Atlanta Hawks: With start of new season near, end to ‘10 still burns

Hawks say they remember what this felt like.

Hawks say they remember what this felt like.

For the first part of this summer, everywhere Marvin went he got different variations of the same question.

What the heck happened to the Hawks in that series against the Magic?

“Early in the summer [he heard it] but, after a while, people started to get ready for football season, thankfully,” Marvin said today after informal workouts at Philips. “But, God, the first month, month-and-a-half, it was: ‘Yo, what happened?’ Dude, you were watching the games. You tell me what happened?”

The Magic beat down the Hawks in historical fashion, everybody saw it, and Hawks players know their reps took a major hit. After finishing third in the East and openly talking about a championship run, the Hawks folded in the face of adversity and eventually earned the wrath of their own fans.

True competitors with any sense of pride are not going to go out like that. Each time I’ve talked to L.D. he’s made it a point to say he believes the way last season ended will have a bearing on how players approach this season.

“We pretty much got embarrassed in the second round,” J.J. said the other day. “I am sure it won’t happen again.”

There are Hawks with lots to prove individually this season. Can Marvin be consistent? Can J.J. share the ball, deliver a strong postseason and live up to his contract? Will Smoove continue to mature? Can Teague take over the point? Can L.D. bring it all together?

But after what happened against the Magic, the Hawks have a lot to prove as a group, too. Critics, some of them internal, accused the Hawks of quitting. The lasting memory for the Hawks in 2009-10 wasn’t 53 Ws, 34-7 at home or No. 3 in the East, but how those significant accomplishments nearly faded into irrelevance after they meekly succumbed to the Magic.

“Honestly, me personally, it definitely doesn’t sit well with me,” J.J. said. “Coming into the season, I still think about that. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get over that hump. It did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I think it’s something we can bounce back from. We just have to be confident.”

With no major personnel additions this summer the Hawks are largely counting on improvement from the same group. There is plenty of external skepticism about whether that will be enough to put them over the top, and surely a lot of that is due to how last season ended.

“To lose the way you lose, it kind of sits in my stomach,” Marvin said. “To come out and play the way we played against Orlando—we lost by 20, 25 a night! We are better than that, man. I think the world knows we are better than that.

“Take nothing from Orlando, they are a great team. But the Atlanta Hawks are better than [losing by] 20 or 25 a night. That just kind of sits in your stomach all summer. I think guys look back at those last two [losing] playoff series, and we want to get better. So we’ve got to try to build. ”

Quick hits

– I don’t think the Hawks are hot to add a fifth center (and a 15th guaranteed contract) after re-signing Twin and getting Etan Thomas. So while the Hawks have talked to Erick Dampier’s rep it doesn’t look like he’s going to end up in Atlanta.

– Word is Jamal Crawford opted not to come to town early for his pre-camp physicals. All indications are that Crawford will report Monday as required. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about his contract situation on media day.

– I’m told Jordan Crawford has stood out during the informal runs at Philips. I caught the tail end of today’s session, where JC2 showed why he’s considered a natural scorer. Guys like that flourish in games like that. He’s not shy about pulling up for long jumpers, though I’m sure that instinct will be tempered once things get serious.

– In addition to Marvin and JC2, Bibby, Teague and Josh Powell also were at today’s run. So were free agent vets Stackhouse and Anthony Johnson.

Follow me on Twitter @ajchawks.

MC

509 comments Add your comment

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
4:15 pm

From previous blog:

Marvin Visits Sekou and Lang on the Hangtime Podcast.

As I listened to the entire Podcast on Marvin, I was impressed with him “giving back” but I didn’t get the impression he did anything specific during the off-season toward improving his game. His off-season focus was apparently on his community projects (including his ATL fundraiser: Strike the R-word) and pursuing his degree at UNC. However, he did share his desires for the upcoming season:

Marvin Williams joined Sekou Smith and Lang Whittaker on NBA.com’s Hangtime Podcast and sounded excited about getting started this season. You can listen to the entire podcast HERE. Some of Marvin’s thoughts are included below.

On the state of his game at this stage in his career:
“I feel like, the year I averaged 15 I really got to the foul line a lot. I shot a ton of free throws. I think last year I kind of got away from that. I have to get back to attacking that basket. Once I get back to attacking the basket it will open things up for my mid-range jump shot and my three-point shot.”

On the team continuing to increase the Hawks win total:
“We have to make that jump man. We have to be committed. We have to buy into what coach Drew wants us to do, and we have to do it early. Everybody has to put their trust in him, which they will.”

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:25 pm

MC, “chemistry issues” seemingly had something to do with the debacle of the Magic series (and let’s not leave out games 3-5 of the Bucks series from this discussion). Here’s hoping that the previous head coach was the exclusive source of those chemistry issues. With the author of all that was wrong with the Hawks gone, it is time for the SACRED CORE to do a little more than “lose better”.

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
4:26 pm

““We pretty much got embarrassed in the second round,” J.J. said the other day. “I am sure it won’t happen again.”

We Shall See

Rev in Tampa

September 21st, 2010
4:28 pm

I keep hearing Stackhouse’s name brought up from time to time on the blog. Are the Hawks looking at bringing him on the roster? Or have they brought him on the roster and I missed it?

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Rev

Don’t read anything into Stackhouse informal workout with the Hawks. He did it last year as well and ended up playing for the Bucks.

allan in texas

September 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

You mean to tell me that the Hawks have no interest in Stackhouse and he was at the arena? Maybe as another option at small forward off the bench? Come on man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

Idon’t believe anything J.J. says ….. I guess he’s still recruiting some players for us too !!!!!!!!

allan in texas

September 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

The Hawks are not looking at getting into the Melo sweepstakes?

BrittishAnger

September 21st, 2010
4:33 pm

No major personnel changes? Are you really so dubious to assume Josh Powell is not a major improvement to Joe Smith? Etan has a better record all around compared to Randolph Morris, no matter how you slice the numbers, are you discounting that potential because it isn’t Shaq? Dobbs forgive my optimism…but just those two changes alone are improvements, not even beginning to assume what running a L.D. mutated Princeton will do for an already up-tempo team…..AND ARE YOU FRICKIN’ JOKING ABOUT NICK VAN EXEL NOT BEING A SERIOUS UPGRADE IN COACHING PERSONNEL, EVEN IF HE’S AN ASSISTANT AND NOT THE COACH?

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

Is it me or do the guys in the pros ( now ) look like young teenagers ?

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

MC: This statement:

” I’m told Jordan Crawford has stood out during the informal runs at Philips.”

What about Teague?

Sara

September 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

I just want to know how this how Jamal thing will be with his teammates. Potential (if not already) distraction.

Sara

September 21st, 2010
4:35 pm

*whole Jamal thing*

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

@AJ: “MC, “chemistry issues” seemingly had something to do with the debacle of the Magic series (and let’s not leave out games 3-5 of the Bucks series from this discussion).”

yep. it’s kind of a chicken or egg thing, though. did they fall apart because of chemistry issues, or did falling apart create the chemistry issues? my guess is the issues were under the surface and the adversity brought them to the forefront.

BrittishAnger

September 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

The Hawks have nothing Denver wants….no assumption we’d even begin to jump into discussions with the Nug’s…

Hawk n the Ham

September 21st, 2010
4:39 pm

I know we have the Braves in a race to the playoffs, Falcons season just kicked off, and college football on top of that. But I am ready for the Hawks to get this thing STARTED!

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:40 pm

Brittish Anger, upgrading positions 10-14 of the roster most definitely falls under the category of “no MAJOR upgrade”. I would submit that a MAJOR upgrade would take place amongst the players who are more likely to either start or finish a game… like roster spots 1-7.

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:42 pm

@BrittishAnger: “No major personnel changes? Are you really so dubious to assume Josh Powell is not a major improvement to Joe Smith? Etan has a better record all around compared to Randolph Morris, no matter how you slice the numbers, are you discounting that potential because it isn’t Shaq? Dobbs forgive my optimism…but just those two changes alone are improvements, not even beginning to assume what running a L.D. mutated Princeton will do for an already up-tempo team…..AND ARE YOU FRICKIN’ JOKING ABOUT NICK VAN EXEL NOT BEING A SERIOUS UPGRADE IN COACHING PERSONNEL, EVEN IF HE’S AN ASSISTANT AND NOT THE COACH?”

can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not. i will assume you are not . . . . nothing at all wrong with your optimism. this is the time of year for it. but remember that Joe Smith wasn’t a regular rotation player and Josh Powell may not be one, either. Same thing with RandMo/Etan. i actually liked Etan as a player before health/injuries took their toll. not sure about Powell.

the way it looks now, Atlanta’s top 9 are the same: Bibby, Joe, Marvin, Josh, Al, Jamal, Zaza, Mo, and Teague. L.D. wants to go deeper and bigger so we’ll see how that works. same with the offense.

Van Exel? i’m thinking Lester Conner could have more of an impact as the Hawks look to improve their defense and toughness.

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:43 pm

@allan in texas: “You mean to tell me that the Hawks have no interest in Stackhouse and he was at the arena? Maybe as another option at small forward off the bench? Come on man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

as The Truth says, same thing happened last year. apparently some in the organization didn’t think he would be a good fit.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 21st, 2010
4:44 pm

I’d like to see Anthony Johnson back in a Hawks uniform. I’ve always liked him as a steady veteran backup PG, and it would give the Hawks more flexibility to move Bibby when Teague takes over as the starter.

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:44 pm

Thanks, MC. I suspected that some of the chemistry problems came from the lack of a clearly defined player leader. Thus my question a few weeks back about how will the team captain be chosen. It seems it would be in Drew’s best interests to allow the players to make that decision… and then hold them (and their chosen leader) accountable for falling in line.

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:45 pm

@ The Truth: “MC: This statement:

” I’m told Jordan Crawford has stood out during the informal runs at Philips.”

What about Teague?”

i asked someone who’s seen all the runs who stood out (my access has been limited). they said JC2.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 21st, 2010
4:46 pm

“Are you really so dubious to assume Josh Powell is not a major improvement to Joe Smith? ”

Is Josh Powell a major improvement over anyone?

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:47 pm

@ 2 For John Drew: “Is it me or do the guys in the pros ( now ) look like young teenagers ?”

tell me about it. the guys i write about as being “old” are now younger than me. this kind of happened without me really noticing. i try not to think about it much.

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:48 pm

Najeh, YES… over RandMo. :lol:

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:48 pm

@ Sara: “I just want to know how this how Jamal thing will be with his teammates. Potential (if not already) distraction.”

i doubt his teammates are thinking about it much right now. all of them aren’t even in town yet and neither is Jamal. we’ll see how it plays next week.

BrittishAnger

September 21st, 2010
4:50 pm

“Van Exel? i’m thinking Lester Conner could have more of an impact as the Hawks look to improve their defense and toughness.”

Okay, breaking down the way Astro did for Najeh, Van Exel or Mark Price?

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
4:54 pm

@BritishAnger: “Okay, breaking down the way Astro did for Najeh, Van Exel or Mark Price?”

you want me to predict if a new ancillary assistant coach will have more impact than the old ancillary assistant coach? i honestly can’t say. it’s difficult to quantify how much influence Price had and how much Van Exel will have. certainly Van Exel has the background as a player to offer something to Teague and JC2.

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:55 pm

B.A., I am very excited about adding Van Exel to the staff… but is the hiring of the last assistant coach on the staff a major move? I hope it turns out to be but I think it is fair not to yet characterize it as something that is likely to generate season-ticket sales or national exposure for the Hawks.

GT Alum

September 21st, 2010
4:57 pm

BrittishAnger, he didn’t say there were no personnel changes, just not major ones. And I think by personnel changes, he meant player personnel. LD and Nick the quick might be great coaches, but they aren’t on the floor executing the offense or defending the opponent. The players still have to execute what they implement or nothing the coaching staff does matters. I think a lot of people believe there’s issues with the players on the floor that can’t be fixed other than by changing the player personnel significantly and feel that the changes you are talking about are like putting a new coat of paint on a house with structural issues.

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
4:57 pm

Sorry, MC, I didn’t mean to jump into your kool-aid (grape or red?).

BrittishAnger

September 21st, 2010
5:00 pm

@Mike/Astro; I’m not seeing my other post, but I’m arguing that improvements to the roster as a whole count towards improvement, no matter how unimportant in bench order or seemingly insignificant the coaching changes. The fact that things remained effectively the same means we haven’t adopted any changes that degrade our position in terms of serious uncertainty; we can still beat the crap out of New Jersey, we will now break Cleveland’s back in response to any losses we get against Miami (minimum 1-3 series considering we close the season against them). I apologize for my optimism (and yes it is optimism) because until the Orlando issue is effectively resolved, we are guaranteed a ton of pessimism from all angles, including myself. I am just more willing to jump towards at least citing the improvement and not writing it off until those heads do worse that those who came before (Josh Powell> Joe Smith [PF], Etan Thomas > Randolph Morris).

J from the A

September 21st, 2010
5:01 pm

I would really love to see us sign Stackhouse. Even at his age, he still has a lot to offer. Additionally, a healthy, serviceable Stackhouse plus two rotation-worthy gaurds in JC2 and Evans makes the whole JC1 issue … well, a little less of an issue.

Speaking of Evans, am I the only one that thinks we will see noticeable improvement out of Evans this year? I really think the motion offense will suit him well. He really has the ability to move without the ball and explode around the rim when given the chance. If his spot-up three would become a little more consistent, I think we will see Evans transform into one of the better bench players in the league … maybe not quite 6th man of the year candidate, but I think he has the potential to be someone who *deserves* to be the 6th or 7th man on a championship contender.

Matt Freije

September 21st, 2010
5:04 pm

What about me?

Section 303

September 21st, 2010
5:07 pm

Michael, I don’t think the Hawks players fully grasp how bad the end of last season was. I really don’t. For instance, my wife and I took a trip to New York City this summer. Our first day there, I wore a Hawks shirt. Had several people come up to me and say “what happened to them?” or “I thought they would make noise in the playoffs.”

If you ever go into the NHL Store, on the Avenue of the Americas, by the way, the guys that work there love to talk NBA hoop.

Astro Joe

September 21st, 2010
5:07 pm

BA, I agree with the term “improvement”, you lose me when you add the word “major”.

Michael Cunningham

September 21st, 2010
5:07 pm

@BritishAnger: no need to apologize for optimism. like i said, this is the time for it. shoot, i got blasted by some of my blog people a couple weeks back for having the audacity to suggest bringing back the same guys isn’t all bad because there’s talent on this team. i’m just saying there doesn’t appear to be any “major” player personnel additions. if Etan, Powell or JC2 make major contributions, then i will be proven wrong and will have no problem saying so, as always.

GeeMack

September 21st, 2010
5:08 pm

For some reason hearing JJ and Marvin talk about being motivated by last season playoff exit sounds like a con to get fans to come to the games.

If Horford of Josh says something it sound more convincing.

Section 303

September 21st, 2010
5:09 pm

By the way….I have seen that picture of the Hawks after game 4 before. I always think Bibby and Joe Johnson are talking to each other through the towels and do not want anyone to hear/lip read what they are saying.

And, I agree with the person who said they did not care what Joe Johnson had to say. Really, the guy should just shut up. He has the IQ of a rock and is kind of a d-bag.

Macaroni Tony

September 21st, 2010
5:11 pm

@MC

I don’t think that the Hawks are in a rush to trade JC1 what do you think. And if we do I don’t think that we would like to take back any contracts.

jason

September 21st, 2010
5:18 pm

jery would be a nice pick up

HawkZ

September 21st, 2010
5:19 pm

Here is an interesting bit of information I read on yahoo sports regarding Smoove:

F Josh Smith doesn’t look like the weight room warrior he did at this time a year ago. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. But Smith took a decidedly different approach to his training this summer, spending less time on the weights and much more time on skill-polishing. He also worked harder on his conditioning, knowing that new Hawks coach Larry Drew is going to play at a much faster tempo than did his predecessor, Mike Woodson. Smith’s going to continue to work inside and out in Drew’s offense, but the emphasis will be on getting him easy looks in the open court and in transition. Those were things that weren’t nearly as pronounced in Woodson’s scheme.

What do you guys think? Good move or bad move?

Big Ray

September 21st, 2010
5:28 pm

“To lose the way you lose, it kind of sits in my stomach,” Marvin said. “To come out and play the way we played against Orlando—we lost by 20, 25 a night! We are better than that, man. I think the world knows we are better than that.

No Marvin. You are wrong. “The world” does NOT think you are better than that. “The world” has no REASON to think you are better than that.

THIS is what you must PROVE.

Big Ray

September 21st, 2010
5:30 pm

MC ,

My bad. Was checking on my blog and forgot to log out. You can delete that, please…

Section 303

September 21st, 2010
5:32 pm

HawkZ, I don’t know….tough call. I’m guessing Josh is not exactly weak, even though he is no longer as buff as he was. I’ve never heard an athlete who gained weight on purpose say it was a bad thing. And, never heard an athlete who lost weight on purpose say it was a bad thing, either.

I just hope he was locked in a gym all summer, working on his jumper.

Big Ray

September 21st, 2010
5:33 pm

I find it interesting but not surprising that JC2 was the one who stood out in runs, rather than Teague.

This is a development that was first brought to my attention by Astro Joe , and I think he’s right….Teague will do his thing, and he will have his growing pains. But there is something natural and fluid about JC2’s game.

I’m just sayin’….keep a watch out for this kid. Draft position aside…watch him. Just sayin’…

northcyde

September 21st, 2010
5:34 pm

[ @ BrittishAnger . . . The thing is, if guys like Etan and Powell aren't even good enough to crack the rotation, are they REALLY better than Joe Smith or Randolph Morris? Because when you look at both of those players, it wouldn't be surprising if neither player played on a nightly basis.

Why?

Because they are scrubs.

But I guess all NBA fans laud and campaign for the 10th - 14th man to get PT. There's not a single team ( that I've seen ) in the league that wanted any of the big men we picked up.

Not one.

Because if you REALLY want to be real about it, the center that guarded Dwight Howard the best during that playoff series was NOT Horford, or Zaza, or Collins ( with his flopping ) . . . it was Randolph Morris. His defense on Howard in Game 2 of that series in the 2nd quarter, was far and away the best job that any big man did on him during that series.

Does that mean that we should keep Morris? He11 no.

Why?

Because he's a scrub too, for the most part.

There's optimism . . and then there's blind optimism. ]

Grandad

September 21st, 2010
5:36 pm

From last blog:

With regard to the “Princeton Offense”.

(1) This offense is not some exotic concoction of X’s -&- O’s
executed with trickery, smoke & mirrors.
* example(Paul Johnson’s spread-flexbone H.S. fb offense @ GT)

(2) This is a fundamental offense based on the team concept.
Similar in approach with the “Triangle”. [time tested]

(3) LD has also stated that he is ‘not’
going to run “Princeton” exclusively.
Plus he will modify to fit personel,
as any savvy coach would.

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
5:40 pm

Woody once said, if having too many scorers is a problem, then that is a nice problem to have”. However, if there is no upcoming trade, then Sund would have put together and very unbalanced team of too many similar players (SGs) assuming Jordon Crawford is “The Truth”. Since there are only so much PT minutes to spread around, someone will be impacted. These are scenarios that could happen:

Zaza impacted from Etan
Jamal impacted from Jordan
Teague impacted from Jordan
Bibby impacted from Teague

The Truth

September 21st, 2010
5:41 pm

“put together a very unbalanced team”