Atlanta hawks: Is disarray here to stay?

A tale of three team captains 

When the Hawks lose, you can ask Joe Johnson what happened. He is likely to tell you he doesn’t know. You can ask Al Horford. He’ll likely tell you what the problem was, and all but name who was responsible for it. You can also ask Josh Smith. He’ll tell you that the team will get their heads together, they are a tight knit group, and everything will be okay. Is any of this confidence inspiring? Why are they all saying different things?

Let us get one thing out on the table, and it is something that some of you/us have already been saying since the beginning of the season. It was a mistake for Larry Drew to name three team captains. Or do you disagree? Let’s extend that even further – it was a mistake to name Josh Smith as a team captain. Perhaps you disagree more vehemently with this than the first assertion. Perhaps not. Either way, can anybody prove this was a successful venture or even a good idea? These three team captains don’t think alike. They don’t play alike. They don’t react alike. In fact, I’m feeling a bit hard-pressed to come up with something that they have in common at all. It seems that Larry Drew tried to force this team into forming its own locker room and on-court leadership. But his idea of putting three guys into such a position resulted in what looks like more confusion, which has done nothing to increase leadership. Three guys, one position. One seems like he never really felt destined to be a leader, and maybe he should have had that burden thrown on him. Another doesn’t know how to follow, so how can he lead? The third can’t lead if others won’t follow. How was this supposed to work again?

From the Sidelines

Mike Woodson’s tactics, leadership, and his overall body of work was questioned, and it led to him parting ways with the Hawks. General Manager Rick Sund then proclaimed that the Hawks needed to “hear a different voice.” So, he brought them (perhaps at the behest of his host of bosses) a familiar voice and placed that voice in the big chair. Perhaps the results have spoken for themselves. You hear a familiar but previously quiet voice saying the same things the old voice used to say. It seems the “different” voice begins to show signs of strain and frustration. The different voice seems to have given in. The different voice doesn’t know what to do. The different voice screams accountability, but can’t follow through. The different voice…doesn’t seem so different after all. Of course, its not just about the voice.

Here is where one of Larry Drew’s biggest problems may be brewing: with Josh Smith. We used to not like it when Mike Woodson and Josh Smith got after each other. But, at least Woody got after him. And, Josh got after Woody. It wasn’t good. Josh doesn’t get after Drew. Why? Maybe because Drew doesn’t get after him.  Drew has  agreed to disagree with his team captain on how to play the game. Worse, he’s made this known through public quotes. How in the world can you get an entire team to listen to you when one of the team captains is allowed to disagree with you and do what he wants to do? That’s not to say that Josh isn’t a good player, or even a good person. He has shown more maturity (or at least it seems like it) in most areas, and has put up some pretty good numbers. But….can a team operate like this, when one of its best players is constantly at odds with the head coach on such basic things as when to take certain shots or when to let the point guard run the break?

Let me put this another way – if you can’t convince a team captain not to take long jumpers at the wrong times, then how can you convince the rest of the team to not do so? Just watch the games. See how many long jumpers are being taken, regardless of how unsuccessful that venture turns out to be. Then watch how many times Larry Drew talks about taking too many long jumpers after a loss. And, it’s not just Josh Smith by a long shot. It’s a bunch of guys. Unfortunately, Josh is a team captain, which puts things in a slightly different light.

This isn’t the only problem. Maybe this isn’t really a big problem. Maybe it is. What do you think?

Breaking in the new guys

The arrival of Kirk Hinrich really helped Atlanta on the defensive end, but as scores and fourth quarter numbers have indicated, that’s not all there is to the story. The problem with the offense is that this is where the leadership of this team (or lack thereof) really suffers. A guy like Hinrich knows how to play the game. How long before he becomes frustrated with the way the Hawks play? Everybody within the organization and the fan base can talk about Hinrich’s leadership and toughness until they are blue in the face. It won’t matter. Why? Because we have three team captains already. How is a guy like Hinrich to have a positive effect when all he can do is try to lead by example (something we’ve recognized as a good but incomplete form of leadership)? Can Hinrich even say anything in the locker room? Who will listen?

On the flip side of the coin, Hilton Armstrong has it easier than his backcourt teammate. All he has to do is provide energy, defend the rim and the paint, and grab some rebounds. Maybe even set some screens on offense and be ready to score at the rim if he actually receives the ball. Of course, Armstrong can’t be certain of his role, as neither can Zaza Pachulia (who is very playing-time sensitive) or Jason Collins. Drew doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do with his bench or his frontcourt some days.

More confusion, more disarray. 

If Larry Drew and the Hawks aren’t careful, they’ll stunt their own internal growth.

The Final Word….

……comes from General Manager Rick Sund. The normally quiet Sund stated before the deadline that the onus was on this team to prove who they were and what they were capable of. He said that this team would show itself and be judged on what they did through the final stretch of the season, and in the playoffs. By saying this, Sund also put the burden on himself and his bosses. After all, if the proof is in what this team does, and the team falls below expectations, or simply last year’s accomplishments, then who else can be responsible for the final product?

Sund says this core is at the witness stand. He’s right. And after they testify, he’ll be going to the stand next. This summer, in fact.

Call it Now

Hope springs eternal, but its not the offseason yet. Forget gaining ground for now, can the Hawks even maintain their current position? Is this just a late season rut, or is the writing on the wall? If patterns hold where they are, the Hawks face the Magic in round 1 of the playoffs? Can they survive that?

Your call…

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest

286 comments Add your comment

E43

March 7th, 2011
11:19 pm

W.R.Terrell

March 7th, 2011
11:24 pm

The “SOFT’S” will not make the playoffs. New York will definitely take over the 5th position and guess what…Philly is lurking in the shadows. Play the young fellas and prepare for next year and get rid of “SMOOVE”. Talent or no talent he’s a cancer that cannot be remedied. Send Marvin own, he has no heart and plays to soft to be of help to any team. Jamal has gone crazy, LD told him to be more aggressive but I doubt if that means more turnovers. We all know we are stuck with ISO, no one is gonna jump on his contract. Let Zsa Zsa go, he cries too much. TIME TO REBUILD because we have a house of cards and that means get rid of LD too. He is to scared to bench that “smoove” person and he really needs to for the rest of the season, that way some owners may forget how dumb he really plays and offer up a trade.

SteveW

March 7th, 2011
11:38 pm

Big Ray – Thanks. Can’t say that I disagree with any of that.

doc

March 7th, 2011
11:45 pm

nice big ray. this might be the crux of the matter buried deeply within and that which i am concerned the most about:

The different voice doesn’t know what to do.

really the leader has to be the coach, is he leading?

atlienforlife

March 7th, 2011
11:59 pm

The problem is not Josh smith; if anyone watches the games (& I watch them all), the hawks are a completely different teams when he doesn’t play. Team run layup drills on the hawks in those games. The problem is larry drew thinks he’s an offensive genius and has totally slowed down the hawks, wanting to set up some type of play every time down the floor. Consequently; that leads to all the long shots, because the roster isn’t built to be a half court team. Furthermore; I always thought joe johnson was a decent player, but he is playing no where near as well as he was last year (and that’s not saying much).

E43

March 8th, 2011
12:03 am

my second “first honorable award” I should simply not take this opportunity to send a shout out to my mama, daddy, grandpa. grandma, brothers and sisters or my high school coach even though I sill kind of sent them a shout out.

My call/view is that this is an “I TOLD YOU SO” league.Everybody wants to be right and when they are they will flex their muscles, talk the talk and walk with their chests out. Next thing you know is that there’s a lot of testosterone in the air/hurt feeling and no one wants to admit that they were wrong. I mean- whatever happened to the people that said the heat would win 70+games. Furthermore, those that said boston didnt have the youth to make it to the finals? They wont admit they were wrong but will move on to the very next thing.

As for the hawks. we made the trade it helped but now were back to complaining. even if we had a lineup of Gasol Horford Smith JJ and CP3 There will always be room to complain. Just ask the three kings who probably can still win an NBA championship and the eastern conference.

atlienforlife

March 8th, 2011
12:04 am

Not to mention jamal crawford; I don’t know what’s happened to his game. He looks lost out there most games this year, I think is contract is on his mind to much. The hawks should have traded him when his value was still high. Now they are either gonna lose him to free agency for nothing, or pay to much for a player that is one dimesional. If he is not scoring, he cannot help the team any other way.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2011
12:09 am

“This is a better team than last year? How so? Not being sarcastic, just asking. I think we have better potential than last year. I haven’t gotten much further than that, I must confess. ”

They play better defense at the point guard position, they use the bench better, and they share the ball better. The last two, at least, have been the case for most of the season, and the first has been the case since the Hinrich trade. I think that sets the Hawks up better for the playoffs. I gotta admit, though, if they continue to have games like the one against the Knicks, I’m probably going to be switching sides on that pretty soon.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2011
12:18 am

I haven’t been inside an NBA locker room, so I don’t really even know how significant the idea of team captains is at that level. It seems to me that if Kirk or Jamal or someone else felt like leading, not having a C on his locker wouldn’t stop him from doing so. But I think the broader point that this team lacks consistent leadership from either players or coaches is a good one.

Reality Time

March 8th, 2011
12:20 am

No ownership, no coaching and the wrong players. That’s what is wrong the the Hawks. IF they make the playoffs, you can be guaranteed they will not make it past the frist series.
During the off season, the Hawks need to tear this team apart and rebuild. Josh Smith is not a winner. Its all about him and his dunk and his three point shots. He is a JOKE!
This team is a laughing stock and reflects poorly on Atlanta. If ownership is not committed on rebuilding, please take the team somewhere else. I am so sick of watching the same ole, same ole, season after season.
These guys are over-paid and have no clue how to play as a team. The upcoming playoffs will prove it again, IF they make it.
Come on….Atlanta deserves better. Move them somewhere else.

E43

March 8th, 2011
12:24 am

WOW new york scored 131 against Utah. They must have gone back to their 3ball happy ways.

Mike is back

March 8th, 2011
1:28 am

Big Ray, granted it may have been a mistake…to anoint Josh a leader…but Josh ain’t your number one option…neither is Josh your number two option on the team…however he remains an enigma none the lease.

The problem with this theory is…it’s two guys that have a green light no matter what…BTW it use to be three…before Bibby departure.

No matter what…how do you keep a guy like Josh from taking jump shots…that part is easy…make him the number option for stored procedures.

At the very lease…the number two option is…insure that all your plays are so where around the rack…problem is…The Hawks have two ole school coaches that rely too heavily on the veterans play…Dam the torpedoes go with vet!!!

Despite their short coming…the Coaches are willing to night and night out roll the dice with the vets…even if they are a wash-outs. What kind of leadership is that…I can still remember Woody saying we gotta get JJ going…News flash…JJ is one of the highest paid player in the league…and he still hasn’t grasp the Big picture…yet.

WTF is it going to take…JJ…even with a new coach…I still cain’t remembering hearing we gotta get josh going…lets face it…this team is evolved around offense…so why is anybody surprised…we are struggling on defense…that’s on the coach…dude is over his head…he made Woody seem dated…now it’s him

Let me ask you this…when JJ and Jamal shot is not falling…and they are throwing up brick after brick…is that part of the culture??????????????????

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease don’t waste your time trading JOSH … until U CAN ADEQUATELY ANSWER THIS QUESTION…DID I MENTION WORD Wait or patient…cus that is it!!!!

RED ZONE 1

March 8th, 2011
1:41 am

Here’s the simple math on making the hawks contenders. Trade Josh Smith for Javale Mcgee ( a young athletic 7 ft center who fits the teams dynamics) and a 1st rd pick or Jordan Crawford. Trade Kirk for Phili’s Louis Williams (lighting fast, defends and pushes, with better numbers and more upside), he and Teague can battle for the starting job. Trade the pick to Denver for Wilson Chandler or move Joe to the 3 and start Jordan Crawford at the 2. Now Marvin moves to the bench where he seems more comfortable as a 1st or 2nd option.

Ed

March 8th, 2011
3:23 am

Gotta tip my hat to ya Ray…you really hit the nail on the head in regards to Josh being a team captain and defiant of LD’s requests. The only way you can win big in the NBA is for all five starters being on board, particularly the team leaders. Josh is reacting the way a kid does when the parents leave (Woody) and the babysitter is watching you (LD). Just counting the number of threes he hoisted last year compared to this one tells it all. Good stuff Ray…

Puzzled

March 8th, 2011
3:53 am

Enter your comments here

vava74

March 8th, 2011
4:32 am

Ray,

These days I only get flak from you :-D .

Most of you watch the games live, some even at the arena, and the emotion that goes with watching a game live is detrimental to an accurate analysis most of the time.

I have watched many games on league pass in the morning following the game and a pretty decent fraction of those games were losses.

I don’t think many of you would have the stomach to wake up at 5 or 6 am like I did to watch a Hawks loss under a magnifier as I did many times (yesterday was not the case, I did it during my very loose lunch break).

So, I really believe that having seen the game on league pass knowing the end result I was able to be really focused in detecting what went wrong and to qualify this loss against the Knicks as a loss which should not be put on the pile of “crap ATL performance” but on “damn, many things did not go our way type of loss”.

As for the captains and team leaders conversation, I agree with your overall assessment, however, this time, Horford was wrong and that does not bode well for his leadership skills either.

The problem against the Knicks was not lack of ball movement per se, it was lack of Horford showing up and playing like crap against Jared Jeffreys and Stoudemire, so I find it odd that instead of acknowledging that he brought literally nothing to the table he dices the team’s play.

Not good. He may be right 99 times out of 100 but not against the Knicks: he was shooting like cr*p and stop taking shots and ended up passing the ball like a hot potato to someone else with the shot clock winding down instead of driving and try to take it to the rack (for crying out loud, Stoudemire plays soft D and at some point he had already 2 fouls in the first half).

That happened in 5 or 6 possessions and 5 or 6 possessions in a game like this makes a win or a loss.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2011
5:58 am

Doc ,

True to a point. He has to establish a firm system and has to sell guys on it. I think Drew may actually be able to do that. I just don’t think he can do that here . There was a time when I thought he could. That time is long past.

Vava ,

If I don’t give you flak, you have no reason to stay honest. ;)

On Horford – I agree. He played badly. But I’ve seen the best in the game do the same thing, so there is only so much magnification that can go on. Look at some of the things Kobe has been criticized for, yet there he was hoisting the trophy at the end last year, and as likely to do it again this year. This is part of Horford’s learning curve. And whether or not he was wrong had little to do with it. Horford could have gone for 30 and 16 again, and we still could have lost. Just because he didn’t play well didn’t mean he wasn’t right about the others who didn’t play well.

Ed ,

Thanks. I hate to say what I did about Smoove, but he is both a part of the problem and a part of what makes this team experience as much success as it does.

Marcus

March 8th, 2011
6:29 am

We are kinda in no man’s land/”friend zone”:
Not sorry enough to get a lottery pick, not willing to spend enough to get quality depth if it takes us over the luxury tax threshold, and currently not mature enough to max. out the talent we have (player development included, e.g. Teague) and play with consistency.

I luv my Hawks but we are in a Groundhog Day situation until something really drastic happens.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2011
7:29 am

W.R. Terrell ,

There is a definite danger of losing the 5th seed to New York, who seems to be picking up some serious steam. Here’s a question, though: is that as bad as it could be? Seems to me that the worst we could do is drop all the way to the 8th seed, where we would face Boston, who will massacre us.

But what if we dropped to sixth or seventh, and faced either Chicago or Miami? Would that be a better matchup than Orlando, who seems like they will remain in 4th place?

Marcus ,

I believe you’re right. What that is precisely, is another question.

Reality Time ,

Atlanta has gotten better than this from the Braves and the Falcons. Fans still aren’t showing up in droves, or even on time for a game. This conversation has been a mixed bag.

Big Ray

March 8th, 2011
7:32 am

Najeh ,

Good points. I seem to recall Stephen Jackson talking about being team captain back when he was still with Golden State. Now we know Capn’ Jack has some attitude, but we also know that Golden State has had some serious issues (still do). But it was kinda funny what he had to say about being team captain. He all but dismissed it as anything all that important or even influential.

Yet, he has more moxie for the job than most of our guys. I’d take some brash personality that knows which way to go, rather than “I don’t know” and “we’re a tight knit group”. Maybe I’m just jaded with the lack of leadership we have. It’s not just the lack of leadership. It’s a culture that encourages and cultivates the attitude that does not accept leadership.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2011
7:50 am

The 3 captains idea was destined to fail from the start.

1) How many teams in the NBA have 2 captains (much less 3)?
2) We had 3 team captains, but none of them was the PG, who is supposed to be the coach on the floor?
3) One of the team captains was always at odds with the previous HC.

That’s like you having an employee who is inconsistent with their attitude and their performance, but you really want them to work harder and change their attitude. So you give them more responsibility thinking that will change everything about them? How much sense does that make?

And I don’t think Hinrich will make much of a difference leadership wise, because there is a certain culture and established hierarchy with this team, and unless we get a HC from outside, I don’t think it will change.

Josh will be the kamikaze he is, JJ and Jamal will do what they do (good or bad), and Horford will try his best to play well and speak out, while the HC will continue to say a lot of things, but 1) won’t follow through and 2) says some things he shouldn’t say, making him look like wishy washy at times.

Willie Coyote

March 8th, 2011
8:00 am

LD probably wanted Al to be the captain but thought he can’t make Al the captain and pass over Joe and Josh. Therefore, he chose to give it to all three. I guess he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…which is a problem.

This team is too mentally fragile when the current coach has to walk on eggshells to keep someone from crying or the former coach continually clashed with the team’s most talented player because he wouldn’t spare feelings.

We have the wrong mix of players plain and simple. We have talented guys but I don’t think they have a singular focus on winning. People want to win but they want to win while playing enough minutes, or getting enough touches, or what the hell ever. That more than anything is why this is not a contender. They have the ability to give any team in the NBA fits; they don’t have it upstairs though.

It doesn’t help when ownership is as questionable as it is. I don’t want to give LD & Sund a pass but we really don’t know what they are truly allowed to do.

Willie Coyote

March 8th, 2011
8:03 am

Oh, and not taking it inside against a bad NY defensive team is inexcusable. If they settle for jumpers against that team (after they saw what taking the ball inside did to Chi & Golden State), then don’t get your hopes up that this team’s shot selection will ever get better.

dap01

March 8th, 2011
8:11 am

This ship is sinking.

Ray

March 8th, 2011
8:46 am

My only thing is why always blame Josh? I do agree he can be boneheaded at times, but Josh doesn’t always lose us the games. You can actually blame that a little on everyone especially two elephants in the room Jamal and Marvin(In my opinion). Cause if neither of them can score especially Jamal we’re sunk plus we’ve already stated this before as many shots as Jamal makes he gives up equally or more depending that same game.

Still this offseason if ASG wants anyone to come back next year and not feel like Phillips Arena is a snooze fest then actually get a REAL HC(Head Coach) don’t get me wrong L.D is cool, but not for this team we need a coach that’s not scared to chump the players out when they know they’ve done things wrong.

We also need some new blood in here getting rid of Mike Bibby/Mo Evans isn’t all that needs to change Marvin and Zaza must go ASAP it will make the others think that you can’t get too comfortable in the locker room.

In fact you know I think that’s what’s wrong with this team their just way to comfortable seriously.
When you have 4 of the same people over a span of over 6 years talking about Zaza, Marvin, Josh, and Joe, and don’t make any moves at all yeah I can see players getting lazy cause they know their just going to get their money.

steve brown

March 8th, 2011
9:00 am

Josh Smith-no one seems to mention his propensity for turnovers at the worst possible moments-like 5 against the Knicks. Additionally, no one seems to notice that he is normally unguarded when he has the ball in 3 point range. The opponent wants him to take that shot. They want him to handle the ball. They want him to throw bad pass after bad pass. He just doesn’t get it and after this many years I’m betting he never does.

wordsmithtom

March 8th, 2011
9:18 am

Sund’s contract up this summer. Hmmm His “core” defence suggests the clock is ticking on him and his coach.
Gut says new GM/coach with a target for whichever big man Lakers lose after they get Superman. There’s going to be a player available, and swapping JS for Bynam/Gasol would make us beasts. Maybe even JJ for Gasol…..2 bad contracts.

Just one observation. I watched Kirk during shootaround. He eyed the hoop with hawkeyes, dribbling from left to right without looking….as if stalking his shot. A stone-cold killer. He didn’t have a very good game Sunday, still without his shooting we’d have lost by 20.

Armstrong looked confused, yet he did set nice screens and looks ready to bang. He is big.

Hawkfan

March 8th, 2011
9:21 am

Josh is the problem he takes to many outside jumpers, he should be like Al take better shots. Joe is too humble to say something and so is LD and maybe Al, but someone should tell or show this guy film that I see night after night be at home or at the areana. He is causing us too many games. We do have a good team, but until they learn that LD is the true leader and he is not afraid to stand his ground, this team will continue to suffer………………..I am suffereing as well I am a season ticket holder I have to watch this night in and night out…….I like all the guys I think they just need to be like other teams and learn their role…………..Josh Smith needs to learn his role and stop trying to take over when he simply can not…………

Ray

March 8th, 2011
9:22 am

@ wordsmithtom

Are you serious Sund’s contract is up this summer if so whoopee!! lol.

JeJe

March 8th, 2011
9:38 am

This is the only team in the NBA that makes D’Antoni’s defensive schemes look elite

JeJe

March 8th, 2011
9:40 am

Josh Smith has said before he asks LD when a shot he takes is a good or bad shot
Joe said he doesn’t know what the problem with the team is
Horford says he loves playing NYK then gets owned by Amar’e

Those are your captains

Rufus1

March 8th, 2011
9:45 am

Willie Coyote

“LD probably wanted Al to be the captain but thought he can’t make Al the captain and pass over Joe and Josh.”

That is where LD gave up his power. Any good leader knows, you start with a hard line and then pull back. If he would have made just Al the Capatian, the leadership structure and identity of this team would have been defined…The honeymoon is over and you now see the error of this decision.

LD or Josh Smith will not be hear next year, because you have to choose between the coach or talent…Maybe both will be gone.

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2011
9:48 am

OB, from the previous blog, while a few more points won’t radically shift the team’s fortunes, pushing the tempo is much more intuitive for this bunch of players than what they have been doing. We all know that when Josh actually fills the lane on a fast break (which has been a rare sight this season) that he is an outstanding finisher. And his role of “energizer bunny” is better served when he is dunking on fast breaks. It also seems to result in more blocked shots (if I had nothing to do, I would see if there is a relationship between fast break points and blocked shots… my guess is that the help defense is better when players are free to run and jump). It is strange that with Teague getting consistent playing time, that the fast break points are down. Isn’t that what he would seemingly do best on offense?

I guess that is what is meant by “disarray”. Teague is playing but we’re not running. Hinrich is here but we run an offense that doesn’t make use of his “QB” skills. Al sometimes disappears in games despite being the team’s most consistent offensive weapon. Josh continues to bomb away despite diminishing results. Under the leadership of an offensive guru, this team scores fewer points than last year’s squad (led by someone who didn’t give a darn about offense). Marvin’s defense has picked up in the past 5-8 games yet he doesn’t finish many games (but Jamal does). We scored less than 80 against the Knicks… at home… while they were missing 2 starters.

Yeah, disarray sounds about right. A good loss against the Lakers won’t make me feel better. We’re 4-8 in the last 12 games, we need real victories, not feel good losses.

doc

March 8th, 2011
9:56 am

big ray, dr phil leads. sure, not all coaches can be him. coaches can lead by their actions as much as players. if say the coach is frustrated, inconsistent, hesitant, over-copensates or says one thing and does another, sometimes those tendencies are reflected in the team. i see those attributes with LD and i see it in the team as a whole.

give woody credit for sticking to the mantra of defend and rebound whether it was boring as hell to listen to that was stuck in their heads and no excuses could be made for not doing it. yes they needed more, not sure they got it and they certainly quit from time to time so maybe never quit should have been in there as well.

at times i see confusion and lack of cohesion. in a group this long together that shouldnt be true. it was there last year as well and i blame sund and the askg for not seeing it and acting on it rather than putting their heads in the sand and sticking with the core while seeking a new voice.

i think the askg were expecting their coach to lead differently or be the lead dog. that was all they wanted to change, being the voice.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2011
10:04 am

Ray,

Fair or not, the biggest reason (imo) why Josh gets criticized the way he does is because “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Josh is the one guy who can be a game changer on offense and defense every game…if he puts his mind to it. He is capable of putting up 16 pts, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals more often.

When he plays like that, it rubs off on the entire team (teamates and coaches have made similar statements), and if he puts up those kind of numbers, chances are the Hawks will win.

But Josh Smith does not put up those kinds of numbers consistently enough. It’s not all his fault, but a big part of his problem is mentally, he is not focused the way he should be sometimes.

Other players have their faults too, but I think Josh is the one player whose focus and mentality might be his biggest obstacle, and his play and energy has a huge effect on his teamates.

Rufus1

March 8th, 2011
10:06 am

I hold out hope….

I hold out hope that Josh will go back to playing more Like Noah and less like AL.

I hold out hope that he will realize the he can dominate a game on the defensive end and that is he true identity.

I hold out hope that that when you shot 8-17(2-9 jumpshots, 6-8 insideshots)that he is better served taking very few jumpshots.

I hold out hope that he will cut hard to the basket(Like D12) on a pick-n-roll, instead of standing outside the paint(Like AL).

I hold out hope that LD will sit down with Josh before the playoffs and say, the jumper experiment is over….

I hold out hope that the LD realizes what Jamal is and limits his minutes and his situations.

I hold out hope that.

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2011
10:08 am

i think the askg were expecting their coach to lead differently or be the lead dog. that was all they wanted to change, being the voice.

Well, he wouldn’t be the first guy to over-promise in a job interview and then under-perform after getting the job. One wonders if Sund doesn’t send texts to Dwayne Casey after every loss with 3-letters… “SMH”.

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2011
10:10 am

Rufus, good luck with that.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2011
10:10 am

AJ,

Although Teague is playing more, one of the issues is he is not finishing his fast break opportunities, so that brings the transition points down. And remember that on the road, LD wants them to slow the tempo.

Looking at the 4-8 record the last 12 games, it was interesting to see how our players were doing from 3. Over the last 12 games, behind the 3-point line, JJ is 7-39 (18%), Jamal is 18-57 (32%), Josh is 6-24 (25%, and he missed 2 games), Marvin is 5-25 (20%).

Those are some of the numbers from those 12 games and our 3-point attempts (and I didnt include Bibby’s horrible numbers because he has taken his declining talents to South Beach via Washington).

We sure take a lot of 3’s for a team thats struggling from 3. Maybe pushing the ball more will also result in less 3-pt attempts.

Rufus1

March 8th, 2011
10:22 am

Astro Joe

Sports is about hope.

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2011
10:23 am

OB, I was thinking more in terms of Teague leading the fast break, not attempting to finish the fast break. You know, PG of the Future?

Did you guys see the SVG quote from yesterday? I’m thinking that Stern will call for him to be beheaded.

“This is the system David Stern and his minions like it,” Van Gundy said. “So that’s the system you have…I certainly can’t have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot or leaders we’ve seen in this world lately, don’t really tolerate other people’s opinion or free speech or anything. So I’m not really allowed to have an opinion. So it’s up to him”.

doc

March 8th, 2011
10:30 am

o’b, wow jj @ 18%. guess we dont need to much of nire’s analysis on that one do we? is it his wing?

the guy better start driving to the hoop, finishing hard and picking up fouls. i know that is not his MO, but somehow he has to come to grip with his faltering shot and come up with a better way to contribute more on offense. not sure if why some of his quiet nature is really to stay in the shadows and not draw fire, unlike josh who draws it regularly. gee, to read this blog you would have thought only jamal was missing his 3 point shots. instead, he is making almost twice as many as jj. hmmmm?

Astro Joe

March 8th, 2011
10:31 am

I wonder if SVG would be as candid as a TV analyst…because I don’t think that he will be coaching the Magic next season. But man, I love his candor and if he brought that to an NBA telecast, I would even watch the T’Wolves vs. the Wizards just to hear his commentary.

Rufus1

March 8th, 2011
10:35 am

Has Jason Kapono been signed?

die hard hawks fan

March 8th, 2011
10:42 am

here a few things for yall to ponder…
#1 Joe Johnson is not worth $100 million
#2 See #1
#3 Hawks should have hired Avery Johnson!
#4 you cant have 3 captains on a BASKETBALL TEAM this isnt football!
#5 see #1

Bottom line the Hawks are not going to go far this season – too many inconsistenices (sp) and I am just throught with this darn cheap owners and lack of serious management in place.

Sund is not in the Western Conference anymore!

Puzzled

March 8th, 2011
10:57 am

On Josh & his jumpers:

There are several notable big men in the league that prefer to play outside, Garnett, Dirk, & Turkoglu, come to mind, but they do it in the flow of the offense. Josh seems to be doing this because it what he wants to do. Josh shooting an 18 foot shot with 15 secs on play clock, can’t be the best shot you’re going to get. If so, then the Hawks need more personnel changes.

This team really needs his skill set in the low post, more than on the perimeter.

On Marvin:

What is his role, and does he have the skill set to fulfill it? He plays good defense, but appears to excluded from the offense.

On JJ & Jamal:

Neither have performed as expected over most of this season. If the two of them were performing at last season’s level on offense, the Hawks would be a much better team.

Bench:

Other than Jamal, and now Wilkins, who on the bench can expect to play almost every night? Ethan Thomas played well against OKC, but went right back to DNP Coach’s Decision against NY.

fsjr

March 8th, 2011
11:08 am

Big Ray, your opening paragraph says it all. The captains say different things after each loss. That makes me wonder then, if they have a consensus on what the problems are. If one feels movement is the problem, another feels energy is an issue, and another does not know, then what is the focus on in practice? The focus should be on the issue(s); however if there is disagreement on what the issue is and where the focus should be, there may not be buy-in on a solution. Therefore we see and hear (afterwards) the same things every night. To answer your question, with the status quo (the core, hold-over coaching, etc) and no shake up in their collective “comfort zones”, then yes, disarray is here to stay.

Rufus1

March 8th, 2011
11:19 am

LD waiting for a mircle….

LD needs to stop treating this team like a “scratch-off hoping” for a winner and start making some sound basketball decisions.

Start with defense and end with defense…Jamal and Josh’s jumpers fit somewhere in the middle.

No jumpers for Josh in the 1st qt outside of 12ft or the 4th qt.

Jamal should not play the last 6min of the 4th, unless for a specific play.

Carey Davis

March 8th, 2011
11:30 am

Get rid of Josh Smith he doesn’t help Horford inside the paint and only wants to shoot long jumpers.

Big Daddy

March 8th, 2011
11:30 am

Ray, good article. You gave some great insights into the team and some of the issues that seem to hold this team back from being successfu. That said, we can talk about all of the things the team should be doing but it all gets back to two people. The GM and the coach. The GM must assemble a group of guys who can be a team. Of course, the GM may have a real issue with salaries and what ownership is capable/willing to pay for players. Next, the coach as to bring together the players to play team ball sometimes in spite of themselves. An offense must be designed that is complementary to the players on the team or that is so fundamental that if run the way it is supposed to be run, the team will be successful.

In our situation, it appears the GM is put in check by ownership on player trades by how much the owners are willing to pay. A lot of the entries on this blog blame Smoove for his shot selection. As much of a fan I am of his, I would have to agree. However, when the game is over and I take a look at the box score, his stats don’t look bad. In fact, they generally look pretty good and he is consistent. So, what that means is that the infuriating part is that bad shots he does take seem to come at the worse possible time. Not that he takes too many of them or they are that far out of his range. What I did notice was at least 3 times in the NYK game Jamal brought the ball up with Kirk calling for the ball and being ignore. Jamal then proceeded to either drive to the right or stay in the middle of the floor and jack up a long shot that missed. I have seen him and others do the same thing with Teague and Bibby. This is a coach issue. He has to control the team and if people are not letting the point guard run the team they should find a seat down on end of the bench consistently until they do give up the ball on the break or when the PT calls for it.

I have finally come to the conclusion the LD is in over his head. If, by now, he does not have this team’s ear, it is really doubtful that he will. We should be seeing some progress by now and although we have a better road record the fans at home who drive or ride the train to get to Phillips Arena with their high price tickets, exceptionally expensive food get a chance to see a mediocre team lose to not only a good team but to poor team and all too often lately not even compete.

I don’t see a significant improvement in play over the reamainder of the season. That will mean that this team will be probably be blown up after this season and the rebuilding will restart. Doubtful anyone will be willing to take Joe’s contract with his performance. Smoove will be the easiest to trade because he can fill a stat sheet and there are coaches out there who believe they can turn him around and make him a more disciplined player.

I refuse to paint a doom and gloom picture of our future. I believe the guys are frustrated because of the lack of discipline in their offense and everybody is now out for themselves. That brings me right back to the coach.