Atlanta Hawks: There’s not only shame in the same

Don't forget there's a lot of talent in this picture and more on the bench.

Don't forget there's a lot of talent in this picture (and more on the bench).

While wrapping up his positional rankings, Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie tabbed Al as No. 4 among centers. Now that Dwyer has completed his rankings, it’s a good time to take stock of his perspective on the Hawks and what that might mean for 2010-11.

Dwyer ranks J.J. No. 4 and Jamal No. 12 among shooting guards. Dwyer has Smoove as the seventh-best power forward . Marvin is No. 21 among small forwards on Dwyer’s list.

You can quibble with the exact position Dwyer puts Atlanta players on his list but I don’t think you’d get much argument if you said J.J., Josh and Al are all top 10 players at their position and Jamal is a top 15 shooting guard (and top 2 or 3 among bench players). That’s significant talent and it’s important to remember as a quiet summer has (understandably) led to a focus on what the Hawks lack.

It may be difficult to look at a roster with the same rotation as last season and imagine how Atlanta can be significantly better. But the flip side of that stability is that the Hawks can reasonably expect to be good at many the same things this season as they were last season

The Hawks were a very efficient offensive team in 2009-10. J.J. and Jamal are great individual offensive talents. Al and Josh are efficient scorers and each has at least one superlative offensive trait for big men–the midrange jumper for Al, passing ability for Josh.

The Hawks were a good offensive rebounding team, and Al and Josh figure to keep that trend going. Atlanta wasn’t such a good defensive rebounding team but perhaps less switches helps in that area even if it doesn’t solve the problems still lurking on the perimeter.

The Hawks were a low-turnover team last season. Yes, L.D.’s move to a motion offense is likely to result in more turnovers but at least the players are already well-drilled in a culture that disdains giving the ball away so perhaps the dip in that area won’t be drastic. Scoring more efficiently in transition also can help offset any increase in turnovers.

None of those strengths speaks to defense, of course, and it’s no secret that’s going to be a key. The Hawks were middle of the pack by most defensive measures. Yet they do have some individual defensive talent in Josh, Al, J.J., Marvin and Teague. Their problem was attitude and effort, not physical talent, so the tools are there if L.D. and his staff can get this group to defend until they are “uncomfortable,” as Al put it.

So there is your dose of optimism for the weekend, blog people.

THHBis counting down the greatest Hawks of all time at Peachtree Hoops.

Woody’s daughters will play volleyball for Tech this season after transferring.

– Hawks radio guy Dennis Scott is a judge for a BBQ sides contest. As a big proponent for side dishes bring just as important as the Q, I want to know how I can get in on that. You know, other than by being a solid NBA player for 10 years.

MC

69 comments Add your comment

ADR

August 27th, 2010
5:07 pm

ADR

August 27th, 2010
5:08 pm

yes thats my first time

Brett

August 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

MC, yes all of this will keep us fairly happy, winning more games than we lose, enjoying some fun nights in the Highlight Factory…. until the playoffs arrive and we get sent home in the first round.

I Heart Atlanta

August 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

I’m Ready For The Season…………..

Stephen

August 27th, 2010
5:30 pm

Michael:

Any chance the Hawks will get into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes?

I’d love to offer Josh, Marvin and some draft picks for him. Would that be enough?

GeeMack

August 27th, 2010
5:30 pm

MC

Great article. My main problem with the Hawks is, they quit in games they don’t think they can win.

Who will be the floor leader that pushes these guys? It’s not JJ we’ve seen that. What player will get on these guys when they are slacking? Like Kobe does for LA.

truthspitter

August 27th, 2010
5:31 pm

Cunningham: There is a fine line between trying to be positive and making lite of serious problems. To say that there is not shame in the same is to make lite of the serious problems that stem from consecutive 2nd round beatdowns. There is shame in the Atlanta Hawks staying the same.

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
5:31 pm

@Brett: that’s the spirit, haha

moboman

August 27th, 2010
5:32 pm

still need a big

Hoops

August 27th, 2010
5:35 pm

The rumor is that the Nuggets will probably deal Billups as well as Mello. THE HAWKS NEED TO DO A DEAL FOR BILLUPS. Thsi could be huge! All of the sudden the Hawks would be contenders with Billups and Dampier added to the roster. The link is below:

http://www.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/68873/20100827/billups_might_be_a_trade_chip_as_well/

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
5:35 pm

@Stephen: “Michael: Any chance the Hawks will get into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes? I’d love to offer Josh, Marvin and some draft picks for him. Would that be enough?”

sure, there’s a chance. according to this the Nugs want young players and picks. Josh certainly fits that bill and i’d have to think Melo is the kind of guy the Hawks would give up on one of their “proverbial” core players for.

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
5:37 pm

@GeeMack: “My main problem with the Hawks is, they quit in games they don’t think they can win. Who will be the floor leader that pushes these guys? It’s not JJ we’ve seen that. What player will get on these guys when they are slacking? Like Kobe does for LA.”

that’s an open question. sometimes it was Josh but he obviously had his own issues. maybe it will be Al?

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
5:38 pm

@truthspitter: “There is a fine line between trying to be positive and making lite of serious problems. To say that there is not shame in the same is to make lite of the serious problems that stem from consecutive 2nd round beatdowns. There is shame in the Atlanta Hawks staying the same.”

the “serious problems” have been well-chronicled by me and others. my point is that the “same” isn’t bad in all areas. the Hawks have talent.

Ramon

August 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

MC, as much as I criticize Sund for not signing a veteran big with playoff experience, I must say it was smart of him to draft a guy who can potentially replace his biggest asset on the market. The Hawks may not be thinking of trading JC1 at all. However, if JC2 comes in training camp, and starts going on scoring sprees against the 1st team, while playing a little better defense than JC1. It will be hard for Sund to not show JC1 and see what the market is for his talents. If Oden comes back in a strong way this year (like I’m feeling he will), the deal that makes the most sense may be a JC1 for Camby.

Reginald

August 27th, 2010
5:52 pm

MC

I personally feel like the Hawks no matter what we put on the floor or whos coaching are a couple of pieces short of being in an elite team which brings me to my next point. Since the Nuggets look like they are going to break up their core, what do you think about the Hawks getting someone if not Carmelo Anthony…what about someone like Kenyon Martin and/or Chauncey Billups. The Hawks need a player of that caliber to get to the next level

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
5:59 pm

@Reginald: looking at talent/fit/contract . . . Chauncey, yes for sure. Melo, probably yes. Kenyon, no. but that’s just IMO.

Michael Cunningham

August 27th, 2010
6:00 pm

@ Ramon: everything you said there makes sense.

Reginald

August 27th, 2010
6:03 pm

MC

If you take away Kenyon Martin’s contract, dont you think he’ll fit well here. he’s been to 2 NBA Finals, he can defend & rebound & he’ll bring toughness

Ramon

August 27th, 2010
6:04 pm

MC, sometimes that’s about all you can ask for on this blog, lol…

jason

August 27th, 2010
6:10 pm

MC what do think about the new offense LD is trying to ensure. Do you think it is going to be predictable like what woody did. DO u also think that Smoove Horford are going to give us at least 18 ppg

Big Daddy

August 27th, 2010
6:11 pm

MC, thanks for the comments. We do have 3 of the top ten players at their position on the roster. The problem is the depth and the scheme. We all see teams like Boston and LA have people that come off the bench and hit big shots and help the team many times by making the game uptempo. For us,that usually means JC1 with an occaisional burst by Maurice Evans. I don’t want to belittle the contributions by Zaza but that is pretty much it. We don’t have multiple people coming in off the bench to make big plays. Getting another big in that is active on the boards and can run the floor is big for us. I hope we can pick up someone after training camp starts.

KevinM

August 27th, 2010
6:14 pm

MC, what’s hard for me to see is us being able to offer a package for Melo if we don’t have a big man lined up to replace either Smoove or Al, because I am confident that we couldn’t get him unless we gave up one of them.
Saying that, that takes 2 moves to get this right, and I’m not sure there is a way to get that done. You are then changing 2 positions on this team, which by the way, was what I said when the season ended.
There needs to be upgrades to 2 positions IMO and we have to get more length to improve our defensive rebounding, specifically in a 1/2 court game.
Getting to the playoffs may be likely, but you would like to get there with at least one round of home court advantage and go from there. The last 2 EC playoffs have not gone as everyone has thought, so there is a chance where improvements to this lineup will allow you to step up a level.
The main 3 is good, and like MC said, there are lots of good things on this team. I am just eager to try to convince Sund and the ASG now is the time, not after the CBA gets resolved, where this is a great opportunity to get in the mix for top East team.
Perhaps Chauncey would be enough to get us there, as he is dynamite in 4th quarters.

I don’t necessarily think we have to go get Melo, but unless you improve on what you have, and I am not knocking nor praising LD, you are going to have the same challenges as last year.

MannyT

August 27th, 2010
6:16 pm

What happened to the good ol’ days of summer optimism?

MC tosses some hope that aligns with that organic growth thing that has been working for a few years and yoiu would think he accidentally stepped into a Chicken Little convention. The sky isn’t falling yet. Maybe in November, but enjoy a little hope for the summer folks.

Canniblogging not required for offseason, it’s optional.

Enjoy the weekend :-)

GT Alum

August 27th, 2010
6:18 pm

Yeah, MC, this team still seems to be lacking a ‘Zo factor player, though. As you mentioned in your reply to GeeMack, Al seems to be the closest we have to that type of player – very talented, but not a prima donna, and the definition of a true competitor. And he was part of a winner at Florida. I hope he does step up and take more of a leadership role on this team. Smoove isn’t steady enough – he’s great when he’s feeling good, but when things aren’t going well, he falls to pieces. Bibby can be a steadying force, but he doesn’t seem to be willing to take guys to task, and he’s not probably not even going to be here long enough to finish out his contract unless he has a major return to form this year.

Section 303

August 27th, 2010
6:20 pm

Michael, I still have a hard time getting the Orlando series out of my mind. I just can’t forgive lack of effort. The Hawks quit in that series. 53 wins was outstanding. After watching those guys just roll over in the second round, though, it almost felt like they didn’t win any games. The season was almost for nothing.

I’m not buying that Coach Drew will fix this. Nothing against him. I think he can be a decent coach. I just believe that once the effort switch goes to ‘off’ it is really hard to get it back to ‘on’. Players have to decide if they want to bother to do better or not. I have zero, and I mean zero, faith that all the Hawks players are willing to push themselves to be as successful as can be.

I was very optimistic at this time last year. I’m not feeling it this year, though.

newkid

August 27th, 2010
6:21 pm

The relative quality of a few trees a forest does not make.

jason

August 27th, 2010
6:24 pm

this is a vote who do u think will be the 13th man on our roster
A) Josh Boone
B)Brian Skninner
C)Francisco Elson
D)Erick Dampier
E) Pape Sy
F)AI
G)Jerry Stackhouse
H)Melo

ToeKnee

August 27th, 2010
6:25 pm

Marvin, Bibby, and however many draft picks u want for the next decade for Chauncey and Melo

ToeKnee

August 27th, 2010
6:26 pm

meant to say teague there instead of bibby

GT Alum

August 27th, 2010
6:28 pm

MannyT, let’s face it, the Hawks haven’t exactly given folks a lot to be excited about since the playoffs started. Doesn’t mean they can’t be better this year, but it doesn’t give a lot of reason to believe they will be either. Makes it kinda hard to get excited until they start playing games and we see how things have changed this season.

And I don’t think most people are going to be happy with a team that gets a middle of the pack playoff seeding and struggles to make it out of the first round. If that is what we are aiming for, why did we blow up the team we had in the 90s and go through 10 years of hell when we had that back then?

Free aise

August 27th, 2010
6:30 pm

AkA mike (fart breath) cunningham

Guys please done get made because I keep posting picture of the Hawks with Al (A.Ho) horford in the center. I know he is a very sorry center defensively and well … and theres nothing great about a 12 pt career average. But I was allow to smell and lick one of Al’s nuttttts and for that he will always be in the center.

Hey al, ive got lots of free aisse for you!

email me at Michaelcunningham@ajc.com

Free aise

August 27th, 2010
6:32 pm

Guys Im having a Al horford nutt warming ceremony you are all invited hit me at Michaelcunningham@ajc.com

SteveW

August 27th, 2010
6:36 pm

Grandad – Carmelo brings a great low post game that Jamal does not – And Carmelo has more talent in his little finger than Jamal does on a good day – and I like Jamal! A ton – probably my favorite backcourt player. (Exaggerating of course, but inarguably Carmelo is better than Jamal – and 4 years younger also).

But facts are facts – and you’ll notice in another post, I mentioned Carmelo not having a good outside game – but his low post game is so good, with fouls, great foul shooting etc. – he’s a beast.

Just below LeBron and Durant – above most every other 3 in the league.

Get in the “Melo sweepstakes – don’t dare trade Smoove or Al to get him.

Jamal, Marvin and 2 1st picks – shouldn’t that be enough for the Nuggets? The salaries work perfectly.

And we’re still under the luxury tax this year with that trade…

And we compete for a Championship – especially if we get Dampier.

I would stack – Al, Smoove, Carmelo, and JJ against anybody in the NBA – and a good bench also….

Rev in Tampa

August 27th, 2010
6:47 pm

newkid, 53 wins makes a forest of W’s in the win column.

ryan

August 27th, 2010
6:51 pm

I think adding Mello to the southeast div would be awesome having the Heat, Magic, and Hawks with Mello would be great TV . can you believe Heat tickets are selling for $7500 bucks a pop .

nuttttaster

August 27th, 2010
6:52 pm

Mike(pole dancer)conham

we will win 43 games this year.

nuttttaster

August 27th, 2010
6:54 pm

Mike( all booty) Cunningham will be showing Horford movies to night at his place….

mike cunningham

August 27th, 2010
6:56 pm

tonight and seven. guys, be sure to wear your pants with the zipper to the rear like I do.

go hawks! you can make 6th place if you work real hard!

JerryWest

August 27th, 2010
7:08 pm

If these rankings are correct, Hawks have 3 players in top 35, and 4 players in top 60 (if all 5 positions equally important).

Does any team beat that?

On an average it should be 1 player in the top 30 and 2 players in the top 60.

JerryWest

August 27th, 2010
7:24 pm

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

The following trades work:

Billup+Melo for Josh+Marvin+Bibby+1st round pick.
We can also add Mo Evans/Zaza/Teague/JC2 etc. No third team needed.

Navigator

August 27th, 2010
7:33 pm

Teams that stay together for several years usually do get better as a group. However, the weaknesses that knocked them out of the second round are still there. The still Orlando, now Miami, and still Boston to deal with, and there’s always a new one that nobody expected to.

Ken Strickland

August 27th, 2010
7:36 pm

I wouldn’t trade JSmith straight up for CAnthony, let alone adding someone else to sweeten the pot. JSmith is a better rebounder, DEF players and passer. Melo’s 28.2PPG is only 12.5 PPG more than Smoove’s 15.7PPG, and he needed 9.5 more shots per gm than Smoove’s 12.3(a difference of 9.5 shots per gm)to score those extra 12.5PPG.

Otherwise, Smoove had better RPG, BPG, APG and SPG averages, as well as a higher FG%. Bottom line, Smoove is better in all of the areas we need help in most, which is rebounding and DEF, and Melo is better in the one area we need help in the least, and that’s scoring.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 27th, 2010
8:02 pm

If LaLa Vazquez is really a driving force behind Melo’s destination, I’d have to think Atlanta is only behind the NYC area and LA as far as potential destinations are concerned. Can’t get much more relevant than the ATL when it comes to urban music.

Like I’ve said before, I’d gladly give up either Josh or Al in a Melo trade, but not both. Of course, if they would trade Melo for Joe straight up, that would be fine too.

Rev in Tampa

August 27th, 2010
8:03 pm

The Hawks will be fine this year. If they simply play 500% on the road they will improve drastically.

Grandad

August 27th, 2010
8:05 pm

SteveW

“But facts are facts – and you’ll notice in another post, I mentioned Carmelo not having a good outside game – but his low post game is so good, with fouls, great foul shooting etc. – he’s a beast.”

I was alluding to the fact that you said we must have
a good 3 pt shooter 2 the [3] otherwise motion offense
would not work. Example Josh could not play the[3]
for the very same reasons – says you.
Josh cannot guard a [3] – says you.
then you give reasons or strengths of Melo which are
exactly the same as Josh.
Difference one a high volume shooter, one is not.

Let’s just drop it.
You’re wrong.

Grandad

August 27th, 2010
8:07 pm

* @ the [3]
* not 2 the [3]

Najeh Davenpoop

August 27th, 2010
8:08 pm

Also, it’s been posted here before and was tweeted by Hollinger yesterday but bears repeating: if Melo gets traded, Chauncey most likely does too, since a post-Melo Nuggets team would want to feature Ty Lawson. Considering his expiring contract and his age, the asking price for him would probably be a lot more reasonable than for Melo. And as optimistic as I am about Teague’s future, there’s no denying that Chauncey would instantly improve this team’s chances of advancing in the playoffs. I’d definitely be willing to trade, for example, Jamal Crawford and Mo Evans for Billups. And if for some reason the Nuggets decided they would take back Bibby in such a trade, that would be fantastic.

Tim

August 27th, 2010
8:08 pm

Can somebody at the AJC let me know why the Atlanta Dream playoff game is not on television right now? It was supposed to be on Fox Sports South. And there was never any mention of “playoff game may be blacked out”. This is messed up.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 27th, 2010
8:09 pm

Of course, any trade involving Melo or Chauncey would involve at least one pick going to Denver. That’s a risk that any team has to take when they make such a trade.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 27th, 2010
8:12 pm

For those of y’all who want to link trades from the Trade Machine, keep in mind that you can’t just copy the URL and paste it here. It won’t work. You have to click “Save Trade” at the end and it will give you a link that you can copy and paste.