Atlanta Hawks: Tough changes need to be made

The Hawks fan base is a colorful lot, such that it is. When we’re not blaming our favorite targets for anything and everything, we’re busy trying to prove each other wrong and our own selves right. I’ll start this by saying that I don’t know if I’m right, and that it doesn’t matter either way. But…I do have an opinion, and a rather strong one. So do you, and I want to hear it, no matter how vehemently opposed it might be to mine or anybody else’s. But, let’s try and respect each other at the same time. Leave the insults to each other’s collective intelligences out of the conversation. After all, if we were all that smart and that good, we’d be running an NBA franchise. Right?

Here goes, and some of these thoughts have been fermenting for days, others for weeks, some for months, and still others for years.

The Future

With a collective bargaining agreement situation brewing, the possibility of no basketball next season is looming. However, I won’t dwell on this long, and the fact is that the NBA simply has to be paying attention to what’s going on with the NFL. Here’s the difference – the NFL is a 9 billion dollar business. Fans might be mad about the lockout, but as long as none of the games are missed, they’ll come right back and the NFL will STILL be a 9 billion dollar business. The NBA? Not nearly so lucky. David Stern is already looking for ways to keep things rolling. Two of the most powerful and popular teams (Lakers and Celtics) whether you hate to love them or love to hate them, have just fallen in this season’s playoffs, and it could very well be a while before they rise again. I’m betting L.A. gets back up off the mat before Boston does, but the point stands. The NBA can’t afford a black mark like a lockout, because they WILL lose significant business. Why? Although rising stars such as Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, and Kevin Durant make the game exciting, it’s just not enough at the moment. The Heat are not even remotely beloved the way the Lakers once were, and there is no presence like Michael Jordan in the game any longer. Jordan’s presence was such that transcended all sports. People that never had a basketball in their hands knew who he was. There is no such guy in the NBA right now. Not with that type of marketability. No Magic Johnson, no Charles Barkley, none of those guys. I say the lockout won’t happen. But enough of that.

What’s the future for the Hawks? Kinda murky, if you ask me. They won’t sink to non-playoff team level. But they won’t get farther than they did this year, either. Not if they stand pat and maintain their usual status quo. They have to make some tough changes, or their future isn’t going to be much of a future. It’ll be more like a limbo.

Coach Drew

Larry Drew proved he was better in the postseason than Mike Woodson was. Was it enough? If the ASG doesn’t sell off the team and Rick Sund sticks around, my guess is “yes.” Should it be enough? Well, that can’t be truly determined without looking at the players as well. It can be hard to assign blame and credit when you just don’t know all the internal facts. Drew talked about accountability, but he had a very hard time enforcing it. Is that really his fault, or do we just want it to be? The man gets slain on the regular for his offensive schemes, his lack of defensive enforcement, and his substitutions and lineup choices. Yes, he spent six years with this team as an assistant coach. But, he was still a rookie head coach. Comparing him to other rookie head coaches could be rather unfair when you consider such factors as prior experience, assistant staff, GM and owner performance, and of course…who you have playing for you. Since the Hawks lost to the Bulls, it’s easy to compare Drew to Thibodeau. Well, consider the Bulls culture and then compare that to the Hawks. Yeahhhhh, not so favorable, eh? Now, consider that Thibodeau spent his most recent assistant job as the defensive mastermind on a team that not only stayed in the hunt for a championship for a few years, but actually won it. Suddenly, Drew’s assistant coach experience pales in front of Thibodeau’s. So comparisons aren’t going to be everything we want them to be. Then of course, there is the whole thing about Larry Drew and Jeff Teague. It looks to me like Drew is trying to cover himself just a bit when he says he intended all along to play Teague more against Chicago than he did against Orlando. Ok, maybe he did, but just how much more? Without speculating on that too long, I’ll just say it wouldn’t have been much more than he got in the regular season on a night-to-night basis. And here’s my opinion on Drew – the whole thing with Jeff Teague is both reasonable in the beginning (let him earn the starting job) and forgivable (not playing him enough) in the end. Why? Because Teague’s development did not make or break this season, although his presence in the 2nd round definitely helped us win 2 games we otherwise would not have, and remain pretty competitive.

Drew stays, and he won’t kill this team. But, there are questions. Can he coach this team to better heights if some personnel changes are made? Or will his own performance not get any better? Remember, this was his first year as a head coach. Is judging him conclusively at this time a wise thing? Drew is a part of this team’s culture. The question is this – is he a part that will hold the team back, or is he a part that can contribute to the betterment of this team? There is no neutral ground in the case of a head coach.

Who Stays, Who Needs to Go

Forget about Joe Johnson going. The Hawks signed him like he is the only face to this franchise, and unless a blockbuster deal is made for a team that wants to build something that can compete with the Heat, Thunder, Bulls, or whoever else figures to be at the top of the NBA pile, Johnson stays put. Having said that, rule nothing out. Chicago will find out that they probably don’t have quite enough talent/power out of their #2 guy, and they may be willing to do something to put themselves over the top. A clue to this will be how they do against Miami, so WATCH CLOSELY. I believe they are a true #2 player away from beating anybody in the League. Having said that, Joe strikes me as a guy who won’t hold this team back in a culture setting. If things beging to truly change, Joe can go with the flow. Especially if he becomes comfy with the idea of moving to the small forward position in the near future. As it is, he is still our best overall player and our most talented scorer. After watching how Joe played vs. how our supposed future team leaders played, you can’t tell me you want to trade Joe off for peanuts and a new pair of shoes. No way.

Marvin Williams is a guy a lot of people would like to get rid of, and after his nearly complete lack of a presence in this year’s playoffs, I can’t make a very strong argument for why we absolutely must keep him. Does he hurt us if he stays? Not unless we are forced to use him as a starter all the time. I think Marvin’s role is best as a guy coming off the bench now. If we can trade him away for good, useable value, I won’t cry. If not, then let him be a 20+ mpg bench guy. He doesn’t have to like it, he just has to be decent at it. On the other hand, if Damien Wilkins shows he still has a bit left in the tank, he’s a good “end of the bench” vet to have, as he can give better than “end of the bench” performances.

Kirk Hinrich just got here, and as long as he’s healthy, his versatility, smarts, and toughness aren’t easy to replace. Trading him is only something we should do if it’s a deal that really makes sense. Otherwise, he’s a good backup to both guard spots, especially at the point. I believe that Jeff Teague should be our starting point guard, especially if he comes back and plays the way he just did against Chicago. The future is fairly bright, all he needs is a better jumper with a higher release, nothing some intense summer training with a pro won’t fix. Pape Sy is a guy who intrigues me a bit. He seems smoother than Mario West was (but maybe just as energetic), obviously with more size, and he could be a solidly developing 2 or 3 for us next season. We shall see.

Who knows what will happen with Jamal Crawford. The guy is a gunslinger by trade, and that’s what you are buying when you hire him. The problems with Crawford begin when you try to use him as a point guard too much, let him have too much free rein with the offense, or leave him on the floor when perimeter defense is needed badly, or is needed far more than scoring. Otherwise, you should know what you’re getting when you pay for his services. Crawford is good to have, but maybe no longer for this team. Why? Because as the playoffs showed, we rely too much on our guards scoring, and relying on Crawford as the #2 scoring option has obvious side effects, as discussed a couple of sentences ago. The Hawks have to get past this and become a team that can score inside as well (or nearly as well) as they do outside. For that reason and no other, it may be best that Crawford moves on. Let me say that another way to avoid misunderstanding – Crawford is not a guy I see as a problem for this team. I see the use and the dependance upon him as a problem. There is a difference.

In the frontcourt, let’s start with the reserves. Etan Thomas was barely used and Josh Powell is just not consistent or physical enough. Both can go. Hilton Armstrong is a guy I still wonder about. I can see why he has floated from one team to another, but he’s another end of the bench guy. He can go too, but somebody has to be at the end of the bench. It’s either him or Thomas, most likely. Magnum Rolle (I still don’t know what he looks like) won’t figure into the conversation. Jason Collins has shown his usefulness and isn’t a bad person to keep around. He knows how to play his role and plays it well. As for Zaza Pachulia, much maligned as he was at times during the season….he’s a keeper. On a team like this that needs smart big men who aren’t afraid to get physical with anybody and who like rebounding? Trading him is something you do ONLY if you know that what you’re getting back is better. Otherwise, it’s plain stupid. Pachulia has proven himself yet again, and I think anybody would be hard-pressed to prove otherwise. Take a look at the game 6 boxscore and you’ll see precisely what I mean.

Now we come to the crux of it all: Al Horford and Josh Smith. There are going to be some truly hot opinions where this is concerned. I’ll go ahead and get this out there first – I believe that Josh Smith has to be traded. Why? Because it’s either him or Al Horford, but something has got to give. Let’s look at each guy and I’ll explain it.

Al Horford – Some people claim that Horford has better trade value and that may well be the truth. I find it ironic that those who want to trade him are going to base their arguments off of his performance, more specifically his playoff performance. Really? Then how do you reconcile that performance with him having a higher trade value? There must be substance for there to be a high trade value, and if there is significant substance, why would you want to trade that away? The problem with Al is mental, but it’s different than it is with Josh Smith. Al began the season wanting to move to power forward. Oh, he wouldn’t come right out and say it, but both he and his head coach talked about it plenty. He also began to play like it. And in the playoffs, it got worse. However, here is why you don’t trade Al Horford:

1) Despite Al’s sudden aversion to being the team’s tough guy, he still made the all-star team, and he also made the All-NBA team. Let me say that again – he made the ALL- NBA TEAM. Yes, it was the third team, but that still means he was named as one of the 15 best players in the League. You’re going to trade that away in favor of somebody who has yet to figure out how to make an all-star team? You better be getting an all-star back. And it better be a low post player. A center. Horford is substance, and not unrealized potential. Right now his learning curve is in the area where he has to learn how to maintain all-star level play, even in the postseason. He has to learn how to raise his game in the postseason.

2) Horford is coachable. Whatever his issue is mentally, it can be dealt with. Horford was a virtual beast his first three years. He can get that back. If one subpar playoffs is all it takes to throw a guy out, then there are a lot of guys who should have been traded a bunch of times. The man is a winner and a hard worker. He’ll look at how he played in this postseason and vow to never have that happen again. He’ll take the criticism, he won’t refute it or argue against it. He’ll own it. And he will do better. He will also do what his coach asks him to do.That is Al’s personality, it’s who he is. He’s not a dominating shot-blocker or an intimidating presence at the rim. He has weaknesses. He’s an all-star who didn’t play like an all-star. But he can fix it. He will fix it.

3) Horford has true leadership abilities. There is no substitution for that. The Hawks need true floor leaders, and Al is one, even if he failed at it this postseason. Some successes aren’t possible without the experience of failure first. Trade Al away, and you lose a leader.

Josh Smith – The mercurial forward has the uncanny and rare ability to change the game for his team on either end of the floor. He has more potential and capability to do this than any of his teammates. He’s the most dynamic defender, and one of the game’s most dangerous finishers on the fast break. All of this ability, and Josh just cannot seem to harness it for more than what sometimes feels like mere moments. Though it pains me as a long-time Smith supporter to say this, here is why Josh Smith needs to be traded:

1) All that potential and ability. After seven years, the best argument we have in his favor is that he was snubbed by the all-star voting. Some worry that if Smith leaves here, he becomes an all-star elsewhere. I call BS. Smith has the perfect and best opportunity to be an all-star here, but he just hasn’t bridged the gap. And guess what? He won’t. Josh will not play to his strengths long enough to help himself out, much less his team, on a consistent basis. For years we’ve said that Josh’s positives outweigh his negatives. That’s been true, and it’s been good enough for the “development and potential” years. That was good enough for the first 4 or maybe even 5 years. But it hasn’t been good enough for the last two years. It just isn’t good enough anymore. His negatives may be fewer, but they are hurting his individual game as well as this team’s performance.

2) This one hurts as well – Josh is not coachable enough. Maybe it takes a different coach, I don’t know. I’d love to say that Smith would succeed under a Gregg Popovich, a Phil Jackson, a Larry Brown, or maybe a Doc Rivers. But I just can’t prove it. Smith isn’t listening to anybody that is telling him what he doesn’t want to hear, and there are just too many interview or post game comments that make this obvious. As mentioned before, he just won’t play to his strengths enough, and as some have noted, he seems more interested in proving that his weaknesses aren’t weaknesses. What kind of team captain consistently ignores his coach? What does that do to the culture of a ballclub? Smith is intent all too often on playing the game the way he thinks he should play it, despite the overwhelming evidence that should show him otherwise. He doesn’t see it. He won’t see it. Smith is just too comfortable here, where he can claim seniority amongst his peers as a Hawk, where he isn’t shouted down by his non-confrontational teammates, where he was named a co-captain (a backfired plan). It’s not that good players don’t contend with their coaches. This happens plenty. But good players, especially the best ones, have a strong relationship with their coaches. One that works on the professional level, even if they never spend a minute together away from the court. And the best players can also back up their disagreements with production, while accepting the consequences of their actions. Josh doesn’t produce at his best when he plays how he wants to play (as opposed to how he SHOULD play), and he is also not very accepting of the consequences.

3) The hometown kid and highlight factory excuse is done. I understood the fear that any owner or GM would have in trading away a local hometown kid, especially if he was a key component to the team. Especially if they thought he might develop into a true star when traded away. Especially if his going took away an element that the team simply could not live without under any circumstances. But that is not the case here. Josh still makes the most electrifying plays in a Hawks uniform at Philips Arena. But they’ve been too few and far between. Disagree? Well that’s fine, but I’ll tell you right now – there is a reason why I’m convinced of this – when the vast majority of the home crowd in your arena groans, screams, or otherwise voices its collective disapproval every time you wind up for a jumpshot, you have just lost the hometown/local kid mystique. Sorry, but it’s over. People will miss the dunks. They’ll miss the blocks. They’ll even miss the full court passes. Until somebody else starts doing it. As it so happens, a 2nd year point guard is beginning to be known for his dunks and blocks. There will be more where that came from.

So there you have it. Change the culture, change the look, change the core. Trade Josh Smith, and the Hawks will accomplish all three. Having said that, trading him for the wrong person will make it look like a bad move. But it’s a move the Hawks have to make, I believe.

Fire away folks….

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

531 comments Add your comment

Hawks Pity

May 13th, 2011
5:37 am

[...] Atlanta Hawks: Tough changes need to be madeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)However, here is why you don't trade Al Horford: 1) Despite Al's sudden aversion to being the team's tough guy, he still made the all-star team, and he also made the All-NBA team. Let me say that again – he made the ALL- NBA TEAM. … [...]

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
5:49 am

Congrats, Hawks Pity . And now I’m going to bed after pouring gasoline on a bonfire…(metaphorically speaking, of course).

[...] Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, …Chicago Advances to 1st Conference Final Since MJABC NewsAtlanta Hawks: Tough changes need to be madeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)It's Heat-Bulls in East finals, starting Sunday in [...]

Hawk fan in NJ

May 13th, 2011
6:20 am

I like the in-depth analysis and I agree with most of what you are saying. The question is, who would we be able to get back for Josh? Would Josh for Bynum be a good move considering Bynum’s troubles staying healthy? Is it worth the risk?

Fla Mike

May 13th, 2011
6:53 am

Ray I hate to admit it but it is time for Josh to go. How can somebody who has such a crappy outside shot keep shooting? WTF My kids are tired of me yelling at the TV every time he jacks one up…even when he makes it. As for Marvin he will NEVER live down being picked over CP3 & D Wil… so get rid of him for anything you can get expiring contracts, picks or used equipment. I still love my Hawks….maybe next year

Ray

May 13th, 2011
7:01 am

@ Big Ray

Sorry man I disagree I say we keep Josh and try to get Dwight Howard over here like yesterday if Josh stays are chances are high, but if he goes we’ll probably lose out. Yeah I know we will probably lose out regardless, but at least it looks like we got a chance better than New Jesery anyway.

truthspitter

May 13th, 2011
7:01 am

This is article is truly without substance. I see that there are a lot of lost “talking heads” and Hawks fans around here. Let me back up for a second and give some credit. For one, I agree Teague should be starting PG. I also agree that Jason Collins would be good to bring back at the minimum. The agreeing pretty much stops there.

Allow me to explain.

#1 Joe is not untradeable and should be traded because you know Joe’s value.

You do not even know the value of Josh or Al because they have not peaked whereas Joe has.

Also, it is not Josh or Al because Josh should this series just like last that he can be highly effective at the SF position. Remember he started at SF all games against the Magic and some games against the Bulls.

The correct thing to do is move Joe Johnson since you know his ceiling and can truly gauge value.

PG Teague
SG
SF Josh Smith
PF Al
C

Fill in the blanks.

Lastly, on Drew. I am disappointed that people fail to realize Drew is part of the core and may be a bigger part of problem than some realize. Josh has been around this guy his whole career and the same for Al. How do you know that Josh does not need to here an entirely different voice to get the best out of him. Why give up on a 25 year old before a 50 year old or whatever Drew is. That is just backwards to me.

The tough decisions should be who your coach will be and seeing what is the best possible deal for Joe Johnson.

Marcus

May 13th, 2011
7:06 am

Agree changes have to be made. I will admit, I am one of those kinda skittish about trading Josh …. but something HAS to happen in the starting 5 (as it existed in reg. season) and bench talent to even contemplate going to the NEXT level.
This series showed the type of team we have good/bad: We can ball when we buy in on a the game (or team) philosophy and take advantage of our matchups. We get run out of the gym when we have to resort to plan B on an off-night or need a significant lift from the bench.

Do we have the desire to spend to upgrade the bench and fit the pieces we need? That remains to be seen and the onus is on R. Sund and the ASG.
Problem is …….. our only way to improve is trading current assets. We literally traded two 1st round picks (Jordan Crawford, the 2010 selection and the draft position for 2011), so we don’t have much to work with to make changes other than trading existing talent and free agency.
Last year, I was hoping we would get Ronnie Brewer and/or Amir Johnson to bolster the defensive side .. didn’t happen.
Now, we also face some $$$ considerations on what to do with Kirk, esp. if we expect JT0 to realize his potential after his remarkable playoff display.

As far as Josh, one wonders if he did have an established coach vs. all these 1st time HC during his career, if he would be more consistent and coachable. I think someone linked to an article by CBS Sports Greg Doyle that stated Josh had the potential was heading towards the type of career ripe with potential, but ultimately failed to live up to it.

truthspitter

May 13th, 2011
7:09 am

truthspitter

May 13th, 2011
7:01 am

This is article is truly without substance. I see that there are a lot of lost “talking heads” and Hawks fans around here. Let me back up for a second and give some credit. For one, I agree Teague should be starting PG. I also agree that Jason Collins would be good to bring back at the minimum. The agreeing pretty much stops there.

Allow me to explain.

#1 Joe is not untradeable and should be traded because you know Joe’s value.

You do not even know the value of Josh or Al because they have not peaked whereas Joe has.

Also, it is not Josh or Al because Josh should this series just like last that he can be highly effective at the SF position. Remember he started at SF all games against the Magic and some games against the Bulls.

The correct thing to do is move Joe Johnson since you know his ceiling and can truly gauge value.

PG Teague
SG
SF Josh Smith
PF Al
C

Fill in the blanks.

Lastly, on Drew. I am disappointed that people fail to realize Drew is part of the core and may be a bigger part of problem than some realize. Josh has been around this guy his whole career and the same for Al. How do you know that Josh does not need to here an entirely different voice to get the best out of him. Why give up on a 25 year old before a 50 year old or whatever Drew is. That is just backwards to me.

The tough decisions should be who your coach will be and seeing what is the best possible deal for Joe Johnson.

I must add, after you trade Joe for the best available package you should then look to trade Marvin, Zaza, and Kirk.

Marvin because trading guys like this simply help morale. You don’t need any freeloaders around.

Kirk because he has a expiring contract which can fetch you a piece that your limited cap space would usually not allow. By the way, I still contend we should have done the same with Jamal.

Zaza because he basically showed up when he wanted to, which was after All-star break. Why does he get a pass and this great rep for being big and bad, when he is not big and bad enough to do it all the time? If you can get a better package by throwing Zaza in there with Kirk”s expiring don”t hesitate because once again you know what Zaza is and there is not much upside to him for you to be holding on to him like gold.

wordsmithtom

May 13th, 2011
7:27 am

I’ve said it several times before. Lakers interested in Superman. If they get him, and I believe they will if the new CBA doesn’t create problems for them, then they have a big available. I’d take either Bynum or Gasol for Josh. Prefer Bynum, as Gasol is more a power forward than center, but at least he will play within the team concept.

JJ to Chicago? Could happen. JJ to NY, more likely. They’re loaded with draft choices and want to get better quick. They missed on Carmelo…JJ could fix that.

Coach: LD is not elite….this team will never reach the elite level without an elite coach. He’s ok, but not elite. Probably need new ownership, as this one is too cheap to go after one of the best. And, we need one to be one of the best “teams”.

wordsmithtom

May 13th, 2011
7:28 am

That’s JJ to New Jersey….oldtimer’s disease.

vava74

May 13th, 2011
7:33 am

Ray,

Excellent “final balance” blog. You’re the man.

It’s been a great blogging season which fortunately gave us a little better tasting meat in the playoffs to chew on.

Personally, I don’t agree with your Al-Josh analysis.

Soft guys don’t change. Stubborn guys sometimes do (see Z-Bo’s improvement).

IMO, you can’t coach to extract toughness out of softness, but you can coach a stubborn guy to stop doing stupid stuff (Woody made Josh stop launching 3’s and for me that is enough evidence).

Al failed miserably in these playoffs and his Puff Forward game without Nowitski’s moves and range is worthless in the playoffs.

I was blind, but now I can see. Diaper Al will never take us anywhere. He may still be useful, but I would not rely on him anymore. He looked scared, shot more airballs in the playoffs than in all 4 regular seasons together, was abused by (and failed to out play) another softie (Boozer), subs (Azik, Gibson, …) and smaller nobodies/middling players (Bass, Anderson, …).

Josh just needs true quality coaching: authority, accountability and quality x’s and o’s. He showed up in game 4, made a good effort in game 5, brought us back yesterday a couple of times with his hustle on D.

Did he damaged us as well? Yes, but as I said above, his miss guided efforts were corrected last year, so my guess is that I think he can still improve.

LD brings a bit of x’s and o’s (in comparison with Woody) but the harsh reality is that both Woody and LD are only suited to be assistant coaches.

Our most significant off-season move should be getting a new coach here. I know it won’t happen and the consequence will be that next season, these cats will do the same number: coast during the season thinking that they can turn it on in the playoffs.

Well, it worked this year, but it was also kind of a fluke and they don’t realize it.

Our roster is actually fine IMO, with obvious problems, but fine. However, I would trade Marvin for a couple of 2nd round picks, even if they end up being worthless at least we would ditch his salary.

As for Jamal, I would not mind keeping him for the money he deserves ±3 million and provided that he got the daylight his game deserves (ie. in a series like this one against CHI, him playing like he did after game 1 and still averaging 30mpg was pathetic).

And you know why our roster is not that bad, IMO?

Look at how effective was CHI’s second team? Where those guys so much better than ours? Better than our starters? No, it was coaching, pure and simple.

During game 5 Thibs surprised me a great deal. I thought that he was a type of coach that gets too intense and loses his men after a while.

But when CHI was starting to play a bit shaky and lost the lead his instructions to his men were:

BREATHE, JUST BREATHE. Sometimes not giving instructions is the best possible route. He seems to understand that.

That is something that for instance SVG would never say to his men and that is why he loses his men so often.

A final word on Teague. I have been extra supportive of Teague. These series were very good for his confidence and revealed the kind of player he can be.

He is not there yet because I am not blind: he benefited from the attention that JJ and Jamal were getting and from having Korver checking him.

So, I don’t think it’s realistic to think he will average 17ppg next year (I am discounting yesterday since his injury took his game away), but he will certainly be able to put up 12/13 whilst filling up the rest of the stat sheet with good stuff just like Josh does.

By the way, a final note: Both Josh and JJ will benefit greatly with Teague starting.

I think JJ will have no problem in giving Teague the ball handling duties and will improve from his over reliance on his ISO plays (he accumulated bad habits but proper coaching as mentioned above would do the trick).

Josh will benefit from the faster tempo game which Teague brings and could regain his J-Smash game. I can see Josh dunking alley hoops on people again just like Howard does with Nelson playing the pick ‘n roll.

Again, it’s all about coaching. We have the personnel to extract much more.

If we are forced to keep Diaper Al, I would consider this line up for next year:

Teague, JJ, Josh, Al and Hilton

Hinrich, Wilkins, Zaza as the main subs

All of the above are above average defenders/hustlers with Hilton being the main question mark

Sy, Jamal and Marvin (if we retain him/not trade him) and Collins as spot subs.

All these have particular skills which may be useful (with Marvin being the probable exception, unless he all of the sudden morphs into a bigger version of Rickey Pierce).

People will say: Josh at the SF slot? I will say yes, a different kind of SF. Again, it’s all about X’s and O’s – Josh would post up smaller guys and would still play minutes at the PF slot.

The key would be the dynamic rotations on our front court positions, since I would continue to play JJ heavy minutes at the SF slot where he can be effective against SFs who are typically slower and have less handles to cause him problems on D.

Diaper Al would continue to play his soft game at the Puff Forward and Center slots, playing at the high post/elbow and baseline BUT I would not mentally rely on him so much.

Hopefully, with Teague putting pressure on the perimeter, we would have a lot more transition baskets and Al and Josh can fill the lanes with quickness and authority, so it’s not that Al would be worthless at all.

Eric

May 13th, 2011
7:36 am

Josh Smith certainly would be at the top of my list to go. I was listening to him being interviewed on ESPN last week and he even admitted that you never know who’s going to show up, Josh Smith or J-Smoothe. Seven years into his career and he’s making a statement like a kid. He should bring his A game each time out, but there is this constant mental block on Josh Smith.

The Hawks overall still suffer from a painful to watch offense, especially when things get tough. It almost always devolves into a 1 on 5 situation with the Hawks players playing the 1 taking on the 5 without any team play. So, then we see the typical awful Hawks shot followed by the other team getting a defensive rebound and no second chance for the Hawks.

I contend that things will be stuck as they’ve been the past many seasons until this joke of an ownership group is settled.

lal909

May 13th, 2011
7:37 am

Hawks Should go after Larry Brown!! The team is a model of the Detroit Pistons team

GREG T

May 13th, 2011
7:38 am

I THINK WE NEED A BETTER COACH DREW IS NOT THE ONE TO LEAD THIS TEAM WE NEED NEW BLOOD AS COACH ON JOSH HE A GOOD PLAYER WHO WILL YOU GET FOR HIM LOOK AROUND THE LEAGUE HE NEED TO STAY MARVIN NEED TO BE TRADED HE JUST NOT PUTTING OUT LIKE HE SHOULD TEAGUE IS THE PG OF THE HAWKS FUTURE BUT YOU NEED A COACH TO SEE THAT THE HAWKS NEED TO GO AND FINE A COACH I BLAME THE THE FRONT OFFICE FOR THAT CHANGE WOODSON FOR DREW WAS A MISTAKE GO OUTSIDE FINE A COACH WHO WILL USE PLAYERS BETTER GET THEM TO WORK AS A TEAM BUILD A STRONGER BENCH THE HAWKS DONT NEED ANOTHER EGO AS COACH WE NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL BRING OUT THE BEST IN THE PLAYERS SOMETHING IS WRONG AND IT TO ME IS THE COACH BYE DREW

dell706

May 13th, 2011
7:47 am

First, Drew is not the right coach I think…he does not seem to know how to put in lineups like tzking Teague out, the only person that’s staying in front of D-Rose some for Crawford whom plays no defense and is not scoring at all….Trade Josh for a good 2 or good 3, let Crawford leave and pick up a decent bench player and try to pick up Tyson CHandler because he will be a free agent…

knight

May 13th, 2011
7:49 am

120 million dollar man..has burned the hawks.All thi talk about tradeing Josh,at least he gives you a 100% effort even with the missed jumppers,but Joe is the hawks go to guy who would shoot the ball,drive the ball,or be aggressive on both sides of the court,he let us down last year,he did it again this year…and im fed up with it.They can do better without him.Hawks should EAT his contract,let him walk(thats what he wants anyway),cut your losses and get a guy who wants to be there.Keep the guy who wants to win,and who will be passionate for the game,and do what ever it takes to win…Josh Smith.

GREG T

May 13th, 2011
7:49 am

SO THE HAWKS NEED A CENTER A TRUE CENTER SO FRONT OFFICE TAKE OUT THAT CHECK BOOK AND LOOK SOUTH FOR THAT CENTER THAT GOING TO BE A FREE AGENT AND BRING THAT CENTER AND A COACH YOU ARE IN BUSINESS

GREG T

May 13th, 2011
7:54 am

I AGREE LET JOE GO, LET JOE GO LET JOE GO LET JOE GO WITH DREW WE CAN SAID GOOD BYE TO BOTH OF THEM

Disgruntled native

May 13th, 2011
7:56 am

I agree with truthspittter.
I see some long posts here.
Are the Hawks worth it?
I can’t see paying guys millions who have so little heart.
Haven’t bought a Hawks (or any other pro team) ticket in years.
I fail to see one good GM in all of Atlanta’s pro history.
Turner’s money made JS appear above average when he wasn’t.
The Justice/Grissom for Lofton, Teixeira and Drew trades prove my point.
You can’t win a championship with average or less GMs running the team.
Sorry.

knight

May 13th, 2011
8:06 am

By the way,if I was on a team with a player that was making 120mil.,and im only making 100,000 and they expect me to play harder than him…COM’ON SON!!.Hawks could have gotten a FEW good players with that money.WHO RUNNIN THIS SHINDIGG!!..IM A HAWKS FAN AND IM TIRED OF LOOSING TO THESE ONE MAN BAND TEAMS.

TRADE J STUPID!

May 13th, 2011
8:10 am

Smith (aka J-Stupid) is a sorry excuse for a human being, and is totally un-coachable. Smith get benched for taking the jumper, and what does this guy do? He tells Drew to %%#$# his mother. Class. Smith grabs his privates, and makes a lewd gesture to the crowd, gets fined and says, “I didint know no better”..Really? You didn’t know young kids would be watching?

He’s been disruptive with teammates in the locker room, and off the court, I’m not sure how many children he has with various women.

Overall, a total loser – on and off the court. We don’t need a kid telling the owners to fire Drew

X-factor

May 13th, 2011
8:13 am

You have to think that a jamal sign and trade and josh smith to orlando is more enticing than bynum…if dwight comes here, then we’re a top 3 team in the east

Hawks fan

May 13th, 2011
8:19 am

I hope Josh does go!!! Why? So he can prove all his critics wrong. Maybe if he is traded to a team with a great coach and great, not just good players surrounding him then his true abilities will show. The problems with the Hawks is not just Josh….its the whole team. No one can argue that he is the one person on the team that does it all each night. Take a look at the boxscore. He just never gets the credit because he takes a few ill advised jumpers!!! Who doesn’t? I am the first to agree that he needs to keep paint on his feet, but why the heck do they keep passing him the ball out there…he’s not the only one to blame and its time he stop taking it!!!

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:23 am

Fla Mike ,

Well we really had to stop blaming Marvin for not being a top flight point guard. The guy didn’t pick himself. I was at the point some time ago where I had realized that if he could play a good, consistent role, then we needed to be fine with that. But he regressed from that role and seems to be lost all over again. Bench him or trade him, I say.

NagoyaHawk

May 13th, 2011
8:25 am

Trade them all, except for Teague and Zaza.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:25 am

Trade J Stupid ,

Come on, man. You’re going overboard. The man has made mistakes, but can you tell me you’ve never said or did anything inappropriate? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know Josh Smith personally, so I can’t judge him to the extent of calling him a personal loser. He’s never gotten into legal trouble off the court. And the “kids by other women” comment? That’s just low. Where are your facts?

Floze

May 13th, 2011
8:26 am

I think the biggest issue with the hawks is their history as a core. This team was Atlanta and the Johnsons for so many years. Joe is incapable of having it any other way and everyone else is conditioned to the same. The irony is that LD was going to bring in a motion offense to rid of this syndrome

Another issue that we have with Teauge at the point and Josh at the three was shooting. In that 3 of our 5 players need not be guarded 15 feet or further. No wonder the Bulls played that packed zone defense where no one could get to the rim or get an offensive board. This problem will exacerbate itself next year with the big line up.

No answers here. Just problems.

Veteran Fan

May 13th, 2011
8:27 am

JJ to NJ makes sense for Lopez and their #1. Josh and Marvin to Minnesota for Kevin Love who will be in the last year of his contract. Trade both #1s for the right to draft Jimmer, who is the pure shooter and playmaker we have desperately needed. If Chicago wants to trade, then JJ for Noah, Gibson, and #1. Line up C Noah or Lopez, PF Al, SF Love, SG Hinrich, PG Teague. Reserves Gibson, Pachulia, Fredette, Collins, Wilkins, and Sy. Also, check out the Wheeler high kid in Cleveland, he might be available. Hawks line up would be loaded with high energy guys who would play defense, rebound, and run an offense where they would pass to the open guy and move! Cosistent shooters with range in Love and Fredette. Please break up this CORE of overpaid, unprofessional, and lazy players!

Can't win when players hate each other

May 13th, 2011
8:28 am

Josh thinks he’s the center of the team, and has had no problem telling his teammates as much. And the coach. As a result, he is almost universally hated by his fellow players who see him as an immature, selfish player.

Smith is a cancer, a disease.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:30 am

knight ,

If 100% effort was such a hot commodity, then somebody please bring me back Mario West.

Sometimes doing whatever it takes to win involves listening to those who are trying to help you win.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:32 am

Floze ,

You’re right, we do have to do something different, which is why I’m advocating breaking up the core. However, Teague was probably the second best player on the floor for the Hawks, despite his lack of offensive game from outside 15 feet. So clearly, that’s not the problem in a nutshell. It’s more widespread than that.

Our frontcourt let us down, and Al Horford was a big part of that problem.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:35 am

Eric ,

A lot can be laid at the feet of the team’s ownership. I’d start by saying that it’s now whether they spent money, but how they spent it. Joe’s contract alone puts the lie to the idea that they are inherently “cheap.”

At the same time, the unwillingness to go over the luxury cap is a “chicken vs. egg” conversation. If they don’t know how to spend the pile of money they already spend (not far from the salary cap), then do we really want them to go into luxury tax territory? The Magic did that more than once. Still hasn’t worked.

chuckw/deadjournalist

May 13th, 2011
8:38 am

before the season, the know weaknesses of the team were these:

lack of depth at PG, lack of a back-up 2/3 who is a lock-down defender/energy player, lack of starting-caliber 5/low-post 4/5. but most of all, leadership.

and that’s what did this team in, in the end.

because of the CBA, none of us know what will happened. same cap? less cap? a mulligan on one contract? furthermore, what of ownership?

so many questions on and off the court … it’s going to be a frustrating off-season.

Trade J-Stupid!

May 13th, 2011
8:42 am

Big Ray,

Boy, I’ve done and said a lot of things wrong…but my mistakes don’t cost championships.

He has kids with two women…both “sets” of kids, he wasn’t married to either at the time he had them. I think he married one recently.

May seem low bringing it up, having children without being married isn’t something a “smart” person does. It’s another example of his overall judgement skills.

Add is all the rest, and you have a walking disaster.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:44 am

Hawk fan in NJ ,

Damn good question. It’s hard to say who we could realistically get back for Smith, and it’s just as difficult to say who is a guaranteed good fit for this team in such a trade. Trades are risky, but they have to be made from time to time.

JJ says we just need to add a few more pieces. I’m not believeing that is the solution. We added a significant piece in Kirk Hinrich and it just wasn’t enough to get us past the problems with the core of our team. We must move a member of the core, because that is where the problem is.

I don’t know about trading for Bynum. I think somebody in the Lakers brass (translation: ownership) still has a serious man-crush on the guy. He can’t seem to stay healthy, but he’s as dominant of a center as you can expect if he does stay healthy. He can be a near 20 and 10 guy. Maybe more than just near it. His health IS the big question, though.

dell706 ,

Depending on how the Mavericks do in the playoffs, I don’t know that Chandler becomes available. He’s been a key component in their team this year, and I think they see to it that he stays in Dallas.

Ray ,

Never apologize for disagreeing. This argument/discussion could go in any direction, and as I already stated, I am not claiming to be right.

As for getting Dwight, I’m afraid he’s headed for L.A. And I wonder what it would take to get him, because I think he’s gone in a sign-and-trade, not as a free agent.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
8:46 am

Trade J-Stupid! ,

My point is that we’re talking basketball here. I don’t suggest trading or keeping a player based on who he got pregnant, sorry. I’m strictly judging what happens on the court, and whether or not the man has gotten into legal trouble off the court, which affects the team. He hasn’t. Also, I haven’t had time to follow up on who he’s dating, or who he’s had kids with. I guess somebody has to….

JSS

May 13th, 2011
8:48 am

Wow, @ 8:10AM shows I used the term: “Regular Bloggers” on the previous blog. That is just silly talk, stick to the court…

I just don’t see getting rid of Smith until you show me a roster with at least 3 players capable of really guarding the perimeter and more than one player capable of protecting the rim… You know what Smith is as a player. When you have players like that (see McAdoo, Artest, Rodman, A. Walker-Heat/Celtics vintage, and the mother of them all R. Wallace); you build in the professional counterweights. They can’t be weak, see Jim Jackson or David Robinson. I don’t trade Horford or Smith. They’ve got to make some wise choices with 4 roster spots which are up to FA. Then they they’ve got jettison Williams and Powell like they did Bibby and Evans…

You made a point when transitioning Johnson to SF spot. But it has to be shared spot, this roster badly needs flexibility…

Trade J-Stupid!

May 13th, 2011
8:49 am

Big Ray

I disagree (respectfully). What he does off the court is a direct reflection of the kind of person he is on the court. Many teams use personal profiles as a gauge of personal character. The thinking being that players who are good/smart people off the court will be good/smart people on.

One effects the other, and they are both linked when judging a person (on, and off the court).

Long lease

May 13th, 2011
8:54 am

The owners are to blame for Smith. They give him a long lease (ie, telling LD off, telling teammates off, doing whatever he wants on the court) because he’s a hometown guy.

If youve been to any home game this season, youd know ATL has a serious problem filling seats. Smith fills seats.

chuckw/deadjournalist

May 13th, 2011
8:58 am

to briefly take the tri-caps debate one step further …

JJ is a 2 who at this point needs to be a 3.
JS is a 3/4 who’s at offensively out of position at the 3 because of floor spacing
AH is a wanna-be 4 who’s reputation as an undersized 5 raises his value more than if he were a 4

unless a trade arises where a team is willing to over-pay for JJ, the answer of who to trade comes down to who would you rather have play the 4.

if it’s horford, then would you rather have JJ or JS at the 3?

if it’s smith, are you comfortable with horford staying at the 5?

no perfect answer.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
9:01 am

truthspitter ,

LOL. I always love it when somebody comes in and decides to lead us of the “unwashed masses” to the Promised Land of the Real Truth of things. Well, while we’re traveling to that destination, let me address a couple of things from our post, that you may have missed in my unsubstantial blog:

1) I didn’t say Joe Johnson was untradeable. In fact, I hinted that Chicago might get after him again via trade. They’d love to have him.

2)Josh showed how effective he was at the small forward position? Yeah, you mean when he was missing all of those jumpers? I’ll tell you what he proved – that he’s a better player than Marvin. Not a great feat, ya know.

3) We should fire LD and hire a better coach for the Hawks so Josh can blossom? I think that’s been suggested before. Did you miss the part where I said maybe Josh needs a better coach? Clearly you did. At any rate, call me when Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, or Jerry Sloan becomes available. Or maybe you have some other great coach in mind that isn’t employed somewhere else already. Hey, I’m all ears, but remember who the GM and owners are.

4) If you think there are a lot of talking heads and lost fans HERE, then check these links out:

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/15054354/for-all-this-talent-smith-is-a-big-disappointment

http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/05/06/hawks-bulls-g3-advance/index.html

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/columns/story?columnist=wallace_michael&page=bulls-hawks-110508

These guys ain’t local, and they ain’t lost…

5) Where did I say that I knew Josh and Al’s trade value? I don’t believe I did. What I did mention was what each guy had accomplished so far in their careers…

Dickie

May 13th, 2011
9:02 am

Go back 4 years. The Hawks only got better when Horford showed up. He is the best player on the team. Look at JJ’s stats instead of throwing rhetoric around that he is so good. How does he compare to other top players on each team?

Hugo

May 13th, 2011
9:02 am

I have read most of the articles on this blog and agree with most. Zaza is a keeper, Jamal is a keeper. Al is a keeper. The others, especially Josh Smith need to be traded. If I do what the coach tells me and it fails, blame the coach. I am a team first guy. I said in another blog that Josh needs to look at Zack’s game and learn from him. Tell you what. See if Memphis would trade him for Josh. If so, then i am missing something, but I doubt it.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
9:03 am

Trade J Stupid ,

We’ll agree to disagree, as this becomes philosophical to an extent that I think is somewhat irrelevant to this discussion. However, I do understand your point about what a person does off the court affecting what they do on the court. I just don’t agree with this particular premise. Some of the best and smartest players in the game have had similar off court incidents. Ever hear of a guy named Kobe Bryant and his experiences in Colorado? He’s got rings…

El Bravo

May 13th, 2011
9:05 am

After these playoffs three things became painfully obvious to me:
1) Jamal and JJ can not coexist. We can not have two shoot-first SGs that have an aversion to passing the ball. That stagnates the offense too much. Jamal has to and will go.
2) Smoove and Al can not coexist. We can not beat the elite players with two power forwards on the court because we give up too big an advantage on the boards. One of them has to be leveraged for a true center.
3) LD is not the coach for this team. It is obvious that this team does not listen to LD. He waits for players to “address their on issues”. In fact, I would say that all of our starters regressed this season; JJ had a problem adjusting to the new offense and his production decreased by 3 PPG, Smoove increased his attempts from the perimeter and his effectiveness decreased from 0.50 to 0.47 FG%, Jamal went from being instant offense from the bench to a crapshoot that scored 4 less PPG, Marvin went from being a serviceable player to being a complete non-factor and Al’s disappearance act during the post-season was mind-blowing.

I believe that our best course of action is two package Al, Jamal (sing and trade) and Kirk for a true center and a dump contract (Bynum and Artest), otherwise we will be the same team next year than the 2011 version. This group is very close to their ceiling.

agree with Hugo

May 13th, 2011
9:05 am

I remember the Smith of 5 years ago, much more athletic. I couldn’t help but notice how flat footed he looked last night. He looks much heavier than he was 4-5 years ago. He spent so much time sitting out on the wing, waiting, instead of hustling.

I believe Smith has a self-disciple problem, others have called him plain lazy. At his age, he’s got to start INCREASING the workouts, and treating his diet like a science.

I don’t see him doing this, because I don’t think he sees his lack of hustle as a problem. trade him now while we can still get something for him

DC Hawks

May 13th, 2011
9:09 am

I believe if we can trade Joe Johnson for anybody or anything cheaper or with shorter contract, we should do it. He is Atlanta’s version of Gilbert Arenas.

I dont think we trade Josh. I think we need a new coach that is well respected and established. I think a new coach will keep Josh in line to play to his potential as well as establishing a better offense/defense.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
9:11 am

Dickie ,

That’s a valid point on Joe Johnson. However, the results may not be what you expect. You have to compare more than just those stats in a vaccum. A year ago, you could say the same about Chris Bosh. His numbers were more impressive than Johnson’s. Easily. What was his team doing, though?

This kind of argument will never go in Joe’s favor largely because of the size of his contract. But again, look around at other teams and their top players. How many are really better than Joe? I’m not saying he’s freakin’ awesome. I’m just saying he’s good. Good enough to make the all-star team four times in a row. Good enough to be the leading scorer on a 50 win team. NOT good enough to compare favorably against THE BEST players in the League, but how many of those are there? Here’s another example of the stats skewing the view – the Knicks have two guys that are arguably better than Joe Johnson. They didn’t make the 2nd round of the playoffs, though. Yeah, I know they got beat by the Heat. Point stands, though…