Talking about minutes

Greetings-

Hope you are doing well. It looks like Mike Bibby will play, at least from what Jeff Teague said. For what it’s worth, Bibby looked fine walking around the practice court and locker room. (For the time media were allowed into practice, he was sitting on a trainer’s table)

Mike Woodson said he’d like to know by Wednesday if Bibby can go.

To address some of the debate you all are having about Teague and his minutes, I’ll share something with you that Woodson said last week about playing time that I think might shed some light into his thinking. I’d asked him about Randolph Morris playing well at the end of one of the games – at home against New Orleans – and here is what Woodson said.

“He was excellent. He had a little pop to him and came in and played four great minutes, I thought. Guys have got to be like that. I can’t promise minutes. I’ve gotten away from that the last two years. I tell guys, ‘I’m not promising you anything. You’ve got to earn your minutes, you’ve got to make the most of them or I’ve got to go somewhere else and find it.’”

I think in a lot of ways, particularly considering that the team has a lot more to play for (and lose), this makes sense. It’s presumably easier to hand out minutes to players on a team playing .400 basketball than it is to one that is in an early fight for the division. However, the tricky part, obviously, particularly as it relates to Teague, is that it’s almost a given he’s going to make mistakes given his experience level, but the only way he’ll get experience, of course, is by playing.

That said, Woodson has said repeatedly how much he likes Teague as a player and wants to find minutes for him. For those of you who want to see him get regular minutes, would you be willing to do that if it meant putting more games at risk? I hope we can at least agree that Woodson’s rationale for playing Teague the way he plays him is that he’s trying to win each game.

That said, let’s say Teague got a steady 10 minutes, but instead of 11-3, the  Hawks were 9-5, or instead of going 52-30 this season, they go 47-35. (Purely hypothetical) Would you make that trade? (Of course, you’re banking on the team and Teague being better for it, this year and in years to come.) Or maybe you can say what’s your cutoff for wins at the expense of minutes.

On a much different note, I’m working on a story for Thursday about fan attendance. If any of you have thoughts about how the Hawks are drawing – they’re actually 5 percent ahead of last year, but crowds still seem sparse, given the team’s upward trend – and would be willing to be quoted in a story, e-mail me at ksugiura@ajc.com.

I almost forgot  – a fan e-mailed me and asked about the possibility of a “Red-out” at the Hawks-Magic game, when the Hawks will debut their red alternate road jerseys. I told him I’d share his e-mail in the blog. Here’s an excerpt:

While watching Al Horford on TNT last night, I saw the Hawks “new” red jersey that the team plans to reveal on Thanksgiving night in our nationally televised game against Orlando.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could have ALL of the fans wear “RED” to the game on that night. It would be an amazing display from our fans and send a “RED WAVE” across the country.

What are your thoughts? Let’s get the WORD OUT to our fan base!!!”

As far as white-out/black-out/your color here-out goes, I think red would be pretty cool. It would fall on the Hawks to publicize it, but just passing along the e-mail.

248 comments Add your comment

Daniel

November 24th, 2009
11:17 am

Ken-
I like your blog, it addresses the topic at hand well. But, I presented that exact argument in the blog about a week ago. Can your man get a little props?

I say you don’t give Teague any set minutes right now, we are still working out how to mix in Crawford, with Bibby and Joe. Let Teague play in situations where he can be most helpful, but I would say that as the season moves along, i.e. 25-30 games in I think that Woodson would do well to have Teague play with a more defined role.

Daniel

November 24th, 2009
11:19 am

wow- I was first, but didn’t say first, I am so proud of myself… oh, wait a minute does that count as saying first? Man, this first thing is tough…

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
11:19 am

Ken,

You shouldn’t try to explain, it will fall on def ears to the Woodson haters anyway. Some of these idiots just HAVE to find something to complain about. I’m starting to believe these dudes have some type of secret backroom plot they’re trying to conduct SMH.

Ken Sugiura

November 24th, 2009
11:23 am

My bad, Daniel – your wisdom must have seeped into my subconscious. thanks for pointing it out.

I hereby relinquish rights to the blog topic to Daniel.

How’s that?

Daniel

November 24th, 2009
11:24 am

As far as attendance, I would always like to see more people at the games, but I honestly don’t mind not having to deal with huge crowds on those Mon. games. The Hawks are currently right in the middle of the pack in terms of attendance figures. Right there with teams like San Antonio, Miami, Orlando, Detroit. No one seems to give those cities a hard time about attendance. I do think that the figures will go up particularly with the home schedule during the holiday season.

Daniel

November 24th, 2009
11:26 am

That is ok, Ken. But, I was hoping to be granted a title as well. Something like Grand Poo-Bah. I also want to apologize for my blogs being so seepy.

(Ken, I hope you know I was just kidding with you.)

Eman

November 24th, 2009
11:26 am

Ken,

The economy has played a big role on this year attendance; People just are not going to play to see a basketball game when they have to pay bills or buy food. Also, Atlanta fans are some of the most fair weather fans around!! They are band wagons jumpers!! This is from an Atlanta native and hawks, falcons, and brave fan!!!

Ken Sugiura

November 24th, 2009
11:29 am

i know you were kidding, G.P.

i tend to agree with you, Eman.

Doug

November 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Would Teague make more mistakes at present than Bibby?? Yes…he would also create much more on both ends and give the Hawks an added burst of speed-quickness. I have a hard time believing that he would cost the Hawks any games. Bibby is, at present time not even a league average point guard and is incapable of guarding the better points…and he is a very streaky shooter.

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
11:37 am

It’s never that cut and dry. Losses should not be directly related to a rookie’s minutes. If that is even a question, I would suggest that there are much larger problems involved.

On the flip side, the Hawks have a shooting guard, two point guards, and one combo guard. Teague is one of the point guards. They chose to roll with such a setup, forgoing a contract for another guard, so they must believe that either Teague is ready to contribute meaningful minutes, or Crawford is ready for some heavy lifting. That, and they apparently aren’t too concerned with injuries (or have a backup plan to sign a decent vet if certain injuries occur).

A steady diet of minutes for Teague may be the difference between desperation/short rotation, and well….NOT. If Bibby is hurt, then either Teague starts and plays some decent minutes, or Jamal starts, and you lose both his contribution off the bench, and someone to spell JJ for decent amounts of rest. It’s all a chain reaction, and it goes much further than that. (Jamal starts, the only thing close to a guard off the bench besides Teague is Evans, and then you lose your backup SF, and so on).

Let this happen come playoff time and watch the butt holes tighten up. But a short rotation is nothing new around here, and all the alibis are set.

Whatever. It will all be chalked up to “well, we won”….until the winning stops.

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
11:38 am

Attendance always falls back on game start times. It’s been stated several times by myself and fellow bloggers that 7:00 start times are tough for those of us who live and work outside the perimeter. Hence the late arrivals by most fans. I’ve noticed games that start on Friday’s at 7:30pm usually do better.

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
11:39 am

Sorry Ken, guess I should have emailed that(lol)!?

Mr. Teacher Man

November 24th, 2009
11:45 am

13th!!!! But, who really cares. I’ll be at the game on Thursday and I’ll be sure to have on RED (just hope that I’m not the only one)!!!

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
11:49 am

Oh Snap!!!!!! I missed the part about the Redout!!!!!!

Ken,

Have you talked to the Hawks or maybe to people @ AJC about getting the word out in the newspaper???!!! That would be great for everyone to come in red.

REEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDOUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!

I’ll have my red sweater on Thursday fa’sho!!

Grandad

November 24th, 2009
12:02 pm

Mychelfromatl:
Once again, why does one have to be labeled a hater just for being objective. If myself and others are labeled “haters” for having an opinion, then Woodson “lovers”, certainly cannot withstand any test of objectivity in his regard.
As for J.Teague; Ken: Your premis limited the outcome to only one variable. What if (over the course of the season) J.Teague recieved 16 min. per game [actually this is my perspective] ? During that time frame we lost 2 – 4 games early on due to inexperience and rookie mistakes. But say Mr. Woodson actually coached him up, so to speak, and our record may or may not reflect more wins by the end of the season, but, we are demonstratively better in the play-offs…now would you make that trade ? [longest sentence i've ever constructed / not even sure it's grammatically correct]

AthensSG

November 24th, 2009
12:04 pm

Doug, Bibby is better than average, especially on the road. We’re getting about the same production as last year, but keeping his minutes to about 30. That bodes well for the late season and playoffs. I think it was no coincidence – losing Bibby Sat nite and losing to an inferior team.

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
12:05 pm

In the infamous words of A.I. “Practice? We talking about practice! Practice!” Last I checked OJT plays a large part in becoming a professional. If you have a plan as I have stated in previous blogs you play these guys as much as you can now. That includes set minutes that can be adjusted depending on game time situations. A far better result than communicating you earn your minutes and not really have an opportunity to do so. Once a player earns his minutes then what’s the plan? It seems MW’s only strategy is to be reactionary. How about dictating the flow of the game? I believe the only plan MW has is playing to win the game. Well…can’t argue with that if your a box seat ticket holder entertaining a client needing some positive energy to make the deal. However, if you critique the coach and grade him on all aspects of his job. His propensity to develope his bench is base in large part on what Management gives him. Said player’s earning their minutes. And game time situations. All of which means he’s a “Not my fault” type of dude!

Go Hawks!

EW

November 24th, 2009
12:06 pm

If you’re arguing for Teague to get more minutes then you would have to assume we are a better team with him on the floor than we are with Bibby. I can’t buy that. I like Teague to spell the starters and provide a change of pace on the floor.

That said, you can’t put him in only when the game is decided to get his reps and experience. He has to be put on the floor in different situations and different times to learn. I would hate to see us handicap his growth by not playing him ENOUGH, but at the same time you play to win the game. I have a feeling Teague has his head on straight and will do his part to earn time on the floor and stay motivated.

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
12:07 pm

Sounds good to me “Grandad”. Ask Mr Teacher(lol)!

Bi Ump

November 24th, 2009
12:11 pm

Samuel, Truth Serum, Gee Mack, Daniel

It don’t matter to some of these Wannabe Terrence Moore if the Hawks went all the way to the finals or won it. They would still be complainig
about something. It’s their nature. It’s hard to break old habits.

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:11 pm

I’ll co-sign Daniel’s initial post ….

teedub

November 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

I’m not a big fan of gimmicks to get fans to show up. Sure the red would be cool, but everyone in every city for every sport is doing a fill-in-the-blank-”out”. How about we just start with a packed house for something other than a game 6/7??

Todd

Lacsho

November 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

Wow, four posts in 7 minutes, and you still don’t get it. You’ve been on the blog for a year or two and you still don’t get it, so therefore one must move on. It’s ok to agree to disagree.

Dude from the Atl, that’s so elementary calling adults names on blogs. Two thumbs up for you Mr. Internet killer.

This blog will remain split. There are those who really think Woodson is a great coach, and there are others who think he’s a horrible coach. It’s like that, and that’s the way it is (RunDmc)!!!!

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:13 pm

Agree with Grandad’s post on Teague…

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
12:16 pm

Grandad,

Take off your rose filled sunglasses. Your perpective(Although it would be nice), I seriously doubt will happen that easily.

What if those 2-4 games that we would lose turns out to be the deciding factor between having the 1rst or 2nd seed in the playoffs(and we all know how good the Hawks play at home)??

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:17 pm

Lacsho ,

I think the problem is extremism. There’s very little of the true yin-and-yang. Woody can’t be an absolutely horrible coach, or this team would never win anything. Yet some of the same problems that existed 5 years ago still exist today. I won’t say more than that, I’m tired of arguing with people who actually want to fight about it. Heh…well, virtual fight, anyway…

Lacsho

November 24th, 2009
12:17 pm

Grandad, nice post!!!

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
12:20 pm

Don’t remember this much mudslinging between bloggers last year. Must be the money! I mean really… we have more Bigs than the Hawks(lol)!

Daniel

November 24th, 2009
12:20 pm

Thanks Big Ray… but I think I will be the Grand Poo-Bah from now on.
Gotta get outta here. will check in tomorrow then off for a few days.

Seriously, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. (even Rod, Truth, Ken…et. al) (just messing with you guys) Everyone be good to each other.

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:21 pm

Mychel ,

How are you going to quantify which exact wins or losses will determine a seeding? Again, I find the idea of a team losing any number of games solely because of a coach giving a rookie a few extra minutes to be utterly preposterous.

Teams lose for many more reasons than that. If that’s why you’re losing games, then something is wrong with part of, or perhaps the REST of your starting lineup and/or rotation.

What if a starter (Bibby) is out, and it FORCES a rookie to get more playing time. Shall we then blame the rookie? Or shall we blame the starter for being out? See what I mean…

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:22 pm

Peace be to you, Daniel . Enjoy and be safe…everybody…

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
12:22 pm

Lacsho,

What the hell??? Me saying “Woodson Haters”, is considered to be a blog killer SMDH. Homie I’ve seen far worst names thrown around on this blog homie. And if me saying “Woodson Haters” make you mad then **Kanye West at VMA’s Shrug**

Lacsho

November 24th, 2009
12:27 pm

You know me Ray, I tend to see things just black and white. However, you’re right. He’s not a horrible coach, but he’s a very suspect coach. How do you still make the same mistakes year after year?

Big Ray

November 24th, 2009
12:31 pm

Lacsho,

That would be the question, and must also factor into the lack of an extension at this juncture….

Mychel,

Kanye…you had to bring his silly ass up? LOL..

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
12:39 pm

Ray,

Simply put, I’m saying suppose Woodson decides to give Teague this mandatory 15-20 mins per game that some on the blog is demanding.

Now suppose some of Teague rookie mistakes in those minutes “Clearly” causes us to lose games however many games this year.

Okay now after the season is over, and it was possible that the Hawks could have had a higher seeding if Bibby or Jamal would have played those minutes Teague was being force-feed,

You don’t think these SAME people that complain about EVERYTHING, you don’t think they not gon all-of-sudden accuse Woody for playing Teague too much, or in the wrong situation??????? I dare anyone to tell me different.

I mean I like the kid and all(Dudes better that AC without a doubt,and have played more already than AC played in his whole time here), but there has just been some situtions where me personally…I haven’t even felt comfortable with him in the game. But heck what do I know, I’m just a blogger that blogs during his downtime at work lol.

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
12:45 pm

Actually, I’m not even that opposed to Teague playing more. It’s just me responding in frustration due to all the constant whining and complaining. Good Lord!!! I can only imagine the level of b**ching that would be going on if the Hawks was 3-11.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 24th, 2009
12:59 pm

I don’t think giving Teague more minutes necessarily jeopardizes your chances of winning. Although Teague is a long way from being a consistent NBA point guard, he does provide that speed which changes up the tempo of your offense — in other words it’s not like he’s a complete liability. Giving him 15 minutes a game, especially against bad teams or in games like Saturday where the regulars went through extended stretches where they couldn’t buy a basket, probably isn’t going to hurt you. I have no problem sitting him in a close game like the Houston game, but he has only seen limited floor time in other games that were not so close.

That said, y’all seem to be severely underrating the positive impact Bibby has when he’s on the floor. He may not be quick anymore but he knows exactly how to do the little things, like hitting Joe Johnson with a pass in rhythm, spacing himself perfectly to allow Joe a driving lane and an easy kick-out pass, knocking down clutch shots and even setting screens. Do not underestimate his importance. Playing the point well involves a lot more than just quickness.

Robert

November 24th, 2009
1:03 pm

Love to see Teague play but I can’t argue what (coach of the year 2010) Woodson have done 11-3 on the top of the eastern conference got to give him props Teague will be better as long as he put in the work and the Hawks will be a better team for that.

Ramon

November 24th, 2009
1:05 pm

I think against sub .500 teams Teague can get a lot more playing time in the first half. Usually the Hawks are always in striking distance in the second half that it makes up for the first half mistakes. I would be for seeing Teague get 10 min in the first half. And depending on his play, deciding how much through the second half he plays. If Teague is in, and the +/- goes to -8 or -10 take him out right there. You need to know what you have in Teague this season, because after next year Bibby is done! So you need to know what to do with this year’s draft pick.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 24th, 2009
1:06 pm

Another thing is, we’ve been over this on these blogs before… good teams routinely continue to win games while giving their young players in-game experience. This is how the Celtics have developed Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Glen Davis into solid NBA players despite being a title contender. This is why the veteran-laden Spurs find a way to give DeJuan Blair consistent minutes. The surging Mavs have been starting rookie Rodrigue Beaubois in the midst of their injuries and continued winning instead of bringing Jason Terry into the starting lineup. Again, I’m not saying it has to be done every game, but the Hawks can very easily find ways to give Teague enough minutes to be a consistent contributor.

ILL-logical

November 24th, 2009
1:13 pm

From a fan/outside’s perspective, if the focus is on the near term then minutes may matter more in the case of Teague because he would probably cost the team some victories with rookie mistakes. However, if you look at the longer term and raise the bar from second round playoff appearances, then perhaps you operate differently.

From Woodson’s perspective: if he doesn’t win now, he is redundant. So as we debate-and this shows the level of interest in the Hawks-maybe a bit of perspective is in order.

NEW CARS

November 24th, 2009
1:14 pm

That whole don’t play the rookie because we’re trying to win games just doesn’t cut it with me. Part of Woodson’s duty is to develop his younger players and create continuity on the squad. As a coach, you have to take all of your parts and make them work for the betterment of the team. The goal is to win games and grow your younger players. If you can’t trust a young guy in November then how is he going to get on the floor in March and April.
I rank this coaching argument up there with Coach Mark Richt benching freshman running backs who miss a block that led to a stupid interception. You can play the kid without putting him in a position to fail. If we don’t, then Johnson, Bibby, and Horford are going to be worn out by playoff time, sort of like last year.

mike

November 24th, 2009
1:15 pm

the attendance number are not bad.. its the actual people that show up vs tickets sold.. also the late 2nd qtr arriving crowd is just horrible.. i get mad at myself if i miss the player intros.. IF YOU ARE NOT GONNA GO AND YOU HAVE TICKETS, GIVE THEM AWAY!!

Eric

November 24th, 2009
1:18 pm

This is the biggest knock I have with Mike Woodson, he’s seems to be falling back to playing his star players (Joe Johnson and Josh Smith) too many minutes. The one game against Denver Woodson played Teague and Evans good minutes, the Hawks blew-out one of the elite teams in the league. Since then he’s fallen back to the same ol Woody who shortens his bench and doesn’t trust his players. In his mind he only has a bench that consists of ZaZa and Crawford, this could hurt them in the long run. I look at the way Denver plays Tye Lawson and it kills me because Teague is as good or better than Lawson, but Woody just won’t let it happen.

The Hawksta

November 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

Woodson is coaching for his next contract. The more he wins now, the better chance he has of being offered a new deal. What’s the use in developing a player he might not coach if it’s his belief said player will cost him wins in the short term. Give him a new contract and you might get a different strategy.

Mychelfromatl

November 24th, 2009
1:24 pm

Najeh,

Cosign 100%. Especially about Bibby.

Ken Sugiura

November 24th, 2009
1:24 pm

good points all around. you raise an interesting question, grandad. i was thinking something similar.

and to those who say that teague’s minutes alone cannot be the sole factor in winning or losing, i’d agree. there’s always more than goes into it. i realize it’s more gray. but ultimately, every decision a coach makes is “will this help us win?” and that includes “how long can teague play?” obviously, he helps the team in different ways, otherwise he wouldn’t be out there at all. but obviously woodson doesn’t think he helps as much as bibby, otherwise he’d be starting. so i think it is fair to say that at some point, playing teague too much would be detrimental to the team’s immediate success.

and i do think part of woodson’s decision making is longer term, because he keeps saying he has to get teague minutes. (i hope this makes sense) if woodson believed that playing him would directly lead to a win in each specific game, then of course he would play him more, for the same reason he gives Josh Smith or Joe Johnson a lot of minutes. but woodson saying he wants to give him more time indicates that he realizes the long-term value of playing him.

GeeMack

November 24th, 2009
1:27 pm

Daniel gd post.

As long as Jamal is getting 30 to 35 min between the 1 & 2 guard position then I am ok with JT getting 10 min per game. JJ min. have been greatly reduced. Like I’ve said before this aint the Boston Celtic that has a group of olders players that needs resting. These guys are young let them play 38 to 40 minutes per night. If Kobe can do it year after year playing in the Olympic and going to the finals and stil play more minutes than our guys, and be more effective. Let these guys play they need the experience.

Grandad

November 24th, 2009
1:30 pm

Mychelfromatl: I agree, you did exactly as I did, when I changed the variable, You altered the outcome. We are saying the same thing – there can be more than one endgame to the original premis. Also, if I may, I am pulling for Mr. Woodson to succeed. Absolutely no venom. After the Boston game I was quick to come on board and offer congratulations to Mr. Woodson. I gave certain accounts of growth as a coach. But as K.S., and Big Ray have stated eloquently Mr. Woodson has returned to his old habits. I would say he has regressed. Some say we have only a 13 game sample, when really, we have a several yr. sample of his work. However, as always, his success = Hawks success. Last item; “rose colored glasses” nah, I quit wearing those when I was a young man and thought everyone was honest, loyal, truthful and nice.

Eric

November 24th, 2009
1:30 pm

The point is not to wear out your star players and starters, the season is long. You are going to need Joe and Josh to be fresh for a playoff run. Look around the league this rookie class of point guards are taking the N.B.A. by storm, Jennings with the Bucks Tye Lawson with the Nuggets. I think Teague is just as good, but he can’t prove it unless Woody gives him a chance!!!