Hope you are well. I wanted to hopefully shed some light on the Hawks’ thinking in the release of Othello Hunter (some) and also the players-only meeting (probably not a lot more than what was in the story).
First, Hunter. This is Rick Sund’s answer to why the team made the move.
“Basically, it just gives us some options for the roster. Wev’e got a two-week grace period in which we can have a 12-man roster before we have to get to a 13-man roster. It allows us to be able to look at the waiver wires a little bit right now. We have the NBDL Showcase, which coincides with this time period, so all the D-League teams are in one place.”
My sense of things is that they’ll look hard at the Showcase, see if any other NBA teams’ cuts looks intriguing, and if not, they may well go ahead and sign Hunter back. Sund said there wasn’t anything in particular they were looking for.
Said Sund, “I think we’re pretty well-covered in all the positions. I’ve had some dialogue with Woody. We’ll see what happens in the next week and a half.”
I imagine some of you pull your hair out at the notion of the team being well-covered at every position. Certainly, the Hawks could be strengthened at some spots. But I’d say it’s unlikely that there’s someone out there in the D-League or about to get cast off from an NBA roster who’s going to be significantly better than what the Hawks have now.
What was interesting to me was that the Hawks didn’t have to let Hunter go to fish around, but it would certainly appear that budget has at least something to do with it. I asked Sund about why they couldn’t just add a 10-day player if they found one, or something to that effect, and he said, “We’re going to go with a 13-man roster this year.”
In fairness, I don’t think it is that big a deal. Some teams carry the full 15. Having more would help, certainly. If a player got hurt, then you could have someone to dress out who already knows the schemes. But, these are the realities of the league and the franchise. The Nets are, or at least were, leaving one assistant coach at home on each road trip to save money.
Joe Johnson on the losing streak
From Tuesday. Questions approximated.
Q: How is this losing streak different than those in the past?
A: It’s no different. We’ve just got to get back on track.
Q: What do you have to do?
A: Just get back to playing with intensity, having fun. That’s pretty much the difference. It seems as if we’re just kind of out there, just going through the motions.
Q: Do you think players have been reading press clippings about how good they are? (For the record, I didn’t ask that. Not that it’s a bad question, but I would feel very weird asking someone if they had been reading my stories)
A: I know they haven’t been doing that. I think we’re a pretty good team, but we’ve still got a long ways to go.
Q: How long do you think the team has been ‘going through the motions’?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but we just haven’t been playing up to our capabilities.
Q: You’ve played 43, 40, 45 and 38 minutes in the last four games. How are your legs?
A: I’m a little tired, but I’ve been doing this for awhile. I’ll be alright.
Q: The team has been settling a lot for jump shots. Do you see this as a problem?
A: I do think we have to get a little more aggressive, but we’ll figure it out.
My take on his answers and where the team is. Joe is not the most expansive player on the team, and I got the impression he was either on his way out the door somewhere or didn’t feel like talking a whole lot. I think it’s noteworthy that he conceded that the team needs to be more aggressive. Players, and I suppose all of us, don’t like to admit we’ve been doing something incorrectly. For him to own that, I think, says something.
And, I think, too, the fact that they decided they needed a players-only meeting is pretty significant. It’s the first one they’ve had this season and that, more than anything, is acknowledgement that something is wrong. I don’t exactly what was said – I think it was mostly, “We’ve got to get back to playing how we were before,” meaning defending well, rebounding and running.
We’ll see how things shake out against the Nets and this weekend. I think tonight is important, even if it’s the Nets, for them to establish the rhythms and style of play that has worked so well for them.