Atlanta Hawks: L.D. says ‘commitment’ to transition D still lacking

Talking to his players in the huddle at the end of practice, L.D. summed up the Hawks’ performance against the Grizzlies for his players: “We didn’t play play great. We didn’t play good. We were about average.”

The turnovers weren’t surprising because it was the first exhibition game and the Hawks were focused on running the new motion offense. They forced some passes because they haven’t mastered the reads and timing required to take advantage when defenders overplay the passing lanes.

Less acceptable to L.D. were all those baskets the Grizzlies scored in transition as they came back from 23 points down in the third quarter.

“My challenge to them is going to be on the defensive end and making sure we don’t give up easy transition baskets,” he said. “How we do that is make the commitment to getting back and getting our defense set. We didn’t do that in the third quarter.”

Don’t want to overstate things here. It was the first exhibition game for a team trying to develop a new offensive identity. L.D. sent out lineup combinations that will never be seen again once the games count in the standings. The Hawks played pretty well in the first half even with rotation guys Jamal and Mo out and guys deep on the bench playing significant minutes.

Still, giving up a 17-0 run and 42 points in that third quarter has to be disconcerting no matter the circumstances.

“We played pretty well in the first half, then we got [sloppy] in the third quarter,” Smoove said. “That’s where we lost the game. We are a veteran ballclub. We can’t allow a team to come in here and come back from 20 points no matter who is out there.”

Again, I’m not trying to get too caught up in the first exhibition game. But this is the time for evaluation and correction for the Hawks, and that third quarter reminded me of all those times they blew second-half leads on the road last season.

The familiar elements were there: their offensive execution and shot selection deteriorates, their turnovers lead to easy points for the opposition and then their effort and spirits sag as everything goes wrong.

“I saw it,” L.D. said. “That’s just something we are going to have to learn to work through. It’s not going to happen overnight. The unfortunate thing is you get in those type situations and you develop bad habits. You read body language [and] you see things aren’t done at a pace that is going to put pressure on the defense.

“That is something I am going to have to stay on top of them about, learning how to work through adverse situations. The tendency is to kind of drop your head and your energy level goes down. It has been identified, clearly.”

L.D.’s video session was all about that third quarter. He showed players how they weren’t sprinting to cut off fastbreaks or, when they did get back, they weren’t protecting the basket on the ball side to prevent easy shots and give the defense a chance to regroup.

Al wasn’t buying the idea that poor offense led to bad defense.

“I think it had more to do with effort,” he said. “For some reason, our guys were ball-watching too much. We have to start getting back. There is no excuse for giving up layups and dunks. The first half we did pretty good [but] the second half it was like we stopped playing.”

Injury report

Josh said he will be out for a week or so due to a cut on his right hand. He has his fingers taped together and a wrap around the stitches.

He said he sliced the hand on the rim but didn’t realize it until a couple possessions later.

“It’s still a little tender,” he said. “It will be OK.”

Jamal (back), Mo (knee), Josh Powell (groin), Twin (leg), Etan Thomas (Achilles’), and Pape Sy (back) also sat out practice today.

Jamal said he’s not sure he will make the trip for the games at Detroit Monday and Washington Tuesday.

Al said he’s still limited by the left ankle injury he suffered early in camp.

“We figure we will take it slow since the ankle is still sore,” he said. “So I figured just play hard the first half and shut it down in the second.”

MC

186 comments Add your comment

LEGEND

October 8th, 2010
5:45 pm

we all know about the 3rd quarter collapses; but i’m a believer in the LD motion offence; top 5 for coach of the year; u hear it first; also this will be marvins career year for scoring in the motion offense; most improved player! LEGEND OUT

tyger

October 8th, 2010
6:09 pm

Why am I not excited? 1st time in 10-15 yrs. not excited about hawks basketball. This ownership group has really taken the wind from my sail. Good luck and see you in the playoffs.

Paddy

October 8th, 2010
6:20 pm

The only real lack of commitment is from ownership. You will not see alot of focus with this team as the ASG goes thru the Hawks offices counting how many paper clips his employees have wasted that week. Sorry gang, no employee appreciation day this year. It is just to expensive.

northcyde

October 8th, 2010
6:26 pm

Legend . . . we can all believe in the offense all we want. The fact is that Mr. Cunningham is right on the money with this article.

We were one of the worst transition D teams in the league last year. ( I believe THE WORST amongst playoff teams ). This team lost too many games last year due to poor transition D.

The most notable of those games, was the home collapse against Dallas. We had the Mavs dead to rights, but piss poor transition D, combined with bad shots, got them quickly back in that game.

The main culprits are Marvin Mo Evans, JJ . . but especially Bibby and Jamal. And even when our guards and forwards somewhat stop the ball, you’d see one of our big men get beat down the court, leading to an easy lay-up, or a screen set by the big man to free up the ballhandler for an open shot.

This is why it’s good to have a beat writer who isn’t “emotionally invested” in the team. He can serve up the red kool-aid and Long Island iced tea in one article . . and then dish out doses of epson salt in the next.

A game that should’ve been a comfortable 25 point win, turned into a 4 point loss. And it’s the speed in which we lost that huge lead in the third, that should be a major cause of alarm for Drew and his squad.

No excuse for losing a lead that big, that quickly.

And LOL @ all of the people who couldn’t or didn’t practice today. Al of these injuries do nothing but slow down the learning curve to learn the offense.

dstdeelite

October 8th, 2010
6:31 pm

Let’s get all of the injuries out of the way before the season begins.

hmmmm.........

October 8th, 2010
6:43 pm

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
6:56 pm

More injuries. :-(

I just want to send out get well soon wishes 2010-11 squad. Go Hawks!

A True Hawkes Fan

October 8th, 2010
6:59 pm

Yes all the injuries will slow down the learning curve for some but I’m with dstdeelite on this one. Let’s get the injuries out the way before the season. And for those of you who don’t know, Twin is Jason Collins (twin brother of Jarred Collins of the PHX Suns) a much better C IMHO!

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
7:19 pm

If you don’t know who Twin is by now then you just slow. Injuries can just flat out make the season a not so good one.

Now is transition D something that needs to be learned or is it all or mostly about effort, northcyde, A True Hawkes Fan, or MC?

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
7:21 pm

Now if you are injured, worried about a contract, ball watching, etc. does that affect your transition D?

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
7:23 pm

Or do the Hawks need to learn how to play transition defense?

twin

October 8th, 2010
7:28 pm

just as i predicted, when we played off ball screens etc under the motion offense, we got better looks and open shots, which means more offensive production from the wing players. but is that enough to offset the things we lose as a result of abandoning the iso offense?

last year we were one of the best teams in not turning the ball over and offensive rebounding. having a motion offense means that we are more likely to turn the ball over (24, last game) and less likely to be in position to get offensive rebounds. i don’t know, but the improved offense may end up being a wash when compared to last year b/c although we may knock down more mid to long Js, we won’t have as high an offensive efficiency. sadly, a wash is not an improvement

the real problem will be transition defense. motion offense means that we’ll likely play at a quicker pace, b/c we wont have the luxury to dribble down the shot clock and shot selection will be based on the looks defenses give us. which means we will have to play more transition defense per game. which means we get worse on the defensive end.

a wash on offensive end, worse on defensive end…hard to say we’ll be a better team (theoretically)

oh and my soapbox: in my opinion running out on defense on a fast break cannot be taught at the NBA level, cause really, how hard is it to sprint down the court to close passing lanes or get out in front of your man?? getting back on transition defense is all about effort and ‘wanting it’ bad enough, which we do, from time to time, but the team needs needs that killer instinct to want to clamp down FOR ALL 4 QUARTERS….ALWAYS whether we are up or down big

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
7:29 pm

How does coach L.D. get the team committed to transition D?

What’s up with Jamal?

Now this effort that was lacking in the third, could this be attributed to the double digit lead, and the team got too relaxed?

Should we as fans NOW get concerned with these injuries? Cause they seem to be piling up.

Is the new motion offense causing all these injuries or more attributed to this transition d?

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 8th, 2010
7:41 pm

Lol, I seriously need to go find something do. Too many questions. But I would like some answers about this transition d and motion offense. Oh yeah, and the injuries too. Not saying that I’m losing trust in the new plans for this year, just inquiring minds would like to know.

Go Hawks!

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
8:03 pm

samuel,

Just because Woody did not win COY and was let go, doesnt mean you have to criticize his replacement non-stop, despite the fact that we have only played 1 preseason game.

Give the motion offense some time. Did you ever consider that the Hawks may have to take one step back in order to take 2 steps forward?

drmaryb (*_*)

October 8th, 2010
8:15 pm

Practice Hurts!

Drew has this team working hard in practice, like a
Pat Riley team. They’re so worried about their check-book
balances, (ahem … Ahem) Jamal, until they can’t practice.
Now, Jamal does not want to travel with the team to Detroit?

I didn’t know it was a player option not to travel with team?
Isn’t that the Doctor’s call, typically for cabin pressure on the
knees? Say what you will, but Jamal is sulking big time!

drmaryb (*_*)

October 8th, 2010
8:23 pm

If these guys don’t want to run?
Then, sit them down and let their lazy azzes rest -
They are paid to run. That’s their only job as far as I can tell.

truthspitter

October 8th, 2010
8:25 pm

I can smell a big fall coming from this team and there lack of defense and depth. Those two things will kill the Hawks chances to do anything other than maybe make it to the playoffs and take a quick exit.

northcyde

October 8th, 2010
8:30 pm

Mz Hawkdafied . . that’s all about effort. Getting back on defense is a basic fundamental part of the game that is taught as soon as you learn how to play organized ball on the youth level. It’s just laziness to be honest.

JJ and Marvin get caught watching the ball, especially when they’re out on the wings and one of the bigs is trying to score. Bibby and Jamal are NOTORIOUS for not getting back, with their man usually scoring the basket on the other end.

But that’s an effort thing, not a scheme thing. If you’re one of the two furthest players away from the basket when the ball is shot, it is your responsibiity to get back on defense to at least slow a potential fastbreak down.

And what’s bad about our transition D, is that a lot of times, teams would beat us down the court even after we scored.

It’s just laziness.

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
8:45 pm

Watching OKC/Mia game… KD waste no time taking it to Lebron…

Ken Strickland

October 8th, 2010
8:45 pm

Come on! Some of you must get your jollies looking for any negative excuse you can find to b!tch about. You have got to be stupid to think LDrew, in one short training camp and 1 exhibition gm, can change all of the bad habits, especially bad DEF habits, that’s gone unaddressed for the last 6yrs.

At least he’s willing to openly acknowledge a problem and commit to making an effort to address it, which is certainly a different approach from the past. Like I’ve said, when the players get comfortable with the OFF and DEF requirements, and learn to instinctively make their reads, we’re going to be very hard for anyone to deal with.

The beauty of this OFF, when properly executed, is it doesn’t depend on individual talent to be effective, but individual effort and execution. Under LDrew’s OFF system and philosophy, the players will rely on the OFF, rather than the OFF relying on certain players, like JJ and Jamal.

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
8:46 pm

Wow. Cole Alridge block Bosh dunk…

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
8:51 pm

OKC looks scary good…

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
8:56 pm

KD is blowing by Lebron at will….

doc

October 8th, 2010
9:02 pm

oh boy, let me put down my “alternative” non-hawk hats from the suns and blazers and pick up the thunder hat. man, i loved what they did last year. i find kd the most intriguing player since the guy they called MJ. if he throws down the gauntlet at laqueen and doesnt back off he is golden. go okc! i dont care if it is pre-season. sorry, just never got on the train called laqueen.

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
9:11 pm

doc,

I’m a big fan of OKC. KD is a stud, and they have drafted well overall. They are what the Hawks were supposed to be.

But Marvin never became the stud BK and Woody thought he would be, we had to give up a decent player and 2 first round picks for JJ, we whiffed on Shelden, and then BK signed Speedy.

twin

October 8th, 2010
9:12 pm

agreed, purely an effort and mentality thing, you gota want to be THE guy that breaks up a fast break, every time…every time an outlet pass is thrown

on a side note, i wish i was jc1, i wonder how long i would last at my job, if i decided to do only half of the work they hired me to…

doc

October 8th, 2010
9:24 pm

ob “I’m a big fan of OKC. KD is a stud, and they have drafted well overall. They are what the Hawks were supposed to be.”

aint that the truth, took us six years and them 3. we got jj really at minimal cost over time, like getting a zero per cent loan on a car, and they got kd. after that we blew it, had many chances, josh smith awesome at 15, marvin, shels disasters at top five. just think where we would be if the lottery ball fell differently and we missed on al as much as he is trashed by simple minds here that miss the BIG picture. also the big picture is why BK is without work still, is my guess. guys with money putting theirs on the line see the same things we saw as simple fans.

Ramon

October 8th, 2010
9:28 pm

That’s why I’m excited about Teague (and Sy in the long term). They both seem like the type who would try and hustle back on defense.

Sautee

October 8th, 2010
9:32 pm

doc,

Yeah, just think, we could have drafted Yi. ;-)

Seriously, you are correct. What the Thunder have done with their draft picks has been impressive. (That sounds grammatically incorrect, but “What the Thunder HAS done” sounds worse, even if it’s right).

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
9:35 pm

Sorry to chime in as usual but Al said it best for me:

Al wasn’t buying the idea that poor offense led to bad defense.

“I think it had more to do with effort,” he said. “For some reason, our guys were ball-watching too much. We have to start getting back. There is no excuse for giving up layups and dunks. The first half we did pretty good [but] the second half it was like we stopped playing.”

If I got paid even what I make with my measly salary I’d give 100% every night. I never leave my job unattended and half way finished. I do my best to finish the job. It comes with being a professional at what you do. Obviously we don’t have those kind of people playing for us right now.

Very dissappointing. Grow up people! It’s heart check time in the preseason? VERY DISSAPPOINTING.

Thank you Al for having the decency to call it like you see it.

Sautee

October 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

Ramon,

Did you find a link to where Horford allegedly (according to you) said that about “not winning without him playing PF” yet?

C’mon man, if as you said, he said it repeatedly then it should be EASY to find.

Unless it didn’t happen that way and you hyped up what he said.

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
9:38 pm

Omar on base. Does Bobby bunt? Or mabe call a hit and run?

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
9:42 pm

wrong blog. My bad.

Sautee,

We could have drafted Conley at 3 too (instead of Al). That would have been horrible.

kwooden1

October 8th, 2010
9:45 pm

I really can’t say much about the game because I didn’t see it, but it sounded like Powell might not be an improvement over Joe Smith. I think this Detroit game should be another good evaluation opportunity because Josh Smith should probably sit out the game, maybe even the game against Washington. I hate to see the injuries but its a great opportunity to see what other guys will do. I hope that Thomas and Collins can get some good minutes against Detroit, they could be really X-factors for us during the season.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 8th, 2010
9:49 pm

“Yeah, just think, we could have drafted Yi.”

Haha… I remember going to the draft party that year and seeing one guy holding up a “Draft Yi” sign who just wouldn’t shut up about how good Yi was going to be. Wonder where he’s at now.

Ramon

October 8th, 2010
9:49 pm

Sautee, the fact that he keeps saying that he wants to play PF, and the fact that he’s stated the Hawks can’t compete unless they added more size to the lineup (which they really didn’t with the exception of Thomas) means he must think the Hawks would be a better team when he’s at PF. So if saying the Hawks need to add size that can make an impact on the game, how could the new acquisition have an impact without getting significant time on the court at C? As a captain, how does that sound saying your guys in the locker room can’t win as presently constructed? So you, Sautee, haven’t seen an article where Horford said they couldn’t compete without more impact size?

twin

October 8th, 2010
9:55 pm

can’t really blame the organization for drafting marvin from a talent/prospect point of view, but they utterly failed from a chemistry/attitude point of view…when building around a mellow future face of the franchise in jj (who was suspected to not have a killer instinct), it makes no sense to draft someone who is widely thought not to have the killer instinct also!
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1105440/index.htm

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
9:57 pm

Watching some of the Bulls/Wiz game. It’s Fast vs Faster…. Rose vs Wall… I believe Wall is a tad faster than Rose but Rose knows how to get his sweet spots better in the halfcourt game. Rose also a better shooter. Nice matchup….

Ramon

October 8th, 2010
10:05 pm

Bobby Cox ejected in 2nd inning. lol

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
10:08 pm

Ramon,

Once again, i think you keep reading too much into Al’s statement.

The guy never said the hawks will be a better team if he plays PF. he said he would prefer to play PF. And he said he would like another big brought in to help him and Josh out.

he never said the Hawks cant win as constructed.

Didnt Kobe ask for more help before they traded for Gasol? hasnt LeBron complained about his supporting cast? Didnt Wade complain about his supporting cast in Miami?

What is wrong with the guy saying he hopes the Hawks can bring in more size to help him and Josh out?

Best case scenario, we get a center who is better than ZaZa. lets call him John Doe. We could have a scenario where Al, Josh, and John Doe take care of the 96 minutes available between PF and Center.

Melvin

October 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

From the SI article Twin posted: “He wiped the floor with Josh Smith”.

Remind me when they was praising Lenny Cook for dominating Lebron at a high school summer b-ball camp. I guess they never figure that some of these kids could have a bad playing day…

So I wonder would these same scouts would pick Marvin over Josh or Lenny over Lebron…LOL

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
10:14 pm

“That’s where we lost the game. We are a veteran ballclub. We can’t allow a team to come in here and come back from 20 points no matter who is out there.” – Josh Smith

Thank you! Now fix the problem, please!

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
10:16 pm

John Doe does not exist for this team to aquire. We’ve got to move forward with what we have cause nobody is going to deal us John Doe for who we have to offer.

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
10:19 pm

We have our next opportunity to draft Yi and Connelly next season. For now let’s be proud that:

Bibby is showing some pride, dedication and leadership.

Teague is going to fight for his spot.

Al & Josh can admit the real issue is effort.

Marvin and ZaZa actually feel like members of the team again.

I’ll admit to being absolutely pissed about the 3rd quarter melt down, but I still have a feeling LD is moving this team in the right direction. It’s going to take time. I just pray our kids committ to 100% night in and night out.

Does anyone think AC wanted to show off for Larry Drew who supported him during his tenure here. It’s time for him to make a real impression. Let’s see it in the regular season b/f we go giving AC the most improved player award. I hope he latches on. It would at least add some real credibility to Woodson wasting talent. To date no one has “broken out” after leaving Woodson.

Section 303

October 8th, 2010
10:20 pm

I just have a hard time getting worked up about preseason games. I was there last night. It is a little awful to get outscored 42-18 in a quarter. But, really, who will remember that when the ball is tipped in Memphis on the 27th? The answer is…no one!

Exhibition games are all about watching guys who are either new or won’t get as much PT in real games. Besides the 3rd quarter, last night sucked because Pope Sy did not play. I wanted to check him out. As far as who won or lost…who cares?

By the way, I think it is stupid that teams have to play back-to-backs in the preseason. That is something that needs to stop.

Ramon

October 8th, 2010
10:21 pm

O’Brien, Al said that a couple of weeks later. And maybe I am reading too much into it. By the way, when Lebron and Kobe said that they didn’t have another all star on the team with them, and a budding all star, to go with the 6th man of the year.

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
10:23 pm

It is preseason, but it’s also setting the tone and proving what you’re ready to do under your new regime. LD needs a solid effort from all to prove they are in fact buying into the system.

Fundamentals

October 8th, 2010
10:28 pm

We’re counting on those “sparse minute” guys to be impact players for us to win. They should be able to put Memphis away if they’re any count. At least show physical committed D. What else did we sign them for?

Looking forward to Mon night.

O'Brien

October 8th, 2010
10:32 pm

Ramon,

Show me a quote where Al said “this team cannot compete as constructed.”

He said he we need a big buy to help us out, which I think he means specifically for when we play Howard.