Atlanta Hawks: “Slight” chance you’ll see Pape Sy

Pape Sy might join the Hawks.

Pape Sy might join the Hawks.

Back when the Hawks drafted Pape Sy and brought him to Summer League, assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said there was “no chance” the team would buy out Sy’s contract with Le Havre of the top French League. Over the weekend Pendergraft upgraded that to a “slight chance” Sy will join the Hawks this fall.

Pendergraft didn’t elaborate on Atlanta’s reasoning for the change of heart. But considering how the Hawks praised Sy’s competitiveness and physical tools in camp, I’m assuming they see him as a guy who could eventually help as a wing defender. Plus Sy, who has one year left on his French deal, would come cheaply as a second-round pick.

Heck, if the Hawks bring in Sy and then add a center prospect it could be the beginnings of a bona fide player development program. I think the Utah Flash would be flabbergasted if a Hawks guy showed up.

– It seems Al’s comments about playing power forward caused a frenzy among my blog people. Actually, it seems any news that potentially means Marvin goes to the bench gets people excited.

But as far as I can tell Al’s comments reflect what I wrote last week: LD plans to use a “big” rotation that includes Twin and also will use Al and Zaza together. It doesn’t mean a change in the starting lineup but rather more combinations of bigs and a deeper rotation.

I can’t see how shifting Smoove to small forward would ever be a good move. I know he played the 3 as a rookie but when I talked to him about that he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about going back. Why take a guy whose forte is defending the paint away from the glass? Wasn’t that one major weakness of the switching D?

And do you really think Al would be a better power forward than Smoove, or at least so much better that it’s worth it to stick Josh out on the perimeter guarding the best athletes in the league? At the very least, don’t you want to see how Marvin looks under LD before such a drastic and potentially counterproductive move is made?

– Please be patient as we try to eradicate the blog troll . There are some technological things being worked on above my pay grade that should help with the self-policing. In the meantime, we will erase messages and ban posters as soon as we can after we are notified. You can help us out by flagging inappropriate comments and refraining from feeding the troll.

MC

202 comments Add your comment

GrymmDaReaper

August 9th, 2010
11:46 am

Oh Hawks..This is the best we got ?

Najeh Davenpoop

August 9th, 2010
11:53 am

It would be pretty crazy, and not completely out of the question, to see Sy came to the Hawks and outperform Marvin. Both Sy and Marvin have the physical tools to be consistently good NBA defenders, but only Marvin has proven that he can’t sustain this for an extended period of time. The Hawks don’t need huge scoring numbers from either Marvin or Sy; they just need hard nosed defense, energy, and the ability to stretch the floor to help with floor spacing.

Oh yeah, and if Larry Drew actually plans on using Collins in a significant role — keep in mind Collins has averaged more fouls per minute than rebounds per minute over the last three seasons — then the Hawks are going to be pretty screwed.

Ben

August 9th, 2010
11:54 am

Bring in Pape Sy ASAP then. If he can be a rotational player. We NEED another SF to backup Marvin.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 9th, 2010
11:56 am

And whatever buyout the Hawks pay to Le Havre better be less than the luxury tax charge these hypocrites would have incurred by using their mid level exception.

The Real Hawk

August 9th, 2010
11:57 am

We are doomed.

Fundamentals

August 9th, 2010
11:57 am

I heard about Pape coming last week. Very exciting to me. Seems to be that rare jewel that other teams would craft into a Parker, a Ginobili, a Scola = great aquisition for little to nothing. Haven’t seen much of the kid, but I like what I’ve seen. Give him a real shot. Live with his mistakes. He’ll be better than others we’ve buried on our bench.

I still say can we somehow manufacture a big out of Bibby, Evans, TPE and picks? That’ll force us to use JC2, Teague and Sy. I’m willing to take that risk. Others may not be, but it’s my opinion.

The Real Hawk

August 9th, 2010
11:57 am

Seriously without big help we are behind where were were last season.

Fundamentals

August 9th, 2010
12:01 pm

I tend to think if Collins was pushed to stay in shape, utilized to keep his conditioning, timing and footwork up he’d be a functional backup. He’s not that old, he’s not injured. We just never used him so he was definitely very slow and rusty b/c of how we used him. Not because of his talents or lack of talents.

All this conversation of benching Marvin and Bibby is PERFECT. Play hard or sit your butt down! AMEN LD! I’ll venture to guess both will step it up and or demand a trade if they get outcompeted. Good competition for slots puts the best team forward. Definitely helps maximize talent. AMEN AMEN AMEN LD!

MannyT

August 9th, 2010
12:14 pm

Please don’t feed the trolls ;-)
http://marketmynovel.com/2009/10/the-trouble-with-trolls.html

Is there anything (that currently exists) that is NOT on the internet?

BrittishAnger

August 9th, 2010
12:22 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but who is Twin and where does he fit into the rotation?

MannyT

August 9th, 2010
12:24 pm

Twin = Collins (who has a twin brother in the NBA)

HoosierHawk

August 9th, 2010
12:27 pm

@MC- Any details on the numbers for the buyout? I think an estimate of how much it would cost us would shed some light on whether ASG would actually do it.

JayD

August 9th, 2010
12:29 pm

I hope he becomes a contributor – but comparing him to Marvin right now? Come on

The Real JC

August 9th, 2010
12:31 pm

Fully supportive of bringing Sy on – we’re short on players and cash, right? He would fix thing one without breaking thing 2. And he’s got way more potential than a training camp regular like Siler.

Also, Josh has a ton of blocked shots at the 4, which would drop drastically if he’s switched to the 3. Whether there’s a 5 added and a shift down or not, we’re under-utilizing either Josh or Al.

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
12:33 pm

@ The Real JC: “Also, Josh has a ton of blocked shots at the 4, which would drop drastically if he’s switched to the 3. Whether there’s a 5 added and a shift down or not, we’re under-utilizing either Josh or Al.”

yes. basically this means the roster is unbalanced.

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
12:37 pm

@HoosierHawk: “@MC- Any details on the numbers for the buyout? I think an estimate of how much it would cost us would shed some light on whether ASG would actually do it.”

ha, that’s funny. i don’t have that info but doing some snooping around on it.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 9th, 2010
12:37 pm

“I hope he becomes a contributor – but comparing him to Marvin right now? Come on”

That’s more a reflection on Marvin’s mediocrity than Sy’s potential.

SteveW

August 9th, 2010
12:40 pm

Grandad – not saying that you are wrong about Josh but, look at what MC says,:

“I can’t see how shifting Smoove to small forward would ever be a good move. I know he played the 3 as a rookie but when I talked to him about that he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about going back. Why take a guy whose forte is defending the paint away from the glass? Wasn’t that one major weakness of the switching D?”

Take it up with MC….

SteveW

August 9th, 2010
12:42 pm

Grandad – also see this, “And do you really think Al would be a better power forward than Smoove, or at least so much better that it’s worth it to stick Josh out on the perimeter guarding the best athletes in the league?”

I think you have seen yours truly making the same arguments to you…..

nick p.

August 9th, 2010
12:42 pm

i’m so happy we can all these things and get better, and secure the fourth spot and exit out of the second round (maybe!) again. the league has become predictible and a form of monopoly assuring bascially 4 teams that will be competing, loaded with the best players, and everybody else becoming window dressing! it does not look good in the future either as long as historic teams such as Knicks keep fumbling and making moves like rehiring isaah thomas! the league should have stepped in and not allowed it due to thomas’s past, but………..

Rod from College Park

August 9th, 2010
12:46 pm

The argument was never that Josh should play the three. We all agree that Josh is above average at the 4. The question is, if we brought in a so called “legit” center, and it forced Al to the 4, would you rather Marvin at the 3 or Josh? If you have any basketball knowledge, and you have eyes, you would rather Josh. In a perfect world, everyone could stay at their positions, but the problem is that you have two guys whose natural position is the 4. I personally like Josh’s game at the 4 better than Al’s, but Josh is versatile enough to check some centers, 4’s and he can guard some 3’s. It does not matter now because Shaq is not here.

Rod from College Park

August 9th, 2010
12:50 pm

SteveW,

Just because MC says that Josh playing the three is not a good move, does not make it the gospel. He is a reporter, not a scout, or a coach. Again the question is if we had gotten Shaq, and he demanded to start, and we agreed, would you want Marvin to start at the 3 or Josh? No need to keep bringing it up now, because it won’t happen, but that is the argument.

uga

August 9th, 2010
12:53 pm

etan thomas?

uga

August 9th, 2010
12:56 pm

we should go for him over skinner or elson.

Seeseeseekamp Rhode

August 9th, 2010
12:58 pm

Is Larry Drew finished reading the books he recently purchased on motion offenses, so he’ll be ready to install “his” super-secret, miracle system?

dap01

August 9th, 2010
12:59 pm

The roster would be much more balanced if there was a viable rotation player at Center. Hortford and the CENTER would share the center minutes, with Josh and Hortford sharing the PF minutes.

The Real JC

August 9th, 2010
1:01 pm

@Rod – you’re missing the point. It’s not about Josh v. Marvin at the 3. It’s about having two starting-caliber power forwards on the same team. Sure you can shift one to the 5 or the 3, but they are less productive than at their natural position. It’s like buying an HDTV but only getting standard cable.

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
1:05 pm

@Rod: “The question is, if we brought in a so called “legit” center, and it forced Al to the 4, would you rather Marvin at the 3 or Josh? If you have any basketball knowledge, and you have eyes, you would rather Josh.”

so, in other words, the only correct opinion is your opinion and all others are stupid? well, that saves time at least.

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
1:09 pm

@ Rod: “Just because MC says that Josh playing the three is not a good move, does not make it the gospel. He is a reporter, not a scout, or a coach.”

this is very true. but since anyone who has any basketball knowledge or eyes should know Josh is a better 3 than Marvin, you must have some of that gospel. so i can only assume you are a scout or coach.

the truth is, i don’t know if it’s a good move or not but i have expressed the reasons for my doubts. i don’t really see you making a case here one way or the other except for “basketball knowledge and eyes.”

Mr. Phil

August 9th, 2010
1:10 pm

Gotta hand it to you M. C. Quality blogs lately. Good info.

I for one am chomping at the bit to see Sy. I just gotta see for myself why some guy nobody has ever heard of is worth a second round pick. I won’t understand it unless I see with my own eyes. Period.

Mr. Phil

August 9th, 2010
1:14 pm

BTW.

As much as I love Al and Smoove. I kinda wanna see one of them traded if only to end this debate about who would be a better 4. I am just tired of people trying to force Josh into the 3 role. Forget that he has no jumper. His feet are just not fast enough to defend an NBA caliber 3. Besides you take away his best tool at that position, which is help defense. If you tell me Josh won’t get any weakside blocks next year (that’s basically what you would be saying) I would tell you to drop the bum.

doc

August 9th, 2010
1:15 pm

interesting one player would be happy with a move the pondered move the other player is not if he has to go to the 3 spot. personally, i think there are some threes that josh could handle and handle them well, not all but some to make it a worthwhile attempt on our part. i think it might make some mismatch issues with other teams.

too bad we dont have a big with the ability to go deep and bomb away on offense making the move a more plausible one to keep josh closer to the basket on offense if that is the great fear in going this direction. i saw him away from the basket a lot last year on defense so i am not as reluctant as some to see him in that role, especially if it makes us bigger against teams that eat us up when going big on us. anyway, though it wasnt by direct design, i know josh can do it.

ToeKnee

August 9th, 2010
1:16 pm

I really hope Marvin excels under Drew, and I think he will, especially after hearing Drew say something about Marvin getting shots in rhythm helping him out, which is so true because Marvin is a rhythm player. I remember when Marvin started jumping rope before games because it helped him perform better, he’s a guy who needs to be involved and active to produce, I think the fact he’s still contributed shows the potential that’s still there. There was a Hawks game on Espn this year where somebody, I think Jamaal Mashburn?, said that Marvin is still not playing to his full potential, it was a play-by-play call during the game, but even he could see that Marvin, for whatever reason (I say Woodson), wasn’t playing to the best of his ability. I’m glad we haven’t given up on Marvin because he has a beautiful shot and I think setting him up for open looks with some screens will really help his game.

Despite all the talk of changes to our team the continued growth of Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams, specifically but not exclusively, in addition to better team chemistry, is our chance to truly contend for a championship. And as an optimistic Hawks fan that is what I choose to believe in, well, hope for at least. Can’t wait to see the new offense in action,Go Hawks!

Also just had to add this in, does it drive anyone else absolutely crazy that we specifically chose players who could play a variety of positions only to have Woodson obsessively force them into clearly defined roles?!? Losing Woodson was THE BEST move we could have made this entire offseason, and we made it, thank GOD. This offseason has been solid in my opinion.

Wolverine

August 9th, 2010
1:17 pm

I would expect SY to make the roster especially due to all the movement that has to happen to sign AL. Sy would come very cheap. LD has basically 4 months to evaluate Teague, and Marvin. Ie- if Teague plays very well and earns the starting nod then Bibby will be gone at the deadline with Mo Evans. Sy despite his offense weaknesses, appears to play defense very well and in the Souteastern Division we need as much defense as possible.

ILL-Logical

August 9th, 2010
1:19 pm

“can’t see how shifting Smoove to small forward would ever be a good move.”
Then allow me to enlighten you, if your skepticism is based upon the arguments advancedd by many on this board:
1.There is a term called mis-match used in the context and lexicon of American professional basketball to indicate a situation where a player of lessor height,strength or agility is placed in a posistion where they must guard a player of greater height,et al.

In the case of Josh Smith, if he were to play the position commenly referred to as the 3 on this board, he would be taller than a majority of the current players at the position,arguably stronger and certainly as agile.

In essence, the opposite of the the many =and often specious-arguments that is usually advanced for NOT contemplating such a strategy.

2.As anyone who has watched the Hawks over the last six years has observed,Josh Smith has been asked to defend all 5 posistions at one time or another including the memorable steal from Steve Nash,four years ago, to spark a dramatic come from behind victory against the Suns. And as you might be aware, there is a defense called the zone. It allows players in essence to guard an area instead of a specific person, thus allowing an interior defender-a 3- to remain closer to the basket when necessary.

3.With regard to the ad hominem arguement that the lack of outside shooting prowess is an automatic disqualifier for anyone to be considered for the position of the 3, I offer the names of Julius Winfield Erving III and Adrian Dantly as 2 examples of players who ovecame the lack of an eeffective outside shot to achieve a measure of success in their careers.

Regarding Josh’s enthusiasm or the lack thereof for a possible change to the 3, I believe that his avvowed desire to win is a stronger ,more controlling drive and IF the change occurs, he will embrace it and excell.

The Truth

August 9th, 2010
1:20 pm

“Over the weekend Pendergraft upgraded that to a “slight chance” Sy will join the Hawks this fall.”

Not sure if this is worth going “stir-crazy” over based on management history. I thought his advantage was at the SG position as a defender with his size.and wing span. Will he have much advantage guarding the likes of Lebron or Granger? I really couldn’t tell too much during his summer league performance. How long will it take to bring this task to closure?

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
1:23 pm

@ Mr. Phil: “Besides you take away his best tool at that position, which is help defense. If you tell me Josh won’t get any weakside blocks next year (that’s basically what you would be saying) I would tell you to drop the bum”

that’s my issue, too. if the perimeter D is a problem now, doesn’t it become more of a liability without Josh erasing mistakes in the paint? would he be so much better than Marvin at staying in front of SFs that it mitigates that issue? i think these would be major concerns.

O'Brien

August 9th, 2010
1:23 pm

One problem with Woody is I dont think he was flexible enough with his rotations. And I felt like he was always trying to matchup with the opponent, rather than forcing them to matchup with the Hawks.

Doc,

I think Anthony Tolliver would have been a good fit as a stretch four. He made 50 three pointers in only 46 games last year. But he has signed with Minny.

Astro Joe

August 9th, 2010
1:25 pm

Geez, all this time, I thought TWIN was short for TwinKIE. As in Jason is eating too many Twinkies, (and Moon Pies and Devil Dogs).

Like I said over on Ray’s blog, Pape Sy is to Drew what Mario was to Woody. A pet pitbull defender to use for 2 minutes a game and to reinforce a good work ethic during practice.

Mr. Phil

August 9th, 2010
1:26 pm

@Ill-logical

Let’s say everyone of your arguments is true (which I dispute) for the sake of argument.

Do you disagree that Josh’s bigger talent is as a help defender/ shot blocker. And wouldn’t putting him in any position which may pull him away from the basket be counter intuitive and offset any benefit of potential mismatches?

Mr. Phil

August 9th, 2010
1:26 pm

everyone= every one

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
1:35 pm

@ILL-Logical: thanks for offering your reasoning.

1. “In the case of Josh Smith, if he were to play the position commenly referred to as the 3 on this board, he would be taller than a majority of the current players at the position,arguably stronger and certainly as agile.”

here were the top 15 SFs in PER, according to Hollinger’s stats (http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics/_/position/sf): LeBron, Durant, Carmelo, Maggette, Granger, Wallace, Kirilenko, Pierce, Batum, Gay, Deng, Prince, R. Williams, Marion, D, Wright

taller? almost always. stronger? i would go so far as to say usually. as agile? i don’t think so, at least in terms of footspeed.

2. re: zone D . . . just saw an interesting blog post that argues the defensive 3-second rule negates many of the advantages of the zone: http://tinyurl.com/3y3ec2n

3. re: outside shooting . . . one way to mitigate (other than obviously better shot selection) that would be for Josh to go to the rim more. but his handles are so suspect in that situation that LD has talked about running plays going to the basket so he doesn’t have to dribble much.

re: Josh’s enthusiasm . . . i didn’t include that to suggest that he wouldn’t be willing to make the move, just to illustrate that he doesn’t seem convinced it would be the best move.

Michael Cunningham

August 9th, 2010
1:39 pm

@AJ: “Geez, all this time, I thought TWIN was short for TwinKIE. As in Jason is eating too many Twinkies, (and Moon Pies and Devil Dogs).

Like I said over on Ray’s blog, Pape Sy is to Drew what Mario was to Woody. A pet pitbull defender to use for 2 minutes a game and to reinforce a good work ethic during practice.”

one of his many nicknames in the locker room, all of which centered on his girth, was “Truck.”

it would be interesting to see if they do with Sy. he didn’t play much for Le Havre so i’d think he needs more court time against good comp.

The Real JC

August 9th, 2010
1:45 pm

@Astro – I wholeheartedly support the changing of Collins’ nickname from Twin to Twinkie. Or better yet, Devil Dog. I would totally buy that jersey.

ryan

August 9th, 2010
1:45 pm

Hey Cunningham will the Hawks and Thrashers ever be sold because it sounds like the ASG has no money and took the cheapest way out this summer by hiring Drew and not signing Shaq .

O'Brien

August 9th, 2010
1:48 pm

Interesting to see who the top 15 SF in PER were. Not surprising to see who was not. Marvin. And when northcyde posted the defensive stats a few blogs ago, Marvin was mid teens.

I hope Drew can get him going, because that will be huge for the Hawks. Plus if Marvin is productive, he could even play spot minutes at the 4.

On the list, I think D Wright is a bargain for Orlando. They now have Pietrus, Wright, and Rashard who can all play SF.

AJ,

Is the other Twin available? If he is, we could add him to our fleet of centers. I’m sure all it takes is one JJ recruiting phone-call…

Najeh Davenpoop

August 9th, 2010
1:52 pm

“In the case of Josh Smith, if he were to play the position commenly referred to as the 3 on this board, he would be taller than a majority of the current players at the position,arguably stronger and certainly as agile.”

Being taller than the guy guarding you only matters if you are shooting over him or posting him up. We all know Josh shouldn’t be shooting over anyone, ever, so that leaves us with Josh posting up smaller SFs. Disregarding for a second that plenty of SFs are big enough and quick enough to defend him in the post (including LeBron James and Gerald Wallace in the Hawks’ own division), where does that leave the center? If SF Josh and PF Al are your post players, is Zaza/Collins supposed to start shooting mid-range jumpers like Ilgauskas? There simply isn’t space on the floor for three guys to play in the paint effectively. Not only does moving Josh to SF compromise some of his skills, it also puts another player outside of their comfort zone.

The biggest argument against Josh at SF, above all, is that it would destroy floor spacing. Nobody would have any room to operate, and a lack of shooters on the floor also diminishes one of Josh’s foremost offensive skills, which is passing to the open man out of the double team. Marvin is not a good shooter, but he’s a much better shooter (and has much better form on his shot) than Josh. Defenses don’t lay off Marvin and bait him into shots like they do Josh. Which brings me to…

“I offer the names of Julius Winfield Erving III and Adrian Dantly as 2 examples of players who ovecame the lack of an eeffective outside shot to achieve a measure of success in their careers.”

You’re talking about two guys who entered the NBA at a time when the three-point shot didn’t even exist. The game has changed a lot since the late 70s and early 80s. If you look at the career 3 point leaders list, only Dale Ellis came into the league before the late 80s; most of those guys played in the 90s and 00s. In an NBA with no 3 point line, long range shooting would obviously have been a less prized commodity and players like Erving and Dantley would have seen less of a reason to develop that skill. In today’s NBA, small forwards pretty much have to be able to keep defenses honest with their outside shot, even if they are not prolific shooters, and this is even more important when one of your guards can’t shoot from long range with consistency (like Teague).

i_am_soulstar

August 9th, 2010
1:53 pm

Pape Sy in a uniform this year? Eh, I’ve seen stranger things. But of course, ASG will try and sell it because it’s a cheap move. Just call me Negative Nathaniel.

Astro Joe

August 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

Yeah, I’m sure it’s easy to have a top 15 player at every position in PER.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 9th, 2010
1:57 pm

And anyway, if the goal is just to get Josh matched up on smaller players so that he gets a favorable matchup, there are plenty of ways to do that without changing his position. Milwaukee didn’t have to start Brandon Jennings at center to get him matched up on Al Horford.