Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson on Hawks

Jackson and Van Gundy offered their takes on the Hawks.

Jackson and Van Gundy offered their takes on the Hawks.

Got on a conference call today with ESPN NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy (who of course is the brother of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy) and Mark Jackson (who of course was a candidate to succeed Woody).

Asked both analysts if it is realistic for L.D. to mold this group into a championship-caliber defensive team. Here are their answers. . .

Van Gundy:

“Somebody has got to tell me what Mike Woodson did so wrong, No. 1. He took over a team that won [13] games, and he kept winning more and more and more. Sometimes you just get beat by better teams. Orlando swept them–and you can say the blowouts [were a problem]–but Orlando is a better team. That’s just how it is. If they fired coaches that got beat by better teams, a lot of guys would be fired.

“I watched the exhibition game last night with Orlando, and it looks like they are trying to install some Princeton-type of movement offense. Defense is really coach-based. It is influenced by personnel, but it’s more [about] what you believe in. Offense is a matter of going to your best strengths. To me, it remains to be seen if they can play well on the move. A lot of people said they isolated too much and it put pressure on Joe Johnson. It will be interesting to see when Teague gets back what he can give them offensively and if Jamal Crawford can repeat what he did.

“There will be limits to their team defense. They are a small, small, team. They are small at the point, small at center and small at power forward. I think they have overachieved dramatically.”

Jackson:

“They should be a playoffs basketball team, anything short of that disappointing when you look at what they’ve done the past few years. . . . As for getting better on defense, you certainly can do that if you have the mindset and across the board there is accountability and you are preaching and teaching it all the time. It certainly can be better. The schemes take away what the other team does effectively and you have the principles you go by as a team and you execute those principles. It will be interesting to see if they have the mindset and are willing to do that.”

MC

192 comments Add your comment

Melvin

October 19th, 2010
2:59 pm

MC, they are saying the samething that many here and other b-ball analysis has said. You have to upgrade the personnel on this team to become a championship caliber team…

Melvin

October 19th, 2010
3:00 pm

Oh yeah, i will forgo my right to first so the next blogger can have it….

truthspitter

October 19th, 2010
3:12 pm

Yeah its good to see people speaking the truth about this team. I will not purchase a single ticket this year. I will enjoy them on TV the nights they are playing well but when it goes bad I will turn my head and find something else to do. No sense in getting depressed by having too much love for this garbage franchise. Much respect for Van Gundy in stating the truth this is not Woody’s fault Woody played to his strengths.

True Hawks Fan

October 19th, 2010
3:15 pm

Jeff Van Gundy always exagerates. He also said that the Heat are going to break the 72 win record and win the NBA Championship.

truthspitter

October 19th, 2010
3:17 pm

Josh Smith is basically Lamar Odom with far worse ball handling and better athleticism. Josh Smith either needs to be traded or moved to the bench as the 3rd big. Marvin Williams needs to be traded and someone needs to step up at PG. We really have 2 legit starters on this team. Joe Johnson at the SG or SF position and Al Horford at the PF position. We need a starting PG,C, and either SG or SF.

Section 303

October 19th, 2010
3:17 pm

Great…two of the worst announcers in NBA history giving their take on a team they’ve seen play once or twice. National guys never know much about any team not named The Lakers, The Celtics, or (for this year) The Heat.

No surprise Van Gundy goes to bat for Woodson. Coaches always are apologists for other coaches. Coach Woodson is a great man, but anyone who watched that Orlando series knows he needed to go.

Starting to agree with Bill Simmons more and more….NBA coaches are not that important. Should bring back the player/coach.

True Hawks Fan

October 19th, 2010
3:23 pm

I co-sign with section 303. I liked Woodson as a person, but he got out coached against Stan Van Gundy. It’s preseason!!!

Melvin

October 19th, 2010
3:26 pm

I was hoping ZaZa would be allow to wear a pair of these sneakers this season b/c his vertical is terrible…

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/NBA-bans-its-first-pair-of-shoes-due-to-unfair-?urn=nba-278191

tyger

October 19th, 2010
3:31 pm

A few questions:

1. Hawks did not upgrade personnel, why would outcomes be different?
2. Will Drew be given time to implement new system, if immediate results aren’t good?
3. Will players “buy in” to Drew’s system?
4. How much rope does Drew have? If they don’t defend, what can he do about it?
5. Chemistry matters. Bibby, Evans, Crawford all unhappy – are they onboard?

dap01

October 19th, 2010
3:33 pm

I love the Hawks and I have followed then EVERY day for the past 10 years. But after being a fixture in the lottery for years, can you believe how horribly constructed this team is? According to Jeff Van Gundy, we are small at pf, small at pg, small at c. Wow!

BBgenie

October 19th, 2010
3:36 pm

Damm Truthspitter, Keep your head UP!!!! It’s not that Bad! But if our Hawks don’t DEFEND we are not going anywhere. See that’s is what this Team will miss the most. Is Coach Woodson constant talk, focus & accountabilitly from the players on the Defensive end of the floor. Why do you think the players were SO! SO! SO! SO! Happy to hear LD being named HC??? He will not push them on the Defensive end of the court. We must have a HC who will ride/push Smooth & JJ. Remember these words “Defense Win’s you Homecourt advantgage” in the Playoffs.

BBgenie

October 19th, 2010
3:39 pm

Hire Woody Back! Quick!!!!!

O'Brien

October 19th, 2010
3:43 pm

“They are a small, small, team. They are small at the point, small at center and small at power forward.” JVG .

Tell us something we don’t know Jeff?

Somebody said it on the other blog, and I tend to agree. After 5 years of Woody-ball (ISOs and switches), the players have been conditioned to play and react a same way.

Imagine if you were married to a certain type of woman for 5 years, but then you got a divorce. When you start dating again, wouldn’t it take some time and nurturing for you to change your bad habits, especially when its a girl you already know very well?

One thing that would have helped, is if ASG and Rick had brought in some new blood. LD will have to break them down before he can build them back up.

BigTimeTECHFan

October 19th, 2010
3:51 pm

Wonder what he (JVG) thinks of the Bucks taken the Hawks 7 games missing two of their best players, were the Haks out coached in that series? look at the talant that was on the floor.

BigTimeTECHFan

October 19th, 2010
3:52 pm

Oh, I say yes

Rufus1

October 19th, 2010
3:53 pm

Small…..Wtf

We are small at center any payroll, that is it.

Observer

October 19th, 2010
3:54 pm

You can’t bypass “FIRST”, if you’re first you’re first!

True Hawks Fan

October 19th, 2010
4:00 pm

Weren’t the Pistons small at the center, point, and the 2 guard positions?

Big D

October 19th, 2010
4:02 pm

Tell me why Atlanta can match up so well with the defending Eastern Conference Champs (Celtics) but not Orlando.
Here is why. Strengths and Weaknesses.
Dwight Howard is bothered by inside length and/or rugged players. The C’s have that element on defense, Atlanta doesnt.
Jameer Nelson is a PG who creates for himself and more so for teammates on offense. The C’s can pressure the ball at the point with their guards. Atlanta minus Teague, can not. That is not to mention that Jameer does not over assert himself on defense because he’s had to guard the stationary Mike Bibby v guarding a Rando.
The Hawks can matchup with anyone else in the East this year, but unless they make a trade for more length inside, they should hope not to see Orlando in a 7-game series. It does not matter the scheme. You can’t teach size at center and you can’t teach athletecism at PG.

wxwax

October 19th, 2010
4:02 pm

Drew was ostensibly hired to improve the offense and to find the team’s heart so that it doesn’t give up.

Whether or not the offense improves will be interesting.

But I get the feeling the defense will be a disaster. It’s obviously not Drew’s area of expertise or attention. And the team has demonstrated over the last couple of years that it’s reluctant to give the effort necessary on the defensive end.

As for the team’s heart, I really don’t think it has one. Joe Johnson’s a lovely player at times, but he’s not a leader. Al Horford could be, but it’s not his team. And Jamal Crawford, in addition to coming off the bench, isn’t a defensive guy.

I think the Hawks will backslide this year for the first time since the experiment began. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Larry Drew were one-and-done as a head coach.

The Rick Sund era officially begins with Woodson’s firing and Drew’s hiring. It’s on you now, Rick.

ILL-Logical

October 19th, 2010
4:02 pm

MC:Thanks for the info; another set of perspectives to add to the ongoing discussions concerning the Hawks and the upcoming season.

I am not comfortable being in accord with Jeff Van Gundy, however his point about the relative size disadvantage the current roster suffers from represents my primary bone of contention with the ASG.
The condition has proven to be detrimental to the team’s playoff success but more importantly, IT IS NOT A CHALLENGE THAT CAN’T BE SOLVED QUICKLY.

For the past 6 years, management’s emphasis has been focused on aquiring a serise of guards-Joe Johnson- small forwards-Josh,Josh, and Marvin- and undersized bigs-Sheldon and Al. Only the rumored attempt by Sund to aquire Chris Kamen 2 years ago which was shot down by the owners, stands out as an attempt to address the issue.

Teams like OKC and the Grizzlies have become the newest up and coming franchises by adding size AND athleticism. and they have smaller payrolls and are in much smaller media markets. So , I won’t accept excuses based on finances.
The Hawks are a good team; they have improved a great deal in the last 3 years but when I look at the team I see an organization that is mindlessly squandering opportunity. And I can’t understand why?

This Gets Old!

October 19th, 2010
4:04 pm

FIRST! (Thanks Melvin)

bigdave

October 19th, 2010
4:08 pm

with this “core” still in tact its hard to expect much of an identity change even with new philosophies. ill be hesitant to blame players or staff this season when many of our deficiencies as an organization begin with the front office..

as far as what was needed going forward. i think Hubie Brown dissected us best after the Magic massacre last spring.

http://www.stationcaster.com/player.php?s=87&c=671&f=48270

Grandad

October 19th, 2010
4:12 pm

Van Grumpy spent the whole time tellin’ you/us how good Orl is/was,
-or- in other words PR for “brother” Van Grumpy.

At least M.Jackson addressed your question.

Grandad

October 19th, 2010
4:17 pm

Okay, I’ll try again. [Bloginator got the last one]

Van Grumpy spent the whole time tellin’ us how good Orl is.
PR for Brother Van Grumpy.

At least M.Jackson answered your question.

Reggie

October 19th, 2010
4:17 pm

Anybody with ESPN Insider can you post this….its an NBA Preview on the SouthEast Division & a NBA Scout give his take on the Hawks http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=5685723&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d5685723

Grandad

October 19th, 2010
4:18 pm

O’Brien

That’s funny!

Astro Joe

October 19th, 2010
4:21 pm

OB, it will be interesting to see the transition period between the Hawks and Warriors, considering that they are in similar positions. But the Warriors also have added a new starter (David Lee) to their mix.

Ramon

October 19th, 2010
4:27 pm

@ AJ David Lee will be an all star in the west!

SadDawg

October 19th, 2010
4:35 pm

Jeff Van Gundy is a small, small man . . .

Ramon

October 19th, 2010
4:36 pm

Now that Don Nelson is gone, do you guys think GS would take Crawford for Ellis?

Grandad

October 19th, 2010
4:37 pm

ILL-Logical

You brought up Kaman.
[Jamal for Kaman straight up] (works on trade machine)
LAC would not go for it.
I doubt ASG would either. (CK = 2 yr contract)

What would he do for our team now?
Besides change the whole dynamics!

I doubt Sund is even aware there might be personel deficiencies.

bigdave

October 19th, 2010
4:38 pm

this is encouraging from coach:

“Guys know their role. Shooters know who they are. Non shooters know who they are.”

Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=17651#ixzz12q5Z07zD

RealSquawk

October 19th, 2010
4:46 pm

The only national television crew I trust to give a fair opinion of the hawks is the TNT crew and that is only because they are based here. Other than that people are speaking from hear say or a one or two game sample.

The Joe Johnson contract finally hit me today and it hit me hard.

The Hawks do not match up well against the magic, but we aren’t small.

DEFENSE. This is where things get hairy. This team has never been tough on defense, which always seemed weird to me because they Mike Woodson appeared to be so tough.

Larry Drew will have to dig into these guys and punish some vets in order to get the message across because we don’t have the luxury of bringing in a Kevin Garnett type attitude to push and pull everyone towards the DEFENSIVE mind frame.

Astro Joe

October 19th, 2010
4:47 pm

Ramon, I don’t think the Warriors are dumping salaries or they would not have picked up Lee to a long-term contract.

The Truth

October 19th, 2010
4:50 pm

Coaching Contrast: Woody vs. LD

Woody played to the team’s emotions. He preached and motivated the team by casting them as underdogs and being disrespected by the media, the analysts and anyone else who would criticize their accomplishment. He used the team’s improvements over the years as evidence that they were moving in the right direction. He was more of a preacher than a teacher as the reason why the team’s problems never got corrected. The players may have disagreed with him but they respected him because he had a ring as an assistant coach which gave him some authority. For these reasons, the team overachieved under Woody.

LD seems to be a better technician as a coach than Woody. Rather than emotionally inspiring them, he tends to appeal to the player’s intellect by showing them game summary, performance data; facts and figures to demonstrate to them analytically the errors of their ways. He’s bringing more offensive structure and continuity than Woody but the defense and roster quality have been and still are areas of concern. Since LD is a rookie coach with limited accomplishments as a coach, a new area of concern with him might be the players’ motivation to play hard for him during the bad times. He has certainly impressed us with his fresh philosophies and at least some of his new hires but the verdict is still out on him. Time will tell whether the players can adjust to his different coaching style since he will be unable to motivate them emotionally, they will have to individually motivate themselves.

Rufus1

October 19th, 2010
4:52 pm

I have waited 5 years

I have waited 5 years for a “Super Quick” PG to be brought to this a team and run the floor with these athletes……. I will not pass judgement for atleast 35 games into the season with Teague as the Leader.

I think we correct our size issue by having Al or Josh come off the bench.

Ramon

October 19th, 2010
4:56 pm

Yea, but I think long term, they don’t think Curry and Ellis can co-exist in the same back court. And with Crawford’s deal expiring at the end of the year, they may see it as flexibility to pair Curry with a larger guard. And production wise, Crawford and Ellis aren’t that much different in that offense.

Rufus1

October 19th, 2010
5:00 pm

The Defense wil be fine

We Held the magic to 44 points in the 1st half,the Defense will be Fine….as long as the refs let us touch D12

Jody

October 19th, 2010
5:12 pm

Whether you like him or not, Van Gundy is dead on about the Hawks size issues and at the exact positions. I know folks are going to want to point to Ben Wallace to justify having an undersized center, but the difference was Ben Wallace was surrounded by a 7 ft Rasheed Wallace, 6′11 Okur, 7 ft. Elden Campbell and 7 ft. Darko Milicic. So, the 2004 Piston frontline as a whole was anything but undersized. The Hawks on the other hand are really undersized at both center and power forward and will have to address it sooner rather than later if they really want to contend.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 19th, 2010
5:13 pm

“No surprise Van Gundy goes to bat for Woodson. Coaches always are apologists for other coaches.”

As a broader point, players always are apologists for players and executives are always apologists for executives. We as fans routinely get the shaft from so-called “analysts” in every sport who have played the game before and will never criticize someone to whom they relate based on their own career.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 19th, 2010
5:16 pm

“Sometimes you just get beat by better teams. Orlando swept them–and you can say the blowouts [were a problem]–but Orlando is a better team. That’s just how it is. If they fired coaches that got beat by better teams, a lot of guys would be fired.”

This just shows me that JVG misses the whole point. Woody didn’t get fired because he got beat by a better team. Woody got fired because he got DESTROYED by a better team and completely embarrassed by a better coach. It’s one thing to play hard, play smart, and lose. It’s another thing to look like you don’t even belong in the same league.

drmaryb (*_*)

October 19th, 2010
5:16 pm

You Can’t Touch This!

Rufus1

Not only can we not touch D12, we get a Technical if we don’t like it!
And, it just don’t stop!

In that case, if we score enough points I guess we take the referee out of the game.

Let’s Go Defense!

jason

October 19th, 2010
5:21 pm

this was the worst offensive game ever. 73 points. lost by about 30. I expect the hawks to be 20-62 next year.

drmaryb (*_*)

October 19th, 2010
5:21 pm

Halfsies!

“We Held the magic to 44 points in the 1st half,”

Problem is, there are two half’s.

scottbravesfan

October 19th, 2010
5:21 pm

The thing about the NBA that I don’t like is its too hard to rebuild. It seems like there are only 3 or 4 legit teams to win the whole thing every year. It’s not like that in football, baseball, or even hockey. The Hawks were terrible for a decade and now it looks like they have maxed out as far as how far they can go in the playoffs to the second round. It just sucks. If you don’t get a Kobe Bryant in the draft forget about actually competing for a NBA title.

drmaryb (*_*)

October 19th, 2010
5:34 pm

Anal Retentive!

IF Mr. Sund was Mr. Riley and Mr. Johnson was Mr. Wade?

LeBron and Bosh would have come to Atlanta.
Oh! My Bad … We are owned by the ASKG!

The real hurdle to the Hawks success is the cancerous Owners!
They are reminiscent of the old Stankin’ – Rankins.

Championships is a Culture that starts in the Hallways of the Owner’s Executive Anals! (Pun Intended!).

Like that song says: “No Woman – No Cry!”

drmaryb (*_*)

October 19th, 2010
5:37 pm

Belkin’s Foil!

I’m beginning to wonder if Steve Belkin would have been better for Atlanta as a singular owner.

O'Brien

October 19th, 2010
5:51 pm

Najeh,

Woody also got fired because he seemed to make no adjustments whatsoever.

Ramon,

I dont think Curry and Ellis can co-exist either, so I think GS will try and trade Ellis.

I’m not sure if I want him and his 4 year, $44 million contract though.

darrell starks

October 19th, 2010
5:53 pm

MC please don’t get me started on woody.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!