Atlanta Hawks: Jumpstarting with jumpshots

The Hawks have to be asking themselves just what happened last night. The answer: a beating in their own arena that probably has the Utah Jazz feeling a bit better about the one they received at the hands of Hawks a short while ago.

There are other teams that have similar roller coaster-type seasons, but does that make Hawks fans feel any better about it? Doubtful.

 

Getting the offense going

The motion offense couldn’t possibly be just for getting open jumpshots. I’m sure that Drew and his staff also intend for the Hawks to get the ball inside. Getting the ball inside isn’t just about posting somebody up. It’s also about getting a player to slash to the basket, and receiving the ball on the way there. The Hawks haven’t done enough of that lately, and they certainly didn’t do nearly enough against the Hornets.

Instead, the Hawks shot jumpers. On most nights, somebody is hitting those jumpers. Last night? Pretty much nobody. I’m sure the neighborhood “jumper” watch could dig up the information on who hit how many outside shots last night, but with the team shooting a dismal 29% from the field, would there really be a point? Try as the Hawks might, they couldn’t buy an outside shot to save their lives. Few attempts were made to score inside. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford were just about the only ones to try and go inside prior to the game being blown out. Unfortunately, Johnson ended up double-teamed and fouled (but no fouls called), and Smith endured similar struggles, what with New Orleans playing some pretty tough defense as well. Crawford found a modicum of success in getting to the basket on one or two trips, but managed to dribble himself into trouble more often than not. So what was the solution? More jump shots, to no avail. That’s the only problem with living and dying by the jumper. But then, could the Hawks have done any better with the personnel they had? By the look of it, it was simply an off night, and teams have those. The Hawks were also bereft of two major rotation players in Al Horford and Marvin Williams. Would things have gone much differently with both guys, or was the team simply in its worst funk of the season?

 

Post Problems

 The Hawks have a good deal of size in Jason Collins (7′0″, 255), Zaza Pachulia (6′11″ 270), and Etan Thomas (6′10″ 260).  None of the three are unwilling to mix it up down low. What this group lacks, however, is athleticism. It’s just one more reason why not having Al Horford hurts. When Jason Collins was unfairly ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul (the call was BS, I don’t care what anyone says), it only exacerbated an issue that the Hawks were already having – rebounding.

The Hornets weren’t shooting very well until the middle of the second quarter. What they were doing well was rebounding. In fact, they blew the Hawks out of the water with a 55-32 advantage on the glass. With Collins gone and others ineffective, Josh Smith looked to be fighting for rebounds all by himself out there. They needed more energy, if nothing else.

Which begs the question, why wasn’t Etan Thomas in the game earlier, and more often, especially with Collins out for the night? Out of the three backup centers, I’d argue that Thomas is the most athletic, which would have helped with rebounds.

Young Guys

It must have been contagious, this “jumperitis”, because Jeff Teague took more outside shots in the game than I can recall seeing from him. Like everybody else, he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Jordan Crawford’s attempts were no surprise at all (hey, he hit a 3), and he had the best play all game when he picked off a pass and threw down an alley oop dunk on the other end. It was nice to see him get some burn, but we all know he’ll be on the shelf again until the next blowout.

 

UP NEXT

Atlanta has to get past their worst home loss since who knows when, as the travel up to Charlotte for another chance at padding that road record. The Bobcats aren’t who they used to be, but they’ll play the Hawks tough all the same.

The Usual Suspects

Penetration – The Hawks always have issues with this. Charlotte point guard DJ Augustin is among the quickest in the league, so Atlanta has its work cut out. Also, containing slasher Gerald Wallace is usually an issue for the Hawks.

Rebounding – Charlotte doesn’t have a player that averages 8 or more boards per contest, but they are still outrebounding opponents 41.9 to 39.3 on average. They’ll be without the services of jumping-jack Tyrus Thomas, but Gerald Wallace is capable of snagging upwards of 15 rebounds on any given night. In addition to that, the Hornets have 6 guys who are producing between 4 and 6 rebounds every game, so the Hawks will need a total team effort to win this battle. With Horford and Williams out, the Hawks are missing roughly 15 rebounds a game, production-wise. 

 More rebounds means more possessions, which means more scoring opportunities. Rebound well, and the Hawks have a great shot at winning the game.

Jumpers, Jumpers, Jumpers!

The Bobcats are not big on scoring. With an offense that averages less than 93 points a game, it’s tough to win in this League, even if you have a stellar defense. To put things in perspective, DJ Augustin is shooting better (43.8%) than the two guys ahead of him in the team scoring column (Stephen Jackson 40%, Gerald Wallace 42%).

By contrast, the Hawks have more perimeter oriented talent. However, if last night was any indication, falling in love with the jump shot (especially when it ain’t lovin’ you back) is a good way to lose a game to a team that can’t score. If the Hawks go inside to Smith and post Johnson up here and there, things should go well, as both guys should put up 20+ points apiece. However, if the team fails to do this and the jumpers are once again not falling, then the Hawks could be looking at a low scoring loss of anywhere from 5 to 10 points.

Defensive Matchups

We might cringe at the idea of Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford taking turns trying to keep up with the elusive DJ Augustine, but what about Wallace and Captain Jack? Joe Johnson may end up matched against Jackson, or he could have the task of keeping Wallace from going off. Whichever he draws, Mo Evans will end up guarding the other guy. Evans will give the effort, but how ironic is it that we finally get him in a position to play his more natural spot of shooting guard, only to find him in a situation where he’s got a choice of larger small forwards to guard? Sometimes you just can’t catch a break….

The multi-talented Boris Diaw will likely be matched up against Josh Smith. Smith’s tasks for the evening will be simple:

1) Do not let Diaw outrebound and out-hustle you.

2) Force him to pick up his dribble and cut off his passing lane. He’s third on the team in assists.

3) Take Diaw to the basket every chance you get. Don’t settle for the open jumper unless you’re in rhythm, have established your presence inside, and the defense is giving you NOTHING else.

 

Your Keys to the Game?

Let’s hear ‘em!

 

 

By Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

136 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

January 26th, 2011
10:24 pm

AJ,

Josh’s shot selection has been horribe tonight. Taking contested shots early in the shot clock (although his jumper has been off)?

I hope that wasn’t LD’s play call for a 3 from Josh, given that he was 6-19 for the game…

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:28 pm

Outscored 34-15 in the final quarter. Yessir, that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Melvin

January 26th, 2011
10:28 pm

Hawks lose to a Bucks team without their starting backcourt…

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:31 pm

OB, I hope not. 20 FGAs is a bunch for Josh, especially when Al got 9. That was an ugly and bad loss after a very solid 3 quarters of play.

niremetal

January 26th, 2011
10:37 pm

Josh’s jumpers watch update:

vs. NO: 3-7 (1-1 on 3s)
vs. Cha: 2-5 (0-0 on 3s)
vs. Mil: 1-9 (1-5 on 3s)

Total: 6-21 (2-6 on 3s)
FG%: .286
eFG%: .333
eFG% vs. season avg: -.109
vs. ’09-’10 avg: +.048
—————————————————————————
Josh’s eFG% on jumpers for the season is down to .439. My guess is that since the new year, it’s been well below .350, although no site that I’ve found breaks it down that far.

Tonight’s loss was just ugly. The team was shooting jumpers throughout the 4th. Something tells me that LD was telling them to stop settling, but the players (esp Josh) just don’t care. This is why I’ve moved into the “time to make a change for the sake of change” camp.

The team was a combined 1-13 on jumpers in the 4th quarter (the 1 was from Al). Josh alone was 0-4. Joe, Jamal, Bibby, and Marvin were each 0-2.

O'Brien

January 26th, 2011
10:38 pm

Earl Boykins, 34 years old, and 5′5″ ran circles around Bibby.

And I am tired of hearing Jerome Jurenevich (sp) say the hawks locker room doors were closed longer than usual. How often will that continue this season?

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:42 pm

Let’s not forget that we just allowed one of the worse offensive teams in the league to score 34 points in the 4th quarter and come a basket shy of putting up 100. And they did it without Salmons, Jennings and with Maggette missing a good chunk of the 4th quarter.

Now who mentioned Boykins joining the Hawks next season?

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:44 pm

My bad, the Bucks are not one of the worse scoring teams in the league, they are THEY worse scoring team in the league. UGH!

O'Brien

January 26th, 2011
10:46 pm

AJ,

Wasn’t Boykins available this past off-season?

O'Brien

January 26th, 2011
10:47 pm

And I wish Jerome would ask LD what was the play call on that Josh 3…

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:48 pm

OB, I’m pretty sure that Boykins was available when the season started, I think he signed with the Bucks in November.

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:49 pm

I wish Jerone would ask Josh, “WTF were you thinking?”

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:52 pm

Nope, I was wrong, Boykins signed in August. One year for around $1.3M.

Astro Joe

January 26th, 2011
10:54 pm

Durant and Love are both having decent games tonight.

Melvin

January 26th, 2011
10:56 pm

A terrible lose by the Hawks….

Melvin

January 26th, 2011
11:59 pm

Another Hawks lost after 3 days of rest. I get these guys don’t need that long of a break b/c they may lose their rhythm….

doc

January 27th, 2011
12:00 am

that is charmin soft

O'Brien

January 27th, 2011
12:54 am

It would be nice if we got a new starting PG next season. That way, we could bring Bibby off the bench to help replace Jamal’s scoring (assuming Jamal walks).

vava74

January 27th, 2011
3:53 am

Teague shot poorly (1-5), but had 4 assists (out of 19), 2 rebounds and posted a +3 in 13 minutes.

I continue to insist: Teague’s poor shooting naturally curbs our jump shooting habits.

That is an immediate PLUS for me.

vava74

January 27th, 2011
3:59 am

Teague’s +3 includes a -4 during the first 3.30 minutes of the 4th.

Crawford posted a -19 for the whole 4th quarter, having played 17 minutes in a row.

A poor perimeter defender playing such a long shift cannot help.

He was on fire to close the 3rd. That was the EXACT time to remove him from the court.

Jamal is like the stock exchange, sell (bench him) when he is high. Keeping him on the floor will end up most of the time with his stock dropping.

The starters plus Jamal posted a -15 to close the 4th.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2011
7:47 am

vava,

I think Bibby had a -14, and Al had -13. As for Teague, his +/- numbers would not be so bad if he was playing all his minutes with the starters (like Bibby does).

nire,

Just looking at the raw numbers, there is a disturbing trend with Josh.

November: 51% from the field, 35% from 3
December: 46% from the field, 39% from 3
January: 41% from the field, 32% from 3

I don’t know if his knee is bothering him, or if it’s because he is spending more time at SF, but he is not the same shooter he was earlier in the season.

He needs to realize that, and adjust his shot selection accordingly.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2011
7:58 am

Bad team loss last night. And Al’s comment says alot to me about this team.

From MC’s game write up;

Al Horford on losing leads late: “It’s a lessons still being learned, I feel like. I guess when it gets to a point where it hurts you and really bothers you, then you do something about it. I don’t know that we’re there as a team yet.”.

How long has this team been together? And our captain is not sure if the team is really bothered by these types of losses?

LD can talk to these guys until he is blue in the face, but until they change their mindset, they will continue to be unpredictable in the face of adversity.

vava74

January 27th, 2011
9:25 am

OB,

I did not watch the game but I followed the play by play for part of the 4th and correct me if I am wrong but didn’t MIL scored mostly from the perimeter?

Delfino, Boykins and Temple, with several 3 pointers?

My guess is that Teague would have done a better job in the perimeter and that Wilkins should have dressed precisely for this type of situation.

For me, even without watching I’ll give it a 50-50 between the players and LD.

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2011
11:21 am

Vava,

“My guess is that Teague would have done a better job in the perimeter and that Wilkins should have dressed precisely for this type of situation.”

Your guess would be wrong, because Boykins destroyed Teague most of the game. Teague was in at the start of the forth quarter also, and played until about the 8 minute mark. Boykins scored 9 points in the 4th quarter on Bibby, the other 11 he scored were with Teague checking him. Teague and Bibby were both terrible defensively last night. Wilkins was dressed, but he won’t get any run, now that the defensive stalwart Marvin Williams is back. (LOL).

Da Back of Rod's 1-ounce brain

January 27th, 2011
11:28 am

Rod: Garsh, I don’t like what Vava had to say about Teague. I should reply.

Your guess would be wrong, because Boykins destroyed Teague most of the game. Teague was in at the start of the forth quarter also, and played until about the 8 minute mark. Boykins scored 9 points in the 4th quarter on Bibby, the other 11 he scored were with Teague checking him. Teague and Bibby were both terrible defensively last night

Da Back of Rod’s brain: You should get in a jab about Marvin.
Rod: Nah, no need man. The post is about Teague.
Da Back: Come on. You know you want to.
Rod: Yeah, but the post is about Teague, Bibby, and defending point guards. Marvin is totally off topic.
Da Back: That’s never stopped us before. Why should it stop you now?
Rod: Good point. Can’t argue with that.
Da Back: So you’ll do it?
Rod: Sure.

Wilkins was dressed, but he won’t get any run, now that the defensive stalwart Marvin Williams is back. (LOL).

[Rod shakes like a crack addict who just got his fix]

vava74

January 27th, 2011
12:21 pm

Rod,

I said that I was guessing and I did not see the game.

My view is that our perimeter D sucks badly and that Jamal is over used.

Teague has proven from time to time that he can be a reasonably effective perimeter D, albeit a work in progress. He was against Boykins in the previous match up.

My view is that DNP CD’s are not contributing for his improvement and on the contrary can explain why he got burned by Boykins.

Also, it does not help to play along side Jamal, who, on the contrary, as shown his limit.

He is supposed to be in the game because he brings offense, but we end up scoring only 15 points the same.

Too much perimeter offense and too little perimeter D.

If Wilkins was dressed, then LD is even more to blame for a lack of IN GAME adjustment.

As for your continued criticism of Marvin, you are right to some extent, but not on his D.

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2011
2:20 pm

Her father’s face and her mother’s skin-tone. Let’s hope she also has her mother’s game (and not her father’s).

http://espn.go.com/espnw/blog/_/post/6061871/lot-prove

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2011
2:48 pm

Vava,

“He is supposed to be in the game because he brings offense, but we end up scoring only 15 points the same.”

The problem with your continued criticism of Jamal is that, without him on the floor, we really won’t be able to score. Jamal is not over used. I think he should actually be on the floor as the primary point guard late in the game. Bibby should not be on the floor. Blame LD, Blame Joe who was guarded by a 10 day D-league player in the 4th, and blame Josh for continuing to shoot 3’s, not Jamal.

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2011
2:53 pm

Clown,

Let me help you out. Marvin returns, we lose. Take come comedy classes. Not funny at all. Join Ringling Brothers, they are hiring clowns.

O'Brien

January 27th, 2011
4:32 pm

From nire’s favorite Hawks columnist (Jeff Schultz);

When asked about Teague, Drew admitted, “I had hoped he would be further along. So we’ve had to go with what’s been good to us. Mike is up there in age but he’s still been pretty productive.”

Drew said he’s resting Bibby enough that he’s not overly concerned about the player wearing down in the second half and in the postseason.

When asked about defenses breaking down the Hawks, he said, “It does start [at point guard], but most of our breakdowns on top will be off the pick and roll. … From a breakdown standpoint, it’s certainly the head of the snake for us. We have to have ball containment. But that’s true with everybody on the perimeter.”.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2011/01/27/trades-part-ii-should-hawks-deal-josh-for-point-guard/

IMO, LD needs to be more worried about teams breaking down Hawks defense in the playoffs (even if he doesnt say it out loud).

The numbers don’t lie.

niremetal

January 27th, 2011
6:01 pm

O’B,

He lost all credibility when, in a thread where the main identified problem is defending the point, Schultz suggests trading for…Steve Nash.

Actually I lied. Schultz lost all credibility long before that.

Big Ray

January 27th, 2011
9:04 pm

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2011
9:05 pm

Oh good, it will be easier for Larry, Moe and Curly to sell the team.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/hawks-no-longer-collateral-818248.html

O'Brien

January 27th, 2011
9:26 pm

AJ,

The ASG have no interest in selling the team. Oh wait…

On a related note, Forbes ranked all NBA teams in terms of their value. The Bucks were last at $278 mil, while the Hawks were 21st, at $306 million.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/32/nba08_NBA-Team-Valuations_Value.html/

vava74

January 28th, 2011
5:56 am

Rod,

You are dead wrong.

There is a reason why Jamal AS NEVER BEEN involved in winning basketball.

He is soft, desinterested/unable to play D, poor decision maker, … You name it.

Yes, he is very talented on the ball player, sometimes even wonderful to watch, but so are the Harlem Globetrotters.

Basically Jamal has never been good structurally for the teams he plays.

He was vastly overused by Woody and is being vastly overused by LD.

The team had more spunk and played more cohesive with Flip.

These are facts. Even more evident that Marvin’s alleged prejudicial effect on the team.

Your: “Marvin returns, the Hawks lose” is pathetic.

Marvin is not #2 material and has marked shortcomings but your loathing is delusional.

vava74

January 28th, 2011
10:48 am

typo: “HAS” never been