Hawks fans: When is patience no longer a virtue?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If it’s “here we go again,” then we’re thinking the same thing.

Another fourth quarter collapse. Another quick point guard doing the Hawks in. Another set of typical quotes from two of the team’s captains. Another vein of frustration popping out of the coach’s forehead. Perspectives from AL, Larry, and Joe are becoming the norm these days. But that is not the problem at all. The problem is that those perspectives haven’t changed one bit, because the situation has not changed.

Patience, patience

That’s why management preaches. That’s not what you’re hearing from Head Coach Larry Drew, though. No, what we’re hearing from him is long-suffering. There is a fundamental difference between the two. Patience is realizing that a non-lottery draft pick might need a bit more work than a lottery draft pick. Patience is understanding that a new offensive philosophy or a new rotation player added to the mix takes some time to develop. Patience is doing the best you can as a team while waiting for injured starters to heal.

Patience is not making the same exact mistakes again and again, despite the fact that you should know by now (after 2 or 3 years) what will cause you to lose the lead in a game. Why is shot selection still an issue?

The Usual Suspects, The Usual Results

Joe Johnson is the best player on this team and the guy you want to have the ball in the worst situations. How does he end up taking only two more shots than the team’s sixth man, and seven less shots than the team’s worst perimeter shooting starter? You can criticize Joe for taking too many jumpers if you choose. But the fact is, Joe is a shooter and scorer. You WANT him to shoot.

Jamal Crawford is a streak shooter. Either he’s good, or he’s bad. There is little middle ground with Jamal. Do you want him to shoot? Yes. It’s what he does. But you have to understand that shoot is what he’s going to do, whether he’s on or not. On the other end of the floor, there is nothing to balance things out, plain and simple. The good news is that Jamal does know how to get to the line.

Now for the self-made whipping boy, Josh Smith. Josh has gotten to where he can make shots from the outside. The problem is that in his mind, can is the same as will. Smith’s early season perimeter success has eroded on a near day-to-day basis, and I truly believe that much of this has to do with him trying to establish his offense outside first, instead of inside. The problem with this is that it’s the exact opposite of what his coach has been trying to tell him. And there it is – Josh not listening again. Still. When will this change? Will it change?

Taking Notes

Rick Sund says the Hawks like their core, and that they are going to be patient with the team. But when is patience no longer a virtue? How long can the Hawks afford to stay with the status quo? We’re not talking about making random changes here. We’re talking about fixing actual problems. When do the excuses run out? How long is ownership and management going to take an “Oh, it will be fine” stance?

Maybe Sund should start taking note of the things some of his most valued players are saying. Maybe he should pay attention to the words coming from the mouth of the very man he “hired” to change that which has not changed. Sooner or later this will be simply too much. Sooner or later regression takes hold for good, until something significant is done. The Hawks keep saying it can happen from within, but can it? They say they’re aware of the main problem. A couple of wins go by and all is somewhat good. Then the inevitable happens and it’s back to the same quotes, the same hanging heads, the same shrugging shoulders.

Perhaps Al Horford said it best :

“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.”

Does it hurt the team enough yet, or have they passed the point of where they are collectively aware (translation: are there guys who simply don’t care enough)? How about management? Are there enough guys on the floor to fix the situation, or does the fix have to come from higher? More than ever, it seems that this questions leans harder towards the latter, rather than the former.

Flip Side of the Coin

Not all is gloom and doom. At the very least, the Hawks have gotten past the injury bug for the moment. Al Horford looked like he didn’t miss a beat against Milwaukee, hitting 7 of 9 shots and adding another nice double double to his collection. Meanwhile, Marvin looked rather effective coming off the bench. This is certainly good news for a Hawks team that may need to experiment a bit more to find the best possible chemistry that it can, seeing as how the schedule will only get tougher.

273 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

February 1st, 2011
7:05 pm

Strickland, unlike Woody, LD gave Teague a good 20-25 games of constant playing time and dude fell on his face. At some point, you have to cut bait and while you may think LD did so too soon, you can’t deny that Teague had his chance to shine and ultimately came up short in his coach’s eyes. Teague may get another bite at the apple, but only after the jumps through some of LD’s hurdles, and I am okay with the coach making him earn each and every minute of precious playing time.

Ken Strickland

February 1st, 2011
7:08 pm

NAJEH-Once again you are the voice of reason. You’ve eloquently summed up what I’ve been saying all along, and in so many different ways. Bibby is definitely giving the effort, but not the results. It’s totally rediculous to continue forcing him to play extended mins and expecting to get more production, when his overall production is steadily decreasing as the season progresses.

Big Ray

February 1st, 2011
7:52 pm

O'Brien

February 1st, 2011
8:45 pm

nire,

Grant Hill might have been a hall of famer…if he had stayed healthy :wink:

Other Hawks news…Marvin will get his wish and remain in the starting lineup. From the new blog;

“Now, though, Drew says the “normal” lineup will be Bibby, J.J., Marvin, Smoove and Al. Twin will get in only when the Hawks need to counter beef on the frontline.

L.D. added that he considers his rotation to be pretty much set after 48 games.

Based on what’s happened lately, that would mean Jamal, Zaza, Damien and Mo will get regular playing time while Teague, Powell and Twin will get in where they fit in.”MC .

Vava,

I’m sure you enjoyed reading the new article on ajc.com about Jamal;

“”I don’t like the word ’slump,’” Crawford said. “They are going to go in. I just have to continue to shoot them.”.

And continue shooting he will. Which is why LD needs to keep a close eye on him…

doc

February 1st, 2011
9:31 pm

nire, here is a legit name that comes close to your criteria, that i will legitimately stretch as there are few high schoolers to compare, of late bloomers making all star teams in relative later twenties or careers that might end up in the hall. try on nash who made it first in his sixth year at the age of 27 after a college career.

Ken Strickland

February 1st, 2011
9:36 pm

ASTRO JOE-I did a little checking and here’s what I came up with. First, I looked at the gms where Teague was given 17 or more mins and compared his production in those gms to Bibby’s. Teague(Bibby)

MINN(Nov 14) MINS-17:01(20:56), RB-2(1), AST-2(4), PTS-4(4)
CAV (Dec 22) MINS-18:02(29:58), RB-5(0), 4(3), PTS-7(6)
MIL (Dec 27) MINS-18:19(22:38), RB-2(1), AST-4(4), PTS-7(3)
IND (Dec 11) MINS-18:54(25:04), RB-8(3), AST-2(1), PTS-7(3)
PHI (Dec 03) MINS-19:11(28:49), RB-5(0), AST-4(3), PTS-6(7)
MIL (Dec 10) MINS-21:30(25:01, RB-1(2), AST-6(2), PTS-10(9)
BOS(Dec 16) MINS-25:07(27:50) RB-4(3), AST-2(8), PTS-18(11)

If these comparisons tell you Teague fell flat on his face when given 17 or more MPG, then what in the hell does it tell you Bibby fell flat on, considering he played more mins, and got more consistent mins in every gm? And don’t forget, when the season started he was coming off an injury and missed all but the 1st preseason gm. And like JJ and Jamal, he needed time to get his gm back.

niremetal

February 1st, 2011
9:57 pm

Doc, did you notice that I specifically mentioned Nash in the post in which I issued the challenge?

The closest example I can think of is Steve Nash, and even he had an All-Star appearance in his 6th and 7th years. Also, Nash was a guy who did 4 years of college, which indicates to me once again that age matters less than experience after you’ve been around the league a few years. Once you’ve been around the league that long, your odds of breaking through to become a superstar are slim, regardless of how old you were when you were drafted.

niremetal

February 1st, 2011
10:18 pm

And Najeh:

it’s not out of the question that he could similarly improve his currently below average handles and low post game to the point of being a 20 ppg scorer.

It’s not out of the question that an asteroid could fall out of the sky and destroy the world tomorrow. But based on everything I’ve seen, I’m gonna bet that it won’t.

And:

- Do you really think Josh has the skill set to remain at his current (sub-All-Star) level once his athleticism starts waning in a year or two?
- Color me unimpressed that Josh is hitting 37.5% of his 3-point attempts when virtually every one of those shots is uncontested. Especially since I remember people saying the same thing when he shot 40+% down the stretch in ‘09.
- His jumper and his low post game are still below-average. It’s a lot easier to go from “terrible” to “below average” than it is to go from “below average” to “good.”
- Josh’s improved jumper has been accompanied by a breakdown in his shot selection. The result is that his eFG% now is lower than it was in either of the past two years.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
10:37 pm

“In any case, how do you define “skill” if you aren’t including basketball IQ, shot selection, effort, etc? Why is regressing in terms of shot selection any less worrisome than regressing in jumper consistency or rebounds?”

I think there is a distinction between what a player is capable of doing (what I refer to as skills) and how well a player understands what’s going on at any particular time of the game or when to do certain things (what people generally refer to as basketball IQ), and both don’t necessarily develop at the same rate. Off the top of my head, I’d point to someone like Andray Blatche as a player who has above average skills and below average understanding of the game, whereas someone like Jason Collins would be a guy with limited skills but an above average understanding of the game.

Anyway, I wasn’t trying to imply that regressing in terms of shot selection is any better. From what I can gather of what you’ve been saying, you more or less feel that what we see from Smoove right now is pretty much what we’re going to see for the foreseeable future as long as he has his athleticism. I would point to the fact that he clearly improved his jumper this past offseason as indication that he’s likely to improve other aspects of his game in the future and that he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. Looking back over the discussion, I see names like McHale being brought up as comparison to Smoove, and I wouldn’t go that far. I’d say Rasheed Wallace in Portland or Chris Webber in Washington are better comparisons for what Smoove can be when he reaches his ceiling.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
10:41 pm

“It’s not out of the question that an asteroid could fall out of the sky and destroy the world tomorrow. But based on everything I’ve seen, I’m gonna bet that it won’t.”

I would have said the same thing last year about him shooting 38% from 3 for half a season. If he can do that, he can improve his handles. Will it happen? Maybe, maybe not. Am I going to rule it out after seeing him go from being one of the worst 3 point shooters in the league to one of the better ones statistically? No.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
10:49 pm

“Do you really think Josh has the skill set to remain at his current (sub-All-Star) level once his athleticism starts waning in a year or two?”

Why do you think his athleticism will start waning at age 27? A lot of athletic players have maintained their athleticism for much longer. Bill Simmons — admittedly not a basketball expert even if he thinks he is — wrote a column last week about players nowadays maintaining their athletic ability longer than they did 10-20 years ago. Amare Stoudemire will be 29 this year and has had microfracture surgery and doesn’t seem to have lost a lot of his athleticism. C-Webb maintained a pretty high level of athleticism until his own knee injury at age 30. Barring a serious injury I don’t see why Smoove can’t maintain his athleticism for another four or five years before he starts seeing a decline.

doc

February 1st, 2011
11:01 pm

probably read it though it didnt register as i was involved in patients and didnt go back to reread it before my mind went to nash.

there are probably others through the ages though again sometimes who you are with and the organozations you are in influence what happens. our own jj may come close to your criteria though unless he gets a championship he wont be fodder for hof. just the same a good player later in his age group to get the accolades. he also was pushed hard into that role by woody.

niremetal

February 1st, 2011
11:09 pm

Najeh,

Fair enough on the timing issue. My observation is that in basketball, your athleticism starts to wane around age 27 or 28. Maybe that date’s been pushed back a couple years and/or the decline is slower than it used to be. But my general point is that Josh, unlike a guy like Duncan or Dirk, relies on his athleticism for most of his game. His jumper is below-average (having a second good half-season of jumpshooting in his 6.5 year career doesn’t change that) and his low post moves are below average (the lefty hook is serviceable, not good). Frankly, as of right now, he just doesn’t have the skill set in place to remain an offensive threat if his athleticism starts to go (and with it the opportunity for his easy points). The idea of him building his game around his jumper or low post moves is frankly laughable at this point. He’d have to reinvent his game in order to remain relevant at that end.

His skills as a help defender are stronger, but he stills relies quite a bit on his leaping ability for the “intimidation factor” of his blocked shots. Past that, he still remains a well below-average on-ball defender both on the perimeter and an average (at best) on-ball defender in the post. Again, he would have to dramatically improve those aspects of his game if he wants to remain a good defender once his athleticism starts to wane.

Modern science and training might be able to extend the life of Josh’s athleticism, but it can’t stop it altogether. And right now, Josh simply doesn’t have the skills to be more than an average player once his athleticism regresses to the mean. Players who reinvent themselves after 7+ years in the league are incredibly rare exceptions, not the rule.

doc

February 1st, 2011
11:15 pm

najeh i never inplied mchale and josh had similar skill sets just he was paired with another center like mchale was and those two josh and al might just challenge the numbers put up by chief and mchale. this discussion started eons ago and was referenced when i claimed to be among the blind not seeing hoe effective bibby is in still leading fast breaks. that might bring this discussion into context of mchale vs josh. josh already has as many assists in his career as mchale did so he brings something there mchale didnt. againjosh and mchale are. ery different but i was looking at axpair at pf and c that remained together for a comparison. their numbers wont be that far off just they are not going to get the notoriety without winnng near impossible wih the hawks not like the celts, probably the best organization ever challenged only by the lakers over the years. the hawks vs the celts organizations is truly apples and oranges for which our guys have to be graded on as well.
again put them in green and surround them with bird and d johnson among and id take my chances against the lakers of that era.

O'Brien

February 1st, 2011
11:19 pm

Nire,

Based on what you’ve been saying about Josh, it sounds like we should trade him then (for the right package of course).

1) It would change the dynamic of the team
2) When his contract is up in 2 years, Hawks might be forced to overpay, so sell high (before his game starts to decline).

vava74

February 2nd, 2011
9:31 am

Anyone wants to bet that within 3 years Josh will be significantly less effective than JJ taking as a starting point their current games?

Josh does not use his skills and tries to play against the flow of his own ability almost like a right handed guy who insists on playing only with his left hand.

Can he improve? Sure, but all that he does against what he has “in him” will never be fluid and natural.

superiorblogman

February 2nd, 2011
10:01 am

Real Makeover

Trade 1

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4mvwrg4

Hawks get: Stephen Curry, Biedrins, and Charlie Bell

Warriors get: Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, and Zaza

superiorblogman

February 2nd, 2011
10:29 am

Trade 2

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4emghwv

Hawks get: Carl Landry and Stephen Jackson

Bobcats get: Jamal and Francisco Garcia

Kings get: Gerald Wallace and Mo Evans

New Lineup:

PG Stephen Curry/Bibby
SG Joe/Stephen Jackson/Jordan
SF Marvin/Stephen Jackson
PF Al/Carl Landry/Josh Powell
C Biedrins/Collins/Thomas

8 deep quality nba players to the 6 we currently have and we are still under luxury cap.

Astro Joe

February 2nd, 2011
1:56 pm

Strickland, do you not see the falacy of that analysis? Teague gets more than his average time in games when Bibby isn’t playing well (or Jamal is missing). So comparing Teague’s performance against a sampling of Bibby’s worse game isn’t exactly scientifically valid. Regarding Teague’s injury, LD demoted him long since he should have re-gained his health. Was he healthy during that 16 minute stint against the Hornets about 10 days ago?

Check out Teague’s January log. Every game that he played more than 10 minutes, the Hawks lost. So did LD play him because we were losing or did we lose because LD played him? I don’t know, I just hope that he doesn’t play 10+ minutes tonight.

Go Hawks!

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/gamelog?playerId=4015

Astro Joe

February 2nd, 2011
2:46 pm

Kind of interesting to look at these stats, especially the points per shot (PPS) and 2-point FG%. Folk always wanting him to do something with his handful of opportunities… it appears that he is (at a better clip than the more heralded players on this team).

http://espn.go.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/atl/atlanta-hawks

Astro Joe

February 2nd, 2011
2:49 pm

Also sad to see that Marvin gets more FTAs per game than Horford. Ouch!

lukas

February 2nd, 2011
3:03 pm

Superior Blog man:

Trade # 1 looks intriguing, but Stephen Curry seems to be more a SG than a PG. There could be a conflict with JJ unless you plan to bring him from the bench. Trade # 2 also looks good but Sacramento is loaded with SF (Cisco, Caspi, Donte Greene) so i don’t see them getting more. Anyway, i really liked the 1st one b/c of Biedrins presence and Curry’s hability to score.

superiorblogman

February 3rd, 2011
9:07 am

Curry is just as much a PG as Deron Williams or Rose who both take more shots than he does and he is actually not the problem with that team it is Monta who is simply to small to guard the elite SG’s.

Rose takes 20 shots a game and gets 8 assists to 3 turnovers

Deron Williams takes 15 shots a game gets 9 assists to 3 turnovers

Curry takes 15 shots a game gets 6 assists to 3 turnovers

Curry is Mike Bibby on steroids and would be a fine addition to the Hawks because he can play alongside a 6-7, 240 pound, SG.