Atlanta Hawks: Nine free agents who can play D (cheaply)

It migh be important for the Hawks to get a guy like Bell, who is willing and able to do this.

It might be important for the Hawks to get a guy like Bell, who is willing and able to do this.

Taking a break from J.J. and the Dwight-influenced fascination with centers for a reminder that perimeter D was more of a problem for the Hawks last season (and during that series) than post D.

L.D. can preach defense all he wants but he needs more guards and wings who can take the proverbial “individual challenge” of guarding their man; the lack of those guys last season hurt Atlanta more than anything else on defense. The good news for the Hawks is it’s easier to find a free agent who can fill that role relatively cheaply, like perhaps for part of their bi-annual exception of up to two years and $4.3 million.

Let me start by saying that, despite the development of advanced statistics, it still can be a subjective exercise to measure good defense. Synergy’s numbers, the counterpart production at 82games and the defensive ratings at Hoopdata, Basketball Reference and Basketball Prospectus all are invaluable for helping to create a statistical picture of a guy’s defensive impact. But it’s difficult to isolate individual defensive performance because it’s influenced so much by s teammates, role, position, and the quality of opponents. Even blocks and steals can be misleading because those things can be sought out at the expense of team defensive concepts.

(Thanks to super commenter niremetal for reminding me of all of this in an email he sent me defending Marvin’s defensive performance after I criticized it way back when.)

With those caveats in mind, here are some unrestricted free agents who could come at a bargain and who might be able to keep their man in front of them better than any perimeter guys on Atlanta’s roster save for maybe Teague and Mo. Listed in descending order of 2009-10 salary with statistics from last season.

MC

Raja Bell , 6-5, G

2009-10 salary: $5.2 million

Synergy opponent points per possession: Lack of data

Opponent points per production: Lack of data

Team defensive efficiency: Lack of data

Notes: Injuries cost Bell most of the last two seasons so his price will come down. But he’s a good defender and 3-point shooter and also known as a good locker-room guy, so there should be a pretty good market for Bell. He says he likes Dallas, Orlando and Miami.

Dorell Wright, 6-9, F

2009-10 salary: $2.9 million

Synergy opponent points per possession: .95 overall, 1.04 isolation, .98 spot-up.

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at small forward): .461 eFG%, 18.2 points, 15.4 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 104.7 on court, 105.6 off court.

Notes: Wright is a plus athlete, can defend three positions and and comes from a program where defense is the focus. Wright came on for the Heat in the latter part of last season. He’s a definite injury risk due to a problematic knee. The flip side of that is he’s only played 211 career games at 24-years old.

Tony Allen, 6-4, G

2009-10 salary: $2.5 million

Synergy opponent points per possession: .85 overall, .89 isolation, .89 pick-and-roll balhhandley

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at shooting guard): .455 eFG%, 15.4 points, 13.2 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 105.3 on court, 105.4 off court.

Notes: Allen’s stature got a boost when Kobe credited him for being a tough defender in the Finals. His offense pretty much is limited to what he can get around the basket.

Jordan Farmar, G, 6-2

2009-10 salary: $1.9 million

Synergy opponent points per possession: .81 overall, .82 isolation, .76 pick-and-roll ballhandler.

Opponent production per 48 minutes: .436 eFG% , 19.2 points, 15.6 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 104.5 on court, 104.8 off court.

Note: The Lakers declined to extend a qualifying offer to Farmar and then signed Steve Blake for four years and $20 million. Farmar says he wants to start at point guard but the Lakers decided he couldn’t run their team. He’s still only 23-years old.

Antoine Wright, 6-7, F/G

2009-10 salary: $1.8 million

Synergy opponent points per production: .90 overall, .70 isolation, .90 spot-up.

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at small forward): .497 eFG%, 20.4 points, 17.7 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 111.8 on court, 115.7 off court.

Notes: Wright fell out of favor in Toronto even though he’s what passed for a tough defender on that team. He’s another guy who’s limited offensively. The Celtics are said to be interested.

Matt Barnes, F, 6-7

2009-10 salary: $1.6 million

Synergy opponent points per possession: .86 overall, .85 isolation, .95 spot-up

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at small forward): .446 eFG%, 18.2 points, 13.3 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 103.9 on court, 105.3 off court.

Notes: Barnes wants a significant raise. He may not get it from Orlando, which is using at least parts of its mid-level to sign Chris Duhon. His best asset might be his desire to mix it up on defense against the bets opponents.

Rodney Carney, F, 6-7

2009-10 salary: $825,500

Synergy opponent points per possession: 1.02 overall, .76 isolation, 1.26 spot-up.

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at shooting guard): .447 eFG%, 17.4 points, 13.8 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 111.0 on court, 111.8 off court.

Notes: Carney is a good athlete who runs the floor well and wants to play D. Philly isn’t interested in re-signing Carney and there doesn’t seem to be much buzz about him going elsewhere.

Ime Udoka, 6-5, G/F

2009-10 salary: $787,000

Synergy opponent points per possession: .96 overall, .85 isolation, 1.15 spot-up.

Opponent production per 48 minutes (at shooting guard): .477 eFG%, 22.8 points, 15.4 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 108.0 on court, 112.0 off court.

Notes: Udoka might be available for the minimum. Once a good 3-point shooter for Portland, Udoka mysteriously has seemed to lose his touch since then.

Rafer Alston

2009-10 salary: $495, 298

Synergy opponent points per possession: .91 overall, .83 isolation, ,91 pick-and-roll ballhandler

Opponent production per 48 minutes: .442 eFG%, 17.5 points, 14.1 PER.

Team defensive efficiency: 106.2 on court, 105.1 off court.

Notes: Alston wants another shot in the NBA after going AWOL from the Heat to attend to personal family business. He says he’s willing to fill any role. Alston still can provide some spot minutes running a team.

156 comments Add your comment

hawks poop

July 7th, 2010
4:24 pm

jroc

July 7th, 2010
4:27 pm

hawks poop

July 7th, 2010
4:28 pm

And rafer alston is my pick or either matt barnes

jroc

July 7th, 2010
4:33 pm

who

July 7th, 2010
4:37 pm

LMFAOOO

Dorell Wright is on this list

You have to be kidding me with that

northcyde

July 7th, 2010
4:38 pm

Great stuff MC.

Barnes would be the guy I would target out of this list, because I don’t trust Mo Evans as a defender or a spot up shooter anymore. I think if Jordan Crawford shows anything as a shooter/scorer, he may take playing time from Evans.

Farmar might be the other guy I’d target, in case we have a problem with Teague. Farmar is a better shooter than Teague and I’ve always liked Farmar’s toughness. In an offense in which he may not be required to run the team, he might fit in well here, in case Teague isn’t ready and Bibby shows that he’s still in decline.

Steve

July 7th, 2010
4:39 pm

MC – I dunno exactly what these numbers mean, but where does Jarvis Hayes fit on the list?

jroc

July 7th, 2010
4:42 pm

Hey MC you have been doing a good job keeping us up to date on the Hawks this summer. How about you go to management and demand a raise and if they don’t budge start turning over desks like the teacher did on Lean On Me.And MC have you heard of any other moves the hawks are going to make.

Jerry West

July 7th, 2010
4:42 pm

MC,

No love for Earl Watson? I mean Skip Alston gets mention as an aging PG that can play D but not my man Earl?

mojo

July 7th, 2010
4:43 pm

Farmar might be out of LA if fisher takes a paycut and with the steve blake signing. could be a great pickup for depth. Also rodney carney is a smooth player with depth at the 3 for us.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
4:43 pm

@who: “Dorell Wright is on this list. You have to be kidding me with that.”

i’m open to hearing a rebuttal.

JoJo the Godfather

July 7th, 2010
4:45 pm

I’m all for picking up a perimeter defender, but I’m having a hard time hashing out the minutes when you’ve got Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Jordan Crawford, Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams & Mo Evans all seeing time at the first 3 spots (generally covered by 7 active roster spots)…I realize a couple of those guys could be traded, but we’re either going to end up with some rookies getting ignored or Jamal Crawford & Mo Evans taking a big hit in minutes…Are we really going to start Jeff Teague as the PG for a 53-win playoff team next year?…I wish we’d make an early move or two to even out the roster.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
4:47 pm

@ Steve: the Synergy stuff is points allowed per possession by the player. the opponent production is what that player’s man stats. the efficiency is points allowed per 100 possessions when the players is on the court and off the court.

i recall that John Hollinger once said Hayes is an overrated defender but can’t find that link.

Ric Roc

July 7th, 2010
4:49 pm

Tony Allen, Jordan Farmar and Matt Barnes would all make great additions. They are tough-minded and come from winning organizations. They could only enhance the culture around the locker room and on-floor performance.

I’m especially impressed with Farmar’s ability to knock down open threes… it’s not easy to run an offense for Phil Jackson.

Spot on about Allen… his offense is limited, but he’s tough and excels at driving to the basket. I’ll take any Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson outcast any day of the week.

Matt Barnes is basically a clone of Chils… hustles every minute he’s in the game and able to make buckets w/o ever having to call his number.

jroc

July 7th, 2010
4:49 pm

Bibby was the main reason the Hawks got killed on the perimeter last season.Get rid of Bibby and problem solved.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
4:49 pm

@jroc: Mr. Darnell went off on Joe Clark but he kind of got punked before that. nothing new so far on Hawks moves but i’m sure it’s coming. LD supposedly wants to hire Larry Conner as lead assistant but i’ve heard it’s not official yet so i’m holding off on putting that out there.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
4:52 pm

@ Jerry West: haha . . . hey, i like Watson. this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means just wanted to get a conversation going.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 7th, 2010
4:53 pm

I like Barnes and Bell, but Wright could be good in the right situation. Not a huge fan of any of the other guys. Tony Allen is just a glorified Mario West.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
4:54 pm

@JoJo: yeah, it’s a crowded roster if they pick up another perimeter guy. if they get a defensive specialist who is acceptable on offense that would presumably cut into minutes for Bibby and Mo.

UGA

July 7th, 2010
4:55 pm

Damien Wilkins? Very versatile and cheap. Can play 3 spots. He always plays well in Phillips.

Dorrell Wright would be great!! He can hit the 3 too. I’d take him in a minute.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 7th, 2010
4:55 pm

Oh yeah, Farmar is nice too, but bringing him in wouldn’t make sense unless the Hawks find a way to dump Bibby.

UGA

July 7th, 2010
4:56 pm

MC: Who would you add to this list as a PF or C?

Brian

July 7th, 2010
4:57 pm

All these players suck.

Astro Joe

July 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

MC, you mean LESTER Connor (Larry’s brother)?

We don’t need any perimeter defenders. We already have Mo Evans and Drew’s new “guard your man or else” scheme for next season.

Bulls sign Boozer.

jroc

July 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

Farmar will be Bibby in a couple of years.Lazy and pathetic.Besides get him while he still cares.

Jerry West

July 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

What 3 spots can Damien play?

And yes he can light it up at Philips, though Durant stole his thunder that one night…

allan in texas

July 7th, 2010
5:00 pm

Are the Hawks going to get Shaquille? I might have to consider driving back down to the ATL if they did that. Also, do the Hawks have a realistic shot at landing CP3 via trade? Thanks.

clarkekent

July 7th, 2010
5:01 pm

larry hughes and ronnie brewer

JoJo the Godfather

July 7th, 2010
5:01 pm

Whose minutes are we talking about getting a free agent for?… We lost Super Mario and added Jordan Crawford…You figure Bibby & Teague will switch their minutes per game…Obviously we need to get rid of Bibby and give those minutes to a free agent, but that leaves Evans as our backup SF again, or our PG rotation will have to be Teague, Ja Crawford & Jo Crawford.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:02 pm

@AJ: yeah, lester conner, former pacers assistant

jroc

July 7th, 2010
5:02 pm

Antoine Carr and Kevin Willis

Section 303

July 7th, 2010
5:03 pm

Michael, that’s a good list. What about Chuck Hayes, though? I think he would be a perfect fit here. He is a free agent, right?

Hawks have enough guys that can score the ball. They need some “junk yard dog” types to join this roster. Guys that won’t stand around and watch Rashard Lewis get loose ball and turn it into a layup, like Josh Smith did. Promise you….Chuck Hayes and most of the guys on Michael’s list would have never allowed that to happen.

I’m all for tough, lunch bucket, Tom Izzo style guys coming here.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:03 pm

@Najeh: “Oh yeah, Farmar is nice too, but bringing him in wouldn’t make sense unless the Hawks find a way to dump Bibby.”

i’m thinking Farmar would need that assurance, too.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:04 pm

@allan in texas: i’m still not convinced CP3 is even available. we’ll have to see on Shaq. league is to announce the final cap figures tonight, so the Hawks will have a clearer picture of their financials.

Astro Joe

July 7th, 2010
5:05 pm

Why not Mo Evans as our designated perimeter defender?

N-Trigue

July 7th, 2010
5:06 pm

Mc
What about Travis Porter?

Najeh Davenpoop

July 7th, 2010
5:06 pm

“larry hughes and ronnie brewer”

I like Brewer a lot, and Memphis renounced his rights making him an unrestricted free agent. How likely is it that the Hawks bring him in? I think he could provide what Childress does at half the price Childress will command.

Melvin

July 7th, 2010
5:06 pm

Seem like all the real contenders are looking to sign major Free Agents to upgrade their teams and we as Hawks fans are discussing finding cheap Free Agents. Is this how a 53 win team move to the next level? I hope Sund are looking at better moves then this. No offense MC.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:07 pm

@ Sec 303: the Rockets exercised Hayes’ option for 2010-11. plus this list is focused on perimeter guys.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:09 pm

@AJ: “Why not Mo Evans as our designated perimeter defender?”

how about another guy who can take SFs?

allan in texas

July 7th, 2010
5:09 pm

Boozer to the Bulls! The teams in the east are getting serious. Step your game up Hawks!

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:10 pm

@ Melvin: “Is this how a 53 win team move to the next level? I hope Sund are looking at better moves then this. No offense MC.”

none taken. i know it’s not as fun to talk about guys like these as it is bigger names but these kind of role players are important.

GT Alum

July 7th, 2010
5:10 pm

Just for a point of reference, I’m assuming you can also get these stats for guys already on the team like JJ, Marvin, Mo and our current defensive specialist, Mario. It’d be interesting to see how these guys compare to guys we already have on the roster.

Michael Cunningham

July 7th, 2010
5:10 pm

@Melvin: plus these are just free agents, always can do trades.

terrell

July 7th, 2010
5:11 pm

From last blog:
GeeMack, 3 out of the next 5 titles? Please. Stars dont win titles, TEAMS do.

jroc

July 7th, 2010
5:12 pm

Despite the moves the Bulls and Heat are making the Hawks roster still is better than theirs.

GMAN013

July 7th, 2010
5:14 pm

Hey Guys,

What about trading Smith and Marvin for Gerald Wallace and Tyson Chandler? The salaries match!

Bobcats would get a better Gerald Wallace in Smoove to replace the defense and excitement. Marvin would be a good team guy to play defense and score on an offensively limited team which could also help his confidence.

Hawks would get a “slightly-less rich mans Josh Smith” in Wallace who could provide what Smith does 100% of the time instead of when Smith wants to. Chandler is a defensive minded and athletic center that could provide blocks and rebounding and could score occasionally. Plus Horford could move to PF.

C-Chandler
PF-Horford
SF-Wallace
SG-Johnson
PG-Teague

C-Shaq/Zaza
PF-Zaza/?
SF-Childress/Mo/?
SG-Crawford/Jo Crawford
PG-Bibby/Crawford/?

That is a solid defensive minded line up that could actually score as well. It works for both teams so it would be a fair trade.

Tell me what yall think?

Remarkable

July 7th, 2010
5:15 pm

Can Childress play defense? Is he a legitimate consideration? If not who will we sign and trade for him that can truely help us?

Najeh Davenpoop

July 7th, 2010
5:16 pm

Wade and Bosh is a nice combo — disregarding the fact that Bosh plays zero defense — but that team is still going to have nobody around them as a supporting cast. They will make the playoffs, but until they bring in some shooters and some depth they won’t be a serious contender.

If the Bulls land LeBron, though, you can hand them the Eastern Conference. That starting lineup will be un-f*ck-witable.

Even if LeBron stays with the Cavs, the Bulls are a shooter away from passing the Hawks in the standings.

And like I said on the previous blog, don’t sleep on the Bucks.

jroc

July 7th, 2010
5:17 pm

Gman013 the proposal STINKS