Hawks at Bulls, AKA Big Ray and Woody’s Way

Salmons saw too much Iso-Joe. (Gregory Smith, AP)

Salmons saw too much Iso-Joe. (Gregory Smith, AP)

Big Ray brings the funk today with strong takes on iso and D. They are seemingly unrelated topics but I’m going to tie them together after taking a look at what he’s saying.

Ray observes that “the Hawks don’t seem to buy into the defensive precepts of Mike Woodson anymore.”

What happened? A team once known for getting wins by playing a suffocating defense, now finds itself as one of the more defensively inept teams in the league. Hawks commentator Bob (Rathburn Rathbun) noted that Atlanta is in the bottom third of the League in defense. Why? Is the defensive concept an issue? Are the players not listening to the coaching staff? Can it really be attributed fully to one or the other, or (solely) to any other theory?

First, let me say the Hawks aren’t quite that bad on D. If Rathburn Rathbun was referring to points allowed per game, the Hawks actually rank 12th at 97.3. I prefer to look at efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions), where the Hawks rank 13th at 103.8. They finished last season ranked 11th at 104.6.

(Edit: Rathbun emailed me: “I referenced on the air our field goal percentage defense. We finished FEB 25th in the league in FG% defense (.479).” What he didn’t say is I butchered his name twice. My bad.)

But the point stands that the Hawks just don’t seem to be defending as well lately. And it is weird since Woody is all about D. Ray ponders whether the concepts are the issue, and from what I’ve seen one big problem with the switching D is the Hawks sometimes are waaaaay too slow to help when there’s a mismatch in the post or on the perimeter. Pat Riley calls it “pulling triggers” when player are really scrambling and reacting with every pass and teammates are covering for each other. Riley pounded “pulling triggers” into his team’s psyche so much that it’s part of the Heat culture, and if players didn’t buy into it they didn’t play (that’s one reason Beasley, for all his offensive talents, has come along slowly there). “We weren’t pulling triggers tonight” was a common quote from Heat players after a bad defensive outing.

I just haven’t seen that kind of intensity and commitment from the Hawks lately. Recently Woody said the Hawks might think they can just outscore opponents. And usually that might be true but these poor fourth quarters lately show the danger in that approach. Which brings us to isos. Ray says: “Iso-Joe (j)ust really isn’t the issue. Oh sure, it’s a hot button topic if you’re focused on who you want to blame for stagnant offense or a loss. As stated by folks like Niremetal . . . the Hawks run a series of ISO plays.”

I’ve seen some of my blog people say Woody only runs isos. That’s not true, of course. The Hawks have other plays but Ray is so on point when he says those plays end up in iso because the Hawks just aren’t very persistent in running their sets to completion or resetting when option No. 1 isn’t there. It’s part of the problem I’ve had with tracking Iso-Joes: If he gets a screen, gets doubled, backs it out and goes one-on-one for the last 18 seconds, is it an iso? I’d say yes, but technically it wasn’t the play.

But the Hawks do tend to go iso-heavy late in games, especially lately. I think Ray is a little bit too dismissive of Iso-Joe as an issue. So was I when I first got on the beat because I figured that it works most of the time so it’s a good thing (and I still think that to a certain extent). But the part I underestimated is the psychological effect Iso-Joe can have on the team when it doesn’t work.

I’ve seen enough scrunched faces and slumped shoulders from other guys after Joe goes one-on-one and misses to know that it has an effect. I’ve seen the telling eye-rolls when Iso-Joe is brought up in conversation with some guys. I saw Josh get fed up at Utah and start demanding that his teammates share the ball. Last night I saw Josh bring the ball up himself a couple times and try to make passes inside, and then I heard him say (again) after the game that the Hawks need to share the ball more. Maybe he was trying to make that happen himself. When Iso-Joe (or whomever) doesn’t work, and the players get frustrated, and the home fans groan, or the road fans roar, and things go bad–I think it does have an effect beyond Woody’s (and my) bottom-line assessment of it working more often than not.

And here is where I tie Ray’s observations about defense and isos together: What you see from the Hawks isn’t always what Woody wants. After spending time watching this team at practice and shootarounds, and hearing how what Woody says from the bench plays out on the court, I think I can say that the Hawks aren’t always a very focused group.

At practices I’ve seen Woody show a guy exactly what he wants him to do against a screen-and-roll, ball reversal, or whatever, then watch that guy do it wrong 10 seconds later when the Hawks run through the situation. “Where are you going?” is a common refrain from Woody during these sessions. I’ve heard Woody repeatedly urge his guards to get the ball inside to Smoove or Al only to see them passively pass it around the perimeter. Last night against the Bucks, I heard Woody yell at Josh four times to give up the ball and get inside when he brought it up but Josh instead tried to whip passes to the post (as noted above that might be because he doesn’t want the Hawks to end up in iso).

Now please don’t take these examples and conclude that the players have tuned Woody out. That’s a big reach, and I’ve seen nothing to support that. What I’ve seen is the normal frustrations when something doesn’t work and the Hawks lose. All I’m saying is, what you see from the Hawks on offense and defense may not be what Woody wants.

Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus takes a statistical look at the 2010 free-agent class and projects that J.J. may be a risky proposition as a max salary guy as he hits his 30s. He ranks Joe at the bottom of the second-tier of potential free agents.

– I love my blog people. You care enough to come here and read my stuff and vent your frustrations about the Hawks. Like I said when I started, I respect that you care so I try to keep you coming back. Hopefully you’ve seen that I can take it when you think I’m full of it (except for maybe a bad day or two) and in fact encourage healthy disagreement. It keeps me on my toes, might make me consider something I hadn’t before and generally makes for a fuller conversation. That’s all good.

Having said that, if you come on here with some weak stuff I might send it back. If you are unreasonable, rip me for not addressing something I already have, say dumb things or try to punk me, you might get called out. Just remember it’s nothing personal. If you give it, got to take it.

But I really do love my blog people. Do you like me back? Check yes, no, or maybe. (Remember how you used to put “maybe” when you weren’t confident, to give the girl the chance to let you down easy so you could save face with your boys? I remember because I just did it last week.)

(J/K, blog people, my game is stronger than that! Well it usually is, anyway.)

– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.

MC

373 comments Add your comment

BONE

March 1st, 2010
3:27 pm

When Josh says share the ball more I know who he’s talking about and he’s right….

bali

March 1st, 2010
3:36 pm

Ben

March 1st, 2010
3:38 pm

Why do you say on ‘Hawks Squawks’ on your new blogs that are posted after every game? Are you referring to the site http://www.hawksquawk.net?

Ben

March 1st, 2010
3:39 pm

and you also say AKA which means ‘Also known as’ correct? Your blog titles don’t make any sense.

Preist Lauderdale

March 1st, 2010
3:39 pm

I’ve heard Woody repeatedly urge his guards to get the ball inside to Smoove or Al only to see them passively pass it around the perimeter. Last night against the Bucks, I heard Woody yell at Josh four times to give up the ball and get inside when he brought it up but Josh instead tried to whip passes to the post

wow

It’s called being the head coach. They don’t do what you say, you sit their a$$ down on the bench until you learn to do what the coach says. Seems pretty simple to me…

hoopinion

March 1st, 2010
3:51 pm

No disrespect to Big Ray, but the Hawks have finished better than 18th in the league in defensive efficiency once since Woodson got here. They were 12th last year. They’re 13th this season.

Dukester9

March 1st, 2010
3:51 pm

All i have to say is our game is ok all teams have something they need to work on. But this will kill us, not being able to defend and rebound in the paint late in games. That is a fundamental flaw built around not having a true center. Love Horford to death he can start at center but we need someone off the bench thats gonna rebound and intimidate in the paint. It extends the perimeter defense, because the perimeter players know they have backup if the player chooses to drive. I love the conversation and blogs and all. But the bottom line is when playoff time come and it will show. That player could have been trading Marvin and ZaZa for Sam Dalembert. Now when we play the 76ers in the next coming days you will see that force.

Ree Roe

March 1st, 2010
3:53 pm

@ MC, it was brought up on the last blog and I wanted to bring it up here. Why don’t you think Big Z has resigned with CLE yet? The national media all but assumed he’d return to CLE as soon as he got his buyout from WAS, but there seems to be some ambivalence now that wasn’t there on Z’s part. Why do you think that is?

Also, do you think there is ANY chance we make a run at Michael Finley?

-REE Roe!!!

dub366

March 1st, 2010
3:57 pm

Josh Is right they need to share the ball to much talent here for iso. This team don’t have a half court set and that the problem. need a coach period!

Mike Jay

March 1st, 2010
3:57 pm

I think that Woodson is easy to tune out Sans Eyebrows. It is easy to loose focus when he is talking because you just keep asking, “Dear god, why?” Look at how much better they played team basketball; defense and ball movement, before the great eyebrow removal. Then look at post eyebrow removal. Coincidence? I think not.

John

March 1st, 2010
3:58 pm

Dukester9, I am willing to bet that Dalembert will not have that much impact on the game. Horford may be a bit short, but he outplays other teams’ centers routinely. I am sure he will be more of a force in the Sixers game than Dalembert.

Matt Freije

March 1st, 2010
3:59 pm

Now you see em, now they burnt off!

Khao$

March 1st, 2010
4:00 pm

Some of the best assist on the team are passes between Horford and Smith. They seem to get it. And I’ve never thought I’d say “get it” and Josh Smith in the same sentence. Bibby is the only guard who seems to set up plays to utilize our bigs skill sets. When I see Horford and Josh push the ball, I don’t get made because I realize those guys know they have a mismatch on most nights being more athletic than their counterparts. Yet the guards rarely exploit it. Ideally, it would be our guards that would do this. However, it doesn’t happen. Josh and Al don’t get the ball towards the end of the game when both do damage. Al is less demonstrative than Josh. However, they are both playing unshelfish brands of ball. And they don’t mind of Joe and Jamal take the last shots. I think they just want to keep the ball moving and be aggressive.

Sultanofatl

March 1st, 2010
4:04 pm

Gotta love players rolling their eyes at ISO Joe. I’m sure Joe rolls his eyes when smith and horf get pushed out of the lane and settle for fall aways or leaners.

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
4:04 pm

From the previous Stackhouse Love Blog:

Here’s my unsolicited theory. Othella was cut in early January… the Hawks had a very good December, something like 9-5. But they suffered losses to Nate Rob and Derrick Rose in December (along with back-to-back losses to the Cavs). So if you’re sitting there at that time and thinking “what do we need?”, you come to the same conclusion that many of us did at that time…. someone to harass (at best) and bruise (at worse) quick guards who are going the F off on us. And sorry, but that’s not Jerry Stackhouse.

We discussed this at length and guessed the moment that Othella was cut, who would be brought in (despite the quote from Sund about “checking the waiver wire”). Mario made sense for what we needed at that time. Our offense in December was tremendous, we scored over 95 in all but one game (Cavs of course) and over 100 in probably 80% of the games. So at the time, the greater need was for a designated stopper not a designated scorer.

Lastly, if Crawford weren’t shooting 33% over the past 5-5-6 games, we may not be feeling the need for another scorer right now.

Hawks Hack

March 1st, 2010
4:06 pm

Great feedback!! I really think that the team isn’t listening to Woody,; however, I don’t think that Woody has any influence on the offensive side of the ball. Iso-Joe makes me sick (literally I get sick) especially when I see the positive results we get from good ball movement… we can literally beat any team in the league when we have good ball movemnet! Bibby’s got 2 go!! He can’t dribble pentrate… he can’t d-up at all… he can barely hit a jumper anymore… what good is he??? If we had just one person on our team that could drive the ball and create easy shots for our bigs than we would be the 1 or 2 seed for the playoffs. Oh well… just wishful thinking!

Melvin

March 1st, 2010
4:07 pm

MC, keep bring it strong…

Traceman

March 1st, 2010
4:09 pm

MC,

Very good, thought-provoking stuff. My take on the defensive “slippage” is very simple. Too much of the Bibby/Crawford backcourt in the 4th quarter, particularly when we have the lead.

Woody has played the Bibby/Crawford combo for the vast majority of the season in “clutch situations.” Just as many of us thought when the trade was made, that combo is terrific offensively (at least it was prior to the All Star break) and horrible defensively. Early in the season, that combo was so good offensively that any defensive shortcomings didn’t matter. Since the shots have stopped falling however, those defensive weaknesses, which have always been there, stand out like a sore thumb.

I think the solution is for Woody to figure out early in the 4th if the Bibby/Crawford backcourt has it going. If they do, roll with it until they stop making shots. If they don’t, figure out who has it going better between Jamal and Bibby (it has been Jamal more often than Bibby so far) and let Marvin replace the other one.

Marvin might get scored on but he rarely misses his assignment and he usually forces his man to take a tough shot. Same usually goes for Al and JJ (at least when JJ is focused). Smoove might miss his assignment on occasion but he makes up for it by covering for his teammates like no one else can. Bibby actually makes the right decisions and he knows where to be most of the time, he’s just slower than ever and he’s never been a great athlete or defender. Crawford is a good athlete, he’s just never focused on D long enough to learn how to play it consistently well.

Bottom line, all of the guys on the team have strengths and weaknesses and it is Woody’s job to put them in the best situation to be successful. If he truly believes that defense wins championships, then he needs to focus on having a good defensive team on the floor at the end of tight games.

Mike Jay

March 1st, 2010
4:11 pm

Take it easy on Bibby. When he is in our ball movement is much better. However, he never plays in the fourth quarter as Crawford and Joe are back there. Incicdently our ball movement completley dissappears. I have a feeling htat half the iso joe plays are not called or drawn up that way but JJ just defaults to that because he was used to having no help for the last 4 or so years.

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
4:13 pm

@MC, now you know that you MUST get that Milk Dud out of your ear. Because it is crystal clear to the vast majority of bloggers around here that the players follow Woody’s teachings to a tee. If Joe waits until a milli-second is left to shoot against the Bucks, that’s the way Woody drew it up. If Josh decides that he is better leading the break than finishing the break, it’s because of Woody’s strategy. In previous years, when Josh took 3s (~200 in about 2 years), it was because Woody insisted that he stand behind the 3-point line and demanded that when he received the pass nbe hind the 3-point line that he shoot. Or, that Woody asked his teammates to wait until there was a single tick left on the shot-clock before passing the ball to Smith and thereby forcing to heave up a shot. So you see, the players follow every instruction just like your bloggers follow every word uttered by their respective bosses, teachers, and wives (the true bosses).

You just don’t understand… too much South Beach sun over the years. But we’ll teach you. Woody is the reason for Atlanta traffic, a poor sewage system and all the faults related to the Hawks.

Traceman

March 1st, 2010
4:20 pm

@ AJ,

LOL, I hear you. That said, I actually think Joe waiting until a millisecond was left to take that last shot in regulation was the right play in a tie game. You either win it or go to overtime but you don’t give the Bucks a chance to rebound the ball, call TO and then have a chance to win with a second or two left. It looked to me like the defender stepped in and made him pick up his dribble a half-beat off and it messed up his rhythm but I actually liked the fact that it was win or OT.

jj

March 1st, 2010
4:20 pm

I might be wrong,but I think Woody let’s Joe and Bibby off for not doing the right thing,especially in running the O and playing less than inspired D.Woody needs to get on their behind,just as he does Teague,Evans,and Josh.They know they are going to play so they don’t really listen to Woody.

Benjamin

March 1st, 2010
4:21 pm

MC, you need to put this stuff on a Facebook feed like your fellow AJCian, MBradley. :)

Great blog, btw.

O'Brien

March 1st, 2010
4:30 pm

Good Stuff MC.

It has been suggested that when the bigs are more involved in the offense from early, they will give you more on defense. Although that should not be the case, I think it is true. Hopefully the Hawks will feed Al and Josh early in the game, and try to get them going, and the defense will follow. Plus that will open things up for our backcourt later on, because Josh and Al are good passers.

I also think another reason the Hawks dont reset when option #1 isn’t there, is because they’re so used to the isos, they just stand around and watch, because in their mind, they’re thinking the iso is coming anyway.

The issue now becomes what can Woody do to help these guys stay focused? This is Josh’s 6th year, Marvin’s 5th, JJ and Crawford close to 10 years, Bibby is up there too, so its disappointing that consistent focus is a problem.

Although we’ve seen veteran teams like the Pistons a couple years ago, and the Celtics this year have focus problems, the difference is those teams won championships first.

doc

March 1st, 2010
4:32 pm

mc, u ok by me, been here a long time and continue to enjoy the reads and the jibes.

iso joe should get the same response josh’s 3 pointers got last year. it is death to this team.

bottom second tier huh. ouch. someone will pay and look like the sixers did with brand, ok not as stupid, as that one was huge. so happy they didnt bid up on josh as they could have racked us hard if they had been smart and played hard ball.

BONE

March 1st, 2010
4:39 pm

I’m sick of Woody yelling at teague and not saying anything to Bibby and Joe.

Mike is Back

March 1st, 2010
4:43 pm

MC, I too have heard Woody lauding his guys to get ball inside more, however I have also witness Woody do absolutely nothing in response when they don’t. I think the players are smart enough to know that Woody is only going to play certain guys…therefore there is no repercussion to their inaction.

I have a great deal of respect for Big Ray, but maybe it not the iso JJ plays that the players are frustrated with…could it be the offense itself…hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Traceman, ditto on your 4:09 post.

fudd21

March 1st, 2010
4:44 pm

Ree Roe, Big Z can’t sign with Cleveland for 30 days after he was released by Washington. He could sign with any other team right away but has to wait 30 days with Cleveland. That;s why he hasn’t resigned.

clarkekent

March 1st, 2010
4:46 pm

MC-
woodson is at fault. as a coach you need to put your players in position to succeed. if players dont follow directions pull them. Bench strength comes from playing time. the hawks have several flaws:

poor leadership
poor in-game adjustments
poor backside defense(if josh or horford are not in the game)
poor on ball defense (if bibby is in the game)
poor bench usage (in close games, starters will play entire 2nd half)
poor offensive movement (iso joe)
2 ineffective starting positions (PG and SF)
star player is not aggressive(he shoots more floaters than tony parker)
too much half-court play for a team with no OFF. movement(push the ball)

i could go on but i would be writing a blog instead of commenting on it.

side not .. MC – you are doing a great job!

Traceman

March 1st, 2010
4:47 pm

@ MC,

Interesting observation on Smoove’s (and the other players’) reactions to Iso-Joe. I never thought about the possibility that Smoove’s refusal to give the ball up on the break might have a direct correlation to his belief that the team was not sharing the ball enough. There is no doubt that he looks for his teammates on the break even if he sometimes makes a bad decision/pass.

It certainly seems to me that the players get stagnant and stop moving when JJ starts pounding it on multiple possessions. That said, I think the key is to find a nice mix with the Iso’s being no more than 33% of the offense.

Smoove said last night that JJ was feeling it late and that you have to keep going to him when he’s on like that. I agree 100%. Prior to that though, he certainly was not on and that is when it would be nice to see more ball movement.

I love JJ and I think he is a great player. I hope he retires a Hawk. But just as Jordan did, I hope he learns that he can impact the game by setting up his teammates just as much as he can by beating his defender one on one.

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
4:50 pm

doc, come on. I’m fairly sure that iso Joe converts at higher than 20-something percent. But my guess is that they do happen at the same rate… about 2-3 per game.

The funny thing about the iso complaints is that being able to break down a defense and “make something happen out of nothing” is typically admired by the casual Atlanta basketball fan. I don’t ever recall a SRO crowd o see Tim Duncan, Grant Hill or Adelman’s Sac Kings. But every time AI, Vince Carter, Kobe, Wade or one of the other guys who would “clear the wing” and take their man off the dribble, folk lined up to cheer on that other team’s star.

Any chance the Bulls clear out and let Derrick Rose go “iso” tonight? Any chance some will ignore that aspect and foucs on our ability (or inability) to defend that play?

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
4:51 pm

Traceman, Joe made a similar comment to Sekou last year… something about “passing the ball and not seeing it again”. So it appears that it works both ways.

gtm

March 1st, 2010
4:51 pm

MC, thanks for the inside info on what Woodson is saying vs. what the players are doing. That’s always info that has to be considered when the coaching criticism starts, because sometimes it may be the players that are screwing up but the coach gets the blame. I guess the next question is how does he get them to do he wants them to do if they’re not listening now? Maybe that is the way in which he is struggling at coaching.

ATLFan

March 1st, 2010
4:53 pm

Woody may be “all about the D”, but when Josh is on the bench, the D is pitiful.

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
5:00 pm

i’d love to know who is the player who gets told to do something a certain way and then does it wrong 10 seconds later. I have my thoughts… :lol:

Michael Cunningham

March 1st, 2010
5:12 pm

@ ben: never saw hawkssquawk.net before but thanks i will check it out. i came up with hawks squawks because it rhymes, hawks (the birds) make a squawking sound and the quick hit observations post-game are like “squawks” on a radio. and yep AKA means “also known as.” you think it’s weak? cool, you put it out there. see? i can take it.

@benjamin: yo, i have a Facebook feed! search for “AJC Hawks”

@ ree roe re; Big Z . . . i (think?) i replied last post. i don’t really know what’s up with Z. is he really considering not going back to the Cavs? is he really upset they traded him in the first place? is his agent just trying to milk another year on a contract from the Cavs (or another team)? does his agent really not know what Z is thinking, as he says? i don’t know Big Z or talk to him so i can only relay what the agent says. Joe Smith knows Z and talked to him and even he doesn’t know what he’s thinking.

@ trace: “Woody has played the Bibby/Crawford combo for the vast majority of the season in “clutch situations.” Just as many of us thought when the trade was made, that combo is terrific offensively (at least it was prior to the All Star break) and horrible defensively. Early in the season, that combo was so good offensively that any defensive shortcomings didn’t matter. Since the shots have stopped falling however, those defensive weaknesses, which have always been there, stand out like a sore thumb.”

solid

@ mike is back “MC, I too have heard Woody lauding his guys to get ball inside more, however I have also witness Woody do absolutely nothing in response when they don’t. I think the players are smart enough to know that Woody is only going to play certain guys…therefore there is no repercussion to their inaction.”

you may be onto something there but . . .

@clarkekent: “MC-woodson is at fault. as a coach you need to put your players in position to succeed. if players dont follow directions pull them. Bench strength comes from playing time.”

. . . Woody might say, “what bench?”

aaa

March 1st, 2010
5:13 pm

someone should tell joe to pass every now and then, just a thought

The Truth

March 1st, 2010
5:18 pm

MC
Nice job, I like Sekou but because of your candor, you might be an upgrade

AJ
From the previous blog

They called that style of management you described as “OH SH!T” or CRISIS MANAGEMENT. No planning, just reacting to events as we are currently doing with Big Z. If our interest in Big Z is of the same magnitude as Stackhouse then we shouldn’t waste too much bandwidth. A HALF INTEREST = NO INTEREST. Only a strong interest (backup with money) = A REAL INTEREST. In Z’s case, even a real interest is no guarantee (that he will sign) but at least it’s being sincere and not deceptive.

Clyde

March 1st, 2010
5:19 pm

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

I watched Phil Jackson send a message to Pau Gasol the other day because Gasol was playing soft. So with less than 6:00 left in a close game against their biggest threat in the conference (Denver), Phil yanked Gasol. But who did he bring in? ANDREW BYNUM! Not Zaza or RandMO or Jason Collins… but ANDREW BYNUM.

I’m sure that Woody would love to “send a message” AND win the game which would help him secure another contract… but with our bench, he’s better off trying to send the message at half-time or between quarters. And the scary part is, this bench is better han any bench Woody has had. But of course, that’s like saying this bench is the best eyebrow shave he’s ever had.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 1st, 2010
5:25 pm

I don’t know the stats, but I’d be willing to bet that the Hawks’ defense looks worse this year because they have gotten much worse at rebounding, not so much because their defensive principles are not working. The Hawks give up at least 4 or 5 buckets a game on possessions where they played great defense and failed to secure the board.

doc

March 1st, 2010
5:29 pm

aj, it may surprise you but josh shot 29.9% from three land last year. if jj shoots 35% in the iso joe or even 40% which i hazard to guess he doesnt then it about equals out in points scored my friend. in fact josh might be ahead unless jj is above 40%, no? i dont know why you made u 20% unless it fit your argument better. ;-) uh, not the first time. heh heh

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
5:29 pm

The Truth, I doubt that there is even a remote comparison between our interest in Z and our previous interest in Stackhouse. Think of it this way, if they are both free agents this summer, how many teams will be in Z’s line and how many would line up for Stack? Z’s line will be like trying to go to The Cheesecake Factory at 7PM on Saturday night. Stack will be like going to Waffle House at lunch time.

theZaZaguy

March 1st, 2010
5:31 pm

The NBA is a player’s league. They make more money and they have more influence. It’s not like with Gene Hackman in Hoosiers.

Woody is a player’s coach. His instructions are natually not going to be followed down to every detail. He’s no Mike D’antoni who’s willing to bench someone for a significant stretch. It’s been over a year since Woody has benched someone (Josh for one half).

That being said, I think Woody is a good coach. His system has some flaws but works pretty well. He’s allowing the players to sort things out themselves and he’s actually growing with them and learning. Over rigid coaching can be a motivation killer. The hawks are a lot more resilient than they were last year in large part due to the good relationships…warts and all.

If we go .500 for the rest of the season, we’ll have 49 wins. Not bad for a team with a bad coach and no center. The hawks haven’t really gotten worse over the season, it’s just that other teams have caught up in terms of chemistry. It’s time for us to take our game to another level and “sort things out”. Go Hawks!

Najeh Davenpoop

March 1st, 2010
5:31 pm

“But every time AI, Vince Carter, Kobe, Wade or one of the other guys who would “clear the wing” and take their man off the dribble, folk lined up to cheer on that other team’s star.”

What you fail to mention about them, with the exception of Vince Carter, is that they all make a concerted effort to put pressure on the defense and get to the free throw line. Joe doesn’t, which really limits his effectiveness when shots are not falling. Put it this way — I probably would complain about iso-Joe much less if he got to the line more than three times a game.

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
5:35 pm

doc, my bad… I was thinking of his previous seasons when he was around 25% (250 3FGAs in 2 years at 25%… unbelievable)… I didn’t realize he was all the way up to 30%. And I’d still take an iso play over a 3-ball at 30%… because until I see some iso percentages, I will keep my bias that Joe in iso is a better play than Josh launching a 3-ball.

G-Money

March 1st, 2010
5:36 pm

Bibby is too slow on defense, he gets beaten early and often, and then the entire defense is under duress. This team has to define an identity and work with it. Are they going to be a quick pressure defense using 10 to 11 guys per game?

Astro Joe

March 1st, 2010
5:42 pm

Najeh, part of Joe not getting to the free throw line is that he refuses to be the drama queen like the T-Mobile guy and react everytime someone breaths on him. Even on defense, we never see Joe “flop”. He plays the game with integrity and doesn’t act out fouls like so many others. And I’d like to think that the guy “wearing “Atlanta” across his chest would get the benefit of the doubt from the locals. Instead, we seem to hold him to a higher standard than the chuckers who sell-out the arena. Heck, we accept 250 attempts at 25% more readily than a 4-time All-Star.

clarkekent

March 1st, 2010
5:45 pm

mc-
as far back as i can remember, playing time has always been the key to getting players attention. and if he says “what bench?” that would be reason enough to excuse him from his duties. the bench is inconsistant due to playing time not effort. a bench is also developed; find the best situation for each bench player and use them at that time. dont play your starters 40 mins and wonder why the are not playing with the same energy in the 4th qrt as they did in the 1st and i know as a beat writer some things are off limits for you to commment on but i appreciated your honesty on what you can comment on. again great job!
teague needs to play
joe smith should play more

The Truth

March 1st, 2010
5:51 pm

AJ

Using your example, I hope the Hawks doesn’t bring Waffle House money to The Cheesecake Factory at 7PM on Saturday night AND EXPECT TO PLACE AN ORDER