Listen to the young fella!

NEW YORK - In a league where paying your dues is a tradition scratched deep into the heart of every player and coach to pass through the NBA, what I’m about to say is nothing short of heresy.

But it’s time for the Hawks to start following Al Horford.

He’s emerged as the true leader of this team, in his words and his actions.

I don’t care that he’s only in his second season (and playing marvelous basketball with the Hawks’ playoff fate on the line every night).

I don’t care that he’s the starter with the least amount of NBA experience.

None of that matters when he’s the player that displays the most organic leadership quality every night.

And go ahead and tell me you haven’t noticed (watch our for that rolled up magazine that’s going to hit you across the back of the head right about now!) so I can call you a liar.

You know it, too.

It was on full display Wednesday night, when Horford’s 20 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks only told part of the story.

You probably didn’t see when Horford gathered his teammates near midcourt last night in the second half, when they were on the brink of being run off the floor at Madison Square Garden by the Knicks, and finally said what needed to be said.

He implored them to stop shooting jumpers and to start attacking the rim so they could finish a comeback that started moments earlier with a Josh Smith 3-pointer and then another big basket from Mike Bibby (I know they didn’t listen in the end, but at least the kid said it out loud).

And I know you didn’t see when Horford’s subtle move when Smith was in the midst of being yanked in and out of the game with flu symptoms (in his defense, he really was sick and had to be attended to by a doctor after the game, but I also think Hawks coach Mike Woodson had grown sick of watching Smith fail to block out and keep his man off the glass one too many times) and was sitting two seats away from a timeout huddle, it was Horford that looked over and motioned for him to join the rest of the team.

As Smith moved closer Horford gestured again for him to [and I was reading lips] “get in here. We need you.”

Minutes later Smith drained that jumper that helped initiate the Hawks’ last-ditch comeback effort.

Do you think anyone else even lifted a finger to push Smith back into the mix the way Horford did?

Trust me, they didn’t.

Horford realizes, even if others don’t, that the Hawks aren’t going to dig their way out of their current uneven rut with just one man holding the shovel. It’s going to take all of them.

His championship pedigree affords him a view of things that the rest of us can only imagine. Face it, Horford’s the only guy on this roster that’s been a part of multiple championship teams. So he’s got experience all his elders (coaches and players in this instance) simply do not.

And at 34-27 with Miami, Detroit and Philly all chasing you, it might not be a bad idea to listen to what the young fella has to say every now and then.

I’ve yet to see him cross the line in any way, but particularly in terms of trying to lead. In fact, I think he’s suppressed his natural leadership instincts because he knows some guys just aren’t going to listen. But if ever there was a time to shed that inhibition and do what you know has to be done, that time is now.

The Hawks can’t afford any more lapses like the one they suffered against the Knicks. Charlotte will be just as eager to burst the Hawks’ bubble Friday night. And then comes that home stand, starting with Detroit Saturday, that either makes or breaks this team’s playoff seeding.

When Horford was out for 12 games with a knee injury I had folks arguing me down that he wasn’t the backbone of this team and that too many people overestimated his worth. I disagreed then and I’m telling you now that even if he isn’t the Hawks’ best or most talented player, he is by far their most important player.

Why?

Because he’s clear about what his role is, what he has to do every night and how to go about getting that job done. He’ll have his struggles like anyone else from night to night. But you won’t ever have to worry about his motives or whether or not he’s giving every single drop of energy for the greater good.

That kind of focus, especially from a guy still in the infant stage of his NBA career, is impressive.

And let’s be real clear here, there’s no rule that says the leader of this or any team has to be the guy making the most money, the guy with the most talent, the guy with the biggest mouth, the guy with the ball in his hands the most or the guy who is designated as the “team leader.”

Sometimes “the guy” is the one that simply leads without any strings attached.

And sometimes that guy is the new kid or the young buck.

Sometimes that guy doesn’t have an evil or malicious bone in his body.

Sometimes that guy is just the guy with the biggest heart, the greatest desire to win and the temperament to handle anything that’s thrown his way – from friends and foes alike.

Sometimes he’s just a natural.

Hawks fans meet Al Horford, the man who will lead this team (if they will allow him).

 

109 comments Add your comment

Craig

March 5th, 2009
12:44 pm

Sekou -

You hit the nail absolutely on the head. It is a true pleasure watching Al go about his business and get (or at least attempt to get) his teammates to give it their all. All too often I see Josh being lax on the defensive end or Marvin not driving to the hoop, and Al seems to have no problem letting them know it. The fact that he hasn’t gotten into any (publicly revealed) skirmishes with the players tells me that they respect him just as much as we, the fans, do.

I truly hope the rest of the team will follow Horford’s lead and put everything they have into every game. That’s how you raise your level of play the most – let’s be honest, all these guys are in the NBA and the majority of them have natural skills. It is their desire to win and passion for the game that sets some players apart from the others – The Hawks as a unit had been lacking either quality for many years, and finally we have a guy in Al Horford who has both.

danc56

March 5th, 2009
12:49 pm

You are right on the money when it comes to this team. There are no true vocal leaders that will step up and grab guys by their collars and demand more. It has been obvious that Joe Johnson is not that type of person and he is what he is. I can understand Al defering to the more senior players; but enough is enough. I’m old school and loved when players would be more demonstrative during timeouts and momentary breaks in play to rally the players on the floor. Magic was famous for that as was Jordan. I hope that Al continues to become more vocal and demand more when it’s needed.

JM

March 5th, 2009
12:50 pm

Very interesting read Sekou (and thanks for the heads up on Josh – I’ve been defending him on this blog but last night I wondered why). The thing I love about Big Al is that champion swagger/cockiness, that many great players have. Although I think he is still really raw, he has the heart of a champion. Whether older cats like JJ, Bibby or even Josh will listen to him is another story. But someone has to lead this team and as I have been writing, JJ is not that guy. So stand up Al and show these Hawks how its done.

Ben

March 5th, 2009
1:04 pm

Sekou,

Kudos on this blog–This is the best piece you’ve written since you joined AJC.
I said it myself last night–who is going to pull this team together in the 4th (like Bibby did last year) and turn it around when the other team is pulling away?
I have not been the biggest fan of Horford’s desire to shoot so much (he shoots every time he gets it because he hardly gets the ball with JJ hogging it), but the guy has tremendous heart, and it is no coincidence at all last year that we made the Playoffs in his 1st season here. I am telling you all…If we can move Smoove and trash for a nice center/big and move Horford to PF, the rest will be history.

ValdostaMike

March 5th, 2009
1:05 pm

Al is the heart of our team.

Can we please get a shock collar on Josh Smith, one that shocks him any time he thinks about hoisting up a three pointer, or trying to dribble through 4 defenders. He has a great inside game, but his desire to play like a #2 is killing us.
Josh, there is a reason you are always open from 18 and out. Grow up, play your role, “Smooth” and you, and the team, will be fine.

ValdostaMike

March 5th, 2009
1:11 pm

Sorry for the cheap shot at Josh, but watching him play so far away from the paint and hoisting those threes is like watching Andruw Jones swinging wildly at curves three feet out of the strike zone.

He has so much talent….. it is very frustrating. I admire the courage to step up and take the shot, but make sure it is the right shot.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
1:18 pm

great blog Sekou,
I agree with you so much about Horford. I have also noticed that the rest of the team has seemed to distance themselves from Josh. I agree that Al has that “it” factor to be a leader and Joe doesn’t lead that way. But, really it seems to me that Josh is really set apart from everyone else on the team. Am I seeing something that is not there? Or are his teamates growing tired of his lack of effort and development? Or is just a matter that no one on this team feels commited to each other?

Harry Hawk

March 5th, 2009
1:19 pm

First of all, I agree that Horford will be the leader of this team. He’s really stepping his game up now. He knows how to win and will do what it takes to help make that happen. It’s really nice to see. Another nice thing to see? Acie Law ballin’ last night. He had a look on his face like, “They finally let me get in this damn game. I don’t know whether to sulk or show out.” I know I’m not the only one who saw that expression. He looked like he didn’t know whether he should give a damn, but he did. I guarantee you that Big Al was well-aware of it.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
1:19 pm

I agree with Ben and VM entirely

rms

March 5th, 2009
1:22 pm

I agree, with the previous statement. Getting a good big at the 5 spot and moving Al to PF will do wonders for this team. But we know the owners wouldn’t approve of that because that would make too much sense!

rms

March 5th, 2009
1:27 pm

BTW, Sekou, what happened at practice? You need to back Woody into a corner and remind him that he has a backup PG for a reason and give his other PF some minutes too!

Reggie

March 5th, 2009
1:28 pm

Sekou

What player would you compare Al Horford to?

Ben C

March 5th, 2009
1:28 pm

Anyone else notice this:
“but particularly in terms of trying to lead. In fact, I think he’s suppressed his natural leadership instincts because he knows some guys just aren’t going to listen. ”

Who are these guys?

Also, why does being over the cap matter so much in the NBA? These owners are supposed to be rich, where paying an extra 5-10 million is chump change. What the heck? Can 291 ASG owners not muster up enough money to get Kaman? A front line of Marvin, Horford, and Kaman is ridiculously long, has 2 legit bigs, and a sprouting future 20 ppg SF.

Also, did anyone else notice the players’ reactions after last night? Joe just had that emotionless look on his face as he walked off the court, almost as if to tell us “Same s… different day”

LL Cool Scott

March 5th, 2009
1:28 pm

I’ve been saying it since we drafted this guy – the Hawks will only go as far as Big Al takes them. He’s the leader of the team, the most important player on the team, and is rapidly becoming the best player on the team. If only Josh and Joe had half this guy’s heart and passion for winning…

ATL_LOVE

March 5th, 2009
1:31 pm

3 WORDS: FIRE MIKE WOODSON!

Too much talent to continuously underachieve.

TskOoOo

March 5th, 2009
1:38 pm

griffdawg1

March 5th, 2009
1:38 pm

It’s sad that our team has to rely on Al to be the leader. I think what is really going on is a lack of physical and mental toughness due to Woodson’s crappy coaching style. When is the hawks going to wake up and see that we need another coach and a legit big man so our leader can play his real position! Woodson also needs to learn how to bring along younger players. WE NEED A PURE POINT GUARD!!!!!!!!

CDawg42

March 5th, 2009
1:42 pm

Harry Hawk, Acie had that look on his face as the camera panned the bench as the Knick lead grew to 15 in the 4th quarter. It was a “you’ve got to be kidding me; this ish is ridiculous” type of look. So later, when he entered the game and played aggressively, I wasn’t shocked at all. Hopefully Woody saw that, and will reward that type of effort. Doubt it, but one can hope can’t he?

griffdawg1

March 5th, 2009
1:51 pm

Acie should be playing as much as Bibby!!!

PD

March 5th, 2009
1:58 pm

Smith should not have played if he was sick. I agree with Griffdawg Acie made a huge impact in 2:45 he got a 3 pointer and 4 assist.

Matt Taylor

March 5th, 2009
1:59 pm

I have to give Sekou some credit for this blurb. It actually makes some sense. AJC sports section is 1/3 today on blurbs worth a darn.

Hawk73

March 5th, 2009
2:06 pm

The Hawks are consitenly inconsistent. They loose close games, games they should win (to inferior opponents), and games decided by crucial coaching decisions. I love them and hate’em. The only player that plays with any sense of urgency is Horford. He is the only player that gives a da!! night in and night out. The rest of the guys do not have that championship desire without a little kick in the a!! Woody is clearly not the right voice for this team and that needs to be corrected in the offseason. No matter how much he scolds, screams, and pushes them, they do not respond to him (especially Josh Smith). Acie was strong last night, but then again it’s too late in the season to scramble and throw guys in to the mix. I just don’t have the strength to continue to post the same thing(s) over and over and over and over again.

john V

March 5th, 2009
2:12 pm

john V

March 5th, 2009
11:14 am
I sense Woody is getting a bit frustrated with Josh’s lack of focus, as am I. He’s sitting on the bench more and deservedy so. 3 of the first 7 turnovers last night,,guess who. One handed passes, inability to dish off on his drives without turning ball over, no jump shot, lousy free throw shooter.lazy defense… oh but he CAN dunk with the best. I’ve watched the last 3 games focusing on Josh and he rarely goes to the offensive board, always releases early hoping for that infamous fast break dunk.
OH but he does have a lot of POTENTIAL, if he would just wake up and play fundamental basketball.

CDawg42

March 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

I believe the Hawks are a top 5 or 6 team in the NBA when their talents are maximized. The problem is we rarely if ever get to see that happen with Woody as the coach. Does anyone besides me get that sick feeling that in a few years, when we have a new coach and most of the current players will be all-stars elsewhere, we will be talking about “what could have been”?

Melvin

March 5th, 2009
2:21 pm

Great Blog Sekou… Hopefully these guys will rally behind Big AL and finished the season strong….

Lacsho

March 5th, 2009
2:22 pm

Nice article Sekou,

I think Big Al is a great leader, and you nailed this blog.

One has to wonder if Acie really goes after Bibby during practice. I know I would lol.

I would like to keep JJ, but I wonder what we could get for him. IF we could get a legit center and a number two option on offense, I say trade him and bring Chillz back. Hell I do Durant for JJ straight up.

Or we could bring Chillz back and fire Woody. I see another long summer field with anticipation and optimism.

Peace!!!!!

Sultanofatl

March 5th, 2009
2:25 pm

Al and Marvin are the future of this team. The sooner Joe, Woody, and Josh Smith realize this they will be better for it. It’s time to hitch the wagons to these two young horses and roll out.

Astro Joe

March 5th, 2009
2:27 pm

Well, I’ve seen this movie before. It was a young guy name Jason Terry who had natural leadership skills and was forced to place those skills in his sock drawer because he was surrounded by veterans who thought they knew how to run a team. Guys like Theo, Shariff and Glenn Robinson. Guys who never won anything but decided that JT was too young to do anything other then pass them the ball.

Great leaders need great followers. I think we know which players seem to be more interested in winning and which need a little ego stroking. In fact, one of those cats that needs to be stroked came here from a winning squad because he wanted to “be the man”. But getting most of the field goal attempts is a little different than being the team leader. Here’s hoping that Sund recognizes the dynamics and manages the off-season accordingly. Having a guy who could put up 16/10 consistently AND be the team leader is a great thing. Especially if the other starters (including those who will score more) fall in line.

doc

March 5th, 2009
2:32 pm

yeah astro,melvin and lacsho, just talking about that with ray privately yesterday.

Jon Koncak's Thighs

March 5th, 2009
2:35 pm

This is coming from a fan that loves JSmoove’s talent and doesn’t care at all about supposed rifts between player and coach, etc. But Sekou, could we move JSmoove for something like Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah in the offseason? The salaries almost match and the Bulls have Rose and a host of new/young bigs on that roster now? If we can’t resign Bibby for a reasonable discount, isn’t a scorer/distributor like Hinrich a great answer? He doesn’t shoot as well as Bibby, but he can score in loads and he is a better assist man now than Bibby is at this point in his career. Anyone else have any thoughts? I love Josh’s talent and potential, but we aren’t seeing the desire to work and improve. He should be living in the post and from 18 feet and in. With Noah at C, Horford moves to PF and Marvin increases his scoring load even more on top of his great improvement this year and last.

RLP

March 5th, 2009
2:37 pm

In the late 1970’s I was a big fan of Dr. J. It was prior to the Michael Jordan era and I thought that the Doc was the greatest player I had ever seen. I thought when they entered the 1977 championship finals they would win their first championship. I was shocked when the Portland Trail Blazers defeated them 4 games to 2 to become the champions. The Blazers were led by Bill Walton age 24, Lionel Hollins, age 23, Maurice Lucas, age 25, Bobby Gross, age 23, Johnny Davis, 21 and Dave Twardzik age 26. At the time there was a lot of talk of a dynasty for that team because of their youthful potential. I was impressed. I thought they embodied the very concept of a TEAM, Bill Walton was the best passing big man I had ever seen. The following season seemed to confirm that potential. After 60 games their record was 50-10.There was talk that the team could wind up winning 70 games that year. Then Walton was hurt and missed the rest of the season. As the playoffs began Walton tried to play again. In the second game of the playoffs Walton broke his foot. The season ended and so did the talk of a dynasty. Soon Walton was traded and the TEAM play as well.

Times have changed. The Hawks have the nucleus that has the potential to be a contender for years. I am not really comparing Bill Walton with Al Horford in their games. But maybe Sekou has shown us the leader who will lead this team out of the wilderness. I do not think it is coincidence that the Hawks made it to the playoffs in the first year of Bibby and Horford. Let us hope that the team will develop a great future. You never know when the team’s chemistry will change. Sometimes that change is good. Sometimes it is bad. But for now let us enjoy what we have this season.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
2:39 pm

whoa astro joe. c’mon jason terry is not the kind of leader Horford is.
Also, I wouldn’t get too excited by Acie’s play at the end of game in New York when the game was basically over and he made a couple of scramble plays. gotta keep it in perspective. Now, I do think Woodson should have cleared his bench earlier, even in the third quarter, because the starters didn’t deserve to be out there. Not because secretly Acie is the best point guard in the NBA, but no talent evaluators can see it. Let’s get real.

Art Vandelay

March 5th, 2009
2:40 pm

Koncak, you’re on to something. I think Noah would be a great piece for this team because he spent 3 years playing alongside Horford, and he knows what has to be done to win games. He’ll never be a 20-point scorer, but he’s a strong rebounder and defender, and he never takes a play off. At this point, I’d trade Josh Smith for expiring contracts — he’s a liability, and his attitude is completely out of control. It just seems like he doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ what Woody or his teammates say to him; he’s going to keep chucking up bricks because he thinks he’s just that good, and he’ll sacrifice fundamental defense for the occasional highlight reel block. What people are just now beginning to realize is that when his man decides to drive the ball at him and be aggressive, Josh has no answer. The only time he gets blocks are when he’s trailing a fast break or coming over to help on another guy’s man. Half the time, he’s not even downcourt by the time the other offense has set up because he decided to stay back and whine to the refs about a call that he didn’t get. ENOUGH ALREADY. I’m over it. Don’t care if he’s a hometown boy, and I don’t care if he turns into a superstar somewhere else. He’s bad for this team’s chemistry and needs to be shown the door asap.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
2:42 pm

Jon Koncack
I would consider moving J. Smith for Bosch. Yes, it would be his last year of his contract. (which be the only reason the Raptors would let him go, if they didn’t think they could resign him)

Arshon

March 5th, 2009
2:42 pm

SKS-

Make NO mistake about it! Horford IS that dude! He is the backbone of this organization and the ONLY one playing with a sense of the ‘fierce urgency of now!’ I’ll give Marvin credit too….he’s been busting his tail too and playing with some passion as well. But I don’t like JJ’s body language out there! Doesn’t look like he cares at times. I understand he’s quiet and all, but it just looks as though he just going with the flow. Certain not that type of leadership you seek in a three time All Star! Bibby is useless, especially when he’s not hitting his jump shots. He’s a nice floor general, but we need more from him. Problem is, I feel that he’s unable to give us that at this point in his career. And that’s unfortunate.

Smoove REALLY disappoints me….it’s almost like he got his $$$$ and was like ‘f–k it, I’m paid now…I can do what I wanna do.’My point is if you can’t shoot 70% from the foul line, you have NO business shooting long range jump shots…period! His game should be 15 feet and in….not the other way around. He better wake up, cause he’s becoming a cancer and he’s playing like a rookie five years into his career….no growth! And fans are growing tired of his silly on-the-antics….espcially his pouting to official! Sometimes you have to suck it up and play ball! Cause “Ball Don’t Lie!”

And as for Woody, he seem to be clueless out there. I thought that since he was given that two year deal….and put on a short leash by Sund, he would change some of his coaching philosophies to fit the athleticism this team clearly has. But, just like in Smoove’s case, I don’t see growth in his coaching abilities….five years in. He continues to coach like a rookie coach, and that’s inexcusable.

But yes, Horford has really impressed me. I didn’t what you were speaking of, but I’ve seen at Philips Arena time and time again this guys level of professionalism. He needs to step up and continue being vocal…cause no one else on this team is going to do it! Plus….this is March! And Al steps his game up another notch during this time anyway. Hopefully, it will lead us into a home-court advantage in the first round…and hopefully a deeper run into the playoffs!

Hopefully.

bali

March 5th, 2009
2:49 pm

great article sekou. Horford just seems alot older than he is. I wish others had the same mindset he displays night after night. Also, I really like the way Law played point last night. Wish he got more minutes playing

Jon Koncak's Thighs

March 5th, 2009
2:50 pm

A frontline with Marvin, Bosh and Horford would be sick, but too expensive for our Hawks, I fear. Unless we aren’t paying to keep Joe. We’ll see what the Hawks do, but you can bet they won’t be splurging in the ‘09 offseason. I feel like you can grab Hinrich at a decent price for his skills and potential contributions, have him split with Acie (if we have a coach, current one or otherwise, who can manage a rotation) and add Noah at C. Noah could give us 8pts and 10boards with Horford putting up 16-17 from PF and Marvin putting up 20 and JJ doing his thing. Doesn’t it sound great? Living in la-la land though, I fear.

Heat Check

March 5th, 2009
2:51 pm

Scramble Plays = Penetration. The NYK can’t defend “scramble plays”, so it was no mystery why Acie was succeeding in his limited time. The mystery is why Woodson never changes his gameplan or reads scouting reports. Talent evaluators can see just as much from Law as any of us (NOTHING) because he only plays for 18 seconds at a time. FIRE WOODY.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
3:03 pm

Heat Check-
Woodson deserves to be critized, but c’mon quit acting like Acie is some kind of baller. so marvin and Al’s progression is just on them, but Acie’s lack of ability is Woodson’s fault? This is the stretch run of the season, not training camp. The kid just ain’t all that.

PD

March 5th, 2009
3:16 pm

Yo Daniel no one is saying he is the best point guard in the World. He actually wanted to drive the ball and make plays. When you are shooting 6 for 22 from 3 stop shooting and drive like Acie. Woodson is ridiculous to allow his guys to keep jacking up shots. Trying to play Knicks ball terrible.

Horford could have scored like 40 points if they kept feeding him the rock.

Wink from Lithonia

March 5th, 2009
3:26 pm

Until we could get a big man of consequence, I will go with Al as the leader of this team. Horford could play with anyone, he knows his strengths & weaknesses and plays within himself.

I think Marvin is coming on as a legit scorer…inside & out. This guy gets to the free throw line and defends his position.

I would like to see a lineup of Marvin, Al, Sol with ZaZa his backup. Start AC at the point & Bibby at shooting guard, because that is the position he is playing now.

I would bring JJ & Josh off the bench. JJ & Flip both could play point on 2nd unit. Woody would still have his same 8 man rotation. Both units would have an attacking point & a shooter. The second unit by design is suppose to come in to energize the team or maintain a lead. This unit would be able to energize or extend a lead.

What do you think??

MannyT

March 5th, 2009
3:30 pm

Astro,

Love that post, but I’d like to tweak a little. Great leaders can do thier thing with average followers, but the better followers make the band/team so much better. Remember, Magic helped Vlade Divac to be the man. I still think this team has the parts to learn from the Chuck Daly Pistons. Lots of variety, but they made it work well as a team, leveraging different players on different nights.

Sure, Al is the leader of tomorrow, but can he navigate through the politics of today?

I hope the Sund-dialing happens this summer to reshape the team. Not trying to run everyone off, but you have to factor in team chemistry when you redo the roster. That includes coaches and players.

Not knocking our top offensive players, but notice how Marvin plays when they are out. It is a personality thing that either needs to be drawn into the nucleus of the team or let him move on for some asset(s). Do JJ & Bibby want to give up all those shots? Is Josh willing to hit the boards like a more athletic Dennis Rodman?

I am not saying that they need to be similar personalities, but they do need to work together better as a team than if they want to achieve something special.

BWAF

Astro Joe

March 5th, 2009
3:47 pm

Daniel, I wasn’t trying to suggest that JT is a better leader than Horford (although I have no idea how any of us would know based on 1.5 years of Horford and JT being held in check during his tenure here), the point was that the Hawks have previously had a young guy (didn’t JT also win an NCAA title?) who wanted to lead and seemingly was all about being the right kind of leader (on and off the court) but faced internal obstacles.

Astro Joe

March 5th, 2009
3:48 pm

how do you turn off bold once you start using it?

shresee2

March 5th, 2009
3:52 pm

First, I love the new upgraded site and comments. Now to Al. Love him, his spirit and determination is obvious. I see him talking to Josh and other players all the time recently. Defense wins games. The hawks cannot out score every team but they can shut them down. I notice the Hawks have a tendenacy to play down to a team. The intensity they have playing the Celtics, or Cav’s is just not evident with teams the hawks think they can beat. The was proven last night when they got lazy on defense the game was lost. Marvin has become a killer on the inside and that left hook jumper is amazing. They are not going to make this home stand playing inconsistant, almost every team is either in the playoffs or fighting for a spot. The Hawks are so frustrating because yes they have improved but they could even be better. I hope we do not drop down to 6 or 7 and have orlando first round.

Mac

March 5th, 2009
4:03 pm

Amen, Sekou. Ask the Falcons offense if a young guy can lead. Go, Al, kick some butt.

BB1

March 5th, 2009
4:08 pm

There is potential on this team but they truly need a new coach to move it forward. With Marvin, Al and JJ they have a strong foundation, but something has to be done with “J Smoothe” to make him understand his strengths and how playing to these strengths can make the team so much better. I just don’t think Woody is the one to get it done. Is there anyone out there, like me, who is tired of watching JJ dribble around looking for his shot, with multiple defenders chasing, and the rest of the team just standing around. It’s not that I don’t want JJ to take the shot,he’s a scorer, but if the ball was moved around with some sharpness, keeping the team involved it could get back to him for his great jump shot if necessary. Watch them come down the court sometime, Marvin is so far in the corner it looks like the is trying to get of the court. Could this be coaching, I think so. The parts are in place, they could use a big to move Al to his natural spot. Heck put J Smoothe in the middle and make him work close to the basket, do something. When clicking they’re great, but I think we need a coach who can make them compete for 4 quarters and if one guy won’t listen, no matter who, put him on the pines and get someone to do the job.

Daniel

March 5th, 2009
4:16 pm

1) PD- I agree with putting in the whole bench earlier last night, but not because Acie and Solo are these hidden gems, but because the starters were playing like crap.
2) Astro- JT did win a NCAA title, not two, and he dominated the ball at the pg spot. He wanted to be a combo guard and we wanted pg. That is why he is on the bench in Dallas. Horford bends his game to the team, and he shows another gear down the stretch.

Astro Joe

March 5th, 2009
4:43 pm

Daniel, I was referring to JT’s early years with the Hawks. I wish I could find the qoute but JT specifically said that he was told to shut-up by the vets on the team. That squad that featured a very talented but under-achieving front-line. Imagine having Theo, SAR and Glenn all close to their prime and watching them do absolutely nothing as a unit. And the root cause was that they were all selfish and no one could get them to play together as a team. I’m referring to a quote in a newspaper article… back then, we didn’t have the rampant lies found in blogs.

Sekou K. Smith

March 5th, 2009
5:15 pm

Hard to compare Al to someone off the top of my head Reggie. Gimme a day or two to think about it and I’ll try and come up with someone.
Practice rms? “We talking about practice? Practice?” No, really. Nothing went on beyond the normal this time of year. They ran some sets and tried to sharpen some things up. But the real test comes tomorrow night against Charlotte. It’s win or go home time now. Well, actually it’s win or give up home (court advantage) time now.