No need for snap decisions

The only thing that rages more than Josh Smith's emotions is his over-the-top talent . The Hawks would be wise to find ways to help channel that emotion in a positive direction.

 HAWKSVILLE - Raise your hand if you thought we’d all end up here.

Go ahead, raise it up high. Let the rest of us see you. I need to make sure we count the hands.

Good. Now that the roll call is over, it’s time to get down the serious business that will be retooling this Hawks roster for next season. In case you missed it, nearly half the roster is going to be diving into the free agent waters this summer.

That means there’s a chance that the Hawks team you saw on the floor in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Cleveland will be no more as of July 1, the date the free agent negotiating season kicks off. That also means that the ball switches from Mike Woodson, Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and Josh Smith’s court to that of Hawks general manager Rick Sund.

And judging by his 30-plus year resume in the league, Sund is well aware that now is not the time for snap decisions. Those are the things, as my guy Jeff Schultz alluded to his in his column from Game 4 of the Cleveland series, that can implode a franchise. Sund needs to do what his predecessor did not after last year’s Game 7 loss to Boston, and that’s take a week or so to decompress from this experience before coming to any conclusions about this team.

(Injuries to both Al Horford and Marvin Williams complicate any postseason studies into their performances, so basically all you can go off of is their healthy regular season work.)

We, on the other hand, don’t have to wait for anything to start making our assessments of what we saw, what we liked and disliked and what we think needs to be done to improve for the future (a wise . We can dive right in, as I know you have been doing for days. So without further ado, here is one thing that can’t wait:

Since he’s the one player Hawks fans ride worse than any other, it’s only fitting that we address Josh Smith first. No fewer than a dozen people came up to me in the minutes after the game to insist that he was the reason the Hawks lost yet another game. He wasn’t locked in on defense, I was told, and he was the one giving up all the big shots, and he let Anderson Varejao work him on the boards the entire series and that’s ultimately what cost the Hawks.

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again, once again Smith serves as the easy scapegoat for the Hawks’ larger problems (their paper-thin depth, their flawed offensive scheme the wordsmith Mark Bradley nailed in his recent column and their inability to get ball pressure on the ball at the outset of offensive possessions, just to name a few).

In addition to outscoring all the Hawks other starters (26 to 25) in Game 4, Smith led the Hawks in scoring (17.1), rebounds (7.5), blocks (1.5) and steals (1.1, he tied with Flip Murray) in 11 postseason games. He only shot 42 percent from the floor and a putrid 13 percent (2-for-15) from beyond the 3-point line. But he raised his dismal free throw shooting percentage from the regular season up to 72 percent during the playoffs.

The point is, for every deficiency he has (and five years into his career, Smith, like scores of other pros in the same situation, still has plenty) Smith has a matching skill that can’t be overlooked. His mission this summer, forget about the 3-point line and hone the post skills that few teams can deal with. Take a page out of the book of New Orleans Hornets forward David West and come back with a money 16-footer that makes teams pay for leaving you open on the wing.

I place as much of the responsibility for that happening on Smith as I do his employers. There has to be some sort of marriage of philosophies this summer to make sure that he comes back next season a more polished player and one that fulfills his role as the Hawks’ truly most dynamic player.

We’re going to toss Bibby’s name around quite a bit in the coming weeks, so let me start by insisting that you consider what the Hawks looked like before he showed up and then compare that to what they looked like in his 130 games in uniform. It was a different world, folks. So keep that in mind this summer as the Hawks start weighing their point guard possibilities – and they are endless, what with the free agent market, the draft and whatever sign-and-trade possibilities might be out there.

Bibby’s status as an unrestricted free agent means he’ll have suitors other than the Hawks capable of presenting him with the opportunity to play at least three or four more years (Bibby’s been around for 11 years but just made 31 today). “The Hawks can get someone that’s a better defender and better distributor at that position, but I don’t know that they’re going to get a better shot maker or a better fit for their

Hey Hawks, what are you going to do with Mike Bibby?

Hey Hawks, what are you going to do with Mike Bibby?

 

 

team,” a scout friend told me via email earlier today when I inquired about his assessment of Bibby’s situation with the Hawks. “There’s not a team in the league that doesn’t need a guy who’s going to knock down the big shots he does. And the funny thing is, for all the talk about his big salary this year ($15 million in the final year of his deal), you know you’re going to get him for half that or even less on this next deal. He’ll actually be a bargain on his next deal, compared to what he was.”

Bibby is and remains the biggest question mark of the Hawks’ free agents. If you keep him, his successor has to be located immediately and then groomed (what the Hawks did the past two years with Acie Law IV was anything but grooming him) to eventually take over the starting job. If you decide against keeping Bibby, you almost guarantee that you’ll have to locate your new starter via some sort of trade. Because there is little to no chance of finding a point guard ready to be pressed into immediate starting service in the June draft, not where the Hawks are picking (deep in the first round at either 19 or 20).

The Hawks could pull a fast one and snag their point guard of the future and Bibby’s immediate replacement all at once. But as an Eastern Conference executive explained to me Tuesday morning, they’ll have to find someone else’s “garbage” (it wasn’t garbage in the sense you might think, he meant a guy that someone deemed expendable) and make him their own – sort of like what Cleveland did with Delonte West, who has blossomed into one of the league’s top young attack guards (a point guard in size but whatever he wants to be because of his tenacity and fearlessness). Guys that fit that mold to me, and I think there are plenty, including former Georgia Tech star Jarrett Jack, Lakers backup Jordan Farmar (he’s under contract for the next two years and under siege by Shannon Brown), Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions (unrestricted free agent and ready for prime time) and Portland’s Sergio Rodriguez (still under contract for another year but clearly expendable with Steve Blake and Jerryd Bayless on the roster). There are

Might former Georgia Tech star Jarrett Jack be in the Hawks' point guard plans for the future? We'll find out this summer.

Might former Georgia Tech star Jarrett Jack be in the Hawks' future plans at point guard? We'll find out this summer.

also veterans like Philly’s Andre Miller (unrestricted), Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich (hefty salary for the next three years but absolutely expendable with Derrick Rose at the helm and Ben Gordon an unrestricted free agent),  Charlotte’s Raymond Felton (restricted) and Utah’s Ronnie Price (unrestricted).

Again, the Hawks’ options are limitless, especially when you consider that basically half the players on their own roster are free agents of one form or another. But make no mistake, figuring out what to do at point guard remains the Hawks’ highest priority. 

And there are several reasons why – the first being their utter refusal to draft the right point guard year after year during the previous regime. The most important, however, is that point guard play in the NBA has become the equivalent of quarterback play in the NFL. Either you have a veteran hand capable of orchestrating almost any situation, a guy that can make everything run smoothly (Kurt Warner anyone) or you have the young phenom (the Falcons’ Matt Ryan comes to mind) that simply will not be denied. If you get caught between those two extremes, you’re gambling with your team’s future.

If you don’t believe quality point guard play can make the absolute difference between mediocre and championship worthy, you should spend a few minutes reading one of the best stories I’ve read about that very subject (courtesy of Tom Friend of ESPN’s Outside The Lines). Seriously, if you don’t do anything else, read this story from top to bottom to see how the right guy at the most important position on the floor (or field) can make all the difference in the world for a team … sort of like Bibby did for the Hawks the last year and a half.

624 comments Add your comment

niremetal

May 14th, 2009
12:22 am

I dunno, Sekou…I think it’s a bit of an overgeneralization to talk about point guard like that. Because the role of the point guard varies tremendously depending on a team’s offensive scheme. In the triangle offense and other offenses that depend on quick ball movement between multiple players, there really isn’t any “point guard” in the traditional sense of the term. Similarly, in offenses that focus on swingman isolation (like, say, Woody’s), it’s more important to have a PG that can knock down open shots than it is to have a distributor – which is why Bibby turned out to be such a great fit. And of course, in offenses that rely on pick-and-roll plays, other “traditional” half-court sets, and/or fast break scoring, a traditional point guard is all but essential. And then there are offenses like San Antonio’s and Cleveland’s that don’t fit any of those molds.

Anyway, it all depends on the system. That’s all I’m trying to say. Great blog, though.

Melvin

May 14th, 2009
12:31 am

Great blog Sekou (and timely). Although we have already reconstruct the Hawks team before Cleveland left Philips Arena. I think you hit the nail on the head about Josh. No way should we trade our most dynamic player. I think that guy will comeback next season with improve with a mid-range jumpshot. I think the big lights of the playoffs will motivate him this summer to comeback with that mid-range jumper. As for Bibby, Im torn with what to do with him. I can’t argue that the Hawks was definitely better with him but the playoffs did expose his weakness tremendously and not grooming Acie was a major flaw of Woody. Now he put Sund in a tough spot by having to find a replacement/backup PG that may cost the ASG more $$$$ (think Speedy contract).

HB Ando

May 14th, 2009
12:37 am

Yup, it’s a rare Ando sighting, for whatever the heck that’s worth.

I dunno, nire, you seem to highlight the far easier side of the issue, as it relates to Bibby, by discussing offense. There’s no doubt he’s been a major plus for the team, on that end of the court. And there’s no doubt that he’s a solid fit playing along side one of the best passing 2-guards in the NBA.

But my concern is that he continues to look overwhelmed on defense, and, at 31, can only get SLOWER. So with a conference dotted with the youthful likes of Rondo, Rose, Chalmers, Mo Williams/West, Calderon and Harris, isn’t it statistically likely that he can only become more of a liability on the defensive end?

I still subscribe to the net question of just how many teams would view him as an upgrade over their current point guard situation. I don’t think the number hits 10.

I don’t want to veer off too deeply into an upcoming post, but I don’t see a number that makes sense for keeping Bibby, if the Hawks are honest about what they’ll need to do in the next five years to compete with Lebron and the Cavs.

And I do think that’s the only point of reference that should be used: what changes do the Hawks need to make, across the board, to challenge the Cavs, in the coming years?

It’s challenging to imagine that a team that just had its best season in a decade may need major changes to continue to improve it’s position in the East, much less avoid sliding backwards next season.

But I think that’s the reality of the Hawks’ off-season.

More to come over on the Hacks’ blog, in the coming days…..

darrell starks

May 14th, 2009
12:39 am

We dont need a point guard we have one right in our back yard plus he is not going to cause you a lot of money and his name is acie law.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

ATL FAN

May 14th, 2009
12:43 am

We should keep bibby, for about 8 million a year. Trade marvin williams for a starting center. Then Move horford and smoove back to their positions Horford to 4 and smoove to 3 and get rid of those ten day guys at the end of the bench and sign more experience backups. Keep flip and zaza. And we will be a top two team in the east.

niremetal

May 14th, 2009
12:44 am

Ando,

I wasn’t talking about Bibby in particular. Just ruminating in general about the role that a point guard plays. I wasn’t advocating for against keeping Bibby – I’m ambivalent on that question. Anyway, can’t disagree about his defensive liabilities. The question is whether we could get any more bang for our buck elsewhere while still filling our need for a clutch perimeter shooter.

ATL FAN

May 14th, 2009
12:47 am

Sekou,

Could you name some bigs that would possibly be avail.

HB Ando

May 14th, 2009
12:53 am

Nire, don’t disagree with the relevance of a PG being considered in the context of his system. But, in general, finding a “money” shooter is the easiest of three needs; in addition to center to complement which 3 (Marvin or Josh) we ultimately keep (yup, nothing has changed in the four years I’ve opined that ultimately one of them will be traded) and PG that is able to defend against the crazy quick, young, PG’s that now populate the East. Bibby’s lack of lateral movement, which can only get worse from his age forward, puts incredible pressure on the rest of the interior defense. When you compound the fact that we have an undersized front line, comprised of 2 SF’s and a PF, the net outcome is not so good.

And we’re not even taking into account the Woody factor, which I simply don’t have energy to address.

Night…..

darrell starks

May 14th, 2009
12:54 am

We have to add another impact player to the hawks some one who command double team to take the pressure of joe and in order for you to do that you have to clear up cap space.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bowman

May 14th, 2009
12:59 am

Not mentioned here but let’s be honest, who really believes Mike Woodson can take this team to a higher level? How many times, after a blow-out loss, have we heard him say, “I don’t know what happened.”? This is the man who allowed the team’s offense to stagnate around Joe Johnson, who is a capable player but not, as Sekou has written, a superstar. This is the man who has mortgaged the Hawks’ future by NOT playing Acie Law. This is the man who would rather butt heads with Josh Smith rather than force him to develop his game. This is the man who emulates his mentor, Bobby Knight, rather than develop his players. This is the man who will restrict this team’s growth. Yes, there are player issues but the bigger issue is finding a coach who can take this team to a higher level. His name is not Mike Woodson.

darrell starks

May 14th, 2009
1:07 am

Clear cap space bibby 15million gone speedy the bank robber 6million gone trade horford 4million marvin 4million thats 29million all together for bosh six year 80million and about 13.8million a year.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hawk Str8Talk

May 14th, 2009
1:16 am

Well, I love the offseason talk, but until I hear from the GM or the coach speaking about how they are going to truly change the philosophy of how this team plays basketball – I’ll continue to believe that coaching is the #1 priority. Not Josh. Not Bibby. Not any other Hawk. I know Sund has to figure out the pieces, but he needs to figure out the coach in order to know what pieces to put in place. If he’s going to stick with Woodson, then yes, I think a trade of Acie and Josh would be in order. Not b/c I think that’s best for the franchise, but b/c it’s apparent that Woodson is from the Larry Brown school (with much less coaching acumen) where he needs a veteran team that can be leaders and already versed what is necessary to win a championship. That’s a tall order for Sund to fulfill in one or two offseasons, but that’s the only way Woodson can be successful. He is not a take any team and utliize their strengths/minimize their weaknesses/groom their young players for a championship type coach.

He is a take what you have and tell them what to do, but not design or show them what to do coach. Plus, he’s coached as if he had to win every game to keep his job (which is probably true) coach. .That’s why Joe was run into the ground and why players aren’t getting development minutes b/c he feels (rightly or wrongly) that he has to win every battle (regular season games) with little regard to winning the war (postseason). So, until you have an answer to the coaching, I can’t see even talking about what we should do next. If I could pick any coach, then our current team is in play and I’d think about what to do with the roster spots occupied by Solo, Randolph, and Mario. If not, I’d look at what I can get for Marvin, Josh, Acie and our draft picks in order to fit Woodson’s limited scheme.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 14th, 2009
1:29 am

A few things to respond to from the previous blog…

“Josh’s assists are offset by the fact that he turns the ball over at about the same rate as he gets assists. He blocks fewer shots than he used to and, more importantly, he is still a mediocre-to-poor on-ball defender. He’s not our best inside scorer – Horford is.

I couldn’t possibly disagree more strongly with this. Horford has two post moves: turnaround jumper (which gets blocked any time someone over 7 feet is guarding him) and awkward, mechanical jump hook (which is hit or miss at best). He is a fine defensive player and a fine rebounder but he has nowhere near the fluidity and confidence that Josh has as a post scorer. And it’s not like either one gets regular opportunities so you can’t really attribute this to touches either. Josh has a lot of room for growth (he needs to learn how to use his off hand), but he is pretty good with his left hand and pretty good at faking people into the air to draw fouls. Horford at this point in time has no clue how to draw fouls in the post, which is absolutely crucial to becoming a reliable post scorer.

“Which is why I have said (ad nauseum for sure) that we need a “part-time” defensive center more than we need to trade Marvin or Smith for a full-time center.”

This is truth. There are not a lot of legit two-way centers in the league, and partly because of this flawed centers who show flashes of playing on both ends get way overpaid (see Kaman, Chris and Dalembert, Samuel). I don’t think it would be that hard to find someone like Kendrick Perkins in the draft or in free agency (Perkins was drafted #27 overall), or to find a posse of two or three role players who each fill a slightly different role and together have a big impact (like the Nuggets currently have with Nene, Kenyon Martin, and the Birdman).

“I see Biedrins as a decent defender. I’m certainly not attacking him as a player. However, how hard is it to look good on defense, when you’re playing for a team that has almost nobody that actually plays defense?”

Good point… this often comes up when talking about 20-point scorers on bad teams, but it makes sense that it would apply on defense as well. Marcus Camby put up some monstrous defensive stats last year on a Nuggets team that couldn’t stop anyone… this year without him they are somehow much better defensively.

mykhalc

May 14th, 2009
1:30 am

no snap decision here…3 yrs thinkin’ about it…2 yrs knowin’ for sure…WOODSON IS CLUELESS…PERIOD!!! he’s gotta go!!!

BosnianBaller

May 14th, 2009
1:31 am

Re-sign Bibby.Trade for Jack and also trade Marvin in some way.Sign Rasheed Wallace to help inside by doing so he would help Horfords inside game by mentoring him like Wallace did to Jermaine O’Neal in Portland.

You can’t blow it all up.They have to decide to keep or trade Horford or williams.I’D pick Williams.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 14th, 2009
1:33 am

Oh yeah, and love him or hate him, if there really are people who think Josh Smith is the reason the Hawks lost Game 4, they need their heads examined. He was the only player in that game playing like he wanted to be there. Everyone else played like they either belonged on the operating table or on a Caribbean beach. Without him the Hawks lose that game by 40.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 14th, 2009
1:42 am

Love the suggestions for J-Smoove’s improvement though. If he makes that 15-footer as automatic as Haslem does and learns how to use his right hand in the post, he will be deadly.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 14th, 2009
1:57 am

About Bibby… one thing we still don’t know with any level of certainty is how much he wants to get paid. Obviously nobody is going to pay him $15 million, but he could easily price himself out of the Hawks’ reach with his own demands (he wouldn’t be the first veteran angling for his last major contract to overprice himself on the free agent market).

I’ve said before and I still believe that if he leaves and Acie Law is given the reins, Acie might struggle at first but he’ll be fine as the starter in the long run. I still haven’t forgotten how lost Boston’s current triple-double machine Rajon Rondo looked as recently as two years ago. But if Bibby is willing to sign for $5-6 million a year the Hawks would seriously have to consider bringing him back, even with the questions about his defense as Ando mentioned. Bring him back for a three year deal and you can work Acie into the rotation slowly, so that by the end of Bibby’s contract when the Hawks can no longer compensate for his defensive inabilities, Acie can assume the starting role.

I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense to bring in a free agent point guard with limited experience (Rodriguez, Farmar, Price), poor decision making (Felton), or far greater salaries than Bibby would have (Hinrich). Andre Miller is a guy who will push the tempo, but who provides nothing when it comes to outside shooting. Of the PGs mentioned above I would probably prefer Jack or Sessions most based on their salary range and capabilities on the court — Jack’s the better defender and 3-point shooter, Sessions is the better playmaker/pure point guard.

But to be honest — and who knows, maybe I’m biased — I really don’t think Acie Law would be much worse than those guys if he gets a full year of starting under his belt, especially since he’s already played with the other players on this team and knows their capabilities. I just don’t think it’s wise to give up on your lottery-pick point guard, who has done nothing to show that he CAN’T handle the position full time, just because his coach refuses to rely on his bench. After all the disasters the Hawks have had at the point guard position, the last thing they need is for Acie to turn into Chauncey Billups version 2.0 with some other team.

BarkingBulldawg

May 14th, 2009
2:01 am

This column frustrates me Sekou because I like it when you seem to “get it” and your statement saying this team could only be judged by its regular season is just not “getting it”. We SQUEAKED by a team that probably would have lost a series to any other playoff team (save maybe the Pistons). The Miami series was possibly the ugliest display of playoff basketball ever (and many a-commentator said as much during their playoff coverage). Then, we go and lay a whole clutch of eggs against Cleveland. Say what you want, “healthy” or not, our team did not look like it belonged on the same court as the Cavs, despite having an arguably more talented starting five (when healthy, which we basically were – you sound exactly like Woody is going to this offseason when trying to explain being DOMINATED by the Cavs). The playoffs is EVERYTHING when analyzing our team because of the watered down regular season with peaks and valleys. Everything when analyzing Bibby, who is about what you described – a non-traditional PG who plays no D but can hit big shots at times. Everything when analyzing our coaching staff (ie Woody), who showed once again that he has lost this team and is unable to motivate or inspire them (of course that doesn’t even get into his strategic inadequacies).

As for the offseason, if we can really re-sign Bibby for less than half of what he is making (ie less than $7.5 million), then of course you re-sign him. Given the deep FA pool and the economy and I think he could indeed be a bargain. I think you still have to take advantage of this deep PG draft class and try to get your future PG at 19 (Flynn, Patty Mills?).

You are also right about not “blowing up” the team but for the wrong reason. We need to see what this team is capable of under a competent head coach before we make any significant changes. There is no telling the leap forward this team would take just having a coach who would get us in a decent offensive system and have us play smart, disciplined basketball. And, we should not risk losing a key piece (like Acie Law) just because they may be expendable or underachieving in Woody’s “system” if you can even call it that.

We also need to add depth (as mentioned). We do not have (or use) close to the amount of depth of a playoff team. Really though, is there any point if you wont use the depth we have? Joe Johnson should not be playing more minutes than Kobe, Wade and LeBron. I don’t know another coach or organization who would have let Acie rot on the bench for two seasons instead of taking every opportunity to develop him.

I’ll stop there. It’s a shame because another year with Woody is going to be another wasted year. We cannot take a step forward as an organization to compete with the elite teams with this guy coaching here. Please do the right thing, ASG. Bring in Van Gundy (the skinny one) or anyone, but as long as Woody is here we will NOT get the best from the talent we have.

BarkingBulldawg

May 14th, 2009
2:02 am

I will say though, I think you are DEAD ON in assessing Josh Smith.

Who knows how much maturity he would show under a new coach (yes, I am going there again) ????

BarkingBulldawg

May 14th, 2009
2:04 am

“poor decision making (Felton)”

Why don’t more people seem to realize R. Felton shoots the worst % of any starting PG in the league? He is ABSOLUTELY NOT the answer.

ken

May 14th, 2009
2:58 am

i like the ramon sessions idea, a point guard who can score and dish, most of all play defense

tbhawksfan

May 14th, 2009
3:26 am

With good coaching, every player on a roster is an asset. I don’t think Woodson sees things that way. His coaching certainly hasn’t demonstrated as much.

I hope Sund is bright enough to understand that the Hawks have lots of assets. They need to get bigger in the post, find a PG that can distribute, add depth and find the coach that will exploit the strengths of the team.

Woodson has a long history (since he got here: Tony Delk) of totally destroying any players potential who can’t immediately do what he wantsthem to do. He has been at conflict with at least one, usually more, players each year he’s been here. He and Smoove don’t talk. Is that what you want from a Head Coach?

The excuse that he’s been protecting himself because of his short contract status doesn’t wash. His only vision as coach should be to help the team reach it’s highest potential; not protect his position at the detriment of the team.

You can’t get people to do what you want them to do if they don’t respect or like you.

The only two players that I’ve heard come out to support Woody are JJ and Bibby. I think those players motivation for supporting Woody was selfish at best. Woodson iso scheme helped JJ move into the semi-elite in the league and revived Bibby’s carrer just in time for another contract. I think JJ and Bibby’s position is an example of the lack of team philosophy in Woodson’s coaching.

If you want other players to defer, you have to sell them on the idea that it is good for the team. I don’t think Woody has ever achieved that; thus the rift between certain players and the coach (and each other).

Sund took a year off to get to know the team. In the meantime moves that could have been made to help the team were not made. It seems that an hour or two of going through the local blogs would have been enough to give him a good idea of what the team needs were. I have no idea what he was doing before he got here that required him to take a year to get to know the team.

I don’t think you need to blow the team up. We have lots of young talent. Improve the size inside (even with a minor addition), implement an intelligent scheme and mend the rift between the players and the results might be surprising.

The only core player I want to replace is Bibby. His defensive liabilities are unacceptable for a starting PG. He also has no PG game in the half-court. His game is suited to come off the bench and hit a few threes, not to run the team.

I think a good coach, with a better distributing, defensive PG and a couple of minor additions and subtractions (subtractions: Solo, Rio, Hunter, Speedy, Randolf, Gardner were all dead weight that contributed nearly nothing) would love to run this group.

I still think we are in good shape, after years of Woody and the ASG, it just doesn’t seem like it anymore.

BA

May 14th, 2009
3:33 am

Start Flip and keep Acie, unless Bibby will sign for less than $8 million.

But Sessions IS nice…

smartguy

May 14th, 2009
3:40 am

Good points from myk and Najeh. We have been watching this team for long enough to know what we’d like to see changed. Obviously the offseason doesn’t start for a while, so its not like anything is going to happen right away, so lets calm down with all the calm down talk.

Most of us have been clamoring for two or three years that Mike Woodson is a horrible coach. SS, even your articles seem to indicate you would also be in favor of such a change. And let me say this about Woody, HE DID NOTHING THIS YEAR TO CHANGE MY LONG STANDING OPINION THAT HE IS AN AWFUL, AWFUL COACH.

I have also seen Joe Johnson’s complete lack of leadership (in fact, I would say he rarely gets excited when someone other than Bibby or himself makes a big play) for several years, all the while occasionally watching him with the National team. Seeing his hustle and effort when playing for the National team (or even in the all-star game) and comparing it to what we see game in and game out with the Hawks is very frustrating for Hawks fans.

To me, Josh Smith is one of the best players on the team, and also one of the reasons we did as well as we did in the playoffs. His contract is set, his upside is huge, and he’s a hometown hero…

Other than getting a competent head coach, THE MOST GLARING DEFICIENCY IS THE HAWKS INABILITY TO PROTECT THE RIM. We have got to get a legit center, not a 6′9″ power forward. For starters, the number of quality centers is very limited, and it will definitely take more than Marvin Williams to land a decent big man. Thats why I say TRADE NO SHOW JOE to accomplish that.

smartguy

May 14th, 2009
3:45 am

Woo, tbhawksfan, great stuff on the Woody, and especially the Woody, Bibby, JJ love triangle:

“The only two players that I’ve heard come out to support Woody are JJ and Bibby. I think those players motivation for supporting Woody was selfish at best. Woodson iso scheme helped JJ move into the semi-elite in the league and revived Bibby’s carrer just in time for another contract. I think JJ and Bibby’s position is an example of the lack of team philosophy in Woodson’s coaching.”

If we ever want to do more than get to the second round year by year, I would get rid of all three!

Samuel

May 14th, 2009
5:06 am

Great Blog Cuz,

I honestly believe the whole league will be spinning their wheels for the next few years anyway. We have officially entered the “King James Era”. It’s been a few years but the “AIR” apparent has finally showed up. Unless there’s another 6′9 270 plus who is bigger , faster and smarter. It really don’t matter. We’ll all be playing for second best i’m afraid.

Cuz, I had to actually go back a re-read the name you mentioned first. Josh? Didn’t you mean JJ?

I think Bibby’s resigning will be up to him IMO. If he want’s to stay and take a pay cut. Hell yea, bring him back. From the sound of things, the ATL has him “hooked”. A pretty boy with “stacks” like that and all these beautiful women down South. He’ll be back.

I really think it will be Marvin and someone else(Acie and Speedy and other dead weight) who will be moved this year. Marvin is getting better but like Ando says. One of them have to go. You don’t move Josh. He puts “butts” in the seats.

I can see us pretty much staying where we are at in the standings next year. It would be nice to think that we could move up into the top 3 and avoid Cleveland but I can’t see that without doing something “DRASTIC” like getting Howard here. Realistically, that aint happening unless he demands a trade. I think the “Big Panicky” will have to go. He can join his brother, the “Little Chiwawa” in the booth.

Big Ray

May 14th, 2009
5:58 am

Hmmmm. Very nice blog.

Niremetal,

Nice thoughts. Except….tell me how many teams (specifically in the East) are running triangle offenses and what not. Take a look around and notice that not only are there very few teams in the league running those kinds of offenses, but most of the teams in the East have either a dynamic or very solid point guard. Even the guys that don’t necessarily meet the definition of true point guard. The need for a point guard applies only too well to this team, as long as we are running the kind of offense that we are right now. Change the offensive scheme, and you can change anything you like. Of course, you know what kind of change it would take for that to happen…

Look at the East, when talking about the pg position. Rose. Rondo. Harris. Mo Williams. Rose makes that initial list because he is already that good. Then you have young guys that we will have to watch out for: Chalmers, DJ Augustin, possibly Sessions, and maybe even that kid up in Washington. Oh yeah, him. His name is Crittenton, and he’s finally getting his shot.

No, that’s not every starting pg in the East. You have solid starters like Duhon, Ford, and Calderon, Nelson, and Miller.

Am I saying Bibby can’t compete with these guys? No. He can compete with some of them. And if he can be signed for reasonable money, then please do keep them. We’ve not had a veteran pg of his caliber in way too many years, and he can FINISH a game. However, the “future” doesn’t lie in Bibby’s hands. And the transition into the future at this position needs to begin in EARNEST. No more waiting around and just letting Bibby do everything for 35 or more mpg. Get somebody in here and groom them. If it’s Law, then let’s get the show on the road. If not, then get somebody else.

As for Josh Smith and what not…well, that’s a whole other story. And I’m tired…

Ernest

May 14th, 2009
7:08 am

I’d like to see a change in the PG position. I believe the Hawks play rely on the perimeter game too much and that type of PG would be best for the second unit. I don’t believe the Hawks are fully leveraging the athleticism the team has, which could result in a higher shooting percentage and more free throws, both accomplished by attacking the basket more.

I agree this is going to be an interesting off-season….

JustaThought

May 14th, 2009
7:27 am

There is a small window of oppurtunity coming for the eastern conference teams. LaBron will be leaving Cleveland after next season (ya gotta think he will…….too much money in NYC to pass up). So it’s important that the GM don’t screw this up. If it’s going to be a coaching change, now is the time to do it, but make sure it’s the right pick. I’m really kind of “stumped” about which way to go as far as players are concern. This team needs a leader in the worst way. I think that we all know by now that JJ can not get this team to the next level by himself(and I really believe Belkin knew this). JSmoove is too inconsistant and needs to mature. This team also needs a BENCH, a strong core 2nd unit.

David

May 14th, 2009
7:38 am

Everybody makes a big deal about how much this team improves and got to the second round, but I differ. The Eastern conference was weak and they won the first round againsta a bad team and got BLOWN OUT by Cleaveland. At least last year they pushed the NBA Champs to 7 games. My concern with Bibby is that he is a huge defensive liability and can’t break down teams to create opportunities for Horford and Josh. My concern with Josh is he still isn’t mature years later. And why is Josh at the 3 pt line when we start to run our plays? My concern with Woodson is that he is a Larry Brown disciple and we play very little defense at the most important times. My concern with Joe Johnson is that he disappears. My concern with Marvin and Horford is they haven’t been on the floor enough to know.

My concern with the team is that they have NO LEADER. My concern with the ownership is that they make $$millions on the Arena and seemingly have no plan on how to take this team to the next level, which afterall, is the only thing that matters.

Sekou Smith

May 14th, 2009
7:40 am

I don’t think LeBron is going anywhere. Seriously. Teams in the East better hunker down and prepare to deal with Cleveland the same way teams in the 90s had to hunker down and deal with Jordan and Chicago. Sam nailed it when he talked about this being the LeBron era on this side of the conference divide. And outside of the Lakers, I can’t think of a single team that runs an offense that doesn’t require a big time point guard (D. Fisher is no slouch and keep in mind that the Lakers didn’t sniff the NBA Finals again until he came back) to make it run better.

Jarett Jack

May 14th, 2009
7:44 am

Nice picture of me making a turnover. Look at my hands and the ball. The one time you use my picture its of me making a turnover. Nice one Sekou!

yessir

May 14th, 2009
7:44 am

smartguy glad your not the GM. You suck!!!! and do you mykhalc. Fire them from the blog Sekou

Clyde

May 14th, 2009
7:45 am

yessir

May 14th, 2009
7:57 am

Oh I almost forgot, FIRE CLYDE!!!!!

Edo River

May 14th, 2009
8:06 am

I think alot of people are thinking what I am thinking: we are stuck behind a)LeBron, b) KG, and c) Howard. It might always be that way as long as these guys have enough support. I think is that can we find enough complimentary parts to make up for the superstar in the middle of the other teams? LeBron and Howard are going to be in the East for a lonnnnnnnnnng time. If we want to reach the promiced land, we have to find a way to make a team that will off-set their superstar shows. And I have not mentioned what Miami management may do to find support D-wade (could one of our guys end up in Miami feeding off of D-wade’s assists?

BE

May 14th, 2009
8:09 am

First of all, Marvin must go. He has been a bust and should not be a NBA starter. He is a fine player off the bench. POINT GUARD? I love Bibby, but recognize that the hawks need someone who can drive and breakdown the defense to dish it off or pull up for a quick jumper. The effective guards in the NBA are quick and unfortunately this is not Bibby. Bibby is a solid leader and he made the hawks better, but he will not take us to the next level. We have to have a slasher who can take the heat off of Johnson and be able to drive and kick it out to others.

I also think Woodson should go. Simply because he refuses to develop players on the bench. Acie Law should have been getting more playing time all year. You have to develop the future and Woodson doesn’t do that. We also need someone who can communicate with Josh Smith. So much potential being wasted, because a coach cannot get it thru Josh’s thick head to quit shooting shots from a distance. He ignores Woodson

mountain_jim

May 14th, 2009
8:13 am

I want Woody gone yesterday. He has sufficated too much potential in too many players. I like the Jack idea, and giving Acie a chance to dev with him. Have to trade someone for a defensive and rebounding center.

Trick Daddy

May 14th, 2009
8:35 am

“And outside of the Lakers, I can’t think of a single team that runs an offense that doesn’t require a big time point guard (D. Fisher is no slouch and keep in mind that the Lakers didn’t sniff the NBA Finals again until he came back) to make it run better.”

SEKOU AINT THAT THE TRUTH. MOST TEAMS DO NOT HAVE A SUPERSTAR LIKE LEBRON OR KOBE OR WADE. THE TEAMS THAT ARE NEAR THOSE GUYS TEAMS LEVEL HAVE GOOD OR GREAT POINT GUARDS. JOE IS NOT THAT SUPERSTAR TYPE SO YOU KNOW THE HAWKS BETTER HAVE A GOOD OR GREAT POINT GUARD JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE TRIES TO. AS LONG AS WOODY IS HERE THE HAWKS HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD POINT GUARD ANYWAY BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY WILL HAVE NO CHANCE AT PLAYING ANY SORT OF GOOD OFFENSE. WOODY CANT COACH OFFENSE FOR $HIT.

Clyde

May 14th, 2009
8:35 am

I like Jack but I would love to see Andre Miller in a Hawks uniform. I remember watching him play against Baron Davis and Jason Terry at the summer league they had up at Life when they were rookies. He stood out the most because he’s such a smart player.

FIRE WOODY

rodney

May 14th, 2009
8:39 am

RESIGN BIBBY!! Trade Williams or Smith, 2nd rnd pick(2010) and Law to Raptors for Bosh and Jose Calderon(Calderon can help spread the floor). Move Hardford to PF and Smith or Williams will play SF. Keep Flip and Evans, make sure ZaZa is happy. Get rid of that bum Speedy and use his salary to get a quality backup for Bibby. Don’t forget Jonny Flynn, Jeff Teague and Ty Lawson)Please develope Mario West, I seen a few games where he played some good D on some of the best offensive players in the game, but at the same time he look lost on offense. He was one of the few players that look like they weren’t scared of LeBron size and he did ok against Kobe in the last game against them. Woodson gotta develope his young players Solomon Jones need to go to big man camp he got a lil raw game that can make him a legit back upif he work on his post game this off season

Dan

May 14th, 2009
8:39 am

The talk of Acie Law being the answer at PG is just stupid. Some of you are starting to sound like the people who swore Salim Staudimire was the second coming of Reggie Miller. Where is Salim playing these days?

Face it…Acie is not going to play here. And, no, he is not going to go star somewhere else, so losing him is not that big of deal. The Hawks have to resign Bibby. If they don’t, then they have to bring in a stud replacement.

Like all of you, I do not want to go back to the dark days of winning only 20 + games. Having a good PG (Bibby!) will help keep that from happening.

Kenny Powers

May 14th, 2009
8:54 am

Good one J Jack!! Way to turn the ball over in your picture when we are considering picking you up!!

Keep Bibby and Smith, deal Johnson and Williams for a 12ft. bald eastern europe block a$$hole or a rebounding “worm” like rodman.

John Brown's Body

May 14th, 2009
8:54 am

Sekou … it’s great to see your obsessive slurping of J-Smoove is waning. You and his sycophants (starting with his kin) have created an almost uncoachable player. He’s not alone in that, certainly, among his ilk. Did Dr J have an ilk? I don’t think so.

Kenny Powers

May 14th, 2009
8:54 am

Oh, and somebody kick Acie Law the XVIIMMNMXII in the nuts.

Barry

May 14th, 2009
9:09 am

Hey Y’all:

Yes, the Hawks have to make some moves. They have the point guard they need and that is Bibby and Flip Murray. Bibby, however, is more polished and experienced in what the Hawks are doing. Letting him go would be a risk considering what we looked like before he came to Atlanta. And that was a horrible site with rookie guards who Woodson would not let control the game. It is scary to trade Bibby and draft a rookie guard because we know Woodson and his staff does not know how to coach rookie point guards. Bibby survived and trived because Woodson could not coach Bibby and put him in the “dog house” because Bibby was an established point guard in the NBA and lead quality teams. Woodson would not dare embarrass him. To play it safe, if we let Bibby go, we better get a good veteran point guard who Woodson can not destroy the players ego. I believe if Chis Paul or Devon Williams would have came here as rookies, Woodson would have destroyed their ego and young careers with his controling ways over rookies, especially point guards. He takes the creativity away from rookie point guards because in drafting them he did not really know these players game as he does the established veterans he is familiar with in the NBA. In short, he does not give great rookie players an opportunity to excell. Therefore, as long as Woody is here, we need not draft a great rookie point guard out of college. He would desroy their game and career. It is best we look for establish veteran point guards in the league.

More than that, WE NEED A CENTER.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN!! TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cj Steele

May 14th, 2009
9:11 am

I give Bibby credit for the games the Hawks won the past year and a half hes helped them alot. But they could have won alot more games if that dude could defend and penetrate more. He never put any type of pressure on the defense. He got guys in the right places to score but you gotta play both ends the floor.

dap01

May 14th, 2009
9:16 am

Thanks Sekou for a good column.

Quality PG play is important, but Bibby is clearly able to supply a small part of a successful PG. He can play no defense, name one PG is the league that is less mobile. He can not penetrate, he can only shoot. Shooting and experience are great and necessary skills but he should be paid and he should be played like the ROLE player that he is. Bibby should play only 20 minutes per game. AC or someone else who have other skills should play the remaining.

doc

May 14th, 2009
9:19 am

yup, that is right sekou and it doesnt take much knowledge to understand that the cavs are in the drivers seat for a while. i guess sund has to begin thinking in terms of what it takes to unseat them. maybe that should be the emphasis here on the blog as well. personally, i dont think they are indestructible and in this era legends and dynasties are short. many thought after 06 the spurs were young and on a run, now they look old just three short years later and out after the first round for the first time in 10 years. i thought healthy we would make the cavs struggle a bit with the team we had. maybe the late addition of joe smith would have made a difference between the teams in the regular season, dont know even if healthy; that is the type of move true contenders make as we sat quietly.

right now i am not sure it was all about health either. i would like to think so but doubt it as i see debver move on and the lakers get pressed to get out of glide mode. we never made the cavsdo that. agree with both you and najeh, josh wasnt the reason we lost the last game. as well as he played it wasnt his best game either. so with that, i say he was one of the ones that kept us from winning; that is not complimentary. there were many holding that brand of lets get to next year but as good as josh is we see it when he mails it in. the ultimate example of where their heads and hearts were at the beginning of the game was when bibby and josh watched west get a ball they both should have gotten themselves but expected the other to go get. gee both had a chance at it and i was flabbergasted to see no frigging movement by either guy. why am i sitting in the seats yelling then? it was sad to see josh point to bibby as to why didnt you challenge it when he should have been saying my bad as well.

it was also about no heart there in the end when their butts were up against the wall. they were wishing it was over and they got what they wanted. could they have won the series? no. could they have competed? uh yes. there is the rub for me and it is more than one man. the guys seem to be nice around each other but they arent quite gelling on the court if there isnt perfect allignment or the there is a missing piece or two, which is my guess, duh, but which piece?

personally, i hope it isnt wholesale turnover. it will bring out the worst in woody. then it still goes back to the same refrain doesnt it? we need a point guard and a long in the middle. i wonder if in his year of watching sund has gotten that idea yet? at some point we have to consider also do we want to pressure the ball at the start of a possession or in the paint or both? certainly if it is the former we need a different kind of point guard than bibby. if we prefer the latter then we need desperately to shore up the inside with about three more guys with bulk and length. otherwise we go no where but down.

i hope woody sits down and does a good josh and bad josh video. for that matter the whole team needs one.

as far as the chills thing, it was still a mistake to not put more effort into signing him. i saw energy when he came in each time, can anyone say that is what we got with mo coming off the bench?good guy needing to fill to big a void. orlando made the right move in seeing he didnt fit into their long term needs. he is now with us another two years and he wont get better is my guess. unfortunately, cant say the same about flip and he isnt a sure return. wrong step, cant afford to many more of those. flip was the replacement in energy, only we need it in a bigger package.

well rambling a bit obviously as many things come to mind with so many questions about the hawks at the crossroads. joe, think we can expect more organic growth? doubt it and think that window of opportunity is now gone due to contract issues if nothing else. that said, we may be in a new era and maybe the economy will work in our favor this time instead of catch us napping in the case of chills. going to be an interesting summer to say the least. got over a low bar and now have the mantle similar to the falcons, can we have two years in a row of winning seasons? that question and answer is firmly on sund’s shoulders. next bar now that we finally got some success.

now let us watch lebron get his ring then see how he handles it.