Hawks starters good for 20 hot minutes

HAWKSVILLE – So this is what the preseason looks like when your team is good enough to know that it means nothing.

The starters play sparingly. You don’t really care if your team wins or loses. And you get to know the free agent campers and rookies a little more than you probably want to in some cases. But until we get closer to the “real” games, this is it.

With a group of reporters in his office 90 minutes before the opening tip of Monday’s game against Charlotte at Philips Arena, Hawks coach Mike Woodson admitted as much, when asked when he was going to unleash his starters for more than 20 hot minutes (by time you finish here they should be done for the night).

“When we get to Washington (Oct. 19), Miami (Oct. 22 in Jacksonville) and Orlando (Oct. 23 in Dwightlando on ESPN),” Woodson said. “Those last three [preseason games], that’s when we’ll really start to burn these guys, because those a three teams we’re going to see.”

The Hawks are going to see all three of those teams in the Southeast Division race and in the Eastern Conference playoff chase all season long. So there’s logic behind this strategy of picking and choosing when you want to press the issue in the preseason and when you want to pull back. 

As recently as last year Woodson was in winning-is-everything-even-in-the-preseason mode, to the eventual detriment of his own team (if you ask me). Guys like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith and Al Horford logged way too many minutes in the preseason last year. But Woodson insisted he was trying to teach his team how to win, even if that meant winning games that essentially meant nothing.

His mood has changed completely since then. Credit those back-to-back playoff trips, and the wisdom that comes along with them, for changing Woodson’s ways. You can credit whomever and whatever you want. Just be glad that you can watch games this time of year knowing that your team has every reason to be confident that wins and losses in October (at least early October) have no bearing on what might transpire over the next six months.

FORMER HAWKS IN THE MIX

Guys who used to wear Hawks jerseys were in the crosshairs Monday night here in Atlanta and elsewhere. Flip Murray rolled into the building with the Bobcats but didn’t play against the Hawks (something about a sore shin). Former Hawks swingman Josh Childress (below talking with my main man Branson Wright) was at the Q in Cleveland with his Olympiacos teammates, playing against LeBron and Shaq and the Cavaliers. Their replacements weren’t on the floor Monday night either. Jamal Crawford (calf) and Mo Evans (bone bruise) are still resting for the Hawks and probably will be until this time next week.

Branson Wright talks with Josh Childress

243 comments Add your comment

Big Al

October 12th, 2009
7:39 pm

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
7:49 pm

Marvin got a rebound and took the ball coast to coast for a spinning layup and the crowd roared.

Sekou Smith

October 12th, 2009
7:49 pm

There are more people at the Varsity right now than there are in here. Dang rain. You are all missing the Juan Dixon show!

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
7:49 pm

Teague is piling up the assists tonight.

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
7:50 pm

sekou – how was marvin’s layup. crowd was loud.

Melvin

October 12th, 2009
7:52 pm

Whew, I’m glad that JChill didn’t go to Cleveland. I think he would have fit in the Cavs nicely…

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
8:00 pm

Watching Cleveland(Bron, Shaq) vs Olympios(JChill, Baby Saq) on FoxOhio. Shaq looks slim as Hell. Anthony Parker is really gonna help Cleveland. A shooter who can play defense.
Listening to the Hawks
Eating Bryers All Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.

Have Fun Cuz.

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
8:01 pm

zaza can dunk.

Sekou Smith

October 12th, 2009
8:08 pm

Give Shaq his Bryers back Steamboat.

Reggie (The Bird and Indian)

October 12th, 2009
8:08 pm

Are any of these preseason games on regular TV?

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
8:11 pm

Shaq just did a signature two hand bring the whole goal down slam after doing a Michael Phelps dive on a 130lb camera man.

LeBron just gave Shaq an Alley oop slam ala Kobe and Shaq. So much for clogging the lane.

Chills still got the fro. Must be auditioning for Chris Rock’s new flick. Funny as hel_

http://www.goodhairmovie.net/site/

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
8:17 pm

Drive all night. Refs calling foul on everything this season.

Melvin

October 12th, 2009
8:21 pm

Looks like Josh is having trouble with his FTs tonite…

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
8:37 pm

I know they’re playing a bunch of Euro Punks but Cleveland really looks crisp moving the ball. It’s really commical how people say that Shaq will “CLOG THE LANE”. Really funny. Especially when the lane is what 16ft wide? Give me a break.

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
8:43 pm

It’s amazing how playing with good players can make guys look like all stars. perfect examples JChills and L Kleiza(former nuggett). They look like “Garbage” right now against the Cavs.

Anthony Parker has one of the prettiest jumpers ever.

i_am_soulstar

October 12th, 2009
8:56 pm

Did Woody make any cuts yet?

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
8:56 pm

What’s even funnier is people questioning whether Shaq would be an upgrade over Ilgauskas.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
9:15 pm

Turning into a Cavs fan, Samuel ?

ice cold

October 12th, 2009
9:18 pm

I thought clogging the lane is what made shaq so good. hes supposed to clog the lane dummy. thats what we are missing.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
9:21 pm

Well, I guess we should just hand over the championship to Lebron, since Cleveland looks so crisp against a bunch of “Euro Punks”. :lol: Sam, you’re too much….

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
9:23 pm

Man, Gerald Wallace always gives us fits. Who’s guarding him? Oh, nevermind…

Sekou Smith

October 12th, 2009
9:23 pm

Cuts are coming tomorrow. Probably just two players. Not sure yet who is going to see the turk.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
9:34 pm

Preseason or no, I’m really diggin’ Jeff Teague. Kid knows how to get to the hole, and knows how to get to the line (and what to do once he gets there). And his assist to turnover ratio currently sits at 2.67 to 1.

He won’t get this many minutes during the season, but if he’s playing like this in the minutes he DOES get, he will be a significant contributor.

ESPN

October 12th, 2009
9:35 pm

Detroit is under rated.

East
1. Celtics
2. Cavs
3. Magic
4. Detroit
5. Hawks
Detroit will pass the hawks.

Lou Dobbs

October 12th, 2009
9:45 pm

ESPN if that happens I will blame the mexicans.

niremetal

October 12th, 2009
9:50 pm

I’m with ya, Ray. One preseason game and Samuel’s already declaring Shaq a success in Cleveland? As always, I’m reserving judgment until real games are played. And yeah, I am skeptical of the Shaq trade less because I think Shaq will “clog the lane” or isn’t a better player than Ilgauskas (although really, having a 7′3 guy who can knock down 18-foot jumpers is a perfect complement to LeBron’s game) than because it leaves the Cavs with a horribly slow frontcourt on defense.

Varejao is probably the best frontcourt defender the Cavs have, but it’ll be interesting to see how many minutes he gets at C now. With Shaq as the starter and Ilgauskas backing him up, there almost always will be a player on the floor that most teams can kill off a pick and roll. And to be blunt, I don’t think Mike Brown is smart enough to figure out ways to guard against that. I’m waiting for the days that Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and other quick PGs come to town.

Who knows, maybe Shaq will pull it off. But the Suns got a lot worse in a hurry after Shaq came to town. I’m not sure why anyone would be so certain that he’ll mesh better with Cleveland and LeBron than he did with Phoenix and Nash. I’d lay odds that the Cavs repeat their performance from last year – about 60 wins and one of the top 3 seeds in the East. But I’ll also lay odds that they falter in the playoffs again.

The only thing I’m gleaning from these pre-season games is that the replacement refs need to stop making out with their whistles. 61 fouls? I mean, come on.

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
10:00 pm

Sekou,

Does Teague play a little bit like Kevin Johnson?

cdog

October 12th, 2009
10:01 pm

why is garrett siler sitting like he is doing the preseason?siler can be a big help to the team in the long run.also, is jason collins injured? these are bigs who will be needed in the long run when the season starts. atlanta will finish in the top three in the east. when the smoke clears , detroit pistons won’t be no where in sight. maybe 7th or 8th.

Melvin

October 12th, 2009
10:03 pm

cdog

October 12th, 2009
10:04 pm

sekou, the crowd will be there when it counts. the hawks will be awesome this year. they will overtake all of the east.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:09 pm

Well, I will say this.

The Cavs slow frontcourt will only be a problem against teams that have a quick frontcourt…. and know how to use it . Otherwise, they’re going to push a lot of teams around in the half court.

That’s your cue, Woody….dial it up, man…

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:12 pm

Nire ,

All I can say is Anthony Parker is going to see some serious minutes. He’s a better defender even than Delonte West, if you ask me. In fact, if Mike Brown is smart, he will use those two in tandem rather heavily against certain teams.

Either way, I don’t like the Cavs. I’m a Hawks fan, and I’m schemin’ on ways to beat those guys.

jerrywest

October 12th, 2009
10:14 pm

Marvin’s spin move was sick.

Teague tries to block on every fast break. ala Josh. The kid will get injured.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:16 pm

Melvin,

Thanks again for the link. Man, this kid really likes going to the hole. I LOVE it! Still trying not to get too excited, but I like this kid’s mentality. I watched the replay of that move, and did you see how he “looked” the help defender away? Faked the pass with his eyes and simply soared past his defender. Man, I can’t wait to see him in some regular season games. I know there are going to be some lumps and bruises along the way, but now I can see why everybody in this organization is high on him.

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
10:17 pm

Ray,

I’m always a Shaq fan, always. You’ve been on this blog long enough to know that. Nire, Championship teams have low post scorers. Centers shooting outside jumpers is “sexy” but it don’t win championships.
Again,

Shaq wasn’t the reason Phoenix crashed and burned last year.
#1- They got rid of a pretty darn good coach for a “project”. Hint, Hint.- Bad move
#2- They lost their best Player(not Nash) to a season ending injury half way through the season.
#3- Nash aged about 5 years. He stunk up the joint. He wasn’t even a top ten PG last year.
#4- They traded their best defensive player for a “showboat” named Richardson.

Shaq made All NBA. That’s All NBA.

I see you’re a bettin man like your predecessor, Ando. Save your money. “I told you sos” are much more valuable around here.

Ken Strickland

October 12th, 2009
10:19 pm

After our starting lineup we have under contract Joe Smith, Zaza, MEvans, JTeague, JCrawford, JCollins and RMorris. That’s a total of 12 players, which is the roster limit. There’s no room for any of the other players in camp to make the roster, except on the practice/inactive squad. Based on preseason results, some are already predicting Detroit and Washington will finish ahead of us. Washington is all OFF and no DEF and Detroit is what we’ve been so far, all outside shooting. If we run and play DEF, we’ll finish #3 in the East.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:23 pm

Dang. Hunter fouled out in 20 minutes. What did they do, play him at SF? :twisted:

Melvin

October 12th, 2009
10:31 pm

Ray,

The kid (Teague) can play, flat out. No need to be humble about it. He has skills and quickness that you can’t teach. He will be an impact player in this league.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:31 pm

Samuel ,

I know, but I like messin’ with ya about it. Personally, I thought Shaq to Phoenix was one of the craziest things I’d ever seen. It just didn’t fit, and the thing about it is, he never took away from what Stoudamire was able to do. As I recall, the mercurial young fella still managed a “paltry” 21 points and 8 rebounds a game. Hmm, guess he didn’t clog the lane there either.

Having said that, the Cavs will have trouble with quicker frontcourts. But only the ones who know how to take advantage of their quickness. Boston and Orlando have advantages there. But Boston is getting old, and one of Orlando’s advantages signed with Toronto. We’ll see. But I won’t hand the Cavs the crown just yet. Here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s just Shaq who makes the difference.

My pick of pivotal player on this squad? Anthony Parker. Perfect role player, will guard the 2s and 3s you don’t want Lebron to have to chase around, can hit the open shot, and blends in easily.

As for Shaq, I think he will do what he normally does: play well enough to get by until it’s important. Then he will be trouble. That’s where smart coaching will come in.

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:33 pm

Oh no! Sam , did you call Ando Nire’s predecessor? Ah hell, it’s on now! :lol:

Where’s Lorezen Wright? I need some popcorn for THIS one….:lol:

Big Ray

October 12th, 2009
10:34 pm

Melvin ,

I feel you!

Jody

October 12th, 2009
10:36 pm

Jeff Teague with another solid performance tonight. I know it’s preseason and he’s only a rookie, but the skillset he brings to the table is something that can defenitely help the Hawks this year. Plus, I like the fact that he looks up to CP3 :) .

niremetal

October 12th, 2009
10:38 pm

All that sounds nice, Samuel, except for the fact that the Suns got worse right away with Shaq – even when D’Antoni was coach and Amare was healthy. They were 37-16 and #2 seed in the West before Shaq joined the team, and went 18-11 with Shaq and ended up the #6 seed. The year before, the Suns had been the #2 seed, made the second round of the playoffs, and pushed the Spurs to 6 games. That year, the Suns were taken out in 5 games in the first round by the Spurs, with Shaq bricking free throw after free throw and getting torched by Tony Parker off the pick and roll every game, because Popovich knew Shaq was too slow to deny Parker penetration for even a heartbeat after Duncan or Oberto set the pick.

But I understand. That wasn’t Shaq’s fault. It was the fault of everyone else, but not him. After all, Shaq made the All-NBA 3rd team last year. So it couldn’t have been his fault.

Once again I ask – isn’t it possible that Shaq simply wasn’t as good a fit in Phoenix as Marion had been? Isn’t it possible that was a major contributing factor to the Suns’ drop in performance after Shaq arrived? And so isn’t it possible that Shaq won’t be a savior in Cleveland either?

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
10:39 pm

I’m not handing the crown to anybody. The top three teams are basically a toss up. I just believe Cleveland has the nod.

Again Ken, stay away from Clyde and that Rio bud. There is such a big gap between the Big 3 and the rest of the East, it aint even funny. Wake up dude. I’m a “homer” too but my gosh, get a clue.

niremetal

October 12th, 2009
10:45 pm

Ray,

Your description of Parker sounds a lot like what they traded away in Pavlovic (who was the Cavs’ best perimeter defender). If Mike Brown gives Parker significant minutes, that’ll go a long way. But like Woody, Mike Brown seems to prefer guards who are shooters, and West is a far better shooter than Parker. If he’s smart, he will play Parker a lot of minutes at the 2, because they can’t afford to have a size midmatch in the backcourt and a speed mismatch in the frontcourt.

In any case, I don’t think any of this will matter much until the playoffs unless Shaq’s arrival is a total catastrophe (which I don’t think it will be). But when the playoffs hit, I think that Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy will have little trouble exploiting the Cavs’ defensive weaknesses.

niremetal

October 12th, 2009
10:49 pm

That’s the thing about the Shaq move. The Cavs already won 60+ games, finished #1 seed, and made the conference Finals. Two years ago, they made the NBA Finals. So really, unless they win a title, getting Shaq won’t really have moved the needle.

Sekou Smith

October 12th, 2009
11:02 pm

Kevin Johnson is the best comparison I’ve heard so far, jerrywest. Great get.

Samuel

October 12th, 2009
11:07 pm

Pavlovic doesn’t have the heart and toughness that Parker has. Plus they got Moon. Also Powe and JJ Hickson who is becoming a serious player. West will move to the second unit which will be as good as anybody in the league.
Cavs
1st Unit
PG-Williams
SG- Parker
SF-Lebron
PF-Varaj
C-Shaq

2nd Unit
PG- West
SG- Gibson
SF- Moon
PF-Hickson/Powe
C-Illgask

Serious 11 players. Serious

I just think it’s time for LeBron and there’s no better player who can take him over that hump than Shaq.

Lou Dobbs

October 12th, 2009
11:10 pm

I compare teague to Acie Law.

Reggie (The Bird and Indian)

October 12th, 2009
11:13 pm

I just checked out NBA Live 10. It’s getting me pumped up for the season. Let’s go already!
Looking Forward to arguments with Sam/Rod and Mark calling me and Ray homers!