Atlanta Hawks: Roster Report

A version of this will appear in print but I had to cut down for space. I can’t be held back here. Based on reporting, educated guesses, observation and a big analytical assist from the Synergy Sports Machine.

Joe Johnson, 6-7, G

Contract: Unrestricted free agent

Look back: Media voted Johnson to the All-NBA third team, his first such honor. He also made the All-Star game for the fourth consecutive season. Johnson’s size, knack for creating his own shot, shooting ability, ball handling skills and ability to defend guards and forwards makes him one of the more versatile players in the league. His fine season was marred by a poor performance in the playoffs and his flip response to fans who booed him.

Look ahead: Hawks GM Rick Sund said he wants to re-sign Johnson, one of the top shooting guards in the league, but there are risks to giving him a an expensive, long-term deal. Johnson will be 29 this summer and production for shooting guards tends to decline around that age. His deliberate, one-on-one style was effective when he made baskets but tended to damage team dynamics at times. Johnson said he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Hawks but will test the market. If he signs elsewhere, the Hawks won’t have the flexibility to sign another high-priced free agent.

Al Horford, 6-10, C

Contract: $5.4 million in 2010-11, eligible for restricted free agency following the season

Look back: Named to the All-Star team in just his third pro season, Horford developed a reliable mid-range jump shot to go along with a pretty good post game. He’s one of the top post defenders in the league despite being undersized for his position. Emerged as a leader late in the season, publicly calling out teammates for poor effort in the Orlando series.

Look ahead: Horford said he plans to continue to develop his jump shot and also a counter-move in the post. Horford has one more season left on his rookie-scale contract and the Hawks can secure the right to match any offer he receives as a restricted free agent. Since he’s one of the best bargains in the league, he wouldn’t seem to be a trade candidate.

Josh Smith, 6-9, F

Contract: $11.6 million in 2010-11, with two years and $25.6 million after that

Look back: In many ways it was a breakout season for Smith, who was the runner up to Dwight Howard for Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All Defense. Smith was often the energy guy, starting runs by blocking shots, getting steals, and running the floor. He became a very good passer for a power forward and was particularly effective with setting up teammates for open jump shots. But he had a high turnover rate for his position, continued to shoot long jump shots despite a very poor percentage and was lax on running out to shooters. Smith also sometimes lost focus when he got frustrated.

Look ahead: Smith made the decision to stop shooting 3-pointers after watching video of his games last summer. He said he will go to the video again this summer so perhaps he will figure out those long jump shots are not an effective option and also see how his sulking affects his effort. Still, Smith had a very good season overall. He probably would have good trade value due to his production, age, and relatively palatable contract.

Jamal Crawford, 6-5, G

Contract: $10.1 million in 2010-11

Look back: Sund’s trade for Crawford turned out to be one of the best deals in the league. Crawford was the Hawks’ second-leading scorer and provided punch off the bench while earning the Sixth Man of the Year award. He’s an excellent scorer, adept at getting his points in isolation, as a spot-up shooter, or coming off screens, and he was the best on the team at attacking on pick-and-rolls. He’s not a good defender overall, especially in isolation, but he was adequate on pick-and-rolls and closing out on shooters.

Look ahead: Crawford likely will draw a lot of trade interest due to his expiring contract and scoring prowess, but those are the same things that make him valuable to the Hawks.

Marvin Williams, 6-9, F

Contract: $6.7 million in 2010-11, with two years and $15.8 million and a $7.5 million player option in 2013-14 after that

Look back: The Hawks re-signed Williams last summer and he had a disappointing season. He was inconsistent offensively, especially in his primary role as a spot-up shooter. Defensively, opponents had success isolating Williams and bulling past him to the basket and also taking advantage of his weak closeouts. Williams had long stretches with little production.

Look ahead: Williams is an unselfish player, but he was too passive in a perimeter-oriented offense where he’s no better than the fourth scoring option. The Hawks hope getting Williams more involved in offensive sets can help him reach his considerable potential. He’ll be only 24-years old next season, so if he can make a major improvement he’ll be an asset to the Hawks either as a quality small forward or a trade chip.

Mike Bibby, 6-2, G

Contract: $5.6 million in 2010-11, $6.2 million in 2011-12

Look back: Bibby wasn’t really a traditional point guard for the Hawks, instead leaving most of the ball handing duties to Johnson. Bibby excelled both as a spot-up shooter and with catch-and-shoots off screens and is a floor leader. But he was a defensive liability, especially against pick-and-rolls, forcing the Hawks to switch on screens. Bibby’s defensive positioning and awareness remain high but his quickness has declined.

Look ahead: The Hawks appear ready to give Jeff Teague a chance to supplant Bibby as the starter. That would make Bibby an expensive backup, but his contract might make it difficult to trade him next season.

Zaza Pachulia, 6-11, C

Contract: $4.25 million in 2010-11, two years and $13 million after that

Look back: Pachulia was the primary backup center and, other than a mid-season lull, was mostly adequate in that role. His post defense was so-so but he was good at challenging opponents when they stepped out to shoot. Pachulia’s offensive production on pick-and-rolls was surprisingly high and he was good at drawing fouls.

Look ahead: Pachulia finished the season strong. Still, his relatively modest salary for an effective backup center and the Hawks’ potential desire for a starting-caliber center means he could be a trade candidate.

Mo Evans, 6-5, G/F

Contract: $2.5 million player option for 2010-11

Look back: The first wing player off the bench occasionally grumbled about playing time but eventually found a consistent role as the first wing off the bench. Touted for his defense, Evans was good in isolation but struggled to defend guards on pick-and-rolls and forwards on post-ups. He had good production when getting shots as a cutter but made just 30 percent of his spot-up jump shots.

Look ahead: Evans said he likes it with the Hawks but hasn’t decided if he will exercise his option.

Jeff Teague, 6-2, G

Contract: $1.47 million in 2010-11, with two additional team option years

Look back: The No. 19 overall draft pick never found consistent minutes in Mike Woodson’s rotation. Teague proved to be a very good defender in isolation due to his quickness but struggled at times with team defensive concepts. He was an excellent scorer in transition but the rest of his game is a work in progress.

Look ahead: Teague will play for the team’s summer league entry in Las Vegas with the hope he can be ready to be the starter in 2010-11.

Joe Smith, 6-10, F

Contract: Unrestricted free agent

Look back: Smith was brought in for his size and playoffs experience but he was an afterthought by the time the postseason arrived. He wasn’t consistent when he did get minutes.

Look ahead: Smith, who played in his 1000th game this season, said his body feels good and he’d like to play a couple more seasons. He said he would welcome a return to the Hawks.

Jason Collins, 7-0, C

Contract: Unrestricted free agent

Look back: Acquired to deal with either Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard in the playoffs, Collins drew Howard in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The results weren’t impressive.

Look ahead: He’ll be 32-years old next season and has declining mobility so it’s not certain the Hawks will want him back

Randolph Morris, 6-11, C

Contract: Unrestricted free agent

Look back: Morris, a Landmark Christian product, spent the most time on the inactive list for the Hawks.

Look ahead: Still only 24-years old but with just 74 games and 437 minutes over four seasons he’ll likely be searching for a job.

Mario West, 6-5, G

Contract: Restricted free agent

Look back: Released during training camp, then signed to consecutive 10-day contracts in January before sticking for the rest of the season. Played spot minutes as a perimeter defender.

Look ahead: The Hawks must extend a qualifying offer to retain right of first refusal.

Others:

Josh Childress, 6-8, F

Contract: Restricted free agent; he has a contract option with Greek team Olympiakos for 2010-11

Look back: Childress played four seasons for the Hawks but in 2008 decided to accept a three-year, $20 million contract with Olympiakos of the Euroleague. He was the team’s second-leading scorer this season.

Look ahead: Childress has until July 15 to decide if he will play for Olympiakos next season or return to the NBA. The Hawks plan to extend a one-year, $4.8 million qualifying offer to Childress. They would then maintain his NBA rights and also have the right to match any free-agent offer sheets he signs. The Hawks could also use Childress in a sign-and-trade transaction.

MC

154 comments Add your comment

Gilley

May 13th, 2010
7:02 pm

Gilley

May 13th, 2010
7:03 pm

I think a lot of the bench players simply didn’t get the chance to shine. Either they didn’t bring it in practice or Mike Woodson still didn’t trust his bench.

MannyT

May 13th, 2010
7:20 pm

When you have no cap space, you gotta give something to get something. Sund has work to do. If Mo Evans opts out that’s 2 guys that get time that could walk away w/o any compensation for the Hawks. If Joe leaves, Sund will have his hands full getting the roster back to this season’s level.

There is a trade in the works at some point this summer. Count on it.

BWLFW

mountain_jim

May 13th, 2010
7:26 pm

Nice summary MC – good read.

LEA

May 13th, 2010
7:38 pm

I still don’t understand why people think Al Horford is untouchable, his offensive game is not that v. and he was treated like a high school player by Dwight Howard in the playoffs. H. He has A LOT of things to work on just like everyone else does.

O'Brien

May 13th, 2010
8:02 pm

We better hope bibby and Marvin pick it up next season. Because if they don’t, we are stuck with them. Thanks rick.

I would like to see JJ back, but not for a 6 year Max deal, mainly because the ASG don’t have the resources to give him a Max deal while drastically improve the team.

But also because I don’t think he is worth a 6 year Max deal.

Big Ray

May 13th, 2010
8:08 pm

I believe MannyT …..

dstdeelite

May 13th, 2010
8:16 pm

LEA…I’d have to agree that at this juncture, Al is untouchable. He has too much upside to trade. He’s a hard worker with the heart of a champion. They’d be a fool to get rid of Al at this point.

LEA

May 13th, 2010
8:37 pm

not really, Al was not a offensive force at florida, and he won’t be one for the hawks. I mean he was dominated by Kurt Thomas the ENTIRE bucks series. His defense is also mediocore. Only reason to keep him now is because his contract is so cheap….

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
8:47 pm

Can’t argue with anything in this article.

MC, can you please follow this up with a look at the Hawks’ cap situation and what options are realistic from both a cap standpoint and an on-the-floor standpoint, so we don’t continue to see the same impossible free agent or trade scenarios posted on this blog all summer?

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
8:51 pm

People don’t say Horford is untouchable because he is a complete player (which like you said he’s not). They say that because he is a vocal team leader and All-Star caliber defensive player who plays smart and is a good bet to improve considerably from his already high level, especially on offense. Obviously if the Magic offered Dwight Howard for him or something the Hawks would accept, but realistically there is no move the Hawks can make involving Horford that would net them a better player than him.

ryan

May 13th, 2010
8:53 pm

I think Joe Johnson will stay because he can the max deal but i do the Josh Smith will be traded this summer.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
8:58 pm

From the previous blog…

“Cleveland and Chicago got their hometown players in James and Rose. Why couldn’t we get Dwight.”

Believe me, you are not the only one who feels this way. I still hate Terry Stotts for winning a bunch of meaningless games at the end of the 2003-2004 season, and I still hate Stern for not rigging that lottery in the Hawks’ favor. Let’s face it, for all the other accusations of game fixing that exist surrounding the NBA, if there is one that is actually somewhat believable it’s fixing the lottery.

Jody

May 13th, 2010
9:05 pm

Jeff Van Gundy made an interesting statement during tonights game. When asked about who would win between Phoenix and the Lakers, he said the Lakers because, point-blank, “size matters”. The last three seasons, the Hawks have been eliminated by teams who are bigger and have dominated them in the middle. The Hawks can talk about all these other problems if they’d like, but if they’re going to have a chance to “compete with the best teams” as Rick Sund said, they’ve got to get bigger.

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
9:12 pm

Come on now Najeh. No player? That’s a bold statement to make. Maybe no player in his age group.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
9:18 pm

“Come on now Najeh. No player? That’s a bold statement to make. Maybe no player in his age group.”

I’m talking about players that the Hawks can realistically acquire, not players in general. So obviously Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, etc. are not included even though they are better players than Horford. At Horford’s salary level, who can you name that the Hawks would realistically receive in return in a trade that would make the Hawks better?

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
9:19 pm

No doubt Jody.

When you talk about Smith and Horford, they tend to struggle on both ends vs big defensive frontlines. So it’s either “get bigger” by acquiring bigger players . . . or Smoove, Horford, and Marvin are going to have to start “playing bigger” than what they are.

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
9:23 pm

OK.

At his salary . . . maybe only Marc Gasol, who has a better post up game than Horford, but isn’t quite as good defensively. Both of them are close though.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
9:28 pm

“The Hawks can talk about all these other problems if they’d like, but if they’re going to have a chance to “compete with the best teams” as Rick Sund said, they’ve got to get bigger.”

The Cavs are significantly bigger than the Celtics (Cavs have 2 or 3 7-footers depending on Varejao’s actual height, Celtics have zero or one depending on KG’s actual height, and the Cavs’ 7-footers are all as big as or bigger than KG), and they are on the verge of getting eliminated. Not saying size isn’t important, but unselfish team play and toughness will always beat size, especially size without mobility.

Yes, size is an important reason the Hawks lost to the Magic, but lack of effort, lack of an offensive system, lack of ball movement, slow closeouts on perimeter shooters, and lack of quality depth played a bigger role in my opinion.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
9:38 pm

“So it’s either “get bigger” by acquiring bigger players . . . or Smoove, Horford, and Marvin are going to have to start “playing bigger” than what they are.”

Acquiring bigger players who can actually play is easier said than done. The Lakers lucked into Andrew Bynum in the lottery the one year they missed the playoffs, which is really the only reason they have a size advantage, and there’s no way a 7-foot true center with Bynum’s skills slips to #10 in the draft now with the age limit in place and every player having to prove they can play at the college level. Duncan and Howard also play for the teams that lucked into the #1 overall pick and drafted them, and KG was acquired in a lopsided trade from a team that proved incapable of building around him.

You’re not going to acquire a franchise-caliber big man in free agency, because no team is going to let a franchise-caliber big man become a free agent. You’re not going to acquire him in the draft unless you draft in the top 3, which the Hawks are not likely to do in the foreseeable future. You’re not going to acquire him in a trade unless some incompetent GM decides to gift wrap him the way McHale did Garnett.

This is why I keep saying the Hawks should try to acquire someone who can come off the bench, play 25-30 minutes a game, guard Dwight Howard one-on-one, and allow Horford to move to PF for stretches at a time. This player doesn’t have to be a 15-point scorer or even a double-digit scorer; they just have to be able to box out, get rebounds, play tough defense, commit hard fouls if necessary, and not turn the ball over. I always mention Kendrick Perkins’ name when I bring this up, because he’s the ideal player for this role, but it’s up to Rick Sund to find a player like that who is actually available.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:03 pm

Also from the previous blog…

“We send:
*Josh (valuable / I don’t care what you say!)
*Marv (more valuable than you think)
*Teaguer (Wdsn diminished value)
*Zaza (a Big is a Big)

We get from Chicago:
*Joakim Noah [5]
*kirk Hinrich [1] with exp.
*Luol Deng [cushion if Joe leaves]”

I don’t think this is a realistic trade, because the Bulls value Noah alone more than Smoove, and there’s no way they part with Deng as well just to receive a couple of bad contracts in return. But I bring this up because Noah is an example of a guy for whom I wouldn’t mind trading Smoove. A Horford-Noah front line would be nearly as athletic and just as effective defensively as Smoove-Horford, and Noah can guard “true centers” (he more than held his own against the Cavs’ formidable big men) and allow Horford to play power forward full time. In other words, this wouldn’t be like a Josh-for-Bosh trade where you don’t solve the Horford-at-center problem and you just end up trading defense for offense. Doing this would also allow the Hawks to broaden their search when looking for quality backup big men, since they wouldn’t necessarily have to target a true center who can guard Howard.

The main concern with making such a swap is trying to figure out who is going to score in the post, but I think the improvement Horford would show offensively as a full-time PF would make up for the ball movement and decent post scoring Smoove currently provides.

Of course, this is all speculation, because I don’t think the Bulls trade Noah for anyone unless they get LeBron or Wade in return.

sleepy

May 13th, 2010
10:07 pm

Najeh the Celts have two 7 fters in Perkins and KG they are both huge and can play great post and help defense

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:10 pm

Perkins is 6′10″, the same height as Horford. He just weighs 30 pounds more. KG is alternately listed at 6′11″ or 7 feet, so I don’t really know which one to believe.

I did leave out Rasheed Wallace, who is 7 feet, but since he hangs out on the perimeter all the time I’m not sure it makes a huge difference.

pinoy hawk

May 13th, 2010
10:12 pm

Anyone: As an unrestricted FA, the hawks cannot force JJ to a S&T? also, does this mean if another team offers him a contract the hawks cannot match it? so in the end the hawks may end up losing JJ for nothing? is my understanding correct? i’m confused…

O'Brien

May 13th, 2010
10:25 pm

Najeh,

Who is available that the hawks could get to bring off the bench to play Howard one on one though? Haywood maybe?

Watching the cavs-celtics, I love varajao’s game. But for $10 mil a year? I don’t know…

You know what’s interesting? Shelden Williams could win a championship this season…

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
10:28 pm

Oh Najeh I agree. Which is why if the Horford – Smoove frontline is to stay together, one or both of them are going to have to start playing bigger. Otherwise, we’re going to have to trade one of them, to see if we can get a quality big.

Big not only means “height”, it can also mean “bulk”. Even though he’s only 6 – 7, Dejuan Blair is a quality big, because he knows how to use his bulk and strength to battle bigger guys.

But as far as centers go, we definitely need to find one that is an upgrade over Zaza at least. And if all he can do is rebound and defend, I’ll take that.

nick s

May 13th, 2010
10:36 pm

Sleepy,

What in the world are you smoking perkins is a legit 6′8″ at best!!!!

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
10:36 pm

Pinoy . . that is correct. JJ is a unrestricted FA, which means the Hawks can’t simply match a contract offer. And yes, we can lose him for nothing.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:38 pm

This game is a much bigger indictment of LeBron James to me than the previous blowout. I don’t see any leadership, any killer instinct, any take-over-the-game mentality from LeBron at all, and it’s an elimination game.

Amazing that the team the Hawks swept in the regular season is going to be in the conference finals.

O'Brien

May 13th, 2010
10:40 pm

Celtics about to put lebron aand cavs out of their misery. I think Mike brown gets fired.

Hawks need size, But they also need leadership and accountability.

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
10:41 pm

Cleveland in SERIOUS trouble.

If Chicago gets Lebron . . . . damn.

Cavs don’t have anybody else on the roster who can create their own offense other than Lebron and sometimes Jamison. That’s a team that could use a PG.

nick s

May 13th, 2010
10:41 pm

How come everyone isn’t crucifying LeBron for lackluster play but love to crap all over Joe Johnson……things that make you say hmmmm!!!!!

nick s

May 13th, 2010
10:44 pm

Where is Jon Barry and Charles Barkley now with all the pessimism…..the Cav’s look lost…..and the Hawks could beat the Celtics in there sleep!!!!!! So does that mean the hawks are just as good as the Cav’s now????? Things that make you say hmmmmm!!!!

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
10:47 pm

I don’t know Najeh. Hard to knock Lebron’s effort tonight. This game just proves that the guys around him aren’t big time. hems going to have 20+ pts – 20+ rebs – and 10+ asst

Mel

May 13th, 2010
10:48 pm

Guess Joe isnt the ONLY looking bad this post season!

Mel

May 13th, 2010
10:49 pm

Cavs role players lookin just as SHlTTY as last year

northcyde

May 13th, 2010
10:50 pm

hems = he’s

Mel

May 13th, 2010
10:50 pm

LeBron may be the Wilt of our generation

Jody

May 13th, 2010
10:51 pm

Perkins is both taller and bigger than Al Horford. You can clearly see that when they were on the court together. Also, the Celtics have plenty of big people (both K.G. and Wallace are 7 ft.) and big baby and perkins are big guys.

northcyde,

I agree with you. However, the problem I see is that the Hawks frontline, in three consecutive playoff series, have shown that they cannot play big enough to offset their size disadvantage and that’s killed the Hawks everytime. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Al and Smoove. But, looking at it objectively, I think the Hawks need to get bigger.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:51 pm

“Who is available that the hawks could get to bring off the bench to play Howard one on one though? Haywood maybe? ”

Haywood is a possibility. Kurt Thomas, depending on what he has left, is a possibility. Emeka Okafor, if money and cap room is not an object, is a possibility, although his contract is absolutely horrendous. Tyson Chandler and Nazr Mohammed, both with expiring contracts, are possibilities (I’d prefer Chandler). Drafting Daniel Orton out of Kentucky (I haven’t seen him play, but his scouting report and what little Youtube there is of him makes it sound like the right coach could turn him into the next Perkins) is a possibility, although presumably someone like him would take a couple of years to become a consistent enough player to fill such an important role. I don’t know how effective any of these scenarios would be, and like I said above the Hawks had much bigger problems against Orlando than guarding Howard, but any of those players would be an improvement over the current situation either now or in the future.

Mel

May 13th, 2010
10:52 pm

cp

May 13th, 2010
10:53 pm

How much longer are people going to wait on this so called potential Marvin has?. I know some guys take longer than others but 5 years in the league and 4 years as a starter and he is still average as hell. What you see is pretty much what you’re going to get with Marvin. Put him in a package deal….

MC could you do a mini interview with Teague and see what he has planned as far as what he is going to work on and how he plans on getting better this summer? If he is going to take over next year I would love to know what he will be doing to prepare. He needs to be in that gym shooting jumpers non stop and working on that floater.

nick s

May 13th, 2010
10:54 pm

Bottom Line to me is if Joe Johnson had hit 50% all his shots against Orlando everyone wouldn’t be panicking right now. And as far as Horford goes, LEA, you are a either a fool or misinformed because this dude is “THE” heart and soul of this team. Kurt the flopper Thomas was not manhandling him on defense and could not stay in front of him on offense. Unfortunately, I say trade the most dynamic player we have, Smoove, and try and get a true center in here to defend our new arch nemesis D. Howard. Try and get JJ to stay and look for some affordable bench players to help out.

Mel

May 13th, 2010
10:54 pm

he shakes hands this year

Jody

May 13th, 2010
10:54 pm

And in the playoffs, the Celtics size pays big dividends as they oust the Cavs.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:54 pm

“I don’t know Najeh. Hard to knock Lebron’s effort tonight.”

I don’t knock his effort. I’m knocking his decision making and killer instinct, which were both nonexistent when it mattered most in this game, regardless of his stats. I agree, his role players sucked too, but the entire team was just in total panic mode that entire 4th quarter when the game was still well within reach. That shows a lack of on-court leadership to me.

cp

May 13th, 2010
10:55 pm

I guess the Cavs dont have anything to dance and laugh about on the sideline tonight. They were clowning all year even if they were losing. Guys who didn’t even play were clowning too. Ain’t shid funny tonight though.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2010
10:56 pm

Nobody on the Celtics is as big as Shaq or Z, Varejao is the same size as Garnett, and Hickson is taller than Glen Davis. I don’t know where you are getting this so-called size advantage for the Celtics from.

Jody

May 13th, 2010
10:57 pm

Not saying the Celtics have a size advantage per say, but they are big enough to compete.

nick s

May 13th, 2010
10:58 pm

thank you najeh what size are these people looking at!