2011
9:14 pm

Sorry about being redundant. Of course, if Melo is truly willing to tell LaLa that she has to spend less next year, then dude holds all of the cards and the Russian must deal with being rejected (and losing this battle to the Knicks). Sorry for the pessimism but not too many folk would sacrifice big cash for being a tunnel ride away from their desired destination. Dude could easily live in a Manhattan penthouse and commute to Newark.

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
9:14 pm

AJ,

I think Carmelo wants to form another “Heatles” in NY with Stoudemire, and hopefully CP3 in 2 or 3 seasons.

That is a lot of money to leave on the table though, because who knows what the new CBA will do to max contracts.

O'Brien

January 19th, 2011
10:02 pm

What’s going on in Portland? it is being reported that Camby needs arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Ouch.

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
11:49 pm

Astro Joe ,

True, it could be the case. Or, Prokhorov could have a line on something else. I guess we’ll see.

Here’s the kicker, though: ‘Melo really seems to want to be in NY. But does NY want him ? Felton and Stoudamire seem to be getting along plenty good (though adding ‘Melo might make them harder to defend), and we know Stoudamire is not one to share the spotlight as much as he’d have to with ‘Melo.

I don’t know. Maybe they’re both posturing, but we may not know what ‘Melo’s true aim is. I know this much: you’re right about the cash. CBA or not, the russian has the cash. He’ll sign somebody. He’ll make a splash somehow.

Meanwhile….

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/energy-guy-josh-smith-809395.html

There was a time where the content of this article used to give me hope. That time is past. I’m tired of a team that needs one guy to be their energy source. Especially when that guy doesn’t know how to be a professional night in an night out.

For all you other Josh fans, get mad if you want to about that comment. But get mad at the right person. I’m a Josh fan. But dude is NOT team captain material and is NOT setting an example from game to game.

The article says it all. But what’s worse? Josh not playing “interested” every game, or the team sucking eggs when he isn’t there to jumpstart them? Preposterous….

Big Ray

January 19th, 2011
11:53 pm

doc

January 20th, 2011
12:31 am

melvin, no i wont be there sadly for the hornets game. i am headed to the catskills of all places for some training this weekend. i relly wish i could go as i still think this team might have some moxie going if they could just stay focused for four quarters or get used to protecting the ball and enjoy that part of basketball.

vava agree we got some chance against the heat and said it several times before this game. not so sure about the likes of the celts right now when healthy nor the magic as hedo presents some probs for us in my mind.

glad to see that josh chased queen into a 10 for 30 night was it?

nire good points on the woody effect after injuries and yes i noticed the trend to do well initially after a player got injured then falter. remember when mo was about undefeated as a starter in 08 was it then the roof fell in? not sure what your summary of the marvin effect was.

big ray count me in on the josh thing, a bit too cavalier when we lose though bibby has a similar temperament as well from recent comments after losses. again it is time to do what smoltz had to do to finish the product …. find a really good sports psychologist and commit as much there as he has to the physical side of it.

O'Brien

January 20th, 2011
7:15 am

Big Ray,

I think NY wants Melo. But they would prefer to sign him over the offseason after the new CBA, and they wouldnt have to give up as many assets to get him.

As for the Hawks midseason coaching review, LD is more flexible with his lineups, and there is more structure to the offense.

And I co-sign your Josh comments. For a team that has aspirations of getting to the ECF and beyond, why are they always depending on one guy to bring the energy? Every player should bring energy.

And for a player that wants to be an All-Star, and has been in the league, what, 7 years, we are still talking about him not bringing “it” more consistently.

vava74

January 20th, 2011
8:29 am

vava74

January 20th, 2011
8:47 am

Chicago’s schedule has been fairly easy and to my calculations they only had 3 quality wins (@ Dallas, vs. Celtics and vs. Heat) benefiting in 2 from major absences.

I think that they will have trouble getting as many wins as they have been amassing until now against better competition.

They will have, not far away from now, the following schedule:

Wednesday, Feb 9 @Jazz
Saturday, Feb 12 @Hornets
Tuesday, Feb 15 Bobcats
Thursday, Feb 17 Spurs
Wednesday, Feb 23 @Raptors
Thursday, Feb 24 Heat
Saturday, Feb 26 @Bucks
Monday, Feb 28 @Wizards
Wednesday, Mar 2 @Hawks
Friday, Mar 4 @Magic
Sunday, Mar 6 @Heat
Monday, Mar 7 Hornets
Wednesday, Mar 9 @Bobcats
Friday, Mar 11 Hawks
Saturday, Mar 12 Jazz

That’s 10 tough matches and 5 “easy” ones.

If we get the 2 wins against them, I think they will loose 7 out of the 10 tough ones and maybe 1 of the easy ones, meaning that they should go 7-8 or 8-7 during that stretch.

During that same stretch we have:

Tuesday, Feb 8 76ers
Saturday, Feb 12 Bobcats
Monday, Feb 14 @Pistons
Wednesday, Feb 16 @Knicks
Tuesday, Feb 22 @Lakers
Wednesday, Feb 23 @Suns
Friday, Feb 25 @Warriors
Sunday, Feb 27 @Trail Blazers
Monday, Feb 28 @Nuggets
Wednesday, Mar 2 Bulls
Friday, Mar 4 Thunder
Sunday, Mar 6 Knicks
Tuesday, Mar 8 Lakers
Friday, Mar 11 @Bulls
Saturday, Mar 12 Trail Blazers

That’s 9 difficult and 6 “easy” games (I’m counting on beating PHO or POR away)

If we win the 2 games against the Bulls, I think we can get 6 wins out of the 9 difficult games and 5 out of the 6 easy ones.

That would be 11-4 or maybe 10-5

If we accomplish this, we may get some separation to close the season above them.

I know that this is wishful thinking – that we will get quality wins – but apart from a couple of really bad losses – being BOS @ home the main one, I think we are getting there and playing better against playoff teams as the season progresses.

O'Brien

January 20th, 2011
9:51 am

vava,

And with the Bulls being more injury prone, that could make them struggle even more against those good teams.

The Hawks are playing better against playoff teams. They just need to be more consistent, and not hang their heads when the other team makes a run.

Astro Joe

January 20th, 2011
9:51 am

I guess I look at the Josh article differently. I think most teams have defined roles amonst the players. There is a wise old guy, the lead dog, the enforcer, the energy guy and the intangibles man (or glue guy). Josh happens to be the energy guy for this team. If aliens took him away on a flying saucer tomorrow, someone else would have to assume that role. Joakim Noah is that guy in Chicago and when he’s missing, someone else steps up to provide the team’s energy.

I actually like the notion that the teammates “need each other”. If you’re looking for chemistry, you want these guys to feel like they each bring something different and unique to the table that makes them better as a whole. You want them to think that they are better with Marvin’s defense, with Jamal’s explosiveness, with Al’s stability, with Joe’s consistency, with Bibby’s savvy and with Josh’s energy. The problem happens when they don’t believe in each other, then you get epic beat-downs like the Orlando series. At least, that’s my opinion.

Astro Joe

January 20th, 2011
9:58 am

As for the NBA.com report card, I guess it is about right. Although giving the bench a B because of one player (Jamal) seems a little off to me. Powell and Teague have been demoted since the start of the season. I think a B is very, very generous for our bench.

newkid

January 20th, 2011
11:33 am

Interesting development with the Melo-drama, eh? Prokhorov said: “As soon as you make a mistake, you can wait for the next chance for the next five or six years.” Hmmmmmmmm; Marvin, Shelden,……

If it holds, who’s the loser, Nets or Nuggets? With a competent player personnel scouting department, a side could get awfully good awfully quick with five 1st rounders over the next two years.

Astro Joe

January 20th, 2011
12:01 pm

newkid, if Denver is really insisting that the Nets take back Harrington and Balkman, then the Nets win by walking away. When the Nets owner mentioned “the price is too high”, he presumably was talking about taking on every bad contract in Denver (including some of the Colorado Rockies). They’re better off using Murphy’s expiring contract on something else either now or in the summer. Draft picks are always going to be hit/miss, but salary cap space to trade for or sign known NBA players is something that is much too valuable to toss aside for the rights to get a less-than-happy player (who will spend the next 3 years longing for a Garden home) and 2-3 years of bad contracts. IMO, walking away leaves the Nets as winners. Nuggets, meanwhile, may have to wait and hope that the new CBA allows them to get a TPE or something when Melo heads to the Knicks. The other winner? Wilson Chandler who will likely get a fat contract from another team in the summer after the Knicks kick him to the curb.

O'Brien

January 20th, 2011
1:19 pm

newkid,

If Denver does not find any better offers, maybe they revisit the Nets with a different/lesser package before the deadline.

I think the Nuggets have to move Melo before the deadline, because there is no way of knowing how sign and trades will work after the new CBA. And will they get better returns from the Knicks over the offseason compared to what they would get now?

AJ,

There is a rumor that Houston is willing to trade for Melo, even if he doesnt sign an extension with them.

Astro Joe

January 20th, 2011
1:32 pm

OB, yeah, I read that one too. For some teams, I think it is worth the risk. Houston has probably learned that Martin isn’t a long-term “core” player so trading him and an expiring contract actually helps them get Martin off their books.

If Chris Kamen shows any sign of health before 2/24, that is one guy who should be at the top of the “most likely to be traded” list. The Clippers have been rolling without him and DeAndre Jordan looks like a good fit next to Griffin. Kamen, Troy Murphy and Dalembert are as good as gone in the next 5 weeks.

newkid

January 20th, 2011
2:17 pm

I think Denver realizes that the Nuggets either overplayed their hand with all those shenanigans, or that Prok is giving them a dose of their own medicine; Prok is in the driver’s seat for sure. I agree OB, Denver’s gotta (and almost certainly will) move Melo before the trade deadline; and a TPE might just be a huge part of whatever deal gets done (especially if Melo ends up parking in midtown Manhattan). A TPE agreed under the current CBA ain’t likely be to recinded by the new CBA. If I’m Prok, no way in hell I’m giving up as many pieces as has been mentioned without Melo’s signature on the extension, and I doubt I’d even consider it with an extension (AJ’s right to be concerned about a sulking Melo creating 3 years of drama for BK#2).

Wouldn’t want to sit across a high stakes poker table from Prok. I don’t think he’s bluffing, and if he is, cat’s good.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 20th, 2011
9:27 pm

“But what’s worse? Josh not playing “interested” every game, or the team sucking eggs when he isn’t there to jumpstart them? ”

I would think the fact that the team is so reliant on one player to provide energy is an indictment of the team more than it is of that player.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 20th, 2011
9:29 pm

“giving the bench a B because of one player (Jamal) seems a little off to me.”

No argument from me that most of the bench is weak, but Collins has been solid all year in his role as an interior man to man defender. If he counts as a bench player, that makes two reliable players off the bench.

O'Brien

January 20th, 2011
9:59 pm

Hopefully, Marvin will return to is pre-injury form, and him and Collins will combine to make the bench more formidable, while they alternate starts.

Astro Joe

January 21st, 2011
9:19 am

Funny, I haven’t seen much from Colins off the bench. He either starts or rarel gets minutes.

With Al missing and Joe having to play more time at SF (which shouldn’t be a concern against slight-in-the-frame Ariza), I hope that LD gives JC2 some love in tonight’s game.