Why Iso-Joe Can Be OK

Iso-Joe in action (NBA.com)

Iso-Joe in action (NBA.com)

After covering the Hawks for a couple weeks, I can see why Iso-Joe late in games makes some of you mad. It slows the Hawks’ pace. It’s not pleasing to the eye when Johnson dominates the ball while his teammates stand and watch, makes a move to the basket and then misses. When Iso-Joe doesn’t work, it can look so bad. That’s got to be frustrating for you fans.

But what about when it does work? What you saw against the Celtics is the beauty of Iso-Joe when he’s going good (and please don’t forget that’s much more often than not). He made seven shots in the fourth quarter against the Celtics. None of them were assisted.

“They isolated us all game,” Paul Pierce said. “They’ve done that all four games, and they’ve beaten us all four games.”

To Celtics coach Doc Rivers, that’s no coincidence. When it’s not Iso-Joe, it’s Iso-Jamal, and he said that’s what will make the Hawks a dangerous team to face in the playoffs.

“Those two guys when they get the ball in one-on-one, if I’m Woody, I don’t mind that matchup whoever is guarding them,” Rivers said. “That’s what makes them great to me as a playoff team, because in the playoffs your first and second option has been taken away if you’ve done any scouting. Then it’s got to come down to guys making plays, and they have guys that can make plays. That makes them really good.”

From Woody’s perspective (and that of any coach, really), the goal late in games is to get the ball to your best playmaker(s) in positions where he/they can make plays. So then what’s the point of running plays with the intention of getting J.J. the ball in a good spot when the Hawks can just let him work over his defender in isolation? J.J. is one of the best in the league in that situation, after all.

If Johnson draws a double team, then Woody wants him to share the ball. But Woody notes that not many opponents are doubling Johnson late in games. That’s because when the Hawks spread the floor for Iso-Joe, it’s risky for a defender to leave his man to double J.J. at the top. So when Johnson is singled up with a defender in isolation, Woody is fine with him working to get his shot.

“He has to,” Woody said.

As for Johnson dominating the ball until late into the shot clock, Woody said he’s OK with that when the Hawks are in control and need to run clock. The drawback to that approach is if Johnson can’t get into position for a good look, then he passes off to Smoove late in the shot clock, leading to one of his awkward jumpers. Or someone else has to take a rushed jumper. But, think about it, everyone other than Smoove who would be on the floor with Johnson in those situations is capable of making at least a midrange jumper : Bibby, Marvin, Al, Mo and Jamal. It’s how the Hawks are built.

And while I know the gripe for some of you isn’t that the Hawks run Iso-Joe, but that they don’t mix it up late in games, consider what happened on that last play against the Suns. The Hawks tried to rub Johnson off a screen but the Suns jumped the play. That led to Crawford launching a 3-pointer for the W.

“What can they do (against isolation)?” Crawford said of opponents. “If you run a pick-and-roll they can trap you. If you try to run off a screen you might not get what you want.”

So the next time Iso-Joe goes bad and makes you mad, try to remember that opponents might hate seeing it even more than you.

MC

74 comments Add your comment

Willy

February 1st, 2010
2:51 am

Willy

February 1st, 2010
3:01 am

And a very good point. In the days after the horrible Wilkins for Manning deal, the Hawks couldn’t seem to win big games because they had no go to guy in crunch time. They still played a nice game, but you have to have that in the end of a game. Just like you have to be able to ram the football down someone’s throat on 3rd and 1, late in a game. Everything else doesn’t matter; you’re done trying to establish the run or pass. The Hawks have weapons again and it’s nice.

Iso Joe and Iso Jamal are working 67% of the time. Maybe that doesn’t work against Cleveland or Orlando, but not much does. If we don’t have someone in the middle that we can just drop the ball in on and let him do his work, playing the isolation – kick out game works well. I’ll take it.

tbhawksfan

February 1st, 2010
3:04 am

Terrible post. That’s the most superficial analysis of an offense I’ve ever seen from a professional sports writer (maybe). What about a little more cause and effect development, what about a little compare and contrast to other possible options?

Doc says we should run that O, so it’s our best choice. Doc’s team will likely have to face us in the playoffs, maybe he wants us to stick with our non-offensive scheme instead of using a more movement orientated offense that involves all the players.

I don’t think Doc Rivers is trying to help us…..maybe I’m crazy.

I think the Hawks can be better, but some things need to change.

DecentJ

February 1st, 2010
4:53 am

…let me offer this as a suggestion, please post a blog on ‘Woody’s lack of eyebrows may be a tell tale sign’….think about it, it’s scientifically proven that biggest benefit of having eyebrows is to ‘protect your vision and ability to see during bad weather’ …during these storms of losing to mediocre teams and no being able to overcome Orlando…I say GROW THE EYEBROWS back so you can have a clearer vision to overcome our teams obstacles LOL!! GO HAWKS

Marcus

February 1st, 2010
5:44 am

MC,
ya know …. you have way more NBA face time than me, but the iso-Joe still stagnates the offense. Review the tape of the start of the 2nd half of the ORL/ATL game on Thanksgiving, iso-Joe and quick jumpers by the rest coming out of halftime turned a double-digit lead into a double-digit deficit by the end of the 3Q. For some reason, even the games I get to see (non-NBA ticket), I similar offensive doldrums coming out of halftime in some games.

Clyde

February 1st, 2010
7:03 am

Jagstang76

February 1st, 2010
7:11 am

I think the Iso is an important part of the NBA offense. Maybe it shouldn’t be THE thing to do at the end of a game, but a steady diet of iso during the game is very healthy. I want to point out the main reason we were blown out by ORL: Dwight Howard. They iso’ed him down there all night long and put shooters on the perimeter for him to pass to, which spread us out. It’s a fantastic advantage that we didn’t have an answer for because no one we had could handle Howard down low. The only difference with Crawford and JJ is they aren’t posting up down low. They are facing up at the top of the circle and driving into the defense. You can’t collapse fast enough to handle Howard when he’s so close to the net, and you can’t back off the shooters. However, a defense can more easily collapse to stuff the lane when we iso JJ or Crawford. To me, we should have used pick-n-rolls with whoever had Dwight covering him to draw him away from the basket. It’s not a great solution, but we might have a better chance to getting easy baskets if he’s stuck on the perimeter. If Horford or Smoove were more dominant down low, we could do the same thing ORL does because we have shooters too. Maybe in the near future they will be the guys we are iso’ing.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
7:11 am

Did Woody write this blog, with his no offense running azz? Please!

terrell

February 1st, 2010
7:15 am

As the #3 seed we’d probably face Charlotte or Chicago. Do we really want to see either of those teams in the 1st rd? I’d much rather see Toronto. Hopefully things will change by the end of the reg season.

KevinA

February 1st, 2010
7:23 am

MC love the post. Not that I like JJ taking over but the fact you delt directly with the issue that consumes much debate. We don’t have a guard like CP3, Williams, Nash or Billips so what we have is what we have. My vote goes for a good PG rather than a upgrade in Marvin or Al or a Josh trade.

A good PG determines who get’s the ball. There are times when any one player is hot and depending on the team who has a tough match up. I would love a PG who demands team ball and good passing – or maybe you you don’t get the rock.

JJ is a unique player who plays best one on one. Jamal is also a fantastic one on one player. What is interesting is when the entire team is hot our assist level explodes and we get blow outs. To exploit that fine line level between who should get the rock needs better than a hand off. Bottom line, we have a lot of talent and need a Billips like guard to maximize our offensive skills. If that PG had defensive skills as well we might go to another level.

dap01

February 1st, 2010
7:24 am

Did you watch the playoffs last year? Joe was dead tired. There was no offensive plan to utilize our other weapons. Joe wants a new contract, Woody does not know offensem, ISO Joe is the solution for both.

Hawk Str8Talk

February 1st, 2010
7:29 am

MC, this is the first blog where I don’t think you really did a lot of research yourself and let the quotes of folks who have a serious bias to say what they said. At this point, you should have noticed that every loss is blamed on effort, energy, and not ever strategy and tactics Yes, isolation plays have value, but if you’ve watched the isolation plays this year – Joe hasn’t been successful with them this year on a regular basis. It’s arguable that Jamal has, but not Joe. I’ve never had a problem with the isolation plays. I always have a problem with them when they are done to the exclusion what has worked for the team to get the leads we’ve had. So, rarely this season have we used a heavy dose of isolation plays to get a lead and win a game, so why are we going to those plays when it’s most crucial. Isolation plays for the Hawks are not our best plays. Haven’t been since about ‘06. The Boston game was the exception to the rule if you’re watching the success rate of that strategy this year.

I’m not sure you can honestly watch the games or even look at the shooting percentage for Joe in those situations and come out of it saying – yes, using isolation plays with Joe and Jamal is the best offensive option for this team. I understand why you do it with D-Wade, LeBron, Kobe, etc, but Joe has not been good this season at making forced shots in the 4th OR passing out of those situations to a successful shot. The lack of diversity in those options or the desire to simply continue to play the ball that got us this far is what’s lacking. I’m sorry, but MC – for the first time – I think you totally missed the mark on this one.

ATLByrd

February 1st, 2010
7:34 am

I forgot to mention that the reason why I started with Josh is that he is my TEAM MVP. Without him, we are nothing! As he goes so do the Hawks…

ATLByrd

February 1st, 2010
7:37 am

what happened to my first comment…??!?!! All that typing i did to let the fans know the real deal… that’s a bunch of croc

I will not let the blog gods get to me…”Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me…”

terrell

February 1st, 2010
7:39 am

Passed on Andrew Bynum for Chills and CP3 for Marvin. Wow! Turned out pretty good, but damn!

terrell

February 1st, 2010
7:41 am

And Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay for Shellhead.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
7:45 am

And yes Rod, I’ve seen the light. Marvin is garbage. No wonder he came off the bench at UNC. The only 1 and done player that didn’ start on his college team. I’m thru making up excuses for this cat.

JoBjo

February 1st, 2010
7:59 am

will the Hawks trade Joe by the deadline so we will get some return on his investment? or just lose him this summer to free agency with no return? that would kill the Hawks for years.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
8:09 am

The Hawks aren’t trading JJ before the deadline. Are you kidding me? If he leaves this summer, then so be it. Thats why he brought in Crawdaddy. Just in case. But no way Sund trades him before the deadline when we are 3rd in the East.

O'Brien

February 1st, 2010
8:15 am

terrell,

If I’m not mistaken, the division winners will automatically be the top 3 seeds, regardless of record. So even if the Hawks have a better record than the Celtics, if Orlando wins the division, Hawks will be a #4 seed.

MC,

Did you and Mark Bradley decide to do the ISOs blog, using the good cop, bad cop routine?

From Bradley’s blog:

“It didn’t work against the Thunder. Johnson took eight of the Hawks’ 23 fourth-quarter shots; he missed five of the eight. (He had one assist — it went, naturally, to Bibby.) The Hawks lost. Against the Celtics he took nine of the Hawks’ 19 fourth-quarter shots; he made seven of the nine. The Hawks won”.

The problem with the ISOs is the Hawks don’t know when to use it. Woody and JJ have to do it on a game by game basis. If Horford has been playing lights out, then why revert to ISOs when the game is close? Continue feeding the hot hand.

If JJ is 6-17, he will still be running ISOs in the fourth, even if Josh and Al are a combined 15-20. Its one thing if the game is on the line, because I definitely would prefer JJ or Crawford taking the last shot, regardless, but even if ISOs aint working, we continue to run it.

Sure, it works against the Celtics (an aging team, and Ray Allen can’t guard JJ), but it doesn’t work against the Magic. So we need to be able to adjust, depending on opponent and game situation.

Rod from College Park

February 1st, 2010
8:27 am

terrell,

Sorry it took you so long. Marvin’s game is garbage, and it always has been. A 3 who can handle, defend, knock down the wide open 3, and get his own shot is what we need. All the other talk about a new point guard and a new center is not happening this year. Those moves would severely affect the chemistry of this team. We seriously need to upgrade the 3 position to have a chance this year. One decent player, such as say a Stephen Jackson at the 3 would change this team into a title contender. WE WILL NOT WIN A TITLE THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF HALF COURT DEFENSE. WE WILL HAVE TO OUTSCORE TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFFS TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

JoBjo

February 1st, 2010
8:32 am

Terrell. remember when the Hawks traded Dominique in the middle of one of their best seasons. It can happen. why would the Hawks just let JJ walk and not pull the trigger on a trade while we still can. ps I thought the Dominique trade was awful.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2010
9:10 am

I posted a longer response about Iso-Joe on Bradley’s artcle so I’ll keep it short here. I’m not entirely opposed to Iso-Joe, but it brings two fundamental problems. First of all, Joe doesn’t get to the free throw line off of isolation like Allen Iverson used to, for example. This means you are not even getting the other team into the penalty early to open up more opportunities offensively. Secondly, when Joe misses his jumpers, it leads to long rebounds and fast-break opportunities for the other team, especially when they have a dominant rebounder and/or a size advantage. Against a team like Boston, which the Hawks can compete with on the glass and which doesn’t have a perimeter defender that can keep up with Joe, Iso-Joe can work and has worked. Against a team like Cleveland, which can force Joe into jump shots and control the board when he misses, Iso-Joe is a terrible idea.

Astro Joe

February 1st, 2010
9:23 am

You have to wonder if Joe wil want to continue with a city that doesn’t pay attention to the team until the playoffs, a fan base that doesn’t fully appreciate his skill set and his contribution to turning around the franchise (after a decade of putrid play) and media that questions his shot selection a few days after scoring 16 points in the 4th quarter against a very good defense. He WILLL be offered comparable money by someone else. And without Joe, this team becomes comparable to the Bulls or 76ers. Several nice pieces but mostly a fairly average team not worth much excitement.

UGA

February 1st, 2010
9:29 am

ISO Joe at the end of games is fine most of the time. However, we still need to run a motion offense and move the ball around during the midst of the game. We all hate on Marvin, but really he never has a chance to do much because he never gets the ball passed to him. I really think Woody could post up Marvin some on the block and run more plays for him because he can cause some mis-matches on the block.

My only gripe with Woody is that we move the ball better from time to time on offense and I still question the switching defense sometimes. With that said, we should lock Woody up on an extension and after the Boston game, I hope the same can be done for Joe. If the Hawks can finish 2 or 3 in the East that would be awesome. We just have to find a way to stop the Magic.

Iblameurparents

February 1st, 2010
9:36 am

Please stop with all of this ball movement garbage! The purpose of running any set offense or play is to get the best shot available and or to get the ball into the hands of your best player(s) in a position where they can make plays. The best technicians(Coaches) of our time arguably Phil Jackson and Pop run sets to get the ball in their best players hands late in the game. Is this not also iso? The days of guys coming off picks for jumpers are as long gone as Reggie Miller. The game today is all about dribble penetration, drive and shoot or drive and dish. The reason this is so prevalent is due to the lack of quality bigs. In the days of the bigs it was iso-Shaq, iso-Duncan, iso-the Dream etc. Isn’t this why they put in the zone in the NBA. Those types of bigs come around once in a lifetime so now its 6′6′-6′8″ guys going off the dribble. It looks good if it works and poorly if it does not. That is todays NBA. If you were the coach would you run sets for Marvin, Josh and Al late in games? or would you iso-Joe and iso-Crawford and maybe get a kick out to Bibby and live with the results? Too much ball movement late in games is a recipe for failure as it puts the ball in the hands of guys who are incapable of getting good looks with the clock running down. Ball movement is good for 3 quarters but late in games I am going to ride my horse to the finish line and live with the results. Nothing is 100%.

doc

February 1st, 2010
9:51 am

najeh agre to take it further, also iso joe never gets his own rebounds even on the short ones as he falls away from the basket. it is rare for him even at his size to get one of his own to put back up. even rondo was doing that yesterday.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
10:12 am

Rod, I just didn’t want to give up on him at the age of 23. And he’s actually shown flashes.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
10:14 am

JoeBjo, but we hadn’t offered Dominique a 4 year 60 mill$ contract before we traded him.

terrell

February 1st, 2010
10:15 am

Iblameurparents, you cant be serious. No ball movement and Phil Jackson in the same sentence? Wow!

ILL-logical

February 1st, 2010
10:23 am

Mc, nice way to start out a Monday with a debate on the merits of Woodson’s offensive (pun intented) “system”. You have now demonstrated that you are a fair and balanced journalist and the Hawks organization will not call for your head, at least not yet.

If you want to really get the juices flowing on this board you can start with a primer on the business of the NBA: how those players who make the NBA money through endorsements are the stars and how they and their organizations make the real money.

That dialogue would demonstrate why Joe is leaving- the Atlanta market does not generate any major endorsement dollars for Hawk/Nba types- and why the organization has not addressed this issue substantively. And no pushing Al for the ALL star team doesn’t count because it showed their internal bias toward the other team members.

Most players after achieving the level of financial success that Joe has obtained want a championship; an opportunity that will not be achievable here for sevral years. However, the next highest aspiration is to make significant dollars from endorsements. The fees the Kobes and LaBrons receive from their deals dwarf the already substantial NBA paychecks and provide the league with additional revenue from product sales and additional free media exposure.And they are partners with the league and treated accordingly. Joe is leaving to get both the opportunity to compete for a championship AND to get some endorsement cheese.

Astro Joe

February 1st, 2010
10:47 am

Let’s play that childhood favorite game “One of these things is not like the other”. Likely post-season big men depth:

Cavs: Shaq, Z, Varejao and Leon Powe (remember him?)

Magic: Dwight, Rashard, Gortat and Bass

Celtics: KG, Perkins, Rasheed and Big Baby

Hawks: Horford, Smith, Zaza and Smith

Which one doesn’t quite fit?

Rod from College Park

February 1st, 2010
10:49 am

UGA,

“We all hate on Marvin, but really he never has a chance to do much because he never gets the ball passed to him. I really think Woody could post up Marvin some on the block and run more plays for him because he can cause some mis-matches on the block.”

You must not have watched many Hawks games this year or in years past. Woody has tried to get the ball to Marvin in the post many times against much smaller players, and it has failed miserably. A mismatch means nothing if you can’t take advantage of it. Marvin has no post moves. He either falls going to the hole, or gets his shot blocked by a much smaller players. This myth that Marvin Williams has some hidden game that we have not seen yet is just that, a myth. Do you honestly think that if Joe, Josh, Bibby or Horford knew that Marvin could dominate other players in a game, that they would all have a pact to not pass him the ball? Jamal just arrived this year, and his teamates don’t have a problem passing to him. Marvin’s game is garbage and his teamates know it. That is one of the problems with the Hawks. There is no leader on the team to call people out when they don’t do their jobs. Do you think that Kobe, Wade, Garnett, Lebron would not call a player out who was the #2 pick in the draft, and expected to be one of the better players on the team, if he contributed nothing to the team. Look at how Beasley has stepped up his game. Look at Rondo, Mo Williams, Delonte West. I like Joe, but that is what seperates a star from a superstar. Marvin is what he is, a wasted #2 pick who honestly will be lucky to stay in the league after he leaves the Hawks. I personally hope that that is sooner than later. I did not like his game in college, and he has done nothing in the pros to change my mind.

Daniel

February 1st, 2010
10:54 am

Astro- Loved your 9:30 post. Should be required reading.

Ill- First let me say you know you are my man. But, dude you are way off base with the whole endorsement dollars thing. Atlanta is a plenty good enough market to make endorsement money. I mean are you really suggesting that Clevland ?!?! is somehow the endorsement capital of the USA? You theory breaks down, because what Knick is currently receiving significant endorsements? But LeBron (Clevland), Howard (Orlando) and Paul (NO) are doing quite well. They have star power because of playoff success and style of play. Joe may get more star power with more playoff success but his personality and style of play are just not consistent with the NBA “stars”. I will say this again “Joe is not leaving Atlanta”. Another team can only offer a max deal based on years of service without crippling the rest of their franchise. Atlanta has already made a near max deal offer. It benefits both Joe and the franchise from a salary cap perspective to become “free” because we can then offer more money at more years with less cap hit than any other team. (the Bird rule) He is not going to NY or NJ, and unless he wants to play for less to play with Clevland or Orlando there is no other reasonable destination. Remember the NBA salary cap structure is designed to keep star players with one team, they only move at the end of their careers when they are trying to get a ring (Artest), not in the prime of their careers, and honestly the Hawks are primed over the next 3 seasons to be a very serious contender. Why leave?

Daniel

February 1st, 2010
10:55 am

Astro: Let me guess. the Celtics? Since KG is done, Big Baby is just that and Wallace has been a bust? (you know they have lost 11 of their last 17)
Clevland? older players who will be hurt by March?
Orlando?- well, dang, nothing really to say here except they are good.
Atlanta- undersized, athletic, defensively aggressive?

Michael Cunningham

February 1st, 2010
10:56 am

@tbhawksfan: so what you are saying is Doc made these comments because he wants Woody to keep running Iso when that strategy has worked against the Celtics all season? dang, Doc is one crafty dude.

@Hawk Str8Talk: no need to apologize, i prefer disagreement. it’s more fun.

“So, rarely this season have we used a heavy dose of isolation plays to get a lead and win a game, so why are we going to those plays when it’s most crucial.” i gave you Woody’s explanation above. i gave you Doc’s analysis of why it can cause problems. i included Jama’s view of it. you don’t like it, cool. sure, these people are biased towards their own opinion– i mean, who isn’t, probably even you–but that doesn’t mean their takes don’t have merit. and since you are aware of how they might favor their own view, it’s on you to decide their merit. or maybe you aren’t interested in any views on Iso-Joe that don’t lead to the conclusion you favor? i’m willing to keep watching and see what happens.

@Najeh: like it, especially this part: “First of all, Joe doesn’t get to the free throw line off of isolation like Allen Iverson used to, for example.”

@O’Brien: i didn’t see Bradley’s post until i was about to hit “send” on mine. does this mean i am the bad cop? because the bad cop is always cooler. and i feel you on the “hot hand” theory. we’ll see how it develops.

@ Ill-Logical: actually, from what i can tell, Joe isn’t really interesting in that kind of stuff. from recent Yahoo article: “I enjoy playing under the radar,” Johnson said. “I’m just a low-key kind of guy, man. I try not to grab too much attention. But I just play the game the right way and kind of go about my business.” http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-afterthebuzzer012910&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Big Ray

February 1st, 2010
10:56 am

MC ,

Great blog!

I’ll co-sign Najeh Davenpoop and Hawkstr8talk .

Iblameurparents makes some good points. Only problem is he/she mentioned dominant players . The Dream, Shaq, Duncan. Even the 6′6″ -6′8″ guys (whom you didn’t name, but we’ll just call them Lebron and Kobe anyway). Guess what they all have in common that Joe Johnson does not? Two things: a great shooting percentage in those situations and throughout their careers overall….and the ability to get to the free throw line at those times.

Joe no do dat too much. How many times have we seen these ISO plays-

1. Wade, 4th quarter, to the hole. Foul or score. Sometimes both.

2. Lebron, 4th quarter, to the hole. Foul or score. Sometimes both.

3. Brandon Roy (when healthy). Ditto.

4. Carmelo Anthony. Ditto. When Chauncey isn’t doing it, that is.

5. Joe Johnson. Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble…..dribble, dribble, dribble. Shot. Make or miss, and miss followed by a nearly guaranteed defensive rebound by the opposing team.

I’ll quote Rick Sund (paraphrased): “I looked at what he was able to do in the 4th quarter, and that was one of the biggest things that swayed me in the decision to acquire him.”

He was talking about Jamal Crawford. That alone tells you he knew his single “lone operator” wasn’t nearly enough to get the job done. He needed another one. One with a different method (read: speed).

And, he takes a lot of the shot clock to get his ISO shot off. It’s just his nature. Does ISO Joe work sometimes? Sure. Works plenty of times, but are we talking about in plenty of games, or just plenty situations? How about plenty of plays? Yes, Joe is more likely than not to beat an opponent when he’s singled out one-on-one….assuming no help is coming (is that what we call a late double team?).

I can certainly see using it to win a tight game, or to cruise on out when a game is well under control. But what about when it’s not working? What about when we’re trying to use it to get BACK into a game? What about when we’re playing different teams? The ISO works like magic against the Celtics, but uh….we only played them 4 times this season. By my count, that means we have 78 other games to worry about.

Yeah, I love the ISO when it works. I hate it when it doesn’t. But I also know why we got Jamal. I also see other teams using the ISO as bait, getting guys good open looks. Do we do that? When is the last time Mike Bibby hit a clutch jumper? I’m not hatin’, I’m just asking. When we go ISO, that’s just it. There is no plan B. Unless of course you count throwing a bail out pass to the one guy who can usually get to it, but you don’t want shooting that far away, that late in the game: Josh Smith.

Rod from College Park

February 1st, 2010
10:57 am

terrell,

Stop worrying about his age. Look at how many years he has been in the league. You look at age when it is a young player who has not gotten much time and has shown flashes of brilliance such as Kobe or Jermaine O’neal. Marvin has played significant minutes from day 1, and has not improved. The only part of his game that changed was his ability to hit the three occasionally. Still no handles, still no post game, Still clumsy, still not aggressive, still can’t guard his position…… His only strength is free throw shooting and rebounding. You could find guys in the D-league or high school who could do that.

GeeMack

February 1st, 2010
10:59 am

Rod from College Park

You really don’t like MW game?

Rod you from Collie Park or College Park?

Daniel

February 1st, 2010
11:02 am

Also, as far as the comments from Najeh and Ray about Joe not going to the line enough. I totally agree that is a major issue. I will say that Joe does not get the calls that Wade, Lebron and Kobe get either. I mean my goodness Lebron could be called for an offensive foul virtually every time he drives the hole. Joe does drive and gets hacked but does not get to the line. Is it a respect thing? Does Joe need to pump fake more (ala Pierce)? I would agree that the lack of foul shots generated by the Iso Joe play is probably the biggest problem with it.

Grandad

February 1st, 2010
11:03 am

MC:

Okay, for the sake of debate, lets say your premis has merit.
Why do the remaining players have to stand still.
Why no player movement, which would occupy defenders and decrease the possibility of doule teams.
Why not be creative and let Joe set the screen for jamal on the P & R.
You double the ball and the cutter [roll,Joe] is wide open.
What about posting up Joe, to get the ball to your playmaker.
Also why does Josh have to be on the perimeter as a kick out.
Couldn’t Josh set the screen on P & R then cut therefore a great
athlete is going toward basket, instead of a poor shooter spotted up juyst inside the arc.
Wdsn has no clue.
Offensive basketball…he shoudn’t even try to discuss.
He just shows his lack of:
understanding, accuity, system, imagination, innovation, and philosophy!

Big Ray

February 1st, 2010
11:04 am

Astro Joe ,

JJ didn’t like where he was when he came here, and that was with a much better team, one that had a solid chance at going all the way (injury derailed them, for one thing). So if he doesn’t want to continue here, then that does not surprise me one bit. This stuff happens. Life as we know it will go on. I’m not saying “get the hell out, JJ.” By the way, if we’re to be comparable to the Bulls, then we didn’t lose out too badly. Other teams have come out worse, having lost bigger stars. The Sixers? Well, that’s a different story altogether. As I see it, we don’t have any gigantic contracts tying us down to a single player who is supposed to take us to the promised land (but can’t by a long stretch), while having another large chunk invested in a guy we don’t know what to do with. We have good talent at a reasonable price.

Sometimes you just lose out. This may be the case with JJ, or it may not. Like I said, he left a better team and much more winning situation when he came here. Dude can blame it on whoever he wants, fan base or anybody else. But I do believe dude got his $70 mil. Not bad for a consolation prize for having to deal with such terrible fans, eh?

Mike is Back

February 1st, 2010
11:09 am

OBrien, I agree with Bradley on his point about Josh and Al…Going down the stretch of the fourth quarter…don’t take the ball out of their hands when they got it going…just for the sake of running ISO JJ.

In some cases, we are playing right into the opponents hand going to ISO JJ late in the game…when you think about it…they don’t have to make adjustments in their defensive scheme…because it’s already geared towards stopping ISO JJ anyway. Josh and Al have shown that they can make clutch plays…why not switch it up sometimes and go to them first…ESPECIALLY when they got it going…THEY ARE both good at finding the open man…AND JOSH free throws are much improved…so they are viable options.

So yes, ISO JJ can be good…but when overly used, it looses it effectiveness. However, I am all for JJ taking the last shot…he is our SUPER STAR…like it or not. JJ just needs to make sure he is taking the ball to rack and not relying on his jump shot too much.

Unless you can get Kobe, LBJ, or Wade…you would be ludicrous to let JJ walk. WE DEFINITELY NEED TO RESIGN JJ. When you think about all JJ intangibles, he is definitely one of the elite players in this league.

I can live with JJ or Crawford taking the big shot with the game on the line…just don’t forget you got two future Super Stars on the rise…that can help tow the load some games…when the aforementioned guys shot are not falling.

Woody is doing a terrific job… they are still learning and growing… he will figure it out.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rod from College Park

February 1st, 2010
11:13 am

Big Ray,

Agree with you post about the ISO Joe play. Joe does not draw enough fouls for that to be our only form of offense. In Woodson’s offense, you need more than one player who can ISO, and be successful, which is why we start so slow with Marvin on the court. Changing point guards or changing centers would cause a problem with team chemistry. Upgrading the 3 would only improve the team. You can’t hurt chemistry by improving a position of someone who is invisible. With Marvin on the floor, the Hawks are usually playing 4 men against 5.

Rod from College Park

February 1st, 2010
11:16 am

Gee Mack,

You already know. Collie Park. Got to keep it professional for all these old schooler’s on the blog.

Big Ray

February 1st, 2010
11:18 am

Daniel ,

I’d almost have to say that IS the major problem in a nutshell. I watched Brandon Roy ISO us 4 or 5 plays in a row in a game last season, and win the game like that. Portland plays the slowest pace in the league, and they beat us like that.

Joe could use a pump-fake or two like that, but why hasn’t that occurred to him or somebody who has his ear by now? The guy is 28 years old. I agree that he gets hacked plenty, but I don’t know why he doesn’t get the calls, other than the fact that he doesn’t make the play believeable. I’d love to say it is a total lack of respect, but why would the refs always disrespect a guy who never gives them any flak? Maybe he needs to make more noise, I don’t know. Maybe it’s his method. He does take a while to make his move, and that may not help…but then, I couldn’t tell you for certain that this is a contribution problem, either. But then I kept trying to think about it from a different angle, and I came up with this:

The deal with an ISO play is to FORCE the issue. Joe isn’t forcing the issue as much as he is the shot . And each time, it’s a shot that is such a high degree of difficulty. By that, I mean it’s defendable. I don’t know how to explain this properly, but when a shot is highly defendable (thereby making the degree of difficulty high for the offensive player), then a foul call is not likely to be generated. Or so I think.

Lebron could definitely be called for a charge nearly every time he goes to the hole. But he uses his body to make the shot indefensible. Either he’s going to score, or you’re going to foul him. Kobe does the same thing. Wade does the same thing (though to a slightly lesser degree). Rarely will you see those guys get the shot blocked, or shoot the shot short to the rim, or not get a call. The reason is, I think they are making you defend their bodies , not their shots. Each of those guys possesses the athletic ability to do this. Paul Pierce possesses it to a lesser degree, therefore you see the pump fake-and-lean. No matter what, the result is the same. These guys force contact to be created, and the call nearly always goes agains the defender, unless the offensive player committs an egregious error. Even then, the bigger stars are going to get away with it.

Joe doesn’t. Joe gets the contact, but he doesn’t initiate it or “lead the defender” into it. Joe is more about getting into position to get the shot off, and uses that tricky dribble, jab steps, and several seconds in the shot clock to create separation, instead of using that thick, strong, 6′7″ 240 lb body to do it instead.

But that’s just my take. May not make one bit of sense to anybody but me…. ;)

Astro Joe

February 1st, 2010
11:18 am

Ray, I think you missed my point. We need Joe more than Joe needs us. That’s my point. If Joe leaves, we don;t have salary room to go get anything more than a middling player this summer. We take a major step backwards… with nothing more to show for it than 3 playoff appearances.

Bottom line, I think the team as a whole and in indvidual parts, is far more appreciated from outside of the fan base than inside. Maybe we are all too jaded from a decade of failure… we want to go from no playoffs to the Finals in a few short years without enduring the growing pains. Meanwhile, teams like the Thunder, Grizzlies and Kings are trying to meodl themselves off the Hawks. Keep a young nucleus together, manage the salary cap cautiously and allow organic growth to pull the team into the playoffs (with non-descript coaches who focus on fundamentals).

Timing is everything, and the timing of criticizing Joe after the Celtics game just seems like incredibly poor timing. Now seems the time to be talking about Bibby’s struggles, is Horford hurt on struggling, can Crawford string together 2-3 consecutive strong performances, etc. Two blogs about iso-Joe after watching it deliver a home win against the Celtics just seems like the antithesis of what we should be saying right now.

Iblameurparents

February 1st, 2010
11:19 am

terrell, never heard me say Phil Jackson and No ball movement, my point was that after the ball moves who ends up taking the last shot? Gasol is great but it is not him, not Oden or any other Laker it is Kobe and before him it was Michael. Our go to guy although not on the aforementioned level (so you will not confuse that point) is JJ. There is just not many 6′7″ guys around who is as big and talented as he, like it or not. So again my point, after all the ball movement the ball ends up in the hands of your go to guy(s).

Big Ray

February 1st, 2010
11:25 am

Rod ,

I keep hearing it all the time: Marvin’s BYC status may be the only hold-up there. I’m not here to beat Marvin with a stick, but at this point, can anybody still call him a “core player” with a serious face? The single most consistent thing about him has been his defense, and there have been some occasions where I have been less than impressed (and I’m putting that mildly). Here’s another fact that will no doubt engender some hard feelings among us: we’re winning more game now, and against better opponents, despite his regression. Hmmmm.

Don’t know who we could trade for or how, or even what’s reasonably available. I know this, though. With the overall size of our front line, if we went with a smaller guy, he would have to be either much tougher, or a more explosive scorer. Nothing less will do, and unless some other team sees potential in him, I don’t know how we get that done without giving up more than we’d like to (as in more players in a deal). Not saying it couldn’t or even shouldn’t be done, just saying I wouldn’t know what direction to go in. But yeah, and upgrade wouldn’t hurt, as long as the chemistry and fit is right.

Grandad ,

Good post.

Big Ray

February 1st, 2010
11:43 am

Astro Joe ,

Point understood on the second try :) . I think you understand better than you let on, however. Two blogs about ISO Joe are two discussions on “what’s hot.” Is it a coincidence that it comes from two different writers around the same time? Good thing I’m just a “hack” or I know two guys who could send the goon squad after me for being a spoiler. :)

As far as us needing Joe more than he does us, I agree. This is true right now, in this situation. We are definitely better with him, then we are bereft of him. But what if he still wants out? We can count on taking a step back. The key will be repositioning ourselves for taking a step forward. Really, I’m speculating and conjecturing in directions that are probably early for a fan to be thinking about. But not a GM. Contingency is the name of the game, along with luck and a modicum of skill and the ability to use it, when luck (whether good or bad) isn’t getting in the way. Questions remain, however. Is Joe the main cog in the wheel that rolls us to the promised land? For how long?

Besides all that crap, you know how this script goes. Hell, it’s not even a script. It’s predictable ad lib, LOL.

On your other points, I agree that managing the cap along with organic growth (you really need to copyright that, ya know), has been quite a model to go after. Now how to evolve and improve the model?

Bibby is struggling big time. He still brings what he brings (the ability to hit big shots, good ball control/movement), but he’s bringing it….less. Horford seems to be slowed a bit by hand injury, but never has a big game against Dwight Howard. I think we can all agree that Howard is simply a bad match for him, even though Horford plays him about as well as any 6′9 3/4″ 245 pound guy possibly could.

Crawford’s a bit of a streaky guy. This is no strange news. But he HAS strung together 2 or 3 good performances. More than once. In fact, he’s having one of the best years of his career. All from the bench, from a reduced role, and reduced minutes. I think people are pretty happy with him right now.