Atlanta Hawks: Captain Smoove (!)

L.D. wants Josh to tone it down as captain.

L.D. wants Josh to tone it down as captain.

It probably comes as no surprise that L.D. named Al one of his three team captains. He’s a mature guy with some natural leadership qualities, won two championships at Florida and already started down that path when he called out teammates for poor effort during the Orlando series.

J.J. is an obvious choice, too. He’s Atlanta’s Alpha Dog, the leading scorer, a four-time All-Star and the team’s highest-paid player.

But Josh Smith?

The erratic, emotional forward prone to demonstrative outbursts when things don’t go his way? The first Hawks player who came to mind when you heard about the league instructing officials to crack down on expressions of displeasure? The player who sometimes gives up on plays when he’s frustrated by officials?

Josh Smith as captain?

“That was something that was concern of mine, as well, then I was thinking about it,” L.D. said. “I had a conversation with him about that. He told me, ‘Look, Coach, I spent time this summer talking to myself about that. I know I have to do a better job in that.’

“I’m hoping that with this responsibility that he will look at things a little differently. It puts him in a different light. Some of those behaviors that he has had on the floor, you just can’t do that anymore. I am hoping that giving him more of a responsibility will steer his thinking in a whole different direction.”

If you are looking for some early specifics about the difference in approach between L.D. and Woody, this is a big one.

In my time on the beat, Woody never publicly rebuked Smoove for his outbursts. His style was to instead handle such matters internally during film sessions and in private talks. When public criticism of Josh reached a pitch after Hubie Brown’s comments about Josh during the Orlando series, Woody vehemently defended Josh.

By naming Josh captain and saying he needs to change his on-court demeanor, L.D. is putting very public expectations on him. Smoove said he’s ready for the responsibility.

“I have to take a different approach to this season,” he said. “I definitely have to carry myself in a whole different fashion because when you are captain you have to be more of a leader. I have to lead by example.

“I am an emotional player, obviously. Everybody knows that. But [I] just kind of have to hold my emotions together and just play basketball and stay positive throughout the game, no matter what happens.”

J.J. and Bibby were the team captains last season. Al was just in his third season and Josh still had some maturing to do.

“I think it’s time, both he and Al,” L.D. said. “They have been in this thing long enough. Certainly they have shown areas of growth in that [leadership] department. I just think it’s time for both of them to take a step. I am going to expect some certain things from them being the leaders.

“Along with being captains comes responsibility. Their teammates look at them in a different light, the public looks at them in a different light with those titles. You have got to live up to those titles.”

Smoove certainly has the basketball credentials to be captain. He’s pretty outspoken, too, unafraid to voice his opinion. Shoot, he’s been around longer than any Hawks player so he can stake a legitimate claim to this team.

And it’s not that he’s shown no leadership ability at all. He might have been the most frustrated player when the Hawks bogged down in isolations last season, and I still vividly remember him imploring his teammates to share the ball during that stirring W at Utah.

Smoove won’t be 25 until Dec. 5, but he’s much older in NBA years. He’s a grizzled vet, an established guy in the league. Now he’s a team captain.

“This is my seventh year, man,” he said. “I’ve been through the ups and downs. I have experienced it all. I just want to get deep in the playoffs so I can say I’ve experienced that [too].”

L.D. is counting on Smoove to help lead the way.

MC

222 comments Add your comment

Dub C

September 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

Wow. I figured JJ and probably Al, but Smoove? I didn’t see that one coming. But I think it can be positive for him and his continued development. Go Hawks!!!

Lacsho

September 28th, 2010
3:32 pm

I don’t understand why JJ is a captain. He lacks all of the characteristics to be a leader. He’s a good basketball player, but he sucks as a captain.

coachx

September 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

I hope he matures into that role not only for the team but for himself.

A lot of kids look up to Smoove in this town. He could really have a positive effect in their lives with added maturity on the floor. They don’t need to be going through “Y” league acting like some NBA players do on the floor.

Dub C

September 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

Lacsho, honestly I think JJ being captain is more because of what he does on the court (scoring, etc.) versus his leadership abilities. I’m not saying I agree, but that’s the only thing I can come up with.

Coscro

September 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

Great move. You sometimes have to force maturity on some young men. When he looks on film and sees that as a captain he didn’t show effort, how can he say anything to the other guys? Also, it removes a little bit of that GUARD dominant culture Woody promoted.

MC, do you think anything can be read into the quotes by LD saying that Bibby is the PG until Teague or SOMEONE else beats him out? Is anybody else in the running for that starting PG spot? Either of the JC’s?

plastic man.

September 28th, 2010
3:38 pm

LD. Just let him know it is not a pass to fire up 3’s at any time. Keep him moving in the new offense. Preferably within 15 feet of the rim. Remind him he is a slam dunk champ not a three point rifleman. He can pass the rock pretty good so if he is caught outside, drive and dish. It looks like we are still a true #5 away from the promise land but it should be a fun team to watch.

Melvin

September 28th, 2010
3:46 pm

Good for Smoove…

jdewayneatl

September 28th, 2010
3:47 pm

Smoove plays as hard as anyone on the team. This move by LD shows his confidence for Smoove’s game and for Smoove as a person. I think Josh has matured enough to know that he has to return the favor and go harder than he normally does and that will be absolutely havoc for the rest of the league.

niremetal

September 28th, 2010
3:48 pm

Man, this is almost as bad an idea as making JJ a captain was 5 years ago. Josh is not the “captain” type, though for a very different reason than JJ. Drew shoulda made Horford the captain and just been done with it. I don’t think JJ would have objected – in fact, I have a feeling he doesn’t want to be captain anymore.

Would Josh have had a problem with Horf being named sole captain? Maybe. If so…is that the kind of attitude you would want from your captain?

The Truth

September 28th, 2010
3:51 pm

Another impressive move by LD; he’s killing two birds with one stone. Giving Josh the “captain” title, will give him more credentials and reasons to elevate his game. But also, it sends a message to Al Horford that he is in their long term plans. On the flip side though, it takes some leverage away from the Hawks during contract negotiations with Al as they appear overly anxious to keep him.

Michael Cunningham

September 28th, 2010
3:52 pm

@ Coscro: “MC, do you think anything can be read into the quotes by LD saying that Bibby is the PG until Teague or SOMEONE else beats him out? Is anybody else in the running for that starting PG spot? Either of the JC’s?”

my reading of that is that L.D. meant Bibby nor any other player would lose their job unless someone beats them out. everything they have talked about is Teague getting a crack. they haven’t even started scrimmaging yet so it’s too early to say how things are shaping up.

The Truth

September 28th, 2010
3:57 pm

From the previous blog:

I expect Mo Evan injury will bode well for PT for Jordon Crawford assuming he impress in camp.

MC: Find out if LD plans to call Jordon Crawford “Rook” or will he abandon that whole nonsense? Ask Teague what he felt about the title and did it work on his psyche. I often wondered if labeling a player that way had any real value other than a constant reminder that he is a rookie when trying to mature as NBA player.

mark

September 28th, 2010
3:57 pm

i like ld logic, i think it’s part of keeping the core together, and josh smith next step, it’s more responsibility for him. and if he prove he can’t handle it then personal i think it time to hit the door via trade, because we do have a true pf, you take his talent and his continue improvement and a mature keep your head in the game, it make us a better team. during our playoff match up against orlando the last couple of years js and ah really have been the only two player to truly show up to compete. go hawks nice move ld.

Coscro

September 28th, 2010
4:02 pm

Thanks for the response MC. I saw updates and musings on all the players attitudes as camp begins except for Josh Powell. How is he looking attitude wise? Any sign of the “leadership” that was talked about from his LA days?

GT Alum

September 28th, 2010
4:03 pm

The Truth -

I don’t think it’s any secret that the Hawks view Al as part of their “core”. He and his agent already knew that. And I think most people know that’s why JC likely won’t get a contract extension before the season.

Sara

September 28th, 2010
4:06 pm

Interesting. I think most Hawks fans may be surprised, but if he says he’s working on his emotions then I have no problem giving him a chance to be a captain. A good chance for him to show he can be a leader.

GT Alum

September 28th, 2010
4:07 pm

MC -

I thought LD had said the players were going to vote on captains. Is this who they voted for, and he just signed off on them, or was this all him?

Interesting that the captains ended up being the 3 players that really make up the “core” of this team.

Tom

September 28th, 2010
4:11 pm

you dont invest 130million in a guy for him not to be a captain

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 28th, 2010
4:16 pm

Good ! ….. A new blog
Thanks MC !!!!!!
Hey DMB/ GD.

The Truth

September 28th, 2010
4:17 pm

GT Alum

The Hawks view Marvin as part of their core as well but he’s not a captain. Being part of the core and being a captain are two separate things IMO. Having 3 captains on a team is bit usual anyway. There’s clearly more to that decision than something arbitrary.

GT Alum

September 28th, 2010
4:17 pm

I like LD’s reasoning behind Smoove being a captain. It puts the onus on Smoove. The Hawks can’t afford for him to go into those funks. Also, regardless of whether he’s got the title of captain, he’s been here longer than anyone else and he’s one of the best players on the team (when his head is in the game). He’s a leader on this team, and maybe the primary face of the franchise. Better to make it official, so he knows what’s expected of him than to try to shelter him from that. If he doesn’t learn how to deal with calls better, he’s likely to go down the same road ‘Sheed did in Portland. It’s just too bad he doesn’t have someone like Phil Jackson or Vlade to teach him how to get the officials to make the calls he wants.

GT Alum

September 28th, 2010
4:23 pm

The Truth -

And Marvin still got paid despite not doing nearly as much to earn it. Marvin was also coming off his best year when he got signed. He’s core now because the Hawks have a significant amount of money committed to him over several years. If Marvin was a FA this offseason and JC made his sign me or trade me demand, I wonder just how much the Hawks would consider Marvin a part of the “core”. I just think it’s pretty clear that some players are more “core” to this team than others, but maybe the organization doesn’t see it that way.

BBgenie

September 28th, 2010
4:24 pm

What ever LD needs to do too get better Team Leadership on the floor during games we must do quickly. Go with the Best Five we got, if that means JC1 must start, Oh well let’s do it. This team is under the NBA Radar,opposing teams Don’t fear the Hawks. WHY?????????????????

i_am_soulstar

September 28th, 2010
4:32 pm

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dstdeelite

September 28th, 2010
4:40 pm

Sautee

September 28th, 2010
4:41 pm

doc has been saying for two seasons that it’s Josh’s team if anyone’s.

I guess LD agrees. Another interesting psychological move by Drew.

kwooden1

September 28th, 2010
4:42 pm

I like the move of making Smoove captain, because its a clear message that he needs to change his attitude on the court. We all know that he’s the most talented guy on the team, now the team is saying he must act like one of the best players on the team. It also shows me that LD might have a better feel for team than Woody. This is almost a no lose move for LD. Its all on Smoove to show that he’s a leader and he’s clearly the kind of guy that wants the challenge. He’s not afraid of big moments or taking big shots. Personnally I think Smoove will respond, I just hope that it translates to WINS!!

Rev in Tampa

September 28th, 2010
4:44 pm

The real leader that will make the difference for the Hawks this season is Coach Drew. His leadership is focused, bold, and refreshing.

Harry Hawk

September 28th, 2010
4:58 pm

Larry Drew will lead us to a first or second-round playoff exit, but at least the players will like him.

I can’t wait.

i_am_soulstar

September 28th, 2010
4:58 pm

This is a great move by LD. With a 3 headed-captain, you solve the issue of Joe Johnson being a natural leader. The Hawks needed leadership (not just a leading scorer), and the problem may have just been solved without making a single trade. Awesome move out the gate LD.

Daniel

September 28th, 2010
5:06 pm

Good article MC. Really, touched all the salient points of this issue. Ultimately, this is a calculated risk move, and I like it. I have always wondered why Josh, who has demonstrated a lot of maturity in his personal life, can’t translate that to the court. Maybe this is the carrot he needs.

Still, the Hawks don’t have enough talent to get out of the second round of the playoffs.

Rev in Tampa

September 28th, 2010
5:11 pm

Harry Hawk, you miss the point. Coach Drew has made it clear that he is not trying to win friends. He has just spoken in public about Josh’s whining. He is saying it is time to grow up.

George Patton’s was not motivated by whether his troops liked him or not. But his troops loved him because he was a leader they could rely on.

Drew’s three-headed Captain reminds me of Patton’s strategy: “I told each Corps Commander that I expected him to get there first, so as to produce a proper feeling of revalry.”

In regard to Josh, Drew has given him a “proper feeling” of responsibility to encourage Josh to become more responsible.

kwooden1

September 28th, 2010
5:12 pm

Harry the NBA is very predictable, so we all know if the HAWKS want to make it to round 3 they will have to be able to consistantly beat Boston, Orlando and Miami (maybe Chicago) No Off-season player moves would have changed that accept including the name of the team that Lebron ended up with! LD is saying the right things and making logical decisions. If it continues I will be fine with LD, its up to the players to actually win games. They have to improve their games. Knock down open shots, finish at the basket, draw fouls and get stops. LD can only put them in a position to be successful, they have to execute!

Grandad

September 28th, 2010
5:17 pm

We have our ” Big 3″!

Section 303

September 28th, 2010
5:18 pm

Al is an obvious captain choice. He is, in fact, the only Hawks player I see worthy of being a captain.

Josh acts like a spoiled brat sometimes. Joe is a d-bag. I don’t see why there needs to be three captains. Just call Al captain and leave it at that. He is the only one who has earned the title.

The Truth

September 28th, 2010
5:22 pm

Just to keep it fair and balance with Marvin after my recent bashings:

This is the kind of rhetoric I like hearing from him. Now, if he (can) just walk-the-walk with his talking then maybe one day he can be “The Truth” (In his own way)

“Anybody that knows Marvin Williams knows I play to win. It’s not about if you have four points or forty points. No one will remember that. I was a sixth man on a national championship team and no one can ever take that away,” stated Williams to HOOPSWORLD.

“They might not have known my stats, but they know I won a national championship in 2005. So at the end of the day, that’s all that matters (winning). I don’t ever feel underappreciated. I love my teammates and I love being in the city of Atlanta” continued Williams.”

Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=17443#ixzz10rT0ZhBf

Ramon

September 28th, 2010
5:27 pm

Section 303, is Al whining when he states (over and over) that he can’t win without playing the PF position, when he knows he’s not the best PF on the team? Is that doing what’s best for the team?

Ramon

September 28th, 2010
5:33 pm

Grandad, here’s a question for you. Although neither team would pull the trigger probably, who would get the best deal out of a trade that sends Artest to the Hawks for JC1 and Marvin?

drmaryb (*_*)

September 28th, 2010
5:36 pm

It Takes Three!

Well fellas, it looks like we got our Big Three too.
Consensus is, it takes three to make a thing go right.

The Zen Master!

Looks like we got the East Coast version of the L.A. Zen Master.
I have been quietly watching Coach Drew work his magic on
this team. Ultimately, it all boils down to communication and
these guys will run through a wall for you. Hopefully,
that will start with sharing the load on offense and parlay
into some serious “help-style” defensive.

The best defense I ever witnessed was Lenny Wilkens Hawks Team.
I recall Pippen stating in a posþ game interview after
a Bulls road loss, “They were swarming on
defense, we were unable to put the ball on the
floor before help came. Every time the ball hit
the floor in the post, the guards would strip
it from our bigs!”

That was Smitty and Mookie leading the charge and
Dikembe swiping the boards!
That’s whaþ I saw in The Celtics as well this past
season. We all know Smitty had balky knees, but
he played some serious defense to compliment his
offense.

Daniel

September 28th, 2010
5:42 pm

The Truth- it doesn’t bother you that Marvin referred to himself in the third person in that article?

Ramon

September 28th, 2010
5:42 pm

@ DrMary, and he worked the refs, lol. Then you could handcheck though. I wish the league let the players go back to handchecking.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 28th, 2010
5:43 pm

This doesn’t surprise me — it’s really just process of elimination. If you’re going to have three captains, who else are you going to pick after Smoove? Bibby, who ideally will be a bench player by December at the latest? Jamal, who is mixed up in trade rumors? Marvin, who has a hard enough time motivating himself? Teague, who has started two games in his career and has more to prove than any other Hawk?

I’ve always thought the “Josh is a malcontent” theory was overblown. There are some players who show outwardly negative emotion because they don’t care, like Randy Moss used to in the past. There are some who do so because they want to be the center of attention, like Terrell Owens. I think Josh fits into a third category of players who are genuinely frustrated by not winning but don’t know how to properly express this. And to be honest, after the playoff debacle against Orlando, I think the Hawks could use some more genuine frustration.

Sautee

September 28th, 2010
5:48 pm

Ramon,

I know you weren’t talking to me but…..

“Section 303, is Al whining when he states (over and over) that he can’t win without playing the PF position, when he knows he’s not the best PF on the team? Is that doing what’s best for the team?”

WTF are you talking about? Al WHINING? When and how? And tell me when did he say that he can’t win without playing PF???????

All I’ve seen is him honestly answering a question put to him. And that’s whining?

Should he have said “no comment”?

I’m confused by your accusation. Can you clear things up for me please?

drmaryb (*_*)

September 28th, 2010
5:53 pm

Magic – City!

Maybe Joe had something, when he found his beautiful
girl at the strip club?

We need a Ball Stipper too! Like Smitty and Mookie did for
The Hawks! If Teague and Joe can help Al and Zsa out, by
rotating the guards into the post on help defense.

The minute Dwight catches the ball, send the two guards
in there to strip the ball before he puts it on the floor.
The minute the ball hits the floor, swipe at it with four
hands. This will frustrate any Big to no end and disrupt
what he wanþs to do, which is catch, dribble, turn and
shoot.

I hope Conner has a great scheme for this team, with a combo
of zones, man to man and help switches.

MsDee

September 28th, 2010
5:56 pm

Yet, another GREAT choice in LD!! Mann, LD, where have u been all this time?? Oh yeah, that’s right..behind stupid, stubborn Woody!! So glad he’s gone and a REAL coach is here. A coach that has a road map for his players, unlike the one that Woody had which always led to a dead-end..now its just up to the players to drive according to the map and not decide to take a detour off track.

The Truth

September 28th, 2010
6:19 pm

Daniel about this comment:

“The Truth- it doesn’t bother you that Marvin referred to himself in the third person in that article?”

Let me check my 3rd grade english:

“I” or “we” (first-person), or “you” (second-person).he”, “she”, “it”, or “they” (third-person).

Here are quotes from Marvin comments:

“I hope so”
“I don’t think anyone in here (players) thinks Orlando is 25 points better than us”
“I play to win”
“I was a sixth man on a national championship team”
“I won a national championship in 2005″
“I don’t ever feel underappreciated”
“I love my teammates”
“I love being in the city of Atlanta”

(Yeap!) Looks like first person to me (Lol)

northcyde

September 28th, 2010
6:23 pm

Definitely a good move to name Smoove captain. Not only does it delegate more responsibility to him on how he conducts himself, it officially creates our version of the BIG 3 on the Hawks.

But while everyone is talking about Smoove, I think the “C” on the jersey will bebefit Horford the most. He’s the guy that feels that he can take on a much bigger role in the offense. Being a captain may motivate him to be much more of an offensive presence this season.

3 captains with 3 different functions.

JJ: The captan that leads by example with his play on both ends of the court, and by his work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes to win. Think Joe Dumars on those mid to late-80s Pistons teams.

Smoove: The captain that is the emotional heartbeat of the club that provides the necessary energy the ballclub needs. Think Antoine Waker in the late 90s early 2000s in Boston or how KG now is in Boston.

Horford: The cerebral captain of the team whose job is to keep the Hawks in the right positions on the court and in the right frame of mind when adversity strikes, while exerting the necessary toughness on the frontline. Think Tim Duncan and how he leads ( minus the crying ) in San Antonio.

truthspitter

September 28th, 2010
6:25 pm

Cool, but it may be a problem when you don’t have a PG that is worthy of being a captain. On the other hand, if the offense is worth a darn or as advertised, Joe, Josh, or Al should be able to initiate the offense because all are pretty good passers. I would love to see Al or Josh initiate the offense since both will have quickness and skill advantages on most nights. They could help others get easy shots.

drmaryb (*_*)

September 28th, 2010
6:29 pm

Stay on The Bus!

The Truth didn’t want to do it!
But, he had too.

He had to school Daniel on the blog today.
Gee, why do people use words that they don’t know the meaning of?

That might work at the Bus Stop, but there are way too many
intellectuals on this blog.

Aye, Daniel, try that ish on the Bucks or Heat blog, they don’t
know any better. Those cats will fall for anything, I hear.

doc

September 28th, 2010
6:32 pm

well, if marvin doesnt catch fire this year and begin to show some nuggets maybe he can be a captain next year, too.

hope josh can live up to his objectives because he is truly the only one getting in his way. agree with najeh his frustrations though very immature are about winning. if he gets this behind him katy bar the door. always have seen this kind of ability and he has done what he has set out to each year once his mind has been set like last year to stay inside the three point ejection line. he has been a good kid, tie to grow into the monster man he can become. if that does it cool, i have long been in his corner. just do it, josh.