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 10th, 2011
5:43 pm

Joe Johnson doesn’t really hurt this team much. If Joe doesn’t get buckets then hell help others do so. My problem is that after six years no one has really stood out as Joe’s sidekick.(albeit the Detroit pistons championship model)

I know were used to bashing Joe for not being a superstar but truth of the matter is that the people around him need to be more consistent. We know Al is pretty consistent and josh smith has come a very long way since his rookie year. No one else has developed into a consistent threat. Kirk and Damien help this team but everyone else is highly inconsistent for one reason or the other. Look at a guy like josh powell. He lit up the heat that one time and then vanished. It was the same with jordan crawford and Jeff Teague.

Sometimes its frustrating to hear the trade joe/smith talk when theyre 2/3 of the most capable and consistent players the hawks have had in quite some time.

Nahila

March 10th, 2011
8:20 pm

Afraid so, I think some of them have quit already based on their shooting percentages.

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2011
8:50 pm

OB, Joe has averaged around 18 FGAs over most of his seasons as a Hawk. That is hardly ball-hogging. Add 5 assists and it suggests that he simply doesn’t dominate the ball in a manner that doesn’t allow for other players to develop. The iso-Joe thing was always way over-blown. The Hawks have had a double digit bench scorer for most of Joe’s tenure as a hawk, not to mention 2-3 other double-digit scorers in the starting position. Iso-Joe may have felt like the lone formal play being run but the reality is that this has always been an “ensemble cast” which has allowed guys like Al and Josh to develop and players like Childress, Flip and Jamal to shine. Iso-Joe as some debilitating play that stopped others from developing is every bit the myth as the 5-man attack offense.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2011
9:12 pm

AJ,

Iso-Joe as some debilitating play that stopped others from developing is every bit the myth as the 5-man attack offense..

I agree. My biggest complaint about the ISO was that it made us predictable in crunch time, not that it hindered others from developing.

As for the original point, are you saying that if JJ was more selfish, maybe he would be taking 20 -25 shot attempts per game, and passing the ball less, which could hinder other players development?

If so, I dont think JJ is good enough for him to take that many shots and carry a playoff team consistently. And one reason why is he does not get to the FT line often enough.

Teams already double team him as it is, so if he took more shots consistently, then I think it would just be him taking more shots with a higher degree of difficulty, which (imo) would lower his FG%, and not necessarily increase the team’s win total.

Mike Bibby with a 3 in the 4th quarter to tie the Heat and Lakers. In 12 minutes, he is 1-2 from the field.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2011
9:13 pm

Another 3 by Bibby. heat up 3. lets go lakers

Big Ray

March 10th, 2011
9:35 pm

AJ ,

Your 3:18 post nailed it. Of course, I knew that it wouldn’t quite get across all the same because it doesn’t hit the specified target of your intended recipient, who only has eyes for one person. :lol:

Big Ray

March 10th, 2011
9:42 pm

E43 ,

I don’t think the issue is that Joe doesn’t have a sidekick. It’s the issue that he isn’t quite the lead dog we have expected him to be (or that this franchise signed him to be)…. AND that he doesn’t need a sidekick…he needs an equal. Another bonafide star. But one that compliments him.

Josh isn’t that guy. Horford would be, but they don’t work in tandem. The imbalance of this team continues to undermine it 5-6-7 years later. If Joe were a pg, he and Horford would work well in tandem. Josh doesn’t play to his strengths enough to be a bonafide scoring option every night. There are times when he shoots too many jumpers and tries to lead the break too often.

Part of that has been not having a solid, bonafide starting pg who could lead the break consistently and get the ball to the finishers. Part of that has been how this team has been coached, and how they play on offense. It’s been a lot of things.

And AJ is right – this five man attack offense is finally wearing through the nerves of even some of the most optimistic fans. Because it simply isn’t working.

Now, this is just an opinion.

What typically happens is that when the team starts losing and looking frazzled, people start picking on their favorite targets. Some go for the coach. Some go for a player they never liked in the first place, or one they’ve grown to dislike. Some take aim elsewhere. It’s predictable.

But…some of the issues should be clear. Even to those who are in denial or subject to the tunnel vision of their own hand-picked targets.

Big Ray

March 10th, 2011
9:48 pm

John ,

Was it you that suggested Erik Dampier? My issue with that is based on what Dampier is doing for the Heat right now. 16 mpg yields 2.4 ppg and 3.2 rbg. If this is how he is for the up and down Heat (alongside Bosh, LBJ, and Wade), then why would he do better in Atlanta? Dude has motivation issues.

Big Ray

March 10th, 2011
9:49 pm

Joe says it’s a jump-shooting team at heart. Great. Well now we know what the Pentangle is all about.

O'Brien

March 10th, 2011
10:23 pm

Big Ray,

I think Tyson Chandler would be a good fit at Center for the Hawks. Unfortunately, we dont have the money to sign him (or outbid the Mavs).

As for the pentangle offense, I give Samuel credit. From LD was hired, Samuel said NBA players will not consistently execute the motion offense, because its not in their DNA. And so far, he is looking to be right (although part of the Hawks problems is they dont have the right players for a motion offense, because there should be more slashers, and more consistent jump shooters imo).

The Sixers players had the same issues with Eddie Jordan, when he tried to implement a Princeton offense. They didnt stick to it, and eventually EJ got let go. I think LD will suffer the same fate as Woody.

In 2 years, his contract will be up, and I think he will be let go, and not be given another HC job.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
12:42 am

“It’s just remarkable that so many people have a mentality that basically expects players (at least the ones they aren’t huge fans of) to have a clairvoyant ability to see when a slump will start/end.”

Can we at least, then, expect the coach to have a clairvoyant ability to see when their players are in a slump and adjust the offense accordingly?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
12:45 am

“How in the hell can Hinrich be expected to gain control of All Stars, or All Star caliber players, when he doesn’t know anything about the OFF, DEF, HC, organization, expectations, ownership, GM, or the players? ”

I have actually gotten the impression that Kirk has picked up the offense pretty well. He has tried to force things in a lot of situations that have led to unnecessary turnovers, but I haven’t seen him looking lost out there. I do think, though, that the tendency of Joe and Jamal to stop ball movement clashes with how Kirk wants to play, and it will be a while before they learn to mesh their games together.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
12:47 am

“At what point does that player say “Overall (on the season, and especially the last few games) my 3 hasn’t been falling for me, and I’ve missed my first 2 attempts this game, so rather than take 3 more 3’s, let me try something else”. ”

Exactly. And also, isn’t this the constant, game-in game-out criticism of Smoove? Isn’t this exactly what we want Smoove to do? So because Joe has shot well in previous seasons, he is entitled to shoot his way out of slumps, but Smoove is not?

Bullsh-t.

I am still waiting to see a “Joe jumpers update”.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
12:53 am

“Sometimes its frustrating to hear the trade joe/smith talk when theyre 2/3 of the most capable and consistent players the hawks have had in quite some time.”

Nobody would be proposing trades to break up “the core” necessarily if there was no salary cap. The problem is that at the rate Joe especially gets paid, there is no realistic way the Hawks can improve this team outside of Teague developing into an All Star or Sund trading Marvin and Zaza for someone who is consistently productive.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2011
5:45 am

Najeh ,

I am still waiting to see a “Joe jumpers update”.

LOL….don’t hold your breath, you’ll pass out.

Big Ray

March 11th, 2011
5:47 am

And I agree, Hinrich has picked up just fine since joining the team. Dude knew how to play the game the right way before he even got here.

Besides…what is there to pick up? Confusion and disarray?

Big Ray

March 11th, 2011
5:50 am

O’brien ,

Actually, I agree with that. Chandler would be a good fit, but you’re right, we can’t afford him. Not without a brilliant trade. Or a very lucky one.

I also think you’re right about LD. Unfortunately.

tony

March 11th, 2011
6:33 am

Blame the nba owners. They sign these players to huge contracts before they even play a single game. You will get 100% effort and respect from these players if you make them earn every dime they make. Example:

1) Unlimit Pay(most be a top 10 nba player)*
2) Popularity Pay $7,000,000 Per Year(most be a top 20 nba player only)*
3) Starter Base Pay $5,000,000 Per Year(this doesn’t include a top 20 player)
4) Minutes Pay $1000 Per Minute(minutes per game)
5) Points Pay $2,000 Per Point(points scored in games)
6) Assist Pay $1000 Per Assist
7) Steal Pay $1000 Per Steal
8) Block Pay $1000 Per Block(block shots)
9) 6th & 7th Man Pay $4,000,000 Per Year
10) Reserve Pay $1,200,000 Per Year(5 yrs in the league)
11) Reserve Pay $500,000 Per Year(less than 5 yrs of service)
11) Top 10 Draft Pick $2,000,000 Per Year

Footnote* Teams probably need to spend well over the luxury tax to sign a top 10 nba player.
Footnote* Jersey sales would most likely detemine players ranking. These players plays a major role in persuading fans to come to the games.

If a coach bench a player for not following instructions that player can’t earn those incentives during games.

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
7:55 am

Props to Bibby who hit 2 big 3’s in the 4th last night.

doc,

Bosh looked good last night. 24 and 9 against Gasol.

Knicks lost, so that puts us 3 games up (in the loss column). So even if we lose tonight, we are still 2 games up. I think we will hold them and Philly off for the 5th seed. And as bad as we have looked at times, I still think we can give Orlando a run for the money in the playoffs.

niremetal

March 11th, 2011
8:32 am

Najeh,

So because Joe has shot well in previous seasons, he is entitled to shoot his way out of slumps, but Smoove is not?

Yes. With someone who has shot well for the entirety of his career, you can reasonably expect that he’ll be able to return to shooting well when he hits a slump. With someone who has never shot jumpers or 3s well during his career (except for 2 months this season), you can’t have that confidence. Not sure what league you

niremetal

March 11th, 2011
8:36 am

‘re watching if you don’t think that’s the case.

I am still waiting to see a “Joe jumpers update”.

I explained this to doc awhile ago. It takes me awhile to put together the updates, so I only really have time to do one. Josh has drastically increased the numbers of he is shooting this year as compared to past years (64% of his attempts versus 36% last year). Joe is shooting about the same number of jumpers (80% vs. 79%). Thus, differences in Josh’s jumpers will have more explanatory value with respect to the team’s performance compared to last year.

vava74

March 11th, 2011
9:07 am

Every single time we bring someone new, we hope for the best. Most of the time, we hope for the impossible.

For instance, Hilton, who played well defensively against the Knicks, is only 26, so in a perfect world he could be a guy who would finally amp up his game whilst playing for us, giving the Hawks the athletic rotational big we need to complement our roster.

However, here are his numbers when we was a starter for NO in 08-09, with Paul as his PG:

Games29 Min 604 FG 82/128 FT 33/49 Oreb 47 TREB 114 ASSTS 10 STL 10 BLK 23 TO 41 FL 99 PTS 197
FG%.641 FT%.673 MPG20.8 PPG6.8 RPG3.9 APG0.3

This guy has the reputation of having the worst hands in the NBA, of being lazy and not working on his game, a chronic underachiever who has earned his paycheck on account of ONE decent season at Connecticut as a defensive C and on account of being 6′11”.

I also checked 82games.com and he gets his shots blocked at the same rate than Zaza (actually a bit more even).

Why can’t we get, for once, a scrub big who can dunk on people, rebound and block shots?

vava74

March 11th, 2011
9:08 am

Ray,

Blog monster!

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
9:35 am

Here’s the other thing about comparing Joe and Josh shooting 3s… Josh is very effective in the post. It is where his coach claimed he should be and it is traditionally where PFs have played. Joe is a SG… by definition he is positioned farther from the basket. For me at least, the criticism of Josh taking 3s is that he could be more effective in the post which will help balance the floor, diversify the offense and overall be beneficial to the team. Much like Josh leading a fast break isn’t the proper use of his talents, shooting 3s isn’t either. Meanwhile, Joe shooting 3s seems to be a beter use of his talents, even if his shot has been off most of this season.

vava74

March 11th, 2011
9:39 am

Would you guys think it would be an interesting idea for us the fan blog to prepare a letter to LD with our thoughts and then ask MC to deliver it?

I know that it would not amount to nothing, but at least we would vent out our frustration and help get it out of our systems.

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
9:59 am

vava, what do you think the blog community could agree on that could be placed in a letter to LD? Other that this has been a disappointing season?

doc

March 11th, 2011
10:26 am

o’b, i am surprised bosh has struggled so this year in finding his way. i dont know where the chemistry has faltered but it has thus far when it comes to crunch time. i sorta like the guy but didnt think i would be saying along with a few others he might be over rated.

i think northcyde did a very cool analysis of where the guys make their jumpers on the other blog. it was surprising to see josh’s “zone” is maybe close to 20 feet, and i remember, almost better than his 3-9 ft range which he is very poor at. i think as a team, they seem to not finish at the basket well in traffic (biiby had trouble with uncontested layups for a while) and tend to get as frustrated with that effort as the one of them pumping away.

najeh, jj, as he continues to shoot em up there at about 5 per game, is at 18% makes for the last 13 games from 3 or so which o’b posted we dont need to know anymore. the whole team is in a slump maybe except for horford who disappeared for two games after he shot the bulls down. just a very bad stretch for the team and to isolate one person as the cause is pure folly. also, jj has been so far off his game this year having only one jj month this year why waste time except say by now, maybe the microscope is pointed in the wrong direction.

overall, two guys have been consistent and given us what we expected pretty much night in and night out this year. it is josh and al. jj, marvin, jamal, bibby, zaza, mo, powell and teague have faltered big time for whatever reason and that is way too much to expect two guys playing to their standard to overcome. only collins came close to giving us more than what we expected and lord that aint close enough as he is about 1/5 of a complete player. and that may be giving him too much credit.

objectively, a rookie coach, injuries we didnt have last year and greater than two thirds of the team having sub par years is a recipe for disaster. here we are still not doing too badly at about what i expected from the team to land, somewhere between 44 and 48 wins. doubt though they hit the goal of sund which is elite 50 wins and 4th. so we can say with that as a measuring stick, unless the team goes deep into the second round, it is a failure of a year.

vava74

March 11th, 2011
10:29 am

Astro,

I think that we here at the Nest would have very significant issues which we would all agree on.

#1 would be how he treats Josh and how that affects the team dynamics.

LD’s “conclusion” that it’s OK for Josh to be a free spirit is utterly wrong (no discipline being needed on him).

The resulting effects: him roaming the perimeter, launching early shot clock jumpers, run the fastbreak trying (and failing miserably) to emulate Magic, launch ill advised and poorly executed full court passes, result in many wasted possessions in a game where just a few possessions are many times vital.

Basically, point out to LD that whenever you create an exception you are undermining your authority and that he cannot expect the Hawks to execute his “unique offense” when he is the one harboring two major exceptions (see #2).

Also, beyond the above is also the basic fact that it’s impossible to win consistently when both your PF and C play in the perimeter – if he wants Josh to work freely in the perimeter then he needs to use him exclusively as a SF and find a way to keep a C on the floor, even if it means using a platoon of guys to do it.

#2 would be Jamal’s minutes being excessive – point of contention, I know, but we could perhaps state that this point was not shared by all -, that his lack of discipline ruins the “shared offense” concept and on D his presence (translated on actual defensive absence) simply creates an environment that does not contribute towards a disciplined defensive effort.

Where TF is the “no lay up or you are out of here” rule that he said would be in place during the summer league?

#3 would be the huge inconsistency between what he says and what he then executes or lets being the end result (see last paragraph on #2 as one of the examples).

#4 would be linked with #3 – namely that the Hawks cannot rely on outscoring opponents to win matches: that has never been a playoff-successful type basketball and the few exceptions had wonderful one in a lifetime PGs to do it (Magic, Nash – who was just a few bad calls away from getting past the Spurs a couple of times).

Heck, I think we would have plenty to agree on and that we should simply try to send something short, but incisive enough for him to reflect on.

niremetal

March 11th, 2011
10:32 am

Vava/AJ,

Don’t think it would be a bad idea. Couldn’t hurt. I think we could agree that he says the right things and seems to realize the problems, but needs to be more willing to hold players accountable when they are causing those problems. The biggest problems, I think we can agree, are jettisoning the offense and going one on one, and settling for too many jumpers. Beyond that, there might be other problems we all can agree on as long as we talk about general problems without pointing out specific players.

vava74

March 11th, 2011
10:41 am

I think LD has put himself and Josh on the line with his latest remarks and that we can and should point out that to him.

On Jamal, I know that he is my pet project, but he is simply hurting us too much for me to let go of him…

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
10:42 am

This was in MC’s article, but JeJe posted it on the other blog, and reading it again has left me semi-confused.

From the article;

Playing against good teams that are playing for something, you tend to lose focus on what you need to do as a team,” Drew said on Thursday before the Hawks departed for Chicago. “That’s something I don’t want to happen for us. I want us to stay focused on who we are and what we have to do on both ends of the floor.”.

What exactly is LD implying/saying? Aren’t the Hawks playing for something too?

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
11:05 am

doc,

Although he is overated (imo), Bosh is still a very good player. i think playing with LeBron and Wade has affected him because he needs somebody to give him the ball in certain spots, and with LbJ and Wade, Bosh is not sure when/where he will get the ball, and he hasnt been aggressive enough calling for it.

However, despite all their issues playing together, Bosh is still averaging 18 and 8.

niremetal

March 11th, 2011
11:32 am

O’B,

I’m frankly semi-confused about what you’re semi-confused about. Nothing in that quote even mildly suggests that LD doesn’t think are playing for something too. It’s basically saying “when you play against a good team, it’s tougher to keep your eye on the ball.”

vava74

March 11th, 2011
11:51 am

OB,

I think what LD said is very simple: we are soft and lack an identity and that is particularly evident when we play top playoff teams.

Our guys simply do not consider themselves contenders or aspiring to contenders so whenever they play teams which are contender/aspiring to contenders, they don’t trust/stick to the game plan and look up to those teams.

However, I think LD is wrong, he is the first guy who has failed to give to this team an identity and lacks any resemblance of a plan.

He started off with our traditional line up, then moved to a big line up “against selected” opponents (ORL/Howard; MIL/Bogut) – which seemed to be a plan which was already in his mind for long, then started using that big line up almost indiscriminately and finally against one of the opponents against whom the big line up made sense (LAL) he ditched it in favor of the traditional line up, because we were not scoring enough.

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
1:11 pm

I always thought it was tougher to keep your eye on the ball when you’re playing a bad team, because shouldnt they be motivated and focused when they are playing a good team?

joe white

March 11th, 2011
1:29 pm

The hawks need a owner who wants to win,ASG group really sucks and dont care about winning. Once we get an owner or owner’s that care about us winning we will be 4,5,6 in the east for ever

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
1:43 pm

From the new blog;

Since January, a month when Joe was on a tear, he’s 38 of 122 (31 percent) on 3-pointers. The more time that passes since the surgery, the worst J.J.s 3-point shooting gets: 23 of 65 in January, 13 of 39 in February and 2 of 18 to start this month.

He’s 2 for 23 on 3s in his last five games. With his free-throw rate still so low, all of those missed 3-pointers are dragging down J.J.’s efficiency (not to mention his production).

J.J. said open looks haven’t been a problem. So if J.J. is getting good shots and he’s feeling good, why aren’t his 3-pointers falling?

“I don’t know,” he said. “It just happens, man. They will fall [eventually].”

He said he doesn’t change his routine during times like this.

“Playing in this league, this is my 10th year, I just try to keep a short memory,” J.J. said. “I don’t worry about the last game. I just move forward. That’s the kind of attitude you have got to have. So that’s my approach.”.

That sounds similar to nire’s comments. MC also mentioned that JJ has the highest usage rate of any Hawk, so I hope he gets it together soon.

Rufus1

March 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

We are better than this….

JJ has to find his shot and LD needs to provide an Identity and consistancy in his rotations.

If he starts a center ZaZa/Hilton/Twin, that will send a messager that we START WITH DEFENSE.(Identity)

He needs to have a consistant center rotation. We need our centers to be ready to play in the playoffs…. He is destroying their confidence with the inconsistant minutes….(atleast give them 5-10min a night)

With a center in the game , we still have 3 good jump shooters on the floor(AL, JOE and KIRK). This will also improve our rebounding and interior defense.

I prayed for years that Woody would develop and offensive system to offset his defense mindset…He didn’t.

Now I pray that LD would start a rebounding and defensive minded center to suppliment his soft, jumpshooting approach….. Prayer is all I got left for this team.

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
2:46 pm

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
2:54 pm

I suggested that Stern would decapitate SVG for his comments a few days ago. While he didn’t go quite that far, it appears that he may have come real close.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6202323

Ken Strickland

March 11th, 2011
3:14 pm

We can debate what we feel is the cause our current problems all day, but it’s not just any one thing. But right now the primary cause is due to our players having to adjust to a PG that controls the ball, but doesn’t yet know the OFF, and our 2 key offensive players trying to shoot themselves out of prolonged shooting slumps.

This problem makes it difficult for us to effectively utilize our OFF sets when closing out gms.

Ken Strickland

March 11th, 2011
3:27 pm

RUFUS1-JCollins isn’t a good matchup to Noah, who’s quicker, faster and lot more athletic. Plus, while Noah isn’t much of a scorer, he’s a very good rebounder who can use that to be an effective inside scorer if not matched up properly. While Armstrong has yet to prove he’s a strong rebounder, he can certainly match Noah’s speed, quickness, athleticism, and provide better help DEF.

A frontline of JSmoove(SF), HArmstrong(C), and AHorford(PF), would be a very good matchup to the Bulls frontline.

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
3:50 pm

But right now the primary cause is due to our players having to adjust to a PG that controls the ball, but doesn’t yet know the OFF

I couldn’t disgaree more. If I made a list of top 5 problems, that one would be somewhere around #79.

Rufus1

March 11th, 2011
3:54 pm

Ken

I agree with your line-up for the Bulls, I just want a center to start. Maybe we could adjust the center per the match-up.

The extra bonus is the bench depth it would create.

Most good teams don’t start their 5 best offensive players, each team(ie, Dallas and Chandler)has 1 defensive minded starter. The Hawks had Josh Smith, last year…sadly that isn’t the case anymore.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
4:03 pm

“Besides…what is there to pick up? Confusion and disarray?”

Haha word. Good point.

doc

March 11th, 2011
4:05 pm

aj he didnt lose his head but list his tongue, real old biblical punishments.

guess the take away from ld comments could be carried over tothe team, too open because of the good offense and guys are hesitating before shooting. :-)

yeah, that’s the ticket!

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
4:54 pm

No Boozer just means more Gibson, and the Bulls have done just fine with Gibson getting big minutes this season. No Deng, though, means more Korver, and the Hawks showed in their previous meeting that when they attack Korver with pretty much anyone they are capable of succeeding. LD would be smart to run some plays where Joe gets matched up on Korver inside the 3 point line. That’s the kind of matchup that could get Joe out of his slump.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 11th, 2011
4:56 pm

Anyway, the Bulls don’t have the league’s second best home record by accident. As long as Rose is playing, tonight’s game is going to be really tough.

O'Brien

March 11th, 2011
5:13 pm

Najeh,

Anytime a team is top 5 in defense, they always have a chance. But the key for the Hawks will be the same as it always is. Will they make enough jump shots? And if jumpers are not falling, will they find a way to get to the hoops?

LD would be smart to run some plays where Joe gets matched up on Korver inside the 3 point line..

Is there plays to run, or is it to just allow JJ to go ISO vs Korver?

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2011
6:26 pm

LD has historically opted not to run in road games…. which has clearly been a successful strategy given the team’s very good road record. But if jumpers aren’t falling, it seems like unleashing the once formidable fast break attack would be wise.

Remember last year when were top 5 in fast break points? I think CP3 was our PG, right? Clearly, it wasn’t that other guy who is so awful at running a fast break that our PF has no other choice but to do it himself.