Flip’s gone, time for camp

 

 

Flip Murray and Mike Woodson had a great year together, but that's history now. Murray has moved on to Charlotte and the Hawks are on the eve of training camp with a different mix of players.

Flip Murray and Mike Woodson had a great year together, but that's history now. Murray has moved on to Charlotte and the Hawks are on the eve of training camp with a different mix of players.

 

HAWKSVILLE – One last time, Flip Murray is gone.

It’s over. And it’s official.

Take one last good look at him in his Hawks uniform (above next to Hawks coach Mike Woodson) and then move on.

Charlotte’s gain is the Hawks’ loss, until you scan the recently released training camp roster and realize that guys that the man replacing Flip as the Hawks’ third guard is a player that by any measure is a far better player. Whether or not he’s a better fit on this team remains to be seen. But anyone making the argument for Flip over Jamal Crawford needs to clean the lenses on their BlueBlockers.

And don’t get me wrong, I think was extremely valuable to the Hawks’ cause last season. He was a great fit at the perfect time for a team that desperately needed a tough guy with a no-nonsense attitude coming off the bench to help energize their second unit. But this idea that Flip won games for the Hawks last season is make believe.

It never happened.

Would I have love to see Flip remain in a Hawks uniform? Sure. That would have been ideal. But him moving on to a one-year deal with the Bobcats doesn’t shift the balance of power in the Southeast Division either.

Now there are plenty of people within the Hawks organization that disagree with me. They’ve been arguing me down all summer about Flip. They contend he was far more valuable than anyone realized, that he was a stabilizing locker room presence and the unsung guts of the team. Could be. But I never witnessed that sort of impact on or off the floor.

In fact, I’d argue that Mo Evans was every bit as crucial to the Hawks’ 47-win season of a year ago. He was actually pressed into service as a starter (for an injured Marvin Williams (and the Hawks won roughly 67 percent of the games in which Evans started). Flip was never called upon to shoulder the load of say a Mike Bibby or Joe Johnson for an extended stretch of the season.

I suspect Flip’s loss will have the same impact the loss of the man he replaced (Josh Childress) had on this team the year before …

TRAINING CAMPERS

The training camp roster stands at 20 players, right at the number expected. Can’t say that there are any surprise names on the list either. You know the regulars, the guys already under guaranteed contracts for this season. What deserves further scrutiny is the eight players on the training camp roster that are looking for work. A brief breakdown of each guy and the initial outlook of his chances of securing that 13th roster spot (and perhaps the 14th if someone makes a definitive case for sticking around):

JUAN DIXON – The internal concerns about the Hawks’ point guard depth is reflected in the number of veteran guards on the camp roster, highlighted by this veteran guard. Dixon has never carved a niche for himself as a starting point guard but he’s been a factor on several teams as a situational combo guard. He’ll need a huge showing in camp to snag a roster spot.

OTHELLO HUNTER — Having already made the team this way a year ago, Hunter knows the odds are stacked against him sticking this year. The Hawks are deeper in the frontcourt and they’re not as likely to keep a developmental player on the roster if they’re only going to keep 13 players. Still, Hunter has improved as much anyone on the roster from this time a year ago. And with a strong camp, he could force the Hawks to consider keeping him.

AARON MILES – Miles made an appearance on the Hawks’ practice court during the workout season before the 2005 draft but has been basically a pro basketball journeyman since then. He’s a competitor and the kind of guy that always raises the meter defensively but he would appear to be an extreme long-shot to be here beyond the end of camp.

FRANK ROBINSON – One of the more intriguing players you’ll see in camp, Robinson continues to impress with his all-around skill (think a more skilled offensive player with Mario West-like energy). If you see him in action on a daily basis you keep asking yourself, “why isn’t this guy on someone’s roster?” Then you remember his problem is like most guys his size that play his position, they’d have to face the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson on a nightly basis in the league. But keep an eye on Mr. Robinson. He’ll turn some heads. 

GARRET SILER – Augusta’s Finest is looking svelte these days, somewhere in the neighborhood of 280 pounds or so, per one of my spies. He’s going to make you take notice because he’s usually going to be the biggest man in the room or on the floor. That doesn’t mean he’s not skilled, because he is. And that doesn’t mean the Hawks aren’t serious about gauging his long-term potential, because they are. Training camp and the preseason schedule will be the true test for Siler. If he proves he can hold up against top-flight competition over the course of the next month it’ll be hard to send him packing.

COURTNEY SIMS – I’m giving Sims the early nod as the favorite for the MOST SURPRISING CAMPER award. And it has nothing to do with the fact that he spent undergrad in Ann Arbor toiling for the Michigan basketball program. Sims was the D-League MVP last season and has matured tremendously since college. His frame (6-11 and 240 pounds) is much sturdier now and he has a face-up game that stretches beyond the 3-point line (if needed). I want to see how he deals with Al Horford and Josh Smith on a daily basis in camp. 

MARIO WEST – If folks thought West was fighting for his life to make the roster the last two years, you’d be wise to pop some popcorn for the show I expect him to put on this time around. No one outworks the maniacal former Georgia Tech standout. While he’s been nursing some nagging injuries in recent weeks, there’s no doubt he’ll crank up the energy next week. The sticking point for West, however, is his salary number. As a rookie and second year player, with a salary under $1 million, West was a fantastic investment. Three years in, though, and his roughly $1 million price tag seems a bit high (to some) for a player that you know probably won’t play much unless there are injury catastrophes in the backcourt.

MIKE WILKS – Like Dixon, Wilks looks more like veteran point guard insurance. And he’s had stints with several teams that proved he could be a legitimate NBA contributor. But the idea of another 6-foot (or thereabouts) point guard on a team that already boasts Bibby and promising rookie Jeff Teague just doesn’t add up. Barring an absolutely stunning performance in camp, I have a hard time justifying a spot for Wilks or any other undersized point guard.

287 comments Add your comment

JSS

September 25th, 2009
6:33 pm

Interesting takes… Finally time for all to put up or be gone… Oh, I went to EMU by the way… We’ll have to trade Washtenaw war stories one day… Don’t bring up last week’s game…

ILL-logical

September 25th, 2009
6:35 pm

Best wishes to Mr. Murray in his newest job. $2mill ain’t bad in any economy.But the show must go on.

And just as you predicted-no Stackhouse. The new politics of the Hawks are going to be very interesting; no more babys to sit and run over, there a number of grown men on the roster,albeit lacking in starter skills but there has to be another tone now from the staff.

Flip is just a baller; no fancy D1 hype or media generated personna. His skills keep him in the league but sometimes you have to wonder if the NBA has just a little to much show biz about itself.

Gilley

September 25th, 2009
6:39 pm

I thought Stackhouse was coming into camp???

ToeKnee

September 25th, 2009
6:42 pm

Great article sekou. Just a little puzzled about when you say that Flip’s absence will have the same impact as Josh Childress’? Could you clarify your opinion of those players and their impact on the Hawks when they left(or are leaving now I should say)? Are you saying Childress’ departure did not impact the team because we won more games, or are you saying that Childress leaving made a big difference as will flip’s departure?

JB

September 25th, 2009
6:49 pm

Sekou, thanks for the update. I love the acquisitions from the summer and believe that one of these guys could help fill out the roster (I’d love to see big Garret on the team). BTW, you may want to proof one more time before pressing “enter”. But don’t worry about it, we’re all working pretty hard these days and the words seem to run together.

John

September 25th, 2009
6:50 pm

ToeKnee, I’m going to take a stab here and say that Sekou meant that Flip’s departure will have the same effect as Childress’, as in little to none.

niremetal

September 25th, 2009
7:11 pm

That’s just brutal to have 1 spot and 8 guys competing, and 2 spots isn’t much better. My guess is that we can write off Miles, Dixon, Wilks, and (sorry Sekou) Robinson.

So assuming I’m right about that, that leaves Hunter, Siler, Sims, and Rio. My guess is that they actually do end up keeping two of the guys and taking the roster, and it’ll be West and one other. I honestly would be surprised if Siler made the cut, considering that Siler is totally unsuited for any position but center and that we now have 5 guys under contract capable of playing minutes at center (Horford, Zaza, Collins, Joe Smith, and RandMo), four of whom could be rotation players at center on most teams (all but RandMo). Sims has a bit of a better shot since he can play some PF too, but I still would be a little surprised if we burned another roster spot on a big man.

And Sekou – I’m pretty sure that from an “out of pocket” standpoint, Mario costs the same as Hunter or Robinson or Siler would because of the reimbursement rules regarding players signed to minimum-salary deals.

And is my bias towards Hunter and Rio coloring my analysis? I hope not, but probably…

niremetal

September 25th, 2009
7:12 pm

*keeping two of the guys taking the roster to 14

Sekou Smith

September 25th, 2009
7:12 pm

No problem ToeKnee,

What I’m saying is that no matter how much we might love a guy (y’all know Chil is one of my all-time favorite cats), we can all be replaced. Sometimes the blow is greater. But when it’s a reserve player, as in someone whose contribution is usually a variable anyway, replacing him is even easier than it is someone who you rely on for a starter’s contribution.

I say that only because I was beating the same drum about Chil’s before last season and shut up when I realized that even though he’s my guy, this team moved on with the guys that replaced him. Same thing goes for Flip and anybody else.

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
7:20 pm

“I suspect Flip’s loss will have the same impact the loss of the man he replaced (Josh Childress) had on this team the year before …”

Wow, you must not have loved the Philly baller. While Flip never passed and was selfish with end of quarter shots (HE NEVER PASSED IT), dude was a sick player. he was one of the first guards on this team in years who fearlessly drove to the hoop

Flappin' Hawk

September 25th, 2009
7:22 pm

Hope we all give Flip a standing O when he comes to town next season. He really was the guts of the team last year. Was shocked when Sekou said :
“They contend he was far more valuable than anyone realized, that he was a stabilizing locker room presence and the unsung guts of the team. Could be. But I never witnessed that sort of impact on or off the floor.”
I know you were at the games (so was I) but your head musta been in the popcorn if you “never witnessed that sort of impact”.
I’ve been watching this team since the early 70s. He gave us an in-your-face aggressive style that I have never seen any Hawk player exhibit. He may not have hit every shot or been the world’s most eloquent interview, but he had an on-the-court swagger that made the Hawks a better team last year. Key word…last year.
No argument Teague and Crawford made Flip expendable this year. Still hats off and thanks to Flip for last year.

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
7:23 pm

Let’s not forget that Flip cost us nothing last year. He made a little more last year than Mario would make on the QO this year — LOL. One the other hand, Crawford will cost 5x as much as Flip this year. Will he be much better? Yes, but 5x as much in salary? Idk

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
7:26 pm

“I’ve been watching this team since the early 70s. He gave us an in-your-face aggressive style that I have never seen any Hawk player exhibit. He may not have hit every shot or been the world’s most eloquent interview, but he had an on-the-court swagger that made the Hawks a better team last year. Key word…last year.”

Amen to that. Flip drove to the basket without fear. Name one guard who you have all seen do that in the last 6 years since Jason Terry was here…Acie Law? Cedric Bozeman?

Stating the Obvious

September 25th, 2009
7:27 pm

Yeah, because we just kicked ass when Jason Terry was in town…

Samuel

September 25th, 2009
7:34 pm

Absolutely right. Flip did account for much needed scoring when others(JJ,Bibby ect) weren’t getting it done. Crawford can do the same thing.

To me, we have to go with Siler and Sims. The two bigs we signed this offseason(Smith and Collins) are basically one year rentals. They’ll be moving on and moving out. I believe Sims and Siler can develop into serious players. It’s not really a gamble to sign them to a 1 year deal.

I’m just not feeling Mario this year. We got Mo for that roll this year. Why waste a spot. We don’t really need any filler PGs either. We have 4 guys(Bibby,Teague,crawford and JJ) who can play PG in spots. Why waste a roster spot on a lifetime scrubb like Dixon.

To me the choice is easy. Siler and Sims.

UGA

September 25th, 2009
7:35 pm

Sekou,

Should we have another SF on our training camp roster? Gerald Green?

And what if Sims and Siler our perform Randolph Morris? Can we release Morris and sign these 2 guys?

Thanks!

UGA

September 25th, 2009
7:36 pm

I meant out perform.

Blast

September 25th, 2009
7:52 pm

Whew! Flip finally got a job!

Yes it is brutal, Niremetal. 8 men fighting for one or two slots. NBA, baby! Mario West might not make the cut this time around.

Sekou Smith

September 25th, 2009
7:53 pm

I think it’s more wide open than you think Nire. And there’s no guarantee that any of these eight guys remains on the roster beyond training camp. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Tony

September 25th, 2009
7:56 pm

Sekou,
I’m sorry to tell you this bro but DO NOT put Lebron and D-Wade or even the champ Kobe B. in the same sentence, let alone the same room, with Joe Johnson. HE IS NOT A SUPERSTAR. You and others on this blog mention him as a superstar, i’m sorry he’s not. First of all Josh is our best player. So all you haters can get a life. Yeah that’s right. J-Smoove is our best player.
HOLLA ATCHA BOY. ATL’s Finest. Go hawks.

Sekou Smith

September 25th, 2009
8:06 pm

Wow. Flip for President, huh? Ha. Listen, I’ll state once again that I not only loved Flip’s game but I would have loved for the Hawks to be able to keep him. All I’m saying is there is life after Flip. :)

Sekou Smith

September 25th, 2009
8:11 pm

Man, I’m taking licks from every direction tonight around here. I’d have been better off going to the club with my 80s gear on and trying to get some numbers. Ha. I hear you Tony, but the point I was making re: Kobe, Wade and Joe in regards to Frank Robinson was that he’s going to have to guard elite shooting guards, guys that everybody in the league has a hard time dealing with. And If there are 10 elite shooting guards in the league and Kobe and DWade are at the top, Joe is somewhere on that list.

FREDRICK STEELE

September 25th, 2009
8:15 pm

Enter your comments here GUYS FLIP WAS A VALUABLE PART OF THE HAWKS. I PREFER FLIP TO MAURICE EVANS. AT LEAST FLIP CAN DRIBBLE. MAURICE EVANS CAN’T BREAK DOWN A DEFENDER BY DRIBBLING. I LOVED FLIP’S GAME. HE WASN’T AFRAID TO TAKE A SHOT AND HE WAS A GOOD DEFENDER. LET’S GET THIS GUY BACK SOON. TRADE MO EVANS

Big Ray

September 25th, 2009
8:15 pm

Great blog, Sekou .

I think that describes Flip’s impact to a “T”. Loved the guy, and hope he does well in Charlotte.

I can see us keeping another big man, despite the fact that we have several. As Samuel posted, Collins and Smith are 1 year deal guys. Something tells me that neither guy will be here next year. If both parties wanted that (front office and the players themselves), they would have signed longer contracts. As it is, it only takes one side to not want a longer deal, for it not to happen.

I still have hopes for Siler, but wouldn’t ignore Sims either. And Hunter is still my boy. Tough call.

‘Rio might be out of the mix this time, but I hope he can sign on elsewhere if not here. And as it is, I wouldn’t be crushed if he left. Not that I want him outta here per se, but things are changing.

It will be interesting to see how Woody approaches camp, and gets these guys in the groove for trying to make that step up. Not that we’ll get to see this for ourselves (no access to camp), but it will be interesting all the same. I think Woody is really looking forward to camp and what not, this year.

niremetal

September 25th, 2009
8:31 pm

If we cut Rio, he will turn up on the Spurs or Jazz roster at some point in the near-to-mid-term future. You heard it here first…

chuckw/deadjournalist

September 25th, 2009
8:33 pm

i was banging the drum for flip all off-season, so i hate to see him go. no question that there are guys as, or more, talented then him (for what he does as an off-the-bench scorer) but dude never got rattled. but with the other additions, the team is obviously better even without him.

someone mentioned above about another three (where’s aroise and his gerald green mantra?) because if history is any indicator, the team will have to go a stretch without marvin and/or josh or both.

hard to believe we’re only a month and change away from the important season at lease fifteen years.

chuckw/deadjournalist

September 25th, 2009
8:34 pm

nire – couldn’t agree more on ‘rio.

King Beef

September 25th, 2009
8:34 pm

Glad to see Flip’s family is still on the blog. Guts of the team. No one but his family would of said that. It is funny how much respect some of you guys give someone when they are gone. Chill was the heart of the team. Now, Flip was the guts. Flip is a journeyman no more no less. Best of luck to him, the Hawks will be fine. Flip shot 34% in the playoffs. Stop making him a hero.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2009
8:43 pm

Tribe ,

Not yelling at you, but this whole business about Crawford and his salary versus Flip’s appears to remain convoluted. We traded Acie and Claxton’s 8+ million dollar a year salaries for Crawford’s 10 million a year salary. And we let Flip go on his way. So if anything, we are now paying 10 million for a guy who can score 20 any given night, whereas we were paying close to 12 million for three guys, two of whom were giving us next to nothing.

Why are we still comparing salaries between Flip and Crawford? If we’re going to use salaries as a barometer, then should JJ be 8x as good as Flip? Because he ain’t

As Sekou mentioned, we still don’t know if Crawford is as good or better a FIT for this team, but he’s clearly a better player. Not only that, but I’d go so far as to say that bringing Crawford here was not for the purposes of replacing Flip.

I will echo Sautee and say that Crawford not only replaces Flip, but he was JJ and Bibby insurance. Bibby was not a guaranteed re-sign. And JJ hasn’t signed his contract yet. A guy who has proven he can score at a high rate when called upon? Not bad insurance in case things go sideways. Is that the situation we want? Hell no, but better preparation than we had is important. And Sund did just that.

Now let’s see if it works.

Shameless Plug Alert

September 25th, 2009
8:45 pm

…. The Hawks Fan Nest is live….

Shameless Plug Alert

September 25th, 2009
8:46 pm

Hawks Fan Nest Blog that is…

Ariose

September 25th, 2009
8:47 pm

Don’t Worry Sekou, I gotcha’ back ;-)

Lol, Flip is getting so much love, I don’t even feel the need to comment 8)

About Stack not being on the Training Camp roster: That still doesnt rule him out. He’s a career 18ppg scorer, why would he sign a non-gaurenteed contract just to attend someones camp? If the camp invites turn out to be scrubtacular and ‘Rio cant get away from that inury, Mr.Stack will probably be getting a call……from somebody. Denver and CLE are still looking.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2009
8:48 pm

ChuckW ,

Yeah I didn’t want to see him go, either. I think the drafting of Jeff Teague pretty much sealed that deal though. After all, that came after the trade for Crawford. I want to see Mario get a gig somewhere else regardless, if he isn’t kept on here.

I’d like to see another three added as well, but I think we’re going to have to settle for a combo forward. Hunter may fit this description. Very interested in whether or not Sims’ shooting range helps him make the cut.

Ariose

September 25th, 2009
8:51 pm

Ray, it’s not on the main Hawks page yet. Hurry and post the link so I can claim my rightful place as 1st!!! 8-O

cp

September 25th, 2009
8:52 pm

I would like to see Siler and Hunter make the team. Mario cant shoot nor dribble and we have Mo already so I see no need for Mario. Would have been nice to get Gerald Green in the mix but I guess we don’t have a spot for him. I think the Bobcats can sneak in the playoffs this year. They had a good chance last season but played terrible down the stretch.

ToeKnee

September 25th, 2009
8:52 pm

Thanks, that’s why I was confused because I knew how much you liked Chills, on and off the court. I just don’t know how many minutes are even left for any of these guys with the depth we finally have. I think we all hope that Woodson will improve on his substitution skills, but do you really see any of these guys doing anything more than push the main crew in practice? I think that’s a big reason Woodson likes Mario so much, because he pushes the guys in practice.

Harpie

September 25th, 2009
8:54 pm

Man, what team were you watching? Flip was huge for the Hawks last season!

Ramon

September 25th, 2009
8:59 pm

I say keep Siler and Sims. There are more unemployed swing positions who can score, than their are unemployed skilled big men who have potential and size (you can’t coach that). I would love to keep West on the inactive list as well. I still feel you need a hustle guy on the squad. Another thing is, having Sims makes Morris expendable for cash.

Ariose

September 25th, 2009
9:04 pm

Chuck!!!, 8-O

GERLAD GREEN!!!! ($800K!!!)

:twisted:

Big Ray

September 25th, 2009
9:04 pm

Ariose ,

Heh heh, sorry but you were usurped. There are 3 or 4 posts there already…post the link in a second, if I can figure this out. One way to get there is to put your mouse cursor on the “Sports” icon, then go over to the right and click on “other blogs.” When they come up, look for “Hawks Fan Nest.” Now lemme try this link:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-hawks-blog/

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
9:13 pm

Big Ray,

J Craw will hurt us in FA 2010. Do you not know this? Flip made absolute garbage money and was money for us last year. In terms of salaries, you go with Flip anyday.

That being said, I am excited as hell about Crawford. Thinking about this team gives me the chills in a good way.

Ariose

September 25th, 2009
9:14 pm

Thanks Ray. LOL…

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
9:15 pm

Um Joe may not be a “superstar” but he is the 3rd best SG in the game until further notice

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
9:17 pm

No point getting a player that only plays PG for the roster spot. Get Mario or a defensive SG/SF who can shoot 3’s (something Rio CANT do)

Reggie (The Bird and Indian)

September 25th, 2009
9:18 pm

Well folks after a season of Braves blogging, it is getting near the time to jump on here again. I was thinking I would already start to but the Braves are making it interesting again. :)

Good to be back.

Ramon

September 25th, 2009
9:20 pm

ATCQ, think about this, Crawford can actually help us in free agency next season. As he can be a great sign and trade chip for another team who doesn’t want to lose their player for nothing. When Sund is on the phone talking to other GMs about their players, do you think they’d rather hear Flip’s name or Crawford’s name?

A Tribe Called Quest

September 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

Ramon, probably Flip’s. Crawford is notoriously known as a coach killer, has never made the playoffs. I am hoping he changes this year and we go far. Flip is a very underrated player. Teams know he is a killer but won’t sign him.

Beats me

The Truth

September 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

Sorry Sekou, I can’t continue to ride this train of comparing Flip to Crawford anymore. I have nothing but good memories of Flip as a Hawk. Why don’t we just let the good memories rest in peace?

As I previously posted, I can’t believe we invite 5 PGs and not get one out of the pile as a 3rd PG. Since we have two 1-year vets in the rotation, I hope we strongly consider keeping Siler and Sims in our long range plans since bigs are hard to come by.

Reggie (The Bird and Indian)

September 25th, 2009
9:38 pm

The only bad memories I have of Flip was his buzzer shots. Did he ever make one?

Big Ray

September 25th, 2009
9:44 pm

Tribe ,

Who says he’s still here then? Come on now, you know we traded for better trade bait when we got him as well. I’m not saying he will be traded for sure, but the possibility is there. He’s got better trade value than Claxton, Law, and Flip had altogether.

And I’m not arguing that we didn’t get a good product from Flip for the money. We did.