Crawford makes a great first impression

 

 

Hawks fans are going to get a full dose of Jamal Crawford this season and it should be an exciting show.

Hawks fans are going to get a full dose of Jamal Crawford this season and if first impressions count for anything, it should be an exciting show.

HAWKSVILLE – From the minute Jamal Crawford hit the door Monday all eyes were on the Hawks’ newest addition (well, so to speak).

And he didn’t disappoint, not that anything he could have done would have disappointed the crowd of players, many of them his new teammates, hoping to get a glimpse of him in Hawks’ practice duds.

“They’re going to be (expletive) good this year,” said a visiting pro from another NBA team. “You throw JC and Joe Smith and this kid [Jeff] Teague, and they’ve got some wrinkles now that they didn’t have last season. They were already a dangerous team and now they’re really dangerous. And knowing these fans down here and what they like, they’re going to love the style this team can play. They’re going to love JC.”

Crawford loves the idea of what this Hawks team could be. He was all smiles after playing a few pickup games with guys like Marvin Williams, Al Horford, Mike Bibby and others, for the very first time.

“If you look at us on paper, you know we should be pretty good,” Williams said, “but so far I’d have to say it looks even better than I thought. It’s impressive. It’s different. Everybody knows what Jamal is capable of. And Jeff can play, man. I don’t know any other way of saying it, he can just play. And it’ll be exciting when we get everybody in here and see how the pieces fit. I truly believe we are going to be one of the most explosive teams in the league.”

Crawford wasn’t even in scoring mode on his first day (training camp starts in one week but most of the main faces have already made it back to town or are on the way). He played the role of set-up man. “Everybody knows I can score a little bit,” Crawford said modestly. “I’m a good passer, too. I love to set guys up. I always have.”

A nasty no-look pass here, another wicked dish there and his teammates, not to mention everyone else in attendance,  had seen enough.

Horford couldn’t contain his glee while watching Crawford break down a defender in the lane on one play. He let out a loud yelp when Crawford’s crossover dribble whipped from one side to the other. Horford calmed down just in time to catch the pass (yup, he was on the floor and playing in the game but clearly enjoying the spectacle) of Crawford shredding yet another ill-fated attempt to slow him down.

“I couldn’t help it,” a smiling Horford would say later. “It’s fun to watch him got o work on somebody. I’m just excited, man. Training camp is going to be so competitive and it’s because we have some of these [new] guys coming in that will stir it up. I can’t wait to get going.”

OTHER NEW FACES

Crawford wasn’t the only new face to open a few eyes Monday. Training camp invitee Courtney Sims made his first appearance at the John “Beans” Beckett Invitational and did not disappoint.

Sims is a solid 6-11, 240-pounder that didn’t seem at all out of place banging against the likes of Horford, Randolph Morris, Othello Hunter and Garrett Siler – the other true bigs on the floor for most of Monday’s action. Sims finished with authority around the rim and was as active as any big running the floor and getting his hands dirty in the rebounding battles on both ends of the floor.

“We’re going to have so many bigs now that things will change dramatically for us,” Horford said of he, Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia, the men who shouldered the bulk of the low-post burden for the Hawks last season. “You go from playing three or four guys, with Solomon Jones, to having five or six quality guys that can play and that has to make a big difference for us.”

THE WAFER RULE

Day after day veteran free agent Jerry Stackhouse turns heads during these informal workouts.

I haven’t found a player yet that isn’t convinced that he could help this Hawks team this season as versatile specialists off the bench.

Whether or not that connection ever comes to fruition is obviously not up to said players or any of us around here.

But let me offer up a cautionary tale about watching a free agent dazzle on the practice court all summer only to find work elsewhere once training camp rolls around. Von Wafer [breakout season in Houston last year and ow a teammate of former Hawks swingman Josh Childress in Greece] put on a somewhat similar type of show last summer, wowing everyone with his shooting stroke from deep and his ability to finish at the rim without any regard for whoever and whatever might be in his way.

Wafer would have helped this Hawks team tremendously last year but a decision was made to go in a different direction (one that, it should be pointed out, helped net 47 wins). It’ll be interesting to see if the Hawks look past Stackhouse (for whatever reasons) and break the Wafer Rule.

It’s not my decision, my team, my money or my main concern right now. But I don’t know that I’d be able to rationalize not trying to sign Stackhouse up if he goes anywhere this season and plays half as well as he’s played since I’ve been watching this summer.

483 comments Add your comment

Melvin

September 22nd, 2009
12:48 am

Get Stackhouse signed Sund….

Melvin

September 22nd, 2009
12:51 am

Good write up Sekou. Maybe this will eased the talk of Crawford not being able to fit in with team or if Teague could contribute. Better yet, the resurrence of Stackhouse. Hopefully, we can sign him instead of the Celtics. For some strange reason, I can see him in Boston if not the ATL….

KevinA

September 22nd, 2009
12:55 am

As being a Crawford ctitic your post is welcome news. Sims also sounds interesting. Stackhouse would be another winner. With West/Rand Mo and Flip still hanging – it will be fun to know who comes out on top. Som many players and so few slots.

KevinA

September 22nd, 2009
1:01 am

No matter what happens we cannot gripe so much about depth. With Woody we still don’t know if it takes injury to get into the rotation or will he bring in players in “waves”. Time is counting down – the season is just around the corner.

Does anybody know if the preseason games will be on radio? Oct 7th is close. If not radio will there be a place to see the game stats?

Gilley

September 22nd, 2009
1:04 am

Glad to see Jamal Crawford getting familiar with his new teammates. But the main question is where is Joe Johnson. He is usually here for the voluntary workouts..I guess since we made the playoffs he feels we ok. Say it aint so Joe. Even though he not required to showup next week, his absence makes people wonder if he isn’t happy about the lack of receiving a contract extension, is he still out partying (word to twitter) or is he doing his own thing. Just too many thoughts. I planned to cancel my NBA TV until the season starts but its right around the corner so I mind as well keep it…lol

Big Hawk Fan

September 22nd, 2009
1:04 am

Stackhouse sounds good but it appears that scoring the ball won’t be an issue this year. Why not go back with a defensive minded player that will do the dirty work and not demand 10-15 shots…( Mario West )

Gilley

September 22nd, 2009
1:06 am

I would love to have Stackhouse. But I just pray Woody actually uses him if we pick him up. Our bench is getting deep if not already, but I want Woody to use his players.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
1:40 am

Melvin ,

The idea that Jamal Crawford has any issues passing the ball is an unwarranted concern, in my opinion. His career average of 4.2 assists per game puts that idea to rest, and is almost identical to someone else’s career average of 4.4. Guess who? Joe Johnson…

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
1:41 am

Ray, ESPN is robbing people.

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
1:42 am

Why pay that much to read about John Hollinger to bash his own hometown team and consistantly tell us how Bibby is about to bite the dust….AGAIN

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
1:45 am

Outrageous price 8-O

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
1:45 am

Although, If you are one of the awesome people who HAVE subscribed please, feel free to post that info heheheh!!!! :mrgreen:

Ray, also have to agree with your thoughts on Mo & Stack. They bring different things to the table and should be used accordingly. If Woody plays his cards right it could be a beautiful situation for all involved.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
1:46 am

KevinA ,

As far as depth and Woody are concerned, personally I’d rather try and avoid concerns over past observations and “issues.” The way I see it, Woody now has adequate depth. We have some quality guys on this squad, the best squad in years. We’ve got depth. Veteran Depth . However, I think we all agree that if we’re still voicing the same concerns this year as in the past, something is wrong. And I think it will be clear what the problems are.

This roster makes me think we shouldn’t see Joe have to 40 mpg (or 39, or even 38). Notice I said “HAVE TO”. I figure the only reasonable excuse for that would be injuries. We have a number of weapons that are ready for use, if you ask me. Of course, I’m not the one coaching or GMing, so my opinion is what it is.

Ed

September 22nd, 2009
1:47 am

Good work Sekou. Appreciate your taking time away from where your heart and mind truly are nowadays. Looks as if it’s going to be another second year turn around for Rich Rod as is his history.

Let’s hope Woodrow doesn’t have a heart attack trying to juggle all the talent at his dissposal. Just thinking about a ten man rotation has to make him nervous.

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
1:48 am

Ray, I can’t lie. between stargazing or playing a pickup game…..I have my limits. Sorry stars :evil: , but I wouldn’t mind every once and awhile. I like just looking up there in the early morining or late at night.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
1:49 am

KevinA ,

Like the Summer League, some of the preseason games will be on NBATV, if you have access to that.

Last year, I found that NBA.com slacked off big time on providing preseason stats (they’d be like, 1 or 2 days behind). I think YahooSports might be better (they’re way better during the season with live in-game updates).

Ariose ,

ESPN is full of themselves. Like Nike, they act like they’re the best, and only game in town. Whatever. But just like you, if I can get the info for free, my cheapskate arse will surely take it! :) :) I have no shame…

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
1:51 am

Ariose,

Like I said on the last blog, I’m not bashing anybody for having that as a hobby or an interest. Niremetal made the point that we’re talking about b-ball on a blog, and he’s right, but that was why I made the distinction between it being a hobby/interest, and there being big money donated or otherwise poured into it on the professional level, versus real problems that we have here. But that’s just my opinion, and I’m sure y’all are about sick of that

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
1:56 am

I’ve looked at the stars plenty of times, telescope and all. It never stuck as a consistent hobby.

JSS ,

No offense meant on the subject, by the way.

You know ….

A lot is said about Teague looking good in pickup games, blah blah blah. And it’s true. You can’t judge a person by pickup games. But when guys who have been in the league for a number of years are saying that a newcomer is good…I tend to give that a little credence.

I don’t want to get too excited about Teague, and I certainly don’t expect too much out of him too early. But there’s a simple fact that we should not ignore: the same things are being said about him throughout the organization, on all levels. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong (and do it with evidence please), but I don’t recall there being that much buzz about Acie.

Again, not putting too much stock into that, and I figure somebody (if not several somebodies) will shoot such statements down as fast as they can. But it NEVER hurts for every facet of the organization to feel the same way about a draft pick. I’ll leave it at that…

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
2:05 am

KevinA ,

Meant to tell you: your series of posts yesterday were damn good. Plenty of good thoughts there, and I think some things were brought up that I hadn’t seen on here before (or at least not recently).

I think one of the biggest factors in the development of our frontcourt (and thereby their contribution) will be the willingness of our veteran guards to include them in the game more. Get them the ball more. THEY have to do this, and establish the trust/rhythm.

Woody’s job, to me, is to encourage his veteran guards to do this. But THEY have to do it. We’ve seen just how far we can go with guard play. They should know by now that the team will only be so successful (especially against the better teams) with versatility that includes the frontcourt.

I came across an article where Sekou was actually the interviewee, instead of the interviewer and author. One thing he said really stuck out to me: He said that last year (I think it was during a certain stretch of the season, but might have been the entire season) The Hawks were 11-1 when both Joe Johnson and Josh Smith score 20 or more points in a game.

That speaks volumes to me…

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
2:12 am

Sick of Ray’s opinion??? Hell Naw!!! :P

KevinA, Ditto what ray said. Great posts.

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
2:15 am

Teauge is better…..his mini camp footagehad way more action in it than Acies had in his two years as a Hawk…..sorry Acie lovers.

Ariose

September 22nd, 2009
2:17 am

Gilley, Joe took down his twitter. I think he’s probably in Arkanses spending time with his Family and working with the same trainers down there that he did in the previous off-season.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
2:18 am

Ariose ,

I read those links you provided at the end of the last blog. Interesting what Hollinger and Bucher had to say. Of course, of what was available, most of it centered on Smith (especially if you read Hollinger’s “breakout season” part on Smith). Interesting what Bucher had to say about Woody. Accurate? Who knows. It could be typical ESPN drivel. Or it could be the kind of rumblings/rumors that only the holy ESPN brotherhood of saints is privy to :roll:

Those who get angry at any possibly critical thing to say about Woody are probably better served by not reading that part. ;)

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
2:25 am

“The Hawks were 11-1 when both Joe Johnson and Josh Smith score 20 or more points in a game.”

Now, I realize that this can be taken in a number of directions. Some will want to substitute Marvin’s name in place of Josh’s. Whatever. Does it really matter? Yet, call me back when Marvin starts stringing together 20 point games regardless of whether Joe is out with injury . Nothing against Marvin, but it is what it is. We need that other serious scorer to be there ALL THE TIME, not just when times are desperate. And we need that scorer to come from the frontcourt. Who’s it gonna be?

Having said that , it may not have to be exactly that. Imagine an offense that gets the usual 20 or so from Joe, but also gets 17 apiece from Josh and Marv, and 15 from Al?

Straight murderous

Daniel ,

I have to say, that stuff you posted on planets yesterday was funny as all get out . I was about to fall out from laughing. :)

The ONLY Hawaiian Hawk Fan

September 22nd, 2009
3:01 am

All I can say is this team looks sick. Rick Sund you have done a great job and more this offseason. This team is gonna light it up this year. The biggest things working for us this year is not the added talent from Teague, Smith, and JC, but it’s the extra year of experience for our young guys. Smoove, Williams and Horford have gotten better every year while adjusting to their new roles last year. Now they can play multiple positions without and major need at the 5. If Smoove got his mid range shot going during the offseason then he would kill at the 3. Horford kills at the 4. Zaza, Siler, Smith, Hunter and hopefully Stack will hold it up at the 5. WOW. The vets here can give us the intangibles to win on the road. Craw takes more pressure off JJ. This team has sooooo many options this year. Look out world, here come the Hawks.

PS Been a Hawks fan since 1990. My PAL BBall team was called the Hawks and I’ve followed ever since. Through Nique to Mt. Mutumbo, Steve Smith, and Mookie to Terry, Abdur-Rahim and Rider to the slow resurgence of what we have now. I can’t wait to shut all these Laker and bandwagon Cavs fans here up.

The ONLY Hawaiian Hawk Fan

September 22nd, 2009
3:12 am

BTW can you get TNT to broadcast some Hawks games so I can get some here. There were only 2 regular season games on ESPN, 2nd one vs. Boston, when Smoove posterized Perkins, and the 3rd one vs. the Cavs, when the refs gave LeBron that BS call in the end, JJ had a good look though. Anyways isn’t TNT in the A? Wassup with that? I watch games if a fan of the other team is broadcasting it. If not then I look for a radio link or just watch the boring gamecast. Man you guys are sooooo lucky to be there. I wanted to watch a game in the Omni when I was a kid. Now I really want to catch a game in the Factory.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
3:32 am

Stack at the 5? Saaayyy Whaaaaaaaat? :)

KevinA

September 22nd, 2009
5:16 am

Ray,

The Hawks were 11-1 when both Joe Johnson and Josh Smith score 20 or more points in a game.

Was not aware of that stat but it only makes sense.

Geeeze I was ready for some heat lol. Lets root for Woody coach of the year. If that happens, we have seen some awesome basketball.

Big Ray

September 22nd, 2009
5:38 am

KevinA ,

For what it’s worth (less than two cents), I thought you were on point with much of what you said. Can’t argue (not that I won’t from time to time, LOL).

The ONLY Hawaiian Hawk Fan

September 22nd, 2009
6:41 am

LOL my bad. I meant Stack off the bench at the 3. Sorry I was going crazy.

clint

September 22nd, 2009
7:28 am

im actually glad joe is not at these games. too many minutes these 4 years and he should take the rest. any word on his contract extension, if we aint got joe locked up, all of these moves could be for nuthin. I still like Mo as the backup 3, gotta have some defensive minded players out there that dont think ME first. As a carolina fan, I love Stackhouse but he forgot what a good shot was when he left Dean Smith. Please Sekou, give us an update on Joe’s contract

Dos Hawkquis

September 22nd, 2009
8:13 am

BIG RAY, KEVINA, HAWAIIAN HAWK, ARIOSE, ET AL,

Okay, the Hawks have a 10 man rotation. Some say that Woodson can handle it, some say he can’t. Sund has made some excellent moves, teague and crawford appear able to step in, on que.

All things being equal, do you all see anything different that would catapult us to 1-3 seed?

or do you see a 50+ plus win season, with a 2nd round exit? and if this happens, what do you do with Woodson.

Also, we struggled mightily on the road. 12 road wins 2 years ago, 16 road wins last year. We win, on average, 34% of road games or we lose 66%, whichever way you want to look at it.

What will our additions do for us ON THE ROAD, in hostile territory?

“I don’t always watch basketball, but when I do, I prefer the Hawks. Stay thirsty my friends!”

JSS

September 22nd, 2009
8:27 am

Dos Hawkquis hit on my main point of emphasis when it comes to the Hawks. Winning on the road! No more blowouts or not showing up on the Texas Swing, No being run out of the Delta Center as an example. They took a step in winning in Miami during the 1st Round, can they make the “Great Leap Forward?”

BBgenie

September 22nd, 2009
9:15 am

Damm!! Hawks in 7!!!!!

Daniel

September 22nd, 2009
9:17 am

Ray- thanks for the props!

Daniel

September 22nd, 2009
9:28 am

Sekou- great stuff. Have you heard anything about Stack’s interest in the Hawks vs. other teams? Any other teams sniffing around?

Daniel

September 22nd, 2009
9:32 am

Dos- I am making the call for a 52 win season, which will be either 3rd or 4th seed. I think that a second round appearance is likely, and we could still lose the second round and be successful depending on how that series is played and how competitive it is. A second round sweep will be BAD for Woodson. 52 win and 6-7 game series vs the conference champ, he will probably get extended, just my opinion.

Obviously, the extra 5 wins will come from on the road, which would make us roughly a .500 level team. But, I think the bigger test for improvement will be a decrease in blow out losses. I have never seen a team that won 47 games lose so many by 20 or more as the Hawks did last year. Obviously, that has to do with youth, but that is no longer an excuse.

jerrywest

September 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

Stack’s biggest contribution will be on the road games where Hawks are notoriously weak. Stack has more 30+ points games in Boston, Orlando and Cleveland than any current Hawks player.

JSS

September 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

Ray, was never offended… Never get tired of seeing the view of others… I’m jut glad you die hards may finally start to sniff flowers instead of the landfill (Botanical Garden instead of Moreland @ I-20)

On a serious note, I hope everyone on the Northside is OK… Sekou, everyone OK in Smyrna & Vinings?

jerrywest

September 22nd, 2009
9:46 am

Stack to Hawk is 100% Sund’s call. Nobody would pay him over the veteran minimum.

Since his family already lives here, he’d take hundreds of thousands less just to stay here.

He has already had a few mega contracts. Not doing this for money anymore.

Ken Strickland

September 22nd, 2009
9:47 am

Consider the following. Last yr, we made it to the 2nd rd on the playoffs with 2 starters hobbling and JJ less than 100%. The yr before we took the Celtics to a 7gms playoff series. This yrs team has a deep, talented, versatile bench that could probably successfully compete against some of the teams in the league.

I think we’ll see the true measure of what we have this yr when playoff time comes around. The Teague and Crawford additions pretty much guarantees we’ll run more, and the addition of JSmith and Collins will improve our halfcourt OFF and DEF.

This yrs team is built for the long haul, especially the playoffs. Boston has a solid, but aging starting team, but their bench will be hard pressed to match up with our bench featuring JSmith, Zaza, Collins, Teague, Crawford and Evans. If we add Stackhouse, Boston will definitely be at a disadvantage when they go to their bench or we go to ours. With a guard rotation of JJ, Bibby, Teague, Crawford and hopefully Stackhouse, Orlando and Cleveland, with their limited backcourt depth, will be hard pressed to match up to us.

Nobody will want to go up against us in the playoffs. Our starting lineup, plus the addition of Teague and Crawford, can run with anybody, and with JSmith, Collins, Zaza and Morris coming off our bench, we have the size and depth to get physical with anybody. LIKE I SAID, WE HAVE A SOLID PLAYOFF CALIBUR TEAM. THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY EXCITING AND SUCCESSFUL ATLANTA HAWKS SEASON.

ant banks

September 22nd, 2009
9:52 am

KEN,

you do realize that if you are correct, that woody will probably get an extension. lol. i wonder does woody know you hate him so much. lol.

Nate

September 22nd, 2009
9:53 am

I wouldnt mind if they signed stackhouse but if they sign him would the other guards get playing time? We have a real good team but still we are fourth with ranking. We will see season is coming up soon.

Daniel

September 22nd, 2009
10:07 am

jerry west- if he signs for the vet min. then he wouldn’t have to take less. The league pays the vet min. salary, not the team. the issue is does Stack want to be a 3rd string Hawk? (big question there) and Does Sund want to get another pg?
I would love to see Stack on the team, IF he is willing to accept a reserve role, which means some nights he might even be wearing a suit. I really think it depends on how much of a contender he considers the Hawks to be vs. offers he might get from other top contenders.

Ken Strickland

September 22nd, 2009
10:09 am

DANIEL-excellent points.

DOS HAWKQUIS-I think Woodson has the ability to manage a 10 man rotation, he’s just chosen not to. Prior to the acquisition of MBibby, and prior to the expectations to win, he managed a 9 man rotation without difficulty.

Having trouble winning on the road is a matter of a lack of experience, talent, depth, maturity, or any combination of the above. The additions Sund has made have successfully addressed all of these issues, to varying degrees. I totally agree with DANIEL assessment of how we should evaluate our improvement. How we lose will be just as effective in measuring how we’ve improve as how many gms we win.

Hawksgirl

September 22nd, 2009
10:16 am

Stackhouse wouldnt be a bad signing. Any word on Siler?

vava74

September 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

Stack would be a nice addition, however, he is in his last wheels and his contribution would be, by default, limited.

As a security, he could be very valuable, specially in the event of short layoff by injury by any of the rotation players on the SG and SF slots.

He is a scorer, but his 3pt range is suspect, is more of a drive and pull / mid-range game type of guy and cannot provide the defense Mo brings to the table.

People around here do not appreciate Mo because he could not stop Wade nor Lebron during the playoffs, however, who does that?

jerrywest

September 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

Daniel

Hawks can pay vet-min, and its worth a few hundred thousand more to him than other team’s vet mins. His family lives here. He already has so much money that he won’t let a few hundred thousand dollar take him go away from his family.

+ League does not pay the vet – min. It pays part of vet-min.

+ Stackhouse, when not injured, is easily a second team player. When Marvin or JJ will be out, Stackhouse will slide right in for them. We could use him in so many ways that I am surprised people are counting minutes. Its a long season. Matchups issures and injuries happen. On the road, Stackhouse will be invaluable.

Ken Strickland

September 22nd, 2009
11:04 am

ANT BANKS-I don’t hate Woodson. My concern has always been about how the Hawks are being coached, rather than who coaches them. And I know you’re just pulling my leg. I have no doubt Woodson knows Sund’s refusal to grant him an extension at this point is a clear indication that he’s expecting more from him as a HC.

Sund has stocked this roster with talent, versatility, depth, size and experience. He’s addressed every excuse Woodson has previously offered, some legimate, some not so legimate. I believe he will expand his roll and spend less effort trying to get the team to play his way and allow them more freedom to play the way they’re best suited to play.

IF WOODSON COACHES THE TEAM TO A LEVEL THAT IMPROVES UPON LAST YRS SUCCESS, HE’LL DESERVE ANOTHER EXTENSION, AND I WON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT.

BONE

September 22nd, 2009
11:18 am

If we sign Stackhouse, whats the point of having mo evans.