Hawks fans: Will Rick Sund rock the boat?

According to NBA.com, a little over 6 days and 14 hours remains before the NBA deadline is up. Normally, most Atlanta fans would half-heartedly lament the lack of rumors surrounding the Hawks, or talk of unrealistic trade proposals. Not this year. Since when is a winning record and a mere 1 game out of 4th place in the East cause for such alarm? Since when does a guaranteed playoff spot leave such feelings of gloom and doom?

Do we as Hawks fans not appreciate the team’s 34 victories in 55 tries? Or is it something else?

 

Good teams do this, Good teams do that…

It has gotten to the point where nearly every Atlanta win comes with a handful of caveats. Well, at least if you’re reading the blogs and what not. But it’s not just local fans and media. It’s everywhere. Why? It’s now just about who you beat. It’s also about who you don’t beat. The Hawks may have a better road record this season, but they are 6-13 against teams with winning records. Needless to say (and I’m going to say it anyway), this does not bode well for the postseason. Good teams compete well against other good teams. The Hawks have not done that this season, for the large part. Good teams find a way to overcome injuries to regular rotation players. The Hawks have done that this season. Good teams know their identity and their gameplan. The Hawks act like they can only remember this for a game at a time, and sometimes only for a quarter at a time. Are the Hawks a good team, or simply one with a winning record? Like all things, this is debatable. But it’s going to be hard to argue 6-13. It’s just not what good teams do.

Rumors

As usual, there isn’t much going on out there about the Hawks and who they might like to acquire. The lone bit of noise being made has to do with alleged interest in Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions. It’s hard to see how Sessions would make the Hawks instant or even eventual Eastern Conference Championship contenders, and adding him is a subject of some debate as well. While some stat experts can show that Sessions has issues on defense, could he really be worse than Mike Bibby or Jamal Crawford? Interestingly enough, there isn’t much being said about his offense, which certainly has its moments. The Hawks aren’t likely to get better at the point guard position through trade or free agency, but maybe that’s not the bandaid they should reach for right now. Maybe they should focus on having a guy who can drive the ball to the basket, find his teammates when the defense collapses, and shoot from where he knows how to shoot. Is it the total package? No, certainly not. But with Bibby’s lack of penetration and Jamal’s lack of “makes his teammates better”, maybe the Hawks should settle for solving one problem instead of continuing to strike out on two of them. Is Sessions worth the pursuit? Can the Hawks do better? What do YOU think?

Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat

The only thing worse than a dejected fan is an apathetic fan. If Hawks management and ownership can’t see this, then they are blind, deaf, and dumb. But that’s precisely what is happening. Gone is the team that defended home court with a zeal not easily matched last season. In it’s place is the same guys, but the passion appears to be missing. Larry Drew says the team has become too comfortable. Is he not part of this comfort level? General manager Rick Sund needs to rock the boat. He needs to rock it hard enough that the occupants think it’s going to capsize and begin holding on for dear life. But, this is not Sund’s way. The problem is that the entire organization seems quite well lulled to sleep. Even the finger pointing has all but stopped (sans Al Horford’s recent post game comments about not getting the ball enough). Perhaps nothing is worse than having one of your team captains say that everything is alright, when so many things clearly are NOT alright. Don’t tell Drew, but I think some of the players (too many of them) are still drinking the koolaid. Things only get worse after the all-star break. The Hawks only managed to sustain a single winning streak of longer than 3 games this season, and the schedule has been rather favorable. What are they going to do against all these winning teams that are coming up?

Time to rock the boat, Rick Sund. The occupants are mostly asleep, and the ship’s captain looks like he’s contemplating abdication.

So will the Hawks stand pat once more? Will they make any move of significance? Does anybody in the front office even care? We’ll know soon enough.

 

 

By Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest

235 comments Add your comment

doc

February 21st, 2011
1:12 am

doc

February 21st, 2011
1:13 am

curry is not the answer to our point guard issues. portland’s milller was but we blinked once again and looked the other way.

Ken Strickland

February 21st, 2011
2:44 am

STEVEN A-I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but MBibby doesn’t play a lick of DEF, or very little OFF, and he’s better than Bibby in virtually every respect, whether he’s a natural PG or not. At least SCurry can:
1-score consistently and in volume,
2-score in a variety of ways,
3-penetrate,
4-generate more than 3.6APG,
5-increase the tempo of the gm, rather than restrict it,
6-play DEF well enough not to require gimmick DEF’s, zones, or JJ to defend his man.

As far as ABiedrins poor FT shooting is concerned, have you checked Bibby’s FT % lately? If Biedrins and Curry create the OFF/DEF improvement they are capable of creating, we won’t have to worry nearly as much about winning or losing gms on late gm FT’s from Biedrins. Besides, why make an issue of Curry’s DEF, yet when it comes to acquiring SNash, there have been absolutely no comments whatsoever about his awful DEF or his advanced age?

The biggest question for me is about what action Sund and the ASG will take in regard to LDrew’s Woodson like approach to coaching the Hawks, and bone headed reliance on Bibby, especially if it leads to a 1st round elimination. Will they allow him to finish the remaining yr of his contract, or realize their mistake and send him packing?

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
6:59 am

nire,

I dont have the exact quote, but as doc said, Gearon talked about fans needing to come out and support the team (which I agree with). But the way they go about implies that fans are part of the problem, and not the ownership group.

Jeff Schultz has a new blog up. And Rick Sund actually makes an appearance (and he will travel with the team on the 5 game road trip). And of course, he puts all the onus on the players.

Sund: “The next two months and our performance in the playoffs will indicate as to exactly what this team is. The challenge is up to them.”

Sund again: “I think our players feel like they can play with anybody. It’s the first time in the last two years I’ve sensed that.”.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2011/02/20/hawks-sund-puts-onus-on-players-challenge-is-up-to-them/?cxntfid=blogs_jeff_schultz_blog/

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
7:03 am

One thing I did not know…As a team, the Hawks have the second-fewest steals (5.9) and are forcing the second-fewest turnovers (12.7) per game.

UGASlobberknocker

February 21st, 2011
8:23 am

I hope Sund blows this team up. IMO Horford is the only one who you can count on for 100% effort every game. I would start by getting rid of Coach Drew who is obviously over matched. I would keep Horford and Josh (who still needs a good coach to make him a complete and consistent player)..the rest of them we can do without. Johnson is nowhere near a max contract type player.Trade him for picks if nothing else. Bibby is over the hill. Marvin is a wasted talent. Zaza seems to have slipped. Overall.. DAMN! I thought this team would be much better than it has turned out to be. I hope I am wrong but I predict an early first round exit . As Barkley sings..I may be wrong..but I doubt it.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 21st, 2011
10:03 am

Thanks for those stats Obrien. As a team we now have a offensive identity (motion offense) but defensively there is an identity crisis going on. Not quite sure what the significance of Sund traveling with the team is but we shall see.

In no way am I saying that Glenn Robinson is better than Smoove. Bu It fear him jacking up 3’s and long range shots as his primary offensive apparatus. Maybe a penetrating floor general is all he needs to avert this trend.

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
10:11 am

doc, I’ve read/heard Petit’s name come up 3 times in about 5 days. Strange, very, very strange.

4 days of lies, speculation and rumors await us. Kind of like the last few days of a presidential election.

doc

February 21st, 2011
10:45 am

i just wish the announcer for once would simply say josh smith instead of j smoove.

AJ, last championship for the hawks, petit was their big, sad to say ?1957. the next year they lost to the celts and a dynasty was born. sadly, i became a fan of the hawks the year of 57 instead of waiting to become a fan of the celts a year later. 53 years of waiting for another championship only outdone by the kings.

RambleOn84

February 21st, 2011
10:50 am

With the Cavaliers looking so pathetic, couldn’t we swing a trade to get Varejao from them? He is a very good defender, good rebounder, and a high-energy guy who would give a lot of effort.

Also, we could move Horford to his more natural PF position.

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
10:57 am

doc, the champagne will taste sweeter for you than most once we win the trophy.

It appears that Melo is a beaver dam stopping other player movement from happening. If the Cavs are the team that will help facilitate the deal between the Nets and Nuggets, then Sessions may not be traded until the Melo-Drama concludes.

Meanwhile, Schultz acts like Sund said something significant in his comments about “it’s up to the players”. He pretty much said that when he blew out Woody and kept the core intact. I mean, he clearly isn’t going to say “I have done little to create a more balanced roster and I am to be held accountable for the plateau this team has reached”. So if not the GM and the head coach is new, then clearly the season’s success rests with the players, specifically Marvin and Bibby appear to have the bulk of the burden (strange, considering their relative role on the team).

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
10:59 am

RambleOn84, I’m pretty sure Varejao is out (due to injury) for the remainder of the season. If healthy, he would be a great add for the Hawks (and many other teams).

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
12:26 pm

It is similar to what JJ said. No excuses.

I do think some of the onus is also on LD. His biggest claim to fame was the motion offense, which “the league has never seen anything like it” (or something like that). But yet, in crunch time, we still get jumper happy, still run too many ISOs, and still struggle to score.

And LD has not done enough offensively or defensively (imo) to instill enough of a change.

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
12:48 pm

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
12:59 pm

One thing I disagreed with in the si article, was that the defense is solid. Overall though, I thought they raised some valid points.

Atlanta has managed this against what has been the easiest schedule in the league by a wide margin. That is going to change, immediately. Its remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of about .550, giving Atlanta by far the hardest schedule among Eastern Conference teams.

Only four teams get to the line less often, per shot attempt, and the Hawks’ offensive rebounding — once a key strength — has vanished.

They still isolate too much, and they fare poorly when they do; only six teams score fewer points per possession on isolation plays, according to the stat-tracking service Synergy Sports.

They still don’t use Al Horford enough, and they still take far too many long two-point jumpers; only the Wizards, Heat and Bulls attempt more, according to Hoopdata. Atlanta is an efficient transition team, but it continues to play at one of the slowest paces in the league..

One reason offensive rebounds has decreased is because we need to get back to play transition defense. But I didnt know we play at one of the slowest paces in the league (despite having Al and Josh who can run with the best of them).

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
1:36 pm

OB, I said it a few weeks ago and I stand by it, this season feels very much like a grind. Maybe it has something to do with the pace, maybe the injuries, maybe the learning curve associated with a new coach and schemes. All I know is that this team has had very few games when it all seemed easy, despite the favorable schedule. I sincerely hope that they were able to reenergize during the All-Star break as I personally have little hope that they will find a new teammate to help them in the stretch run at the end of the week.

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
2:34 pm

AJ,

It has been a grind. Last year, I felt like we had more blowout games (in our favor) where our bench guys got lots of PT. This season, even against bad teams, sometimes we will play only 1 good quarter (most of the time, I think thats the 3rd or 4th), so the games have been closer than they should be.

Maybe its just a case of the Hawks playing down to their competition.

I think LD is very frustrated with the players (even if he doesnt say it out loud). He says the same thing after some of these losses, and it just seems like he doesnt know what to do to get through to them

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
3:00 pm

OB, I think that he is finding that the Uncle Larry role one seat down is very different than the Daddy role in the big chair. He may have thought the view was much more similar than the reality. I don’t find much fault in his on-court choices (although not employing the motion offense extensively in the 4th quarter still confuses me), but it is the non Xs & Os part that he seems (justifiably) to be in a steep learning curve. In lieu of busting up the core, a significant culture change was needed. I fear that neither will happen for the remainder of this season.

Melvin

February 21st, 2011
3:51 pm

LOL… even the Clippers don’t want Marvin contract…

“@Rev in Tampa: you mean Marvin to the Clippers? the LA people think that’s a non-starter” – MC

Najeh Davenpoop

February 21st, 2011
5:52 pm

Not surprising at all that teams continue to shy away from taking on Marvin’s deal. The sad thing is that his isn’t even one of the three least tradeable contracts on this roster.

Ken Strickland

February 21st, 2011
5:59 pm

Tell me if you think the following trade proposal will satisify our need for a PG and the ASG’s need to save money.

The Hawks send MBibby(($5.56M), JCrawford($10.8M) and ZPachulia($4.25M) to the GS Warriors.
The Warriors send SCurry($2.94M), ABiedrins($9M) and DGadzuric($7.2M) to the Hawks. The Hawks will use the $3.63 trade exception to absorb SCurry’s $2.91M salary. As it stands, if the Hawks make no changes to their roster, and once all remaining salaries have escalated, the ASG will be committed to paying out $63,606,550M in salaries after all expiring contracts have been dropped.

We subtract the combined escalated value of Bibby and Zaza’s traded salaries($10,967,617M) and subtract this total from next yr committed salaries($63,606,550)and get $52, 638,933M. Then we add back the combined salaries of ABiedrins and SCurry, ($10,360,870M), which we acquired in the trade, to our adjusted salary figure($52,638,933M), and end up with a total salary committment next yr of $62, 999,803M after this trade, which is a $606,747 reduction. I didn’t include Gadzuric’s salary because his is an expiring contract.

In this trade, we end up with the PG and C we covet, and the ASG actually ends up slightly better off financially. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Ken Strickland

February 21st, 2011
6:10 pm

From what I’ve read, if Melo is trade goes through with the Knicks, the Nuggets are said to have no intention of keeping PG RFelton, and the same is said to the true for PG DHarris if the Nets are Melo’s destination. If fact, it was stated that even if Melo is traded to the Knicks, the Nets will try to acquire some of the players the Nuggets will receive in that trade, which they feel could still make either PG available, if not both.

Big Ray

February 21st, 2011
6:56 pm

I think Ken should commission Clyde to make him a “Fire Bibby” t-shirt. Then, he could wear it every day of the week in lieu of plaguing us with his anti-Bibby posts every day of the week. Hell, I’ll even pay for it, as well as a matching set of “Fire Bibby” shorts.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Najeh Davenpoop

February 21st, 2011
7:58 pm

“The Hawks send MBibby(($5.56M), JCrawford($10.8M) and ZPachulia($4.25M) to the GS Warriors.
The Warriors send SCurry($2.94M), ABiedrins($9M) and DGadzuric($7.2M) to the Hawks. ”

Great trade for the Hawks. Too bad you’d be hard pressed to find a team in the Euroleague, let alone the NBA, willing to take on the rest of Zaza’s contract. The Hawks are pretty much stuck with him unless they dump him on a team with cap space and give them a draft pick for their trouble.

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
9:19 pm

SpearsNBAYahoo Marc J. Spears
Melo is close to being dealt to Knicks, possibly tonight, a source tells Y! Sports.

Melvin

February 21st, 2011
9:21 pm

Man, I wish the Hawks could acquire Harris, Felton or Hinrich. Seems like all three are available….

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
9:23 pm

One thing I like about this time of the season, is all the rumors.

From espn.com;

After the name of Cleveland’s Anthony Parker surfaced Friday as a player that Boston has joined conference rival Chicago in pursuing, sources said Monday that the Celtics and Rockets have likewise discussed the prospect of Battier moving East. .

One thing I dont like about this time of year is most of the rumored deals dont get done.

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
9:27 pm

Melvin,

If Bibby was given a 2 year deal (instead of 3 years), then its possible we might have been able to do a sign and trade with Charlotte for Felton.

Charlotte would have had Bibby for 1 year as a security blanket for DJ, and then his contract would come off the books (or they could trade him at the deadline). And we would have Felton, who signed for roughly $8 mil per year.

What I find interesting is even a young PG like Felton only got a 2 year deal, but yet we gave 3 years to an old and aging Bibby.

The Hawks could have drafted Felton in ‘05 if they wanted. he went 5th, and we drafted Marvin 2nd…

Astro Joe

February 21st, 2011
9:41 pm

OB, if the 3rd year of Bibby’scontract were a deal breaker, would you have walked away? I wonder how much money we would have had to sign a different PG back then? You always have to remember that there was an agent on the opposite side of the table from Sund… for all we know, Bibby’s agent may have come in asking for a 4-year contract.

Ken Strickland

February 21st, 2011
9:47 pm

NAJEH-The Warriors are currently paying $9M to their 2nd string backup center(ABiedrins), and $7.24M to their 3 string backup center(DGadzuric). So with that in mind, why would it be so hard to believe they would be willing to pay Zaza’s modest, by comparison, $4.75M contract? Also, if we traded him for a player with a simular salary, and the team had a need for a backup center, salary cap wouldn’t be an issue for either team.

Ken Strickland

February 21st, 2011
10:00 pm

MELVIN-There’s no way for the Hawks to acquire either Felton and Harris directly, because their teams would need them as key elements in any trade would make. If we have any chance of trading for either it would be with the team that acquired them in a trade, and the Hawks would have to have everything already in place with that team for a trade to get it done by the trade deadline.

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
10:05 pm

AJ,

The only money we had to sign a FA PG was the mid-level exception (~$5 mil or so). But…In the summer of ‘09…

25 year old Jarrett jack was available, and he signed for 4 years $20 mil deal. He averaged 13 points and 5 assists his contract year.

22 year old Ramon Sessions was available, and he signed for 4 years, $16 mil. he averaged 12 points and 6 assists his contract year.

31 year old Mike Bibby was available, and we offered him 3 years, $18 mil. he averaged 15 points and 5 assists.

32 year old Andre Miller was available, and he got 3 years, $21 mil (only 2 years and $14 mil guaranteed). he averaged 16 pts and 7 assists.

Obviously Andre Miller was out of our price range, but who was going to give Bibby that 3rd year guaranteed? And if the 3rd year was a problem, then offer him more money per year (for example 3 years, $21 mil like Andre Miller), so he makes $2 mil extra the first 2 years, with a team option for $7 mil the last year.

And Rick had to know that the CBA would expire this offseason, probably resulting in lower salaries, lower salary cap space etc. Having Bibby’s contract off the books would have been up to Rick…

O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
10:32 pm

Melo deal is finally done.

and the Knicks have no depth.

Melvin

February 21st, 2011
10:37 pm

ESPN is reporting that Melo is a Knick. I think the trade wont be official until tomorrow when the NBA office re-opens…

The four team above the Hawks and the team behind the Hawks have made major addition to their teams since this summer. Now what is Sund and ASG going to do?

Najeh Davenpoop

February 22nd, 2011
12:11 am

“The Warriors are currently paying $9M to their 2nd string backup center(ABiedrins), and $7.24M to their 3 string backup center(DGadzuric). So with that in mind, why would it be so hard to believe they would be willing to pay Zaza’s modest, by comparison, $4.75M contract?”

Because they would have learned from their mistake. The Warriors have been trying to move Gadzuric since the day he got there.