Atlanta Hawks: Getaway day

There will be a blog hiatus for a couple weeks while I get away for some me time. There’s a chance I might drop in with a post if anything interesting happens with the Hawks but don’t count on that (either something interesting happening or me dropping in). Meanwhile the beat will be in the capable hands of Ken S., who will chronicle the Hawks’ attempts to pluck a center from the bargain bin.

I suspect not much will have changed with my blog people when I return. Truth-Serum will still be using his multiple identities to agree with himself that Al is a terrible defensive center. JeJe will continue to rip ASG for not letting J.J. walk and using all that cap space to SIGN FREAKIN’ LEBRON. And all of you will wonder how in the heck this squad is supposed to make a move in the East with basically the same guys suiting up.

Be easy until I get back, blog people. Remember, it’s all love and and it’s just basketball . . .

MC

(Note: Commenting is closed until Michael returns Aug. 2)

1,155 comments Add your comment

macaroni tony

July 17th, 2010
7:38 pm

July 15, 2010

While the rest of the NBA is still coming down from the high of LeBron James’ announcement that he would play in Miami with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined with the fallout of Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert’s diatribe against LeBron, the rest of the league is still conducting its business.

On Wednesday the Hawks announced the trade of former forward Josh Childress, who played his last two seasons in Greece, to Phoenix for a second-round pick and a trade exception of about $3.6-million, according to Michael Cunningham of the Journal-Constitution.

In recent days, rumors have flown that the Hawks might be able to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade for Marvin Williams. Now while the Hawks don’t necessarily seem inclined to trade the former No. 2 overall pick, who is 24, for a 38-year-old center, the fact that the Hawks have picked up a trade exception to the salary cap could make some kind of trade with the Cavaliers for O’Neal more plausible. Shaq is said to want more money and the Cavs obviously would prefer an asset to losing O’Neal to unrestricted free agency (with no compensation in return) and the trade exception would be one way to make all parties happy. Of course, it would come down to which asset the Hawks would want to part with — and that Cleveland would agree to take. But if they’re faced with losing Shaq for nothing the Cavs might take anything they can get, possibly even the second-round pick the Hawks just received for Childress.

Last season the Hawks had the lowest payroll of any team that made the playoffs and so by advancing to the second round, one could argue that they are getting among the best value for the dollars that they are spending. The moves they have made in recent weeks would appear to put them in a position to add to the payroll but by doing it in such a way that it does not cost them much money or cause them to have to pay the league’s dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. Remember, they traded their second-round pick at the June 24 draft for cash — cash they could apply to the payroll, possibly even to paying O’Neal — and now they have picked up a trade exception that could save them millions more.

So while the Heat have made dramatic moves — with their roster at one point down to three players — the Hawks have been content to keep their core group together and to add to their roster shrewdly and quietly, in keeping with the personality of general manager Rick Sund.

“I think we’ve really made a lot of strides the last few years,” Sund said in video posted on the team’s Web site following the re-signing of All-Star guard Joe Johnson last Thursday. “…We’ve got a little scar tissue along the way, which is good, and now we’ve got to get through the hump. To do that, we need the all-pro guard that we had, a four-time all-star. I’m excited. I like our club. I think we’ve got a number of players here who can play at championship caliber.”

When I first met Sund about two years ago to write a profile on him, he offered his theory on how NBA teams can win championships. That theory must have ended up on the cutting room floor, but I found an excerpt of it in his comments to the AJC’s Mark Bradley in an interview from last year.

Here’s the relevant part concerning the Hawks’ current building process:

“Can you win championships and be an elite club with three or four players on your roster who are in the top 10 or 12 at their position? You can,” Sund said. “Detroit showed that [in 2004]. Now [Chauncey] Billups today is an All-Pro All-Star, but he wasn’t when Detroit got it, and neither was Rich Hamilton. And neither was Tayshaun Prince. But Ben Wallace was in the top 10 of power forwards, and Rasheed [Wallace] went from a top five player in the league when he was at Portland to a top eight.

“If you get enough players collectively who are in the top 12 or 13 at their position, you can win a championship. It’s been proven. And that’s what we have to do … We’ve got to do it collectively if we don’t have an MVP candidate.”

Well, the Hawks don’t have an MVP candidate — unless Josh Smith or Al Horford make a dramatic and unforeseen leap this coming season — but here’s what Sund also said on that video after re-signing Johnson.

“When you look at our club, we’ve got about four players who are top 10 at their position,” he said. “Joe is obviously top four or five at two guard. We had the best sixth man at his position in the league last year [Jamal Crawford, who won the league's Sixth Man Award]. We consider the sixth man a position. Al Horford made the all-star team last year so he’s probably in the top 10 at the center position. And Josh Smith has made some big strides, then you have a solid young player in Marvin. We’ve got a really good core here.

“I think the fans had a lot of fun last year. They’ve watched the team grow. We’ve got four players in our core – and we’ll throw [2009 first-round pick Jeff] Teague in there as he grows – that are 24 years or younger, so we have a chance to be a really good competitive club for years to come and that’s exciting.”

So if you interpret what Sund is saying, theoretically, at least, he must believe that the team has some chance of competing for a championship. Many observers would likely scoff at that, especially noting the Hawks’ two quick exits in the second round the last two seasons.

Is Shaq the missing link? Will they get him? It’s impossible to forecast, but one would have to conclude that even with the Heat adding Bosh and LeBron, the Hawks have to think they are close.

jhan

July 17th, 2010
8:49 pm

I remember last season when other teams were making moves many on this blog said the Hawks were cheap, dumb, don’t care about winning, etc…

Sounds very familiar to this season. I would like to see the Hawks do 2 things this offseason – find a legit center that can play 20 minutes a game & find a legit SF to play about the same.

Because they haven’t accomplished this yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen – it just means the Hawks are being their slow, methodical selves.

Come August if we’re still looking then I’ll be very dissapointed.

cp

July 17th, 2010
9:27 pm

game tonight is at 10:30

Sautee

July 17th, 2010
9:44 pm

jhan,

Good to see you here. I’ll co-sign that post.

Melvin

July 17th, 2010
10:09 pm

Hawks came to the NBA offseason (which is similar to a gun fight) with a 6 shot revolver pistol and use 5 of their shots to re-sign Joe while the other teams came to the shoot-out with semi-automatic pistols. I guess the Hawks are going to channel their inter Angelina Joeline and take out multiply targets with one bullet like she did in the movie Wanted…

Melvin

July 17th, 2010
10:39 pm

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:01 pm

Melvin,

Only problem is she shot herself with that bullet. So yeah, the analogy fits…. :lol:

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:04 pm

Teague and Crawford with solid first quaters. Defense is looking good

jerrywest

July 17th, 2010
11:05 pm

Hawks don’t have to give away Marvin to sign Shaq.

Hawks can give away Mo Evans & a 2nd round pick to clippers for nothing, and sign shaq at MLE and still pay no luxury tax. Hawks can do the trade at mid season and avoid luxury tax.

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:09 pm

Davidson is playing like he wants a job and Sy is very aggressive

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:09 pm

Dang….Pape Sy is aggressive…

Jamerio Davidson sure likes that fallaway jumper, and he can shoot.

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:11 pm

Right on, CP .

Even Luke Jackson has been playing quite well. Dude’s been strong on “D” and hitting some shots as well.

I still don’t see a need (or desire) for him, though.

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:16 pm

Yea Ray unfortunately for Luke we dont have a spot for him but he is playing well

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:20 pm

Teague is being aggressive and not thinking but just playing and he looks much better

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:24 pm

Melvin

July 17th, 2010
11:28 pm

Teague is ballin tonight… I like his swagger this game…

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:41 pm

Ok, now that was just a crazy play…

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:46 pm

From this group, I like Aminu. But Hendrix is the one I’d take…

Melvin

July 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

After watching Jordan Crawford play, I’m still wondering why haven’t the Hawks traded Mo Evans yet…

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

Aminu is worth somebody’s time, but Hendrix has the strength and a little better consistency.

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:49 pm

Melvin,

Defense. And, I’d rather do something like that after seeing how Crawford does in the preseason, which pits him against actual NBA competition.

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:51 pm

I was thinking the same thing Melvin. Mo plays hard but he always has those month long droughts where he cant hit anything.

Melvin

July 17th, 2010
11:51 pm

Ray,

Hendrix has nice post moves but I think he’s too small and not athletic enough to play PF…. I would go with Aminu b/c of his length and athletic ability…

cp

July 17th, 2010
11:58 pm

Honestly Aminu, Hendrix, Davidson, Jackson, Augustine,or Glider would all be better at the end of the bench rather than RandyMo, Mario, Porkchop Collins and Joe Smith

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:58 pm

Melvin,

I’d go with that too, but we once had a guy just like him (Solomon Jones) who had a better jumper as well. Hendrix lacks the athleticism, but he’s got the strength and instincts. What the hell, it’s a project either way. I’d take either one of them over RandMo, I will say that.

Big Ray

July 17th, 2010
11:59 pm

LOL….exactly, cp…

Big Ray

July 18th, 2010
12:00 am

I think Joe is a good locker room influence and a guy we mishandled last season. All the same, we need a vet we know can put in some good, tough minutes for us. I think Joe is past that point by now…

cp

July 18th, 2010
12:00 am

I meant Gilder

Big Ray

July 18th, 2010
12:11 am

Man that guy just plain sucks.

Big Ray

July 18th, 2010
12:12 am

Not Gilder…#35…

cp

July 18th, 2010
12:13 am

Its time to end the RandyMo experiment

Big Ray

July 18th, 2010
12:19 am

Agreed….I’m out…sleepy as hell…

Rick Sund

July 18th, 2010
12:24 am

Did you all NOT just see our Summer League Team play? We have future stars on this team and believe that the emergence of Teague and Jordan Crawford will help the Hawks win the Title in 2011. Luke Jackson may also be signed, as he has shown Larry Bird-like qualities.

Also, expect Randolph Morris back.

My motto is: The cheaper, the better

cp

July 18th, 2010
12:27 am

Teague played very well again tonight. He looked confident and aggressive and wasn’t turning the ball over. He set guys up and even knocked down a few jumpers. Crawford was Crawford…Gilder, Jackson, Davidson were all solid. Aminu and Hendrix looked solid out there as well. Sy for the few minutes he played looks like a guy who could play this year but I know they want him to go back overseas. It will be very interesting to see who they invite to camp….. If RandyMo is one of them then something is wrong. Dude has shown me that he is worse than I initially thought. Just no fire, no defense, and wont rebound.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

July 18th, 2010
1:32 am

Remember Sund gave the fans and the league his strongest poker face when he brought JC in last as a sixth man and many on here doubted that move. Maybe he is plotting a another gem like that this time around. Let’s not forget that Crawford trade came late in the off season as well. Let’s see what the man can cook up with the scraps he has been given by the asg.

Grandad

July 18th, 2010
2:39 am

The star of the summer league has been the “defining of the offense”.
Screening, cutting, scoring off catches instead of pounding the ball.
Player movement, ball reversal, everyone getting touches.
Slipping screens, unselfish play, 2nd, 3rd, & sometimes 4th options.
Back cuts, playing inside out, catch & shoot after being assisted.
It’s been beautiful & these kids haven’t even had much time together.
Kudos to LD + staff for putting this together / quickly.

JeJe

July 18th, 2010
6:55 am

Sund said we have 4 players in the top 10 in their positions and that Duck is solid.

No one is being traded….

doc

July 18th, 2010
8:02 am

thanks GD, i hope that part of the plan works.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:20 am

I hope aminu gets Morris’ spot. He fits our style better and he actually have potential

O'Brien

July 18th, 2010
9:22 am

Guys,

Another reason why Mo has not been traded is because he is our backup SF (although he is really a SG). And I do think his defense is overrated. He just isnt big enough to guard SFs.

Hawks fan in N.O.,

If I’m not mistaken, the Crawford trade happened the last week of june (last year).

Mo Evans was signed in July 2009 and flip was signed in early August 2009.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:29 am

I wish we could sign someone like Barnes. He messed with Kobe last year and we are going to need that when we have to play wade, Lebron, and Bosh at the same time. I just hope we dont spend money on guys like jason collins and randolph morris. Morris especially. Aminu would be nice. I am a kurt thomas supporter.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:38 am

Why dont we send Mo evans for Shaq. Thats a bit more fair……….

Melvin

July 18th, 2010
10:03 am

For those who wanted RandMo gone, you may get your wish…

“Another name for the long list of candidates to land in Maccabi Tel Aviv next season. The Israeli team is currently in talks with Randolph Morris, though no agreement is expected soon. The 24-year-old center has played during the last two seasons for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game in the last one. The Hoops Market”

bigdave

July 18th, 2010
11:37 am

Samardo Samuels.. wide body.. worth a look.. not sure he’s much of an upgrade over Kendrix.. but worth a look..

bigdave

July 18th, 2010
11:38 am

northcyde

July 18th, 2010
1:44 pm

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

July 18th, 2010
1:32 am

Remember Sund gave the fans and the league his strongest poker face when he brought JC in last as a sixth man and many on here doubted that move. Maybe he is plotting a another gem like that this time around. Let’s not forget that Crawford trade came late in the off season as well. Let’s see what the man can cook up with the scraps he has been given by the asg.

*************************

Actually . . . the Jamal Crawford trade was announced in June of last year. It was the first major move that any team did last year. Sund didn’t even wait.

As for his assertion that we have 4 players in the top 10 at a given position, let’s see what hoopsstats.com says about that. Hoopsstats base their rankings on overall efficiency.

TEAM RANKINGS

OVERALL: #11

BACKCOURT: #4
FRONTCOURT: #13

STARTERS: #6
BENCH: #17

IN THE PAINT: #5
OUT THE PAINT: #13

PG OVERALL: #20
SG OVERALL: #3
SF OVERALL: #27
PF OVERALL: #8
C OVERALL: #5

*****************************

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS BY POSITION

PG: Bibby – #39 . . Teague – #73

G: Johnson – #5 . . Crawford – #17 . . Mario – #85

SF: Marvin – #22 . . Mo Evans – # 50
-
PF: Smoove – #7 . . Joe Smith – #73

C: Horford – #6 . . Zaza – #61 . . Collins – #101

**********************

When you look at our team, it’s obvious what the problem is . . . . lack of QUALITY depth. So ANY quality we can add to this team, will be a plus. I agree with the others when they say if a guy like Jordan Crawford proves in camp that he’s a better player than Mo Evans, the rookie HAS to play.

The Hawks bench lost so many leads last year, it wasn’t even funny. That bench was NOT good last year. And that #17 ranking they ended up with, was between 20 – 25 for most of the year, until the bench did start playing a little better starting in March. But even then, most of that was because of Crawford.

Ramon

July 18th, 2010
1:54 pm

Here is a crazy scenario. Why couldn’t Teague and JC2 start in the back court (if both earns it)? Teague, JC2, and Joe at the SF, would add even more speed, better defense, and better scoring. We could have Crawford and Marvin (along with Bibby) come off the bench to give the 2nd unit even more of a punch. I actually think Marvin numbers would go up if he came off the bench. If JC2 comes in preseason and shows he can guard opposing 2 guards, then why not see about that lineup?

O'Brien

July 18th, 2010
2:03 pm

Ramon,

Even if they play well in training camp, I think thats too much pressure to put on a rookie and second year PG. Plus I dont think we should play JJ so many minutes at SF.

Northcyde,

Although our bench was not very good (or very consistent) at times, part of the consistency problem was because of Woody.

Yes, they were mostly veterans, but they never knew when they would come into the game, and they never knew if one good game would lead to PT in the next game, or even the next half.

Most Players like to have a routine, and under Woody, they didn’t have that. If Drew gives his bench more consistent PT, I think our bench will be better statistically.

But I also think that’s why the ASG need to sign 2 more quality bench guys (like Tolliver at backup PF), and another backup center.

Big Ray

July 18th, 2010
2:17 pm

I’ll say the bench issue was part Woodson, part bench.

I think Woody could have used Joe Smith more, but that’s just me. Maybe Joe was hurt or just couldn’t go, but he didn’t seem to have that issue when he DID hit the court. Mo Evans complained about a lack of minutes as well, but he wasn’t doing too good for a while there. However, when his minutes went up, so did his production, towards the end of the year. Chicken vs. egg….

On the flip side, RandMo was useless, as was Jason Collins (except that one game where he flustered Shaq for a couple of minutes). And re-upping Mario West was stupid as hell, especially when we jettisoned a young, hard-working forward in Othello Hunter. Zaza wasn’t himself most of the season. Jamal WAS the bench.

northcyde

July 18th, 2010
2:21 pm

Just for fun, compare that with Orlando. Same rankings coming from hoopsstats.com:

TEAM RANKINGS

OVERALL: #3

BACKCOURT: #9
FRONTCOURT: #3

STARTERS: #5
BENCH: #8

IN THE PAINT: #1
OUT THE PAINT: #12

PG OVERALL: #18
SG OVERALL: #4
SF OVERALL: #16
PF OVERALL: #15
C OVERALL: #1

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS BY POSITION

PG: Nelson – #24 . . J. Williams – #50 . . A. Johnson – #65

G: Carter – #15 . . Redick – #37

SF: Barnes – #24 . . Pietrus – #44

PF: Lewis – #31 . . Anderson – #54 . . Bass – #60

C: Howard – #2 ( they have David Lee #1 ) . . Gortat – #56

******************

So look at their team. While we may have 3 players in the top 10 at a particular position, and they only have 1, the Magic have 11 of their 12 players that are in the top 60 at their position. That would indicate that just about everybody with the exception of Anthony Johnson, could at least be a reserve on every team in the NBA.

Contrast that with us. We only had 7 players in the top 60 at their respective position.

SEVEN

That’s why I talked about this bench all year. We just didn’t have the talent coming off the bench, to warrant some of those guy getting extended minutes. They were sorry, compared to the people they were going up against.

So if we don’t improve the depth of the team with quality players, then we HAVE to have our star players play at a high level. That means that JJ needs to move up into the Wade – Kobe group in efficiency, instead of being with the Ellis – Roy group.

That means that Smoove needs to move up at least to the Amare Stoudemire level, instead of being on the level just above David West, Marcus Camby, and Troy Murphy

That means that Horford needs to move up to Tim Duncan level, instead of being on the Brook Lopez – Bogut – Marc Gasol level.

Even if Teague improves his ranking next year, we could see Bibby slip significantly, if he’s still not in shape and his jumper is off. And we still have MAJOR depth issues at center.

Upgrade the team Sund. Learn how to properly use the data to see where the problems are.

C: