Hawks Fans: Internal improvement suggestions

It’s that time of year again, as if you needed to be told. Offseason doldrums. Well, if you’re a Hawks fan, that is. With the Conference Finals yet to be finished, and therefore the NBA Finals yet to begin, the draft is ordinarily the next topic of conversation. However, there doesn’t seem like much use in talking draft prospects since the Hawks don’t have a first round pick. They do have a second round pick, but unless it’s a very deep draft or Sund and his team are hot on the trail of some talented foreign prospect that nobody else knows about (think Pape Sy, part II), then there’s probably very little that’s noteworthy in the way of change to the team.

What about free agency and trade? With the CBA gumming things up, and constant investment/sale chatter in connection with the team and Phillips Arena, there is no telling what can be expected. Rick Sund’s administration keeps things close to the vest, so there would probably be few rumors to speculate on anyway. And again…the CBA looms large. What does all of this mean? It may not be wise to expect the Hawks to make any major changes to the team. Maybe not even some that would seriously change the core, something that the Hawks don’t seem inclined to do, as it is. There’s nothing left but internal improvement. So, at the suggestion of our very own Astro Joe, I ask YOU -  

Which Hawks players can help this team become more than it was this season, and how should they go about it? Just to get this party started, here are a few thoughts of my own:

Larry Drew

There is no substitute for experience in the big seat (also known as the hot seat). However, Drew is still up against a wall. Many are calling for a championship caliber head coach, and while Drew had the Hawks playing competitively and much better in the playoffs, but he wasn’t able to get the team past a third straight second round playoff exit. Many think that a better head coach could or will solve all the problems with player performance on the court. Drew is likely to be staying employed (much to the chagrin of some), so his best bet is to accomplish some of the things that people say he can’t do. First, he could stand to learn how to let his players play through early foul trouble. Drew’s tendency to snatch a guy like Al Horford out if he gets two fouls in the first half is a momentum robbing move, and often affects the player’s ability to get going. Second, he needs to figure out a firm rotation that works, and redefine some roles. Gee, where have we heard THAT before? Third, if all the guys who are here now, remain here, then Drew needs to find a better way of coaxing the best out of them. That might mean tweaks to his offense, which we still are unable to identify clearly.

Al Horford

Simply put, Horford needs to get back to his roots. Even if he ends up playing more power forward than center for the remainder of his career, there is no reason not to play tough. Horford spent the first three years of his career as an ever present double double threat and a guy who most frontcourts preferred to not have to deal with. Horford had a rough postseason performance and while he did average a double double (a fact that seems to continuously elude some of us), he didn’t look like the guy who had just established a career high in field goal percentage and points per game during the regular season. Al needs to spend some offseason time with somebody who can help him with his back-to-the-basket game. That, and maybe he should start eating boiled leather for breakfast. Tough is where it’s at.

Jeff Teague

The playoff series against Chicago made Jeff Teague look like the legitimate starting point guard prospect that we had hoped he would become. While he may not have the job in the bag for certain, his chances are better than good. The first thing Teague needs to do is maintain a professional work ethic and attitude. One thing bothered me about his reason for playing well, and that’s this snippet from AJC Beat writer Michael Cunningham, which I think a lot of people may have missed, or maybe misunderstood:

To Teague, the difference has not just been playing more; it’s knowing the Hawks need him to play more.

“I would say that’s the difference,” he said. “During the season I didn’t know if I was going to play one game and if I was going to sit the next. Now, knowing that I’m going to get an opportunity to go in every game, I just try to focus and give a good effort.”

Ok, now that seems like an easy “like shooting fish in a barrel” shot at Larry Drew, doesn’t it? And we can go on and on about how much Drew should or shouldn’t have played Teague during the regular season. But the point here is that Teague can’t come into camp with this attitude.  If he does, then he doesn’t need to be the starting point guard. A professional player needs to go at it hard and heavy regardless of how much he can “expect” to play. I understand what the young man is saying and why, but if you’re not always mentally prepared to play….then how are you ever going to be ready to play? Thankfully, Teague was ready to go against Chicago. But now, he needs to bring that verve every night if he wants to run this team. He needs to come to camp READY to play, not EXPECTING to play.

Oh yeah…and he needs to work with a shooting coach. Give that young man a better jumper and we’ll be looking at a very potent player who might be the best point guard this team has seen since Mookie Blaylock.

So there you have a few suggestions of my own. YOUR turn!

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

203 comments Add your comment

Rod from College Park

May 25th, 2011
12:11 pm

I’m actually not a Bogut fan, but when you continue to make idiotic coments like Bogut is injury prone, and let Marvin be the number #1 scoring option off the bench and that will solve his problems, like he has done anything to prove he should be any kind of scoring option, I’m going to call you out on it. Fact remains that Al is a two time All Star Center, so maybe the Bucks would make him play the center position, unlike the Hawks. What would he do, refuse? Some of us on this blog just have a little basketball knowledge, and we can see that Horford wants to be a jump shooting power forward, who does not want to play in the post, and that is not something that we need on this team. We already have a bunch of jump shooters, and a better power forward on the roster, so trading him because he is a 2 time all star with a reasonable deal should net us something good back. I was not the one who proposed this idea, and i have never posted any trade possibilities except for trades to get Marvin out of Atlanta, but if it was a possibility, I would do it in a hearbeat. Also, if you read the original poster who put the Horford and Bogut idea out there, he included other players in the deal as well, so maybe that would be the reason that it would be a possibility.

Ken Strickland

May 25th, 2011
12:15 pm

DOC-My issue with Bogut isn’t about not wanting him on our team, because I would love to have him. However, his injury situations are real, no matter how some of you try to dismiss them. Plus, there hasn’t been a single hint that the Bucs have the slightest interest in wanting to trade Bogut for Horford, or wanting to trade Bogut period.

It just reeks of stupidity and wishful fantasy league thinking to get all worked up about potential trades involving certain players that aren’t even on the trading block, or even been mentioned, assumed or considered to be.

Remember, the Celtics and Magic thought they could resolve all of their problems and improve by making drastic trades, and look at how that turned out for them. Both teams are now below the Hawks as viable candidates for a championships. If you think we need a larger presence in the middle than AHorford, why not suggest we make a more realistic and workable trade. Why not trade Horford to the Celtics for JOneal and/or SOneal. Both are true centers and would represent a much bigger presence in the middle.

As you can see with my trade suggestion, it takes more than size, physical presence, and a bunch of FANTASY LEAGUE TRADE SUGGESTIONS to improve this team.

Ken Strickland

May 25th, 2011
12:25 pm

ROD FROM CP-It would be foolish for anyone to enter into a discussion with you about MWilliams. When it comes to Marvin, you’re far to biased, closed minded and unreceptive to even come close to entertaining an intelligent, open minded thought.

I’ll be glad when training camp starts and the Hawks end up bringing back the same team that finished this season, minus EThomas, JPowell and maybe HArmstrong.

WR

May 25th, 2011
12:49 pm

Big Ray, nice read, take a Bayer quickly because I’m going to go against my norm,LOL. Just got done reading the Smith-Hinrich for Bynum-Artest, article from Schultz and I love the deal if possible. Now I know the biggest worry would be Artest, but having Bynum at center, letting Al move to PF with Teague and Joe at PG & SG respectively and not even Marvin could screw that up, well, its Marvin, so you never know. I mentioned it early in the last blog topic, Smith for Bynum, peace Smith, throw in Artest for Hinrich with the hopefully now starting PG Teague and I love the Hawks chances.

Imagine this, lets use Miami, Artest has the muscle and skill set to guard Lebron the best anyone can considering the player, Joe has already proved the D-Wade matchup between the two is a wash, Horford definitely could hold his own against Bosh on both sides of the court, which leaves Bynum and Teague. Miami has nothing down low, sure Haslem has helped this post season, but he has also helped many to see there’s nothing there. Looking at Chalmers and Bibby and one has to wonder if the Hawks should give Teague ritalin just at the thought of either trying to guard him. I used Miami, because hey, in the east their now the standard, but considering everyone else in the east, not even Boston would be more potent then that line up.

doc

May 25th, 2011
12:50 pm

yes exactly ken the answer to all of your questions is they wouldnt is my guess, unless they had serious doubts about boguts health. i dont suggest trades or very infrequently. i am with you that this year is a year they need to hold what they have in their hand and want to add a few reliable pieces. next year is the year to blow it up as hinrich goes off the books and josh is on the last year of a contract for trade value. i think we could have the third best team in the east if these guys put their minds to it and LD doesnt f*ck with zaza and teague again and finds a way to light a fire under marvin to where he resembles the 09 version and not the mature one.

rod, i want you to be right but there will be 8 players on the floor for miami. it wont take much to get two early fouls on dirk in one game and ignore a lot of contact about him to where he doesnt see the line where he makes a lot of points. stern and his merry men already stole one from dirk and cuban dont put it past him again as he is ruthless.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 25th, 2011
12:59 pm

“to date NO team has rebuilt the way the hawks and blazers wanted to from the bottom up through the draft with a core after blowing it up and gotten to the championship. the bulls tried it first and failed, now okc, sans seattle, is in the hot seat.”

That’s mainly because usually when a team manages to land one superstar in the draft, they no longer suck badly enough to draft high enough to land another one in subsequent years. As we have seen before and continue to see now, a one-superstar team generally isn’t enough to go all the way. The Thunder got lucky and sucked badly enough in KD’s first year to get the #4 pick the next year and get Westbrook. Rarely do you see teams lucky/sucky enough to draft two stars in back to back years. That gives the Thunder a major leg up on previous teams who have tried to go down that path.

If the Hawks had gone with CP3 and Rudy Gay in ‘05/’06, or even Danny Granger and Rajon Rondo, maybe they would be in position to contend right now with a team built through the draft. That’s another problem. Teams that build internally have to hit on their draft picks. The Thunder have done that for the most part.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 25th, 2011
1:04 pm

Also, the Thunder’s entire core except Perkins is below 25 if I’m not mistaken as are some of their role players. Westbrook/KD/Harden/Ibaka/Maynor are all young. They have a lot of room for growth as a team. For them to get this far already is a good sign that they can go farther in the future.

If KD hits the weight room in the offseason, Westbrook doesn’t go all Marbury on KD, and they get a post scorer for the bench, they are the favorites to win the West next year in my opinion.

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
1:24 pm

Ken,

As Rod said, the deal proposed was not an even Al for Bogut swap. There were other pieces included in the deal.

I would love to keep Al…if he dedicates himself to being the best Center he can be. He is a 2 time All-Star at Center, and All-NBA at Center, but it is becoming obvious that he wants to spend more time on the perimeter playing PF. Thats not what the Hawks need.

And LD is to blame as well. He has played Al at PF at the expense of playing Josh at SF (which also led to more jumpers from Josh). And LD is on record as saying “Al would be a beast” at PF. But we need Al in the post, playing Center.

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
1:29 pm

Najeh,

Hawks had a #2 pick, a #3 pick, a #5 pick, and a #6 pick all in the span of 4 years. If we get 2 of those picks right (instead of just one, the #3), Hawks would be in a better position (imo).

Who knows, maybe they wouldnt have been forced to give JJ 6 years, $124 mil, because they would have had other options.

Astro Joe

May 25th, 2011
1:41 pm

Memphis has had a ton of lottery picks. So have the Clippers, Warriors, 76ers, T’wolves, etc. In the scheme of things, the Hawks are doing far better than most teams who had 3-5 consecutive years of lottery picks.

doc

May 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

najeh, just continuing to point out, it is a failed model for a championship.

Rod from College Park

May 25th, 2011
2:46 pm

“ROD FROM CP-It would be foolish for anyone to enter into a discussion with you about MWilliams. When it comes to Marvin, you’re far to biased, closed minded and unreceptive to even come close to entertaining an intelligent, open minded thought.”

You can call me a lot of things, but you can’t say I was wrong. He was a bum when he was drafted, and he’s an even bigger bum now. He us the best interviewer on the team, but he will never be a decent NBA basketball player, no matter how many excuses you want to keep making for him.

Mike is Back

May 25th, 2011
3:52 pm

Big Ray, why shouldn’t Al have to earn the PF position…like Teague had to earn PT…I’m a huge Al fan…but right now Al is a couple of years away from holding down the PF position…so why not wait before we just hand the job over to Al…and see how the ownership situation pans out.

Doc, I would do the Bogut trade for Al in a heartbeat…however, I doubt if the Buck would…they would probably want Josh instead.

Astro Joe

May 25th, 2011
3:59 pm

Mike is Back, the twin line-up helped us beat the Magic and win games against the Bulls. What other hurdle do you want Al to jump over before deciding that the team is better when he is playing PF?

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
5:07 pm

Mike is Back,

In terms of talent, I think Josh is a better PF than Al. And Josh is definitely a better PF than he is SF.

AJ,

What other hurdle do you want Al to jump over before deciding that the team is better when he is playing PF..

I assume that was sarcasm…

Astro Joe

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

Lakers hire an “outsider” and give him 4 years while the Hawks hire someone they’ve known for 6 years and offer him a 2 year deal. Brown walks in the door with a much more credibility than an extended interim head coach. I guess that is one of the many differences between how a championship franchise is run vs. one that has never entered a conference finals.

Astro Joe

May 25th, 2011
5:13 pm

OB, no sarcasm. I get that Horford’s stats sucked in the playoffs but can one argue that the Twin line-up wasn’t the best one for the Hawks? Or was it just coincidence that even in the Bulls series, things got a little better (at least for a moment) when Al and Josh moved down a slot?

Ken Strickland

May 25th, 2011
7:05 pm

DOC-Once again we agree. I firmly believe Sund and the ASG will do for Drew exactly what they did for Woodson when he was in the final yr of his contract, and that’s give him exactly what he thinks he needs to earn an extension. I seriously doubt that LDrew is dumb enough to what JJ traded, and I think he liked what he saw from Teague during the Chicago series, and from JSmith the last 2gms of that series.

With his obvious bias towards vet guards, and the way he immediately started Hinrich after the trade, he’ll definitely want to retain him. I just don’t see LDrew wanting to get rid of any of our projected starters, namely PG-JTeague, SG-KHinrich, C-AHorford, PF-JSmith and SF-JJ. I think everyone that finished this season will be brought back, with the exception of JCrawford, JPowell and EThomas. It might be up in the air whether Rolle or Armstrong will be back, since both have simular size and athleticism.

doc

May 25th, 2011
7:13 pm

rolle is signed for next year and why they did it, i think i read.

i think hinrich could come off the bench but play a lot of minutes but he may be lead guard and have teague play 20 minutes or so with kirk at two depending on match ups. i though ld and kirk got their act together.

aj they also had enough belief in him to sign him for a cool 18 mil over 4 yrs. that is the money woody got and for 25% of that they hawks got two more wins in the post season. follow the money dude.

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
9:16 pm

AJ,

Collins was very effective against Orlando. But against the Bulls, he only started 3 games. Games 4, 5 and 6. Look at the numbers;

Game 4: Hawks won, with Horford going 9-11 from the field, 20 pts, 5 rebs, 4 assists.

Game 5: Hawks were down 11 at the end of the first quarter, and ended up losing by 12. Horford had 12 pts (6-13 from the field), 10 rebs in 42 minutes.

Game 6: Hawks were down 10 after the first quarter, and lost by 20. Horford went 2-10, and finished with 7 pts, 4 rebs in 37 minutes.

Against the Bulls, the Collins-Horford starting lineup went 1-2, so I dont think there is enough evidence to say Al at PF worked.

And yet, you dont think Teague should be awarded the starting job next year despite his excellent play in 5 games against the Bulls?

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
9:19 pm

doc, AJ,

If I’m not mistaken, one of the reasons LD was hired, was because of his association/relationship with the players. Kobe openly endorsed Brian Shaw, but the Lakers still decided to not only bring in an outsider, but also someone who commands a higher salary than Shaw would.

O'Brien

May 25th, 2011
9:26 pm

And to follow up on the Collins lineup against the Bulls, I think one reason for some success in game 4 was the Bulls were caught off guard. But for game 5 and 6, they were able to plan for Collins, and take advantage of the matchup.

Mystikal

May 25th, 2011
10:16 pm

Phil Jackson had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaq. Greg Popovich had Tim Duncan and Ginobli. Even if hawks were to bring in the best of coaches, they can’t do much with this roster. Not saying that Larry Drew is the answer, but he is not the biggest problem.

ATLANTA FANS SUCK!!! Or the hawk fans do anyway. Love em when they’re doing will, but struggle and the truth comes out. People were crying about we need a big man for the longest. We
get Al Horford and he’s put in work from day one. He develops a jump shot and has a bad series against the Bulls and all of a sudden he is soft now? What kind of crap is that? How about giving a guy a chance to succeed before writing him off. Josh Smith takes horrible shots and makes awful decisions half the time but gets benefit of the doubt cause he’s a highight reel guy and plays hard every other game.

Ray

May 25th, 2011
10:26 pm

This is one thing I don’t understand or I find stupid people keep coming up with these trade ideas, and their always trying to bring in an all-star Pg like D-will or CP3, but yet we got Jeff Teague here.

I say if we’re bringing in another PG needs to be one that’s a bit older like 27 and up type older with experience that’s what Teague needs I know he has Nick helping him, but hey it wouldn’t hurt

Astro Joe

May 25th, 2011
10:39 pm

OB , the Twin line-up was used throughout he season and was clearly the superior defensive line-up. And yeah, for some really strange and bizarre reason, I am more inclined to trust that Al Horford can make the adjustment to his “natural” position than I trust that a 6-game wonder can assume the role of starting PG (despite the strong play of a veteran leader at the same position). I have NO idea why I would not equate Teague’s resume to Horford’s resume… biased I guess. (And yes, that was sarcasm). I also truly don’t know what “making Al earn it” means… is LD expected to name his starting center and then make Josh and Al battle for the starting PF? Seriously, I’d love to know the practical application of making Al earn the PF position.

doc, I know the reason for the difference in hiring practices. Too bad… because I think it sets up a head coach to “coach scared” when they know that if a key player goes down for an extended period of time, it could kill half of their guaranteed tenure as a head coach. LD needs the same thing that McMillan has in Portland… dude is about to work for his 3rd GM without ever getting to the 2nd round with the Blazers. Pretty remarkable.

P C

May 25th, 2011
11:38 pm

The biggest “internal” improvement would be for the geniuses at the ASG to wise up and sell the Hawks before the suffer the backlash of the fans for their sale of the Thrashers out from under Atlanta. Many Hawks fans are also Thrashers fans. They may be sorely surprised by the negative impact this could very well create for the Hawks if they choose not to sell them. Thank goodness the Hawks can’t be sold to another city for a king’s ransom due to the arena bond issue, but I’m not going to anymore games as long as ASG owns them. People surprised at their pick of Larry Drew need look no further than letting Waddell himself coach the Thrashers. End of story.

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vava74

May 26th, 2011
6:58 am

AJ,

Brown will be fire from his LA gig before the end of the season.

He was just a bizarre mix between Woody (focus on D, no offense) and LD (non disciplinarian).

Basically, he was an enabler who was there to keep Lebrat happy and in control.

O'Brien

May 26th, 2011
7:28 am

AJ,

It was another blogger who mentioned letting Al “earn it”, and I dont think LD should do that. Also, I am not comparing Teague’s resume with Al.

My point was based on the playoffs results, there was not enough of a sample size to say the Al-Collins lineup was successful enough to implement full time, just like Teague’s 5 game performance is not enough of a sample size to make him the starter full time.

As for the Al-Collins regular season lineup, they had good results defensively, but the results are skewed because LD used it mostly in games where he felt it would be most advantageous. After all, Collins only started 28 games (34% of the season), 4 of which came against Orlando.

I think the Collins lineup should only be used when the matchup is advantageous, not full time, just like how the switching defense should have been used when the matchup was advantageous, instead of switching every game all the time, only to see it get exploited in the playoffs.

O'Brien

May 26th, 2011
7:32 am

vava,

Brown will be fire from his LA gig before the end of the season..

Didnt you have some reservations about Thibs and the Bulls this past season?

The Lakers did not consult Kobe for his opinion on the hire, so I think the key for Brown will be who he hires on his coaching staff.

vava74

May 26th, 2011
7:53 am

OB,

Yes, I had reserves on Thibs, but this was mainly because I believed that he was kind of a second coming of Skiles or SVG: a guy who gets so intense on players that after a while they tune him out and the effect wears off.

This year, against us, he dispelled that when he reduced his whole time out speech in one game in which the Bulls were collapsing and nearly lost a game to us to: “just breathe guys, just breathe deep, breathe, breathe… and now lets play ball” when I was expecting him to pull a SVG on them.

Sports analysis (by fans and non fans) is NOT an exact science :-D

With Thibs we knew that he was a very good defensive coach.

With Brown we know that he is not a very good HC but merely a guy who rode Lebrat’s talents.

O'Brien

May 26th, 2011
8:14 am

I am big fan of OKC. But Scott Brooks, KD and Westbrook should be getting alot of heat from OKC fans and media.

Anytime a team crumbles in the last 5 minutes of back to back playoff games, you have to question the leadership on the sideline (HC), the floor leader (Westbrook), and the team’s best player (Durant).

vava74

May 26th, 2011
8:21 am

OB,

Brooks made what he could by benching Westbrook in the 4th quarter in the game that ended up being OKC’s only win.

I think that – at least in theory – he could have done that again, but maybe he felt that he had to make a point and let Westbrook – who had 2 turnovers yesterday late in the 4th – learn from his mistakes to prove his point instead of embattling him to the point that would not be in speaking terms for the future (which would probably be what would have happened if Westbrook was benched again).

Nonetheless, I have the impression that there is a bit of Smoove’s way of thinking in Westbrook’s head…

vava74

May 26th, 2011
8:25 am

too many “points” for such a small text :-D but I think you get mine

Mike is Back

May 26th, 2011
8:51 am

AJ, you said the key word for me…when you said move Josh down a slot…that’s all I have been clamoring for…I have always been a HUGE AL FAN…and that hasn’t changed.

I actually agree with you on going Big. I think the 5 don’t necessarily always has to be Collins…CUZ Zaza has definitely step his game up with the increase minutes…he can be relied on too…so for the people focused on Collins…I would just say…the Hawks ability to play Big…catapults the Hawks back into the one of the BIG THREE IN THE EAST.

The reason I said AL should have to earn it…is because if you are going to make a decision to ship Josh out of town…then you are telling me AL…is ready right now…and we both know that is not the case.

LIKE YOU SAID…MOVE JOSH DOWN ONE SLOT…is the way to go…the Hawks don’t need to trade Josh…I think they both can adapt to new roles…and coexist.

Ray

May 26th, 2011
9:11 am

If you ask me I think we should trade Al to the Spurs he’s favorite player is retiring lol. He plays just like him well Duncan may not be retiring, but he is darn near close lol.

My only thing is I hope people understand that if Al doesn’t expand his game this offseason he’s get eaten alive by faster and tougher PF’s. Like Lamarcus Aldridge, Dirk, Amare(you’ve seen the NY game), and other PF’s. Plus I doubt AL becomes and all-star next year if he plays full-time PF, or even All-NBA at all.

vava74

May 26th, 2011
9:27 am

Ray,

Horford’s post game is at best 40% of what Duncan’s is.

Duncan never complained about playing in the post and always battled stronger/faster/meaner players with the same determination.

When Duncan shot from the perimeter it was ONE tool in his game, not the only one.

There is no comparison between the two so I don’t know how can Duncan be Al’s favorite player. At least he is not modeling his game after Duncan’s.

Duncan is called the Big Fundamental, not the Big Crybaby.

O'Brien

May 26th, 2011
9:42 am

vava,

I said the same thing on the other blog. Westbrook reminds me of of a more talented version of Josh. Terrible decision making at times, and terrible shot selection at times. But its magnified for Westbrook, because he is the PG, so he has to get others involved, especially when you have KD on your team.

As for Scott Brooks, he has to get through to his PGs that they need to get the ball to Durant (unless its a case similar to LD’s where the HC can’t get his players to buy in completely).

Mike is Back,

I think ZaZa as the starting Center should be a possibility because although his defense is bad, he is willing to try and bang in the post, he may get some offensive rebounds, and he usually provides some energy/hustle. And with entended minutes and a defined role, he usually plays better.

But I’m still not sold on Josh at SF, unless Josh makes a conscious effort to focus on defense and rebounding, and let the game come to him (and cut back on his jumpers).

vava74

May 26th, 2011
10:54 am

I would probably invite Hilton to the training camp and see if he is motivated to stay with us.

Just like Lionel Hollins said last year (a theme that was profusely discussed in the main blog) a balanced roster must have players with complementary skills.

The basic fact is that apart from Josh, we don’t have any shot blockers and Hilton fits the bill, at least in theory.

Also, his minutes against Amar’e (a regular season home game we lost) and then against Howard (second game he played) were encouraging.

I believe that some of Collins post defense savvy rubbed on Hilton. Actually, I would “sponsor” Collins staying with us not only as a player but also as a coach.

I think his basketball IQ is extremely high and that he will be – if he is up to it – a very good coach in the league.

Astro Joe

May 26th, 2011
11:48 am

I don’t think it is wise to assume that playoff performances can be repeated in the regular season. Zaza, for example, is allowed to play a more physical brand of ball during the playoffs than the regular season. IMO, if you started Zaza in the regular season, he maybe sitting with 2 fouls after the first 4 minutes of the game. That’s the other ting about Teague’s playoff performance, we don’t know if he pulled a “Zaza” and approached the postseason with more aggression and focus than he would a long, drawn-out regular season. Putting on your game face against Derrick Rose is a lot easier than coming prepared to play a Tuesday night game against DJ Augustine. That is one of the reasons why I’m not as quick to extrapolate 6 terrific playoff games into 82 regular season contests. There simply isn’t enough data available.

The Thunder are going through what most NBA teams MUST go through… some rough patches before obtaining greater success. As much as want to believe that the path is linear, it is most often more like a roller-coaster. I still believe that they were the benefactors of tremendous match-ups (moreso than being a conference finals-worthy team). Kudos to Rick Carlisle… he has transformed Dallas into a much more balanced team that actually plays very good defense.

doc

May 26th, 2011
12:29 pm

when zaza got here it was said he was soft. he flopped and rarely fouled. since he was our only center i thought that might be by design. look back. he wasnt a foul machine his first years here. he has developed a different game but i think if he was a starter he would not get the fouls called on him as his role would change as well. he has shown adaptability. this is not an endorsement he start just to point out how his game and role changed into him being more the enforcer type rather than the finesse type of player.

Astro Joe

May 26th, 2011
1:16 pm

doc, I’ll buy that. And if that is true, that would be another reason to keep him on the bench… because that would effectively take away our sole banger (or most consistent banger).

I wonder if Byron Scott regrets taking the Cavs job or if he already knew that the Lakers would not likely hire him?

Najeh Davenpoop

May 26th, 2011
2:06 pm

“I think that – at least in theory – he could have done that again, but maybe he felt that he had to make a point and let Westbrook – who had 2 turnovers yesterday late in the 4th – learn from his mistakes to prove his point”

I don’t think Westbrook is nearly as much to blame for last night’s loss as he was for a couple of their earlier losses. The fact is that KD’s current inability to shake physical defense screws up a lot of their plays. And in the 4th quarter yesterday it actually seemed to me like Maynor was a bigger culprit for poor decision making than Westbrook.

I think Brooks, Westbrook, and Durant would be taking a lot more heat for their last two collapses if they were three or four years older as a team. But an extremely young Thunder team was expected to run into experience-related problems against a Mavs team full of grizzled veterans. The Thunder’s three best players can’t even rent a car yet. If collapses like this continue in subsequent years the heat will start to turn up.

brigadierjerry

May 26th, 2011
2:28 pm

Interesting that the Thunder played better last night when James Harden was running the point. He is an underrated player, always liked him from Arizona State

Ken Strickland

May 26th, 2011
2:37 pm

OBRIEN-It doesn’t matter how many additional pieces are included in this proposed trade, the primary focus of this trade suggestion will always be centers Bogut and Horford. Let’s suppose we make this trade, and we ended up with Bogut at C and Josh at PF.

With Bogut as our inside OFF presence, wouldn’t that leave Josh on the perimeter with few options other than shooting those ill advised long range jumpers? If anyone is concerned about balance, having Bogut posted in the lane limits Josh’s ability to be more effective offensively.

Horford, because of his deadly accurate midrange jumper, would be a much better fit @ PF along side Bogut than Josh. It would provide our frontline, and overall OFF, with far more balance. Bogut would be Mr inside and Horford would be Mr outside. So, it would make far more sense, and be far more beneficial, for the Hawks to trade Smith and whatever else for Bogut, rather than Horford.

IT seems that I differ in approach and reasoning from a lot of you because I’m a major fan of the ATLANTA HAWK TEAM, not players like Bynum, Bogut, Kaman or Camelo. And I’m certainly not a JJ, Marvin, Josh, or Horford hater. This allows me to see things from a perspective that’s not clouded by emotions and/or personal issues.

KHINRICH-He’s an asset, and his OFF versatility, leadership ability, and DEF toughness makes him a perfect compliment to JJ and JTeague.

JTEAGUE-He demonstrated, under pressure packed playoff conditions, what I’ve said he was capable of doing all along. What’s more, he did it against the leagues MVP, the NBA’s best DEF, and he did it consistently. He and Hinrich could easily form one of the NBA’s most versatile and effective OFF/DEF back courts.

The improvement that will be realized by having a Teague/Hinrich backcourt will all by itself make a vast improvement over the MBibby/JCrawford dependence MWoodson and LDrew burdened this team with. JJ would give us OFF production at SF that hasn’t been approached since the days when Nique manned the SF position. We wouldn’t lose much, if anything, defensively or rebounding wise.

While it would be nice to have a dominant presence in the middle, Miami and Dallas have proven it’s not necessary. When you don’t have it, instead of whinning, crying and bitching about it, or depleting your team of valuable talent just to get it, you should modify your approach and your OFF/DEF philosophy.

Instead of constantly complaining and making an issue of your perceived liabilities, and/or what you don’t have, you should concentrate all of your efforts on taking maximum advantage of what you do have. When you decide to invest in one of the fastest, quickest and most expensive sports cars on the market, you don’t insist on having a 4cylinder VW engine installed to run it.

That’s how Woodson and Drew handicapped the Hawks with Bibby. And misusing Jamal as our backup PG hurt the Hawks and Jamal. A back court of Hinrich and Teague could allow this team to be the quick, fast sports car it was intended to be all along. We should give these adjustments and changes to what we already have a chance to work. If it doesn’t, we can get rid of the players everyone wants to blame for everything and the HC, who’s contract will have expired.

Rod from College Park

May 26th, 2011
6:39 pm

“With Bogut as our inside OFF presence, wouldn’t that leave Josh on the perimeter with few options other than shooting those ill advised long range jumpers? If anyone is concerned about balance, having Bogut posted in the lane limits Josh’s ability to be more effective offensively.

Horford, because of his deadly accurate midrange jumper, would be a much better fit @ PF along side Bogut than Josh. It would provide our frontline, and overall OFF, with far more balance. Bogut would be Mr inside and Horford would be Mr outside. So, it would make far more sense, and be far more beneficial, for the Hawks to trade Smith and whatever else for Bogut, rather than Horford.

IT seems that I differ in approach and reasoning from a lot of you because I’m a major fan of the ATLANTA HAWK TEAM, not players like Bynum, Bogut, Kaman or Camelo. And I’m certainly not a JJ, Marvin, Josh, or Horford hater. This allows me to see things from a perspective that’s not clouded by emotions and/or personal issues.”

LOL. So now offense is the only side of the ball that matters. You failed to mention how much better our team would be defensively with Bogut and Josh as compared to Bogut and Horford. You also failed to mention how much more versatile the offense would be because Josh is a much more versatile player than Horford. If you did not watch the playoffs, Horford’s deadly accurate midrange jumper is not so deadly when someone is in his face, which is what happened in the playoffs, and what will happen with him playing the 4. He does not posess that lateral quickness to blow by 4’s like he does centers.

Your perspective is not clouded as you say but is sure seemed clouded as you blamed all of the Hawks problems on Woodson and Bibby. You sure continue to make a number of excuses for Marvin and Horford. I rarely if ever see you making any positive comments about Josh. For all his faults, Josh was easily our second best player in the playoffs, if not our best. If thats not clouded and showing personal bias, I don’t know what is.

Big Ray

May 26th, 2011
7:51 pm

The article about Smith for Bynum almost had me chuckling. Too bad it’s too bogus to even be worth speculating about.

First, when the Lakers come calling about Howard, they’ll be dangling Bynum as part of the deal. All the haggling will be about who else is included.

Big Ray

May 26th, 2011
8:01 pm

You also failed to mention how much more versatile the offense would be because Josh is a much more versatile player than Horford. If you did not watch the playoffs, Horford’s deadly accurate midrange jumper is not so deadly when someone is in his face, which is what happened in the playoffs, and what will happen with him playing the 4. He does not posess that lateral quickness to blow by 4’s like he does centers.

1) Josh is more versatile through potential, not through production. Potential versatility is what keeps him a steady stable of fans. It’s also what has kept him from becoming an all-star. Because potential is something that hasn’t happened yet.

2) The part about Horford’s deadly jumper not being so deadly when someone is in his face – a couple of thoughts on that. First, teams will guard guys who they know can hurt them. It’s called respect. Strange how Horford was met with tenacious defense whenever he thought about taking a jumper (or doing anything else). How about Smith? I watched the games. Teams layed off of Josh everytime he wound up for a jumper. That’s called “you’re going to have to prove to us that you can hurt us before we bother to guard you.” Having said that, Horford has to work on getting his shot whether he’s being guarded or not. Or, making a play for somebody else. But the latter part would be difficult unless other guys are either making cuts to the basket (didn’t happen much) or were open for shots they could hit (again, wasn’t happening much).

3) Al’s post game needs work. I get the feeling that if he went and practiced with somebody who teaches that stuff well, he’d learn something and we’d see it on the court. But it may not happen if either he decides he’d rather stay outside as a shooting PF (something I can’t see going that well), or if Drew and company insist on playing him there. I wonder how much of this is Drew wanting Horford at the 4, Josh’s inability to be a banger/fundamental rebounder, or Marvin’s sucking so bad that somebody else had to be in the starting lineup…

Big Ray

May 26th, 2011
8:04 pm

Ken,

There is a lot Teague can do. IF he maintains a professional attitude. This business of “I play hard and aggressive if I know I’m going to get playing time” thing bugs me. He has to come in hot and heavy and STAY that way. One playoff series will not guarantee him the starter’s spot for all time. He still has to show/strut his stuff in training camp this fall. Otherwise, it’s back to the bench.

I greatly appreciate what we saw from him against Chicago. He has to bring it like that all the time. For 82 games.

Big Ray

May 26th, 2011
8:05 pm

Vava ,

Agreed – roster balance is comprised of exactly that. I like to have guys who can block or challenge shots at the rim, but I also look at that as a complimentary skill, not something that you hang a starter’s spot on. We need better position and help defense across the five positions far more than we need a guy who can swat a couple of shots per game.

Look at the way the Bulls are able to play defense. Do they have a true shot blocker? Nope. What they do have, despite guys like Carlos Boozer, is guys who defend their own positions well, as well as a scheme that defends mutiple guys well and helps out without giving up points on double teams.

More to the point, they have guys who buy into and regularly execute that scheme. Too bad they don’t have the offense needed to combat a star-studded team like the Heat. To beat a team like that, a good offense is as much a part of a good defense as the defense itself. Meaning, a good offense makes the other team work hard on defense (something the Heat can struggle with, as we shall see against Dallas), and then have to work hard on offense against a good defense.