Atlanta Hawks – decidedly devisive

The AJC’s Mark Bradley queried whether or not fans should have some faith in their team. On Sunday night, the Hawks gave the answer they’ve been giving all season :  “Do so at your own risk.” 

Maybe there is little reason to be upset. After all, Atlanta has all but locked up the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and they pretty much know who their playoff opponent is going to be. Then again, maybe that just isn’t the point. After beating two of the East’s top teams, they should have figured out how to win against quality opponents. Why the complete letdown on defense?

Three-headed monster strikes again…

After allowing the Rockets to hit on 57% of their shots, the Hawks were all in a scramble to explain why it went down the way it did. Enter our three team captains, who always know what the problem is.  Let’s take a look at some very telling quotes obtained by the AJC’s beat writer, Michael Cunningham:

From one captain -

“We gave up too many dribble-drives, too much dribble-penetration,” Smoove said. “They scored 56 points in the paint; that’s way too many. I think if we could have closed in some of those gaps and made them kick it out to shooters, it might have been a different outcome.”

From another captain:

“We didn’t do a great job helping one another,” J.J. said. “We gave up way too many points in the paint. We didn’t play inside out defensively and make them make those shots. We made it tough on ourselves.”

And the third captain?

“We just got kind of seduced into their style of play,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “We were doing great in the first half but at some point we had to make a stand defensively. Still, we had a chance to win there at the end.”

Okay, question. Were the first two captains covering all the bases concerning their team’s defensive lapses, or were they pointing fingers? Or, is this just another example of how these guys simply do NOT view the game the same way? Your call. What we do know is that it can’t be good when a team’s floor and locker room leaders can’t get on the same page with the playoffs looming large.

The world’s worse kept secret

Has Larry Drew’s wonderful offense ever even caught on in Atlanta, or is this just a perversion. We were told that the idea was to mold this team into a group that could attack from anywhere on the court, and wouldn’t be predictable by any stretch of the imagination. I guess we should have smelled that old “Detroit Model” poison being slipped into our koolaid as we looked forward to something besides ISO Joe and ISO Jamal. Instead, the results have morphed into something that statistically has proven to be possibly even worse. Don’t believe it? Need more evidence? Well, Mr. Cunningham has it for you once again.

“They hit a lot of jumpers [in the first half],” Chuck Hayes said. “Out of 60 points, they only had 20 in the paint. So they were taking the shots we wanted them to take, they just made them.”

and….

“They did just what we said they were going to do: isolations, post-ups and pick-and-rolls,” Rick Adelman said. “Then in the second half we came out with a much better effort defensively and then down the stretch we switched Courtney [Lee] onto Johnson. He did a great job on Johnson in the last three minutes. He made him take tough shots.”

Solutions, anybody?

At this juncture, it’s really too late to try something different. The Hawks are as predictable as ever on offense. Since habits die hard, what should the Hawks do? Perhaps the only suggestion is to be tougher on defense, which oddly enough, is something no opposing team can predict where the Hawks are concerned. In order to do that, the Hawks have to be cohesive on defense, something they have similar issues with on offense. The difference is, everybody has an assignment on defense, and the only deviation is who helps who, and when, something that should happen instinctively.

With Jeff Teague and Kirk Hinrich on the roster at point guard (and no Mike Bibby), there is little excuse left when it comes to defending at the point of attack. Jamal remains the only weak link, and even he has shown that he can get into passing lanes and get his hands on the ball here and there. The Hawks don’t need to be fighting amongst themselves about who is giving up too many points where. Completely differing quotes such as the ones we saw above shouldn’t even be happening. Instead, guys should be taking responsibility for their particular end of things. Substitute Joe’s quotes for Josh’s and you have the difference between being responsible and knowing what went wrong.

And there’s the rub. The Hawks always know what’s wrong. But are they truly exercising any amount of responsibility? Keep reading the post game quotes, and see for yourself. Forget “playing the game the right way.” Forget sharing the ball and taking good shots. The Hawks are going to do what they do on offense, good or bad. If this team is going to come together and STAY together, it’ll be on defense.

Agree or disagree? Let’s hear it!

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

377 comments Add your comment

Marcus

April 4th, 2011
5:39 am

Big Ray, what will we do for improvement in 2011-2012? No 1st rounder, cheap ownership, weighty contracts, failed to use our one bargaining chip (J-Crawford’s expiring contract), and traded away our 2010 1st rounder (who arguably could have been the “new” J-Crawford, figuratively and literally)

Marcus

April 4th, 2011
5:40 am

hey, by the way, since Mo Evans isn’t using that jersey any more …. ;) 1st

Marcus

April 4th, 2011
5:43 am

It almost seems like we need a different personality in the locker room …. a fearless veteran defender w/bravdo in the starting 5.

We are hamstrung (seemingly) to improve talent level and skill set, based on what was posted above.

Ed

April 4th, 2011
5:57 am

Good points Ray…I agree with what you are saying but find it hard to believe the Hawks will pull it off. Our best hope is Orlando being in a state of flux still, and the Hawks have shown they have their number this year. But except for the the Bulls game we came back and won, the Hawks haven’t shown the ablitly / willingness to jump back up after getting knocked down. Jordan Crawford has that type of attitude and the inner dog to attack opposing defenses and create opportunities and he showed it in the very brief appearnces he was given here. It didn’t matter of course as the Hawks have shown over the last seven years they want play young guards.

Willie Coyote

April 4th, 2011
7:28 am

The thing is, the offense works when they commit to it. The problem is, they only commit to it for a half at the most. Like their defense, consistency is lacking. It would help if the head coach would hold people accountable but here’s a guy who will take Zaza out after ONE bad shot but Josh…well, you know.

This offseason, one team captain needs to go. That decision should already be made in the mind of our GM and ownership (both of whom need to go also). The only question should be do they trade for a good sized expiring contract + draft picks or someone for the longer term. The first option would make the team worse next season (maybe) and put them in better position for 2012 free agency. I hear there may be a player or two available that could help the Hawks then ;)

There I go again, talking about trades. It won’t matter what moves they make until they make a true commitment to winning. Do a GM search to get the best guy out there, then let him/her do the rest. It seems to have worked for the Falcons…

Buck

April 4th, 2011
8:20 am

I don’t really see where the post-game captains’ comments are contradictory at all. Actually aren’t they saying the same thing?

Josh says we lost because they didn’t help each other on “D” in the paint.
JJ said the same.
Al said basically the same thing. “at some point we had to make a stand defensively”.

O'Brien

April 4th, 2011
8:27 am

This loss can be blamed on team defense, especially at the guard position, and defense is what wins in the playoffs.

I am a big fan of Al, but he really needs to play tougher. He complains about the bigger centers, but he could not hold his own against the 6′6″ Chuck Hayes? 4 rebounds from a starting center in 40 minutes is unacceptable, especially when the aforementioned Hayes had 12 rebs. Maybe LD should have given Twin a few minutes to see what he could do.

Big Ray,

I posted similar comments on the other blog. Hawks are predictable, and if the jumpers are not falling, chances are we will lose. In the playoffs, good teams will make adjustments, but I have no confidence that LD and the players will make the right adjustments.

O'Brien

April 4th, 2011
8:28 am

Willie Coyote,

I think the Hawks will have to decide to trade either Josh or Al, because JJ is almost untradeable with his contract. Who I would trade depends on who the HC is.

If we have a HC who could get Josh to play in the post more and stay focused and energized, then I would trade Al.

But if we have a HC (like LD) who lets Josh get away with more than he should, or run an offense where the PF is on the perimeter more often than he should, then I would trade Josh.

Sand

April 4th, 2011
8:30 am

First of all,i would like to say Joe Johnson Sucks !!! Trade Joe Johnson,Larry Drew & Rick Sund for Jordan Crawford !!!

vava74

April 4th, 2011
8:35 am

Ray,

My leaguepass subscription allows me to see every game played for a limited period of 24 hours.

Unfortunately, I could not catch the Celts game. I know that your commentary was directed at me.

Even without watching the game, here are my thoughts:

1. One of the few times in which LD uses Jamal to close the third and play the 4th that we don’t lose the match down stretch (this HOU game will be subject to a coroner’s report since I intend to watch it later).

2. Even when Jamal scored 12 in the second, we were outscored by 10 (he posted a ± of -10).

If you look at the shot distribution during that period you will see that Jamal absorbed most of the offensive possessions (few shots for everyone else).

Since he was ON and scoring well, we must then look at the other side which shows that BOS scored more and virtually at will.

I will go out on a limb and state that Jamal’s D (lack of) had a bigger impact on that second quarter than his 12 points on offense.

3. As far as I could understand from what I read around, BOS were tired and let the game slip way with a good Hawks impersonation. Apparently we did last night exactly the same big being jumper happy in the third and letting the game slip way.

4. Even if all the above is wrong, and even if Jamal had a good game offensively against BOS and could not be singled out for his lack of D, one game in so many does not make him an overall positive influence to our game.

5. Finally: it’s no joke, neither is a vendetta against Jamal. He is indeed bad for his teams, in particular when the HC is an idiot like LD, playing him FAR TOO MANY MINUTES AND OUT OF POSITION.

6. As for other guys deserving to be the focus of my criticism, no one can state that I am not critical of other players:

Al plays like a girl too many nights and I have pointed that repeatedly.

JJ disappears when he sees Jamal and Josh disrupting our game.

Josh makes his best “late career ‘Sheed” impersonations.

All pointed out by my several times, sometimes to exhaustion.

The issue, for me, is that Jamal’s game is disruptive of the discipline necessary to play the right kind of basketball.

He does not make teammates better on offense since his game is strictly one on one (with very occasional flashes of good passing) and his lack of D makes his teammates look and play worse on D.

It’s that simple: on a playoff team with aspirations Jamal would warrant 10-20 minutes MAXIMUM at the SG slot, depending on match ups and him being on or off.

DHunt

April 4th, 2011
9:51 am

I was one of the biggest LD cheerleaders when it happened, and I really don’t want to throw the guy under the bus, but this is all about coaching at this point. I don’t see the Smith and Johnson comments as being that far apart or off-base. Dribble penetration broke down the Hawks defense whenever Teague was not in the game. Houston really has no bigs, but we play small instead of trying to overpower them, which I think was Al’s point. As mentioned earlier JC is playing out of position anytime he is at PG.

LD hasn’t figure out how to make his rotations and matchups work, except apparently against Orlando. Is he learning? I’m not sure, as I haven’t been able to watch as many games down the stretch here. But last night, I didn’t see a coach who wanted to control the game with his teams strengths.

The new offense started out looking like it might be something to talk about. Ball movement, body movement, more assists, better shots. Then Josh got jumper happy after having a few good games and LD didn’t rein him in. Then Al got jumper happy, and even though he has a nice outside shot, the problem becomes he forgets to go to the basket. We only have 1.5 guys with the ability to penetrate off the dribble (Teague anytime and Jamal about half of the time), and Teague is averaging 12 minutes a game. So they revert to bad habits ingrained over the Woody era. at times they have looked unstoppable on offense, even against good defensive teams. But the inability to sustain it… again, that has to be coaching.

Can it get better? I think the jury is still out on whether LD can catch up to the learning curve and bring the team along for the ride. This season has been a roller coaster ride, but it’a also a more or less successful transition year for the Hawks in that they didn’t fall too far off their winning ways, and they still have an opportunity to show improvement in the playoffs. First round against Orlando, if they take that series (which it looks like they can, and maybe that’s all LD was told to do this year, just don’t get run out of the building by Orlando), then this season will be looked upon as improvement, and we’ll see what LD can do with more or less the same bunch next season.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
9:55 am

I find myself awaiting the decision on Sund, the CBA and options to repair this broken roster more than the post-season. At this point, the playoffs are simply a barrier to the next important milestone… which GM breaks up the sacred core. Said differently (even in their 4-game winning streak), I have grown tired of watching this group play and happily await the day that they no longer exist as a unit.

biss

April 4th, 2011
10:47 am

we need a center- not even someone amazing, just a solid defender who can put up some points (i always hoped we would get gortat when he was playing with the magic… didn’t happen). then we can play Al at pf and be big.

also need to get rid of joe and marvin. idk how, but find a way. i’ll be ok with a disadvantageous trade. maybe get rid of them for a center and pf. then we can have: new center, Al, Jsmoove, Hinrich, and new PF. maybe we could trade for nash + gortat/lopez. there are plenty of options.

i’ll take anything but another season with this group.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
10:47 am

dhunt, the owners have enjoyed 6 home playoff games in the past 2 seasons. My guess is that LD needs to at least match that to meet the goal of the ASG. Home playoff games are the most profitable (or so I’ve heard/read). I’m not sure that losing by a combined 4 points would be considered success since that would mean only half of the playoff revenue from the 2 previous seasons.

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
10:48 am

We scored 109pts and lost…

“We just got kind of seduced into their style of play,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “We were doing great in the first half but at some point we had to make a stand defensively. Still, we had a chance to win there at the end.”

Uptempo team is who we want to be, but the Rocket are better at it than we are.

LD can’t ask the team to run against Boston, but slow it down against the Rockets. He needs to live or die with one style and accept the outcome because when we play uptempo, our defense gets loose…..AND DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING IT WHAT IS GOING TOO WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS.

PS. Chuck Hayes won the game because he kicked Al’s butt all over the court….And Al went 7-17 from the field.

Willie Coyote

April 4th, 2011
11:21 am

O’Brien,
Joe would be hard to trade but not impossible. If he were to be trades the Hawks would likely use up all cap room next year paying out a portion of his salary as part of the terms of the deal so it is very unlikely he would be considered by the front office as a trade option.

Whether Josh or Al is traded is still immaterial as long as we have the leadership that we do. If some level of competence is installed at the top, then I’m sure that some better decisions would follow.

Personally, I think that future flexibility is more important to this team than available free agents in 2011. If the Hawks can obtain a vet (with a good sized, expiring contract) who could help them in 2011 along with a first rounder (and whatever else thrown in to make the trade work) then that would seem to give the team its best bet to be a player in free agency 2012.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
11:29 am

Another example from the perspective I offered a few weeks ago… things could always be worse:

Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey refused to enter the fourth quarter of Friday’s game against the Bulls, and he did not play in Sunday’s 101-90 loss to the Boston Celtics. According to a source familiar with the situation, Stuckey’s benching Sunday was discipline by coach John Kuester for refusing to enter the game Friday. Detroit News

At least LD hasn’t had the kind of blatant player revolts that seem to have become rather standard for the Pistons (at least since the trade deadline).

Anyone want Dumars as our next GM?

cnell

April 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

These post keep saying Chuck Hayes kept kicking Al’s butt. From what I recall especially in the first half. Josh Smith was garding Chuck Hayes and Al was gaurding Scola. The weak link for me is Josh Smith. He doesn’t play good one on one defense. He is a great help defender. Josh doesn’t really have a position on this team. My opinion he is not really a Power forward nor is he a small forward. I think he is the one piece that disrupts our starting 5. Since Josh has been an hawk. I haven’t really seen his game grow, on the other hand Al Hordord has gotten better every year and he is playing out of position but still manage to make 2 allstars. I would like to see jeff teague play more with possibly hinrich playing a little more at shooting gaurd. As far as next year. We are pretty much stuck unless we trade some of our core guys. Like Josh Smith and Marvin Williams(another guy who hasn’t really improved much and is inconsistent). If it was me I would trade josh, marvin and maybe kurt hinrich this offseason and try to do a sign and trade for dwight howard, chris paul/a couple other role player pieces or deron williams which I believe all 3 players will be free agents after this year. we need a playmker on either offense or defense. A difference maker because currently right now we dont.

doc

April 4th, 2011
12:11 pm

big ray … yup. the goal should be never more than ninety as the goal last year was 50 wins. defense and rebounding. odd josh talks about fun as offense never defense or has anyone else noted that seductive stance of this whole team and he isnt the only one. face it offense really takes less effort and it is why it is so hard to get these guys to do it. i wish josh et al would say it id fun to deny and fun to win. it is all about fantasy points.

O'Brien

April 4th, 2011
12:26 pm

From Mark Bradley’s new blog;

They chose continuity, albeit with a twist. They fired their coach but promoted his assistant. (Message: “We’ve changed, but not really.”).

For discussion purposes, let’s say the Hawks upset Orlando and lose routinely to Chicago in the conference semis. Even the easily satisfied Atlanta Spirit would have trouble framing that as progress.

How could you give Larry Drew rave reviews if his team falls at the same hurdle as Mike Woodson’s? And if dissimilar-in-demeanor coaches wind up with the same result, is it even the coach at all?.

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2011/04/04/if-the-hawks-dont-make-a-playoff-run-will-josh-be-jettisoned/

doc

April 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

this demands being repeated form the other blog:

Nate ArchiBALL

April 4th, 2011
12:22 pm

How is this for a stat? 22 games without attempting a free throw – Al Horford.

ohhh, that is not all star material. that is embarrassing and almost negates any accolades to go with the idea he throws up 32 double doubles this year. man up dude. did he take lessons from jj?

O'Brien

April 4th, 2011
12:45 pm

Willie,

The Hawks would have a tough time finding somebody to take JJ for the remainder of his contract. 5 years, $107 mil. Plus unless the team is under the salary cap, Hawks would have to take back equal salary, and I think it would be hard to find equal salary that is attractive to the Hawks.

One team that Najeh mentioned who is under the cap and might take JJ is the Nets.

Their owner is a billionaire, and if they dont get a big name FA to sign with them this year or next, they might lose Deron. And they plan on moving to Brooklyn, so they need to improve their team . Deron and JJ and Brook Lopez would dramatically improve their wins (imo).

Maybe they give the Hawks a trade exception (if possible), or a cheaper player and a pick.

doc

April 4th, 2011
12:48 pm

big ray, thanks for the explanation. i was wondering if their filters are set differently though i dont consider what i say too controversial.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
2:07 pm

Look, Al Horford, Hinrich, and LD were the causes for the lost to Houston and that is easy to see. If you look on paper and predict this game Hinrich did not hold his own in his matchup, Joe got well above his average, Marvin held his on, Josh did well, and Al did not do what he is expected to do especially against a much smaller opponent. Those issues could have been offset by LD simply playing Teague and Marvin more because they were a lot more effective in there minutes than Jamal, Al, or Kirk. I am not divided at all on where the issue lies.

Lastly, I agree with those who are ready for this to be over with even though I can see us beating the Magic and taking the Bulls to 6. I really don’t want that to happen though if it means that the front office will simply tout this season as forward progress and stay pat. We absolutely need new owners, GM and coach. We absolutely need a legit C another quality bench big (not a minimum player) A bench scorer because we should not resign Jamal unless it is a sign and trade. We need a bench wing that is on par with Marvin or better also. Seriously, we need an entire bench. We are 4 to 5 players away from being a championship contender. My interest is in building that, nothing else, bye Sund, bye LD.

Melvin

April 4th, 2011
2:25 pm

OB,

In regards to your post of trading Joe. The first team came to mind was the Nets before I even finished reading your post. A pick(s)and Trade exception would work for me. I think in order for this franchise to move forward quicker, they will have to rid themselves of Joe contract. He makes too much money on a team that will not spend over the luxury tax and he does not produce like a superstar nor generate super revenues to justify spending over the luxury tax either. Marvin would be the next person I move. His failures has been well documented here. It’s time for him to start fresh somewhere else. It may require a package to move Marvin but he got to go. Al or Josh could be traded as well for the right deal but I’m more incline to hold on to both of those guys until next season/offseason where they may be attractive enough to help acquire a player like Howard/CP3. Like many here has said, this core needs to be broken up but I prefer it be done by another GM not Sund. Heck, I prefer BK over Sund when it comes to moving contracts. That’s BK specialty but drafting is a different story.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
2:41 pm

^^Co-sign Melvin’s 2:25 post. That’s pretty much exactly what I’d do.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

I could envision a scenario where the owners ask for a hard-cap, universal pay-cut, unguaranteed contracts and a franchise-player type designation and the union counters with one annual “get out of salary cap jail” card. Basically, that card would allow a team to cut one player each year and immediately send that player into free agency. The franchise tag will hurt the union’s elite members while the hard cap, pay cut and unguaranteed contracts would hurt ALL union members. But the annual “cut card” would only impact a player whose performance doesn’t compare to the relative value of their contract. That could be due to injury, declining skills or poor ownership decision in the first place. In theory, some teams wouldn’t even use it if all is going well.

With all of that said, I could see Joe being cut loose. And if that happens, I would immediately trade Josh. Joe needs to go because of the reasons many have stated (including Melvin most recently). And Josh needs to go because Horford needs to move to PF and Josh lacks the discipline to be a SF who lives in the paint. His defensive value as a SF is not particularly significant and his value as a crowd drawer is extremely overhyped. Lastly, when given a chance to “take care” of the uncle who helped with the rocky relationship he previously had with Woody, he betrayed him by making rookie-like decisions with the basketball (again and again). If he can’t be trusted to do right by someone he personally endorsed…

Anyway, as I stated earlier, what happens after the CBA is signed is infinitely more interesting to me than what happens in the playoffs.

doc

April 4th, 2011
3:00 pm

good thoughts melvin, got to do something.

i suggested josh at the end of last season and still do if it is a two for one. we need a young defensive big that can play with a reasonable contract that holds him a few years here. maybe a gortat lite. also need some help at guard either point or two like a legit quick or scorer. maybe even throw teague out there with the package if we get someone who can carry the load and has done so before. we still need depth and at those two positions.

we would still have marvin for flexibility who could come off the bench if we get a vet to takeover or get jj to make the switch and have him at 3/4. again if it is quality then so be it otherwise i would go with your plan as plan b. i dont think marvin gets much in return, you have to give to get.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
3:03 pm

There is simply no reason to continue to have Josh and Al on the same team when they play the same position. Another year and even a different coach won’t likely make a difference… one of the Hawks biggest roster flaws is that their 4 best players naturally play 2 positions (SG and PF). Any plan that doesn’t explicitly “spread the wealth” across the other 3 positions is idiotic, as in doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Seriously, you’re going to bring back Josh because you’re expecting him to do what differently in his EIGHTH NBA season? Dude just spent a good part of his 7th NBA season looking for his coach to give him an immediate lesson on shot selection.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
3:05 pm

A hard cap would be horrible. The players union should never fall for that. There is no NBA or NFL without the players and having substitute players in this day and age will not work because there is too much info out there. The players can not lock the owners out the owners have locked the players out in the NFL and will do so in the NBA. When players cause a lock out it is called a strike. This shows you how much american sports are not everyday business and how much they play most for fools. You would never see McDonalds lock there employees out because they are a real business and if they do not flip burgers no money comes in. American sports are not real or respectable businesses. I support the players and they should not go for a hard cap.

O'Brien

April 4th, 2011
3:08 pm

AJ,

I can see a reduction in salary, and a reduction in “max years” a player can get. But I dont think the union will allow unguaranteed contracts. I like the “cut card” though. Wasnt that what the Knicks did with Allan Houston years ago?

As for the playoffs, 2 series I am looking forward to are Knicks-Heat, and Denver-OKC. Hawks and Orlando dont do much for me.

Melvin, Najeh,

So would you say that signing JJ to the contract they did was a mistake from the get-go? Or is it a mistake because of how he (and the team and LD) has underperformed this season?

And if a new GM comes in, will they be more or less likely to trade some of our “core” players?

I would call the Nets and Minnesota this offseason to gauge interest in JJ.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
3:20 pm

OB, it was nicknamed the “Alan Houston Rule” even though the Knicks used it on Jerome Williams and not Houston (go figure). But it was a one-time thing… I think the owners won’t go for just a one-time use. If ownership is crying that they are hurt by bad contracts and the union is going to (correctly) argue that no one is forcing them to offer bad contracts, then the solution I described would seemingly work for all (including player agents who are important to these CBA negotiations). It is obviously a compromise by all sides but one that seems more palatable than other options.

doc

April 4th, 2011
3:22 pm

o’b, jj’s contract was a trap …. damned if you do and damned if you dont. basically, they should have done what denver did and realize what the signs were that it was going to take huge silly money to sign him with as much money that was available for others to spend. the effort should have been to move him for some quality players once he turned down legit value money and let someone else take the tip.

once they decided to have a great and happy year of 53 wins and deluded themselves into thinking they were truly a “contender” until the heat pulled the rabbit out of the hat and rug from beneath their feet they were skunked and sunk. at that point it was either pay up and go over the limit or shut down which they did and got to the nearest bunker to wait it out. they shot for 4th and ended up 5th, where is the bar for next year, 7th? sadly they were at least honest to sy where they were placing the bar at 4th, that in itself was a shocker.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
3:25 pm

IMO, there is a very significant chance that until the ASG is on stable ground (meaning either they sell off the Thrashers or they find another funding partner), that nothing will happen with the sacred core. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think a well-furnished house looks more appealing to buyers than an empty one. I don’t see how trading Joe for a piece of paper and dumping Marvin for a comparable player makes this team better (or easier to sell).

Melvin

April 4th, 2011
3:26 pm

OB,

I think signing Joe to max contract was a mistake from a finacial standpoint b/c it didn’t allow the team any flexiblity to sign other QUALITY players and remain under the luxury tax line. I think the ASG signed Joe (and AL) to a max contract to save face, while they had/have no intentions to remain owners of this franchise. Hopefully, the next owner(s) will have enough resource to field a competitive team along with having the insight of hiring good basketball minds to run and manage the Hawks. Here’s to hoping the Hawks do something they never done before in my previous statement.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
3:30 pm

Of course, I think the head coach hire was a far greater blunder than Joe’s contract. Watching Josh and Al move away from the paint (unobstructed by their head coach) has diluted the impact of both Joe and Jamal. The funny thing is that there are 2 guys who have shown a willlingness to fill the void that Al and Josh have left in the paint… Zaza and Marvin.

Melvin

April 4th, 2011
3:35 pm

Doc,
Co-sign your 3:22 post.

Astro,
As Doc said, they were interested in standing pat. Sometimes it takes bold and creative moves to improve. If they had the right basketball minds in place, they probably could have end up with a deal like Denver and received several good players, picks and monies for Joe. Instead we end up like the Knicks, keeping (or getting) an All-Star player but the team is playing worst than the previous team.

I think we need to clean house with the ownership and management prior to making player personnel moves.

niremetal

April 4th, 2011
3:46 pm

I hate to say it, but Al hasn’t done much to make me think of him as untouchable the past couple months either. Not unlike Josh, he’s going soft and fading to the perimeter at an alarming rate. He’s going to be BYC next year, but if I’m Sund, I’m placing calls around the league getting feelers on everyone on our roster this summer, no exceptions.

Frankly, the only player that I’m utterly convinced has to go is Josh. Seven years and we’re still having the same discussions about whether and when he’ll figure out the most fundamental aspect of his game – that he is far more effective making his living near the basket. Jacking jumpers, running the break, loafing through the offense, failing to get back on D, and mediocre on-ball D…it’s same old same old. Unless we can get one of these installed on Josh to use whenever he drifts outside 10 feet from the basket on offense, I don’t see any reason – none whatsoever – to think he’ll ever change his game, especially as his athleticism starts to decline (thereby making it tougher for him to work inside against bigger players). Certainly, it will never change as long as he wears a Hawks uniform.

Really, the last sentence is also true of Marvin – I don’t think we’ll ever see much more out of him than we’re seeing right now as long as he’s a Hawk. The difference is that his flaws have less of an impact on whether we win or lose because the very problem with Marvin is that he fades into the scenery too easily rather than that he has a tendency to be a bull in the China shop. So I’m agnostic on whether Marvin stays or goes. I don’t think the team will change markedly either way.

In any case, if I were the front office, I would go into the offseason with the mindset that everyone can go and we should explore the trade possibilities for each and every player.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
3:47 pm

Melvin, and if ownership decides to keep the team? Let’s not get this confused folk… you can’t fire the owners.

Sorry, I’m not buying the hindsight view of trading Joe last season. I guess no one remembers that we were winning the SE division around the trade deadline last year. I guess no one remembers all of the hype that we could actually reach the ECF during the ASll-Star break. No one seems to recall the europhoria of having 2 AL-Stars, a probable SMOY and Josh showing more shot discipline around February, 2010. And despite all of that good stuff… we were supposed to have the vision to dump Joe for some middling players.

Come on guys… that is revisionist history at it’s best.

The BOLD move would have involved hiring a coach not associated with the team for the past 6 years… although I’m not sure that would have been bold… more like logical.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
3:55 pm

Guys I would rather sign than Jamal Crawford as Free Agents whenever the NBA owners stop locking out the players. They are listed in no particular order. Jamal will want 6 to 8 million a year. I would rather have any of these guys or some combination for that price tag.

1. Glen Davis (Big Baby)
2. Delonte West
3. Jeff Green-Full Amount
4. Nazr Mohammed
5. Anthony Parker
6. Caron Butler
7. Tyson Chandler-Full Amount plus some
8. Deshawn Stevenson
9. Aaron Afflalo
10. Wilson Chandler
11. Kenyon Martin
12. JR Smith-Full Amount
13. Rodney Stuckey-Full Amount
14. Tayshaun Prince-Full Amount
15. Al Thorton
16. Chuck Hayes
17. Mike Dunleavy
18. DeAndre Jordan-Full Amount
19. Jamario Moon
20. Marc Gasol-Full Amount plus some
21. Shane Battier
22. Mario Chalmers
23. Mike Bibby
24. Erick Dampier
25. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
26. Michael Redd
27.Kris Humphries
28. Sasha Vujacic
29. Willie Green
30. Carl Landry
31.Jason Richardson-Full Amount
32. Spencer Hawes
33. Thaddeus Young-Full Amount
34. Aaron Brooks-Full Amount
35. Greg Oden
36. Marcus Thorton
37. Samuel Dalembert-Full Amount
38. Sony Weems
39. Reggie Evans
40. Kyrylo Fesenko
41. Andrei Kirilenko
42. Ronnie Price
43. Earl Watson
44. Nick Young-Full Amount

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=FreeAgents-11-12

doc

April 4th, 2011
3:58 pm

your new coach would have still had the albatross around his neck aj.

Melvin

April 4th, 2011
4:03 pm

Astro,

We all seen the historical defeat that the Hawks sufferd in the playoffs last year (and the previous year with the same group of guys). Sorry Joe, I can’t buy what you are trying to sell. Many experts, analysts and bloggers saw the lumps in the Hawks last season and was not presuaded that it was all on the coach. Even both teams that made the Finals last year made personnel moves. Hawks simply brought back their top 8-9 guys along with 2-3 other min salary vets that were basically out the leauge and expect the fans to believe they were actually going to improve. Just who did the ASG thought they were fooling?

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
4:04 pm

And if you do bring back Josh, then they need to invest in someone like Carl Landry or some other PF who is in their prime. The head coach MUST have a viable option when Josh starts playing in a different key.

Al told everyone with a mic that he is a PF and he is playing much like the modern day PF. Who was the starting PF in the All-Star game for the East? Amare.. not exactly a physical bruiser who bangs like Kevin Willis. Al told us throughout the summer and into this season that he wasn’t going to bang with the big boys. His head coach supports the decision, his father supports the decision… seriously, exactly who do you think is in his ear these days telling him to go down low and bang? Ty Hill? That’s the story of this season… every man for himself.

Astro Joe

April 4th, 2011
4:15 pm

doc, there would be less to fix if we had a better head coach. With a better head coach, some of these players may have elevated value on the trade market. I can’t buy your earlier post saying that we should have traded Joe after he turned down the extension… especially with where we were around the trade deadline last season.

Melvin, I don’t think anyone was more vocal about the “Summer of Sameness” than me. I’m just not of the opinion that Joe should have been the first chip to fall. I was ALWAYS of the opinion that moving the expiring contract of the reigning SMOY was the most logical move to make during the sumer (and especially after spending $120M+ and a 1st round pick on SGs).

doc

April 4th, 2011
4:56 pm

yup astro, but i would have gone fishing to find out what was in deep waters. we never really knew he was going to sign and that was why we had to play the big card to get him to stya. wade talked it up and got his posse in and was with the program all the way even if it meant less money to him. jj just said fu and walked out the door to the fans at the end of the season. he played his cards well, not sure we even played. once we were left holding the cards i agree we couldnt do anything but wha we did which was pay the man. choices and yes i thought about it doing a trade and brought it up. you were in kumbaya land saying dont distrub me because i am going to enjoy this now and he heck with where we might go. i would have at least asked the question and found out what the price was if nothing more than to know what jj had on the open market down the road.

doc

April 4th, 2011
5:26 pm

on another note, braves win. kimbrel who looks to be the real deal 1 ip, 3 k’s on 15 pitches, 10 for strikes. wont be long before he is on the cover of s i. 5 of 6 outs for the year on k’s. dealing baby, just dealing. wish josh played that kind of defense.

doc

April 4th, 2011
5:27 pm

have you copyrighted s o s yet aj? ;-)

kwooden

April 4th, 2011
5:36 pm

To me, if any loss was a good loss last night was one of them. They played well enough to win but Houston wasn’t going away. The HAWKS didn’t show up for most of the 3rd quarter and really it costed them the game. Hopefully they understand that they can’t go to sleep for more than just a few possessions and expect to win against quality teams playing well.

GO HAWKS!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
5:43 pm

“Sorry, I’m not buying the hindsight view of trading Joe last season. I guess no one remembers that we were winning the SE division around the trade deadline last year. I guess no one remembers all of the hype that we could actually reach the ECF during the ASll-Star break”

The Hawks looked pretty good at the All Star break this year too. I guess they should have given LD a nice little extension around that time.

The fact is that in each of the last two playoffs, the Hawks have shown themselves to be pretenders in large part because Joe has emphatically proven that he cannot carry a team as one would expect a max player to do. I supported the Joe max extension because it was the best of several bad options, since the other options involved Rick Sund rebuilding this team. But if the Hawks had a Masai Ujiri who could get three or four talented young players for Joe in a trade, would that have been the right move? Without question.

Ra'mon

April 4th, 2011
5:47 pm

Big Ray, I think Josh and Joe were saying the same thing. They’re both saying that there was too much dribble penetration. Joe saying ‘inside out’ means the back court (mainly Kirk and Jamal) backing up off of the opposition and giving them room to shoot instead of pressing them up high. The reason for this is Kirk and Jamal are both slower than Houston’s back court. So when you run up against this, you MUST back up, and make them shoot jumpers, because you can’t stay in front of them.