Atlanta Hawks: How Rick Sund sees them

Sund changed his coach but not the core. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Sund changed his coach but not the core. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

When he was evaluating the Hawks at the end of last season, GM Rick Sund took a look at the other seven teams to play in the conference semifinals and did his own round-robin calculation.

The way Sund sees it–and he said most GMs look at it the same way–the elite teams are those that earn homecourt advantage in the first round and advance to the second round.

“When you get through that first round, that validates that you are an elite team,” Sund said. “Now what I do is I take the record of all the final four in one conference and the others and see how you do against each other. It’s a great barometer because you play 20 games against [common] opponents.”

So how did each team fare against the others?

The Cavaliers were 13-7.

“That’s an incredible record,” Sund said.

The Magic were 12-8, no surprise since they steamrolled through last two months of the regular season. The Lakers were 10-10. And the Hawks? They were 11-9 against Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Utah, Phoenix, San Antonio and the Lakers.

So scored by Sund’s 20-game litmus test, the Hawks were third in the East behind Cleveland and Orlando, each of whim beat the Hawks three out of four during the regular season.

“We weren’t ready to advance in that second round against those teams, particularly one of those teams we went 1-3 against,” he said. “But that all goes into your [evaluation] of your club.”

The problem for the Hawks, of course, wasn’t that they couldn’t beat Orlando. It’s that they couldn’t compete with them. Clearly that’s the reason Woody is no longer the coach.

Sund could have gone further and sent away some players, too. But the 53 wins and the 11-9 record last season against the other teams Sund considered elite–while no reason to throw a parade–also helped convince him that dismantling the team would be premature.

He said he learned from Jerry West and Wayne Embry not to blow up a good core too soon.

“Fans may not understand and media certainly wouldn’t understand because they like the hype of all the moves in the summer,” he said. “But when you look at our club, we’ve got a pretty damn good club and a good nucleus given that we [operate] under the luxury tax.”

MC

232 comments Add your comment

bigdave

October 20th, 2010
4:48 pm

Brazil_Boy

October 20th, 2010
4:51 pm

I AGREE with Sund. We just need to take advantage of Jamal’s high value right now and trade him for an asset!

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
4:58 pm

Key word we operate under the tax. The ASG just wants a team that is entertaining but they are so stupid that they have even messed that up by hiring that career backup in Larry Drew. This whole franchise is a fraud if you want championships like I do. Hopefully, I get rich soon and by this team

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
4:59 pm

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:08 pm

Look, I don’t care how may scrubs and draft picks we have to give up to get ‘Melo, BUT WE SHOULD DO IT! Mo, Bibby, Marvin, ZAZA, & a 1st and two 2nds should seal the deal. How do u pass that up? It’s Carmelo. Maybe we replace Jamal with Mo but either way i’d do this deal. We wouldn’t have trouble with Orlando or anyone else for that matter anymore.

Section 303

October 20th, 2010
5:09 pm

truthspitter, from last blog on Thabeet, no one will be apologizing to you….unless you are going to count D-League stats, which is probably where that stiff will end up. He may show some improvement in the D-League. I will give you that….only because Goran Suton is playing overseas, though.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:09 pm

We need to shake something up. FAST. That Orlando beatdown is going to look the same throuoghout the season.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:11 pm

Melo’ coupled with joe, Josh, Jordan, Tegue, Al and maybe Jamal would offset our need for a true Big to contain Howard.

Harry Hawk

October 20th, 2010
5:13 pm

Hey, and now we’ve got the Heat with LeBron, Bosh, and Wade to deal with. We went 1-3 against Miami last year, so I guess we can’t do much worse, right?

45 wins. That’s where this Hawks team should be. A firm non-contender in the East. It’s like Smitty, Deke, and Mookie walked back through that door.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:16 pm

DOOO ITTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2c6p7bq

^NOW RICK! NOW!! *Drago Voice*

Sautee

October 20th, 2010
5:18 pm

From the last blog:

Ramon,

Nice try. Really.

About this: “When a person states that someone said anything without quotation, they’re giving a general translation of what the individual said.”

Try to find one of your definitions of “states” that covers “general translation”.

You won’t find it.

If you admit that what you said was a “general translation” of Horford’s words then I’ll let this go.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:19 pm

Section 303

October 20th, 2010
5:21 pm

Any of you seen ESPN The Magazine, yet? Their NBA Preview issue, teaming with Marvel Comics. Each team is portrayed by a Marvel super hero. The Hawks are shown with the Marvel hero Hawkeye (I know jack sh#t about Hawkeye).

Hawkeye is standing behind Joe Johnson. In front of Joe is a a target with the NBA Championship trophy in the center. There are about 6 arrows in the target, but all have missed the trophy. The headline says “Arrow Don’t Lie”. Joe tells Hawkeye that he could care less that Hawkeye is there (not really, but would have been a nice touch by The Magazine).

They pick the Hawks 6th in the East. Bucks and Bulls are 4th and 5th. You can guess who was 1, 2, 3.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:24 pm

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:27 pm

SCRUBS FOR STUDS!

Section 303

October 20th, 2010
5:31 pm

Hmmm, what’s funny about that trade is that the projected win increase/decrease. Hawks get a win increase of + 12. Denver gets a win decrease of – 12. Pretty sure the Nuggets will go for that.

Rufus1

October 20th, 2010
5:33 pm

The Hawks will be better…

The Hawks will be better with one simple move that LD has already stated will happen….Teague will get the bulk of the minutes a PG or Better stated, Bibby’s minutes will be reduced.

NO team in the NBA that won 50 games last year made BIG changes… A negative outlooks causes so many of you to forget that obvious fact.

Talent wins in the regular season and coaching wins in the playoffs, that is why Woodson was fired. We had and still have the TALENT that won 53 games. Also, their is only one Orlando Magic team in the NBA, SO PLEASE STOP GIVING THE MAGIC’S CREDIT TO EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:38 pm

Section 303, LOL true, but by giving up carmelo the Nugetts are essentally waiving the white “we’re going to rebuild now” flag. They also get Jamal, Mo, JR Smith, and Kenyon Martin off the books the following season so they will be under the cap. We can throw in some draft picks as well so their fans won’t cry too loudly.

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:40 pm

Rufus1, Good Point

Melvin

October 20th, 2010
5:41 pm

Just who does Sund think he’s fooling? Putting lipstick on the pig will not make it look any better. The Hawks got sweep in historical fashion by the Magic along with being sweep by the Cavs the year before in the playoffs and this guy is trying to sell the fans on how the core of this team is good. Well Mr.Sund, we dont want good. We want a Championship team/core. The Sund litmus test is about as worthless as a penny with a hole in it….

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:42 pm

Sund just needs to cut all of the cute talk and trade for CARMELO.

Rufus1

October 20th, 2010
5:42 pm

NBA writers

NBA writers make predictions like this is fantasy basketball… What they want to happen, not what will or has happen.

If the east has gotten tougher for the Hawks, it has gotten tougher for the Bulls and Buck.

Swatlantadolfan

October 20th, 2010
5:43 pm

True,but ownership had to be willing to do what it takes if you have the goal of being elite,Dampier only wants 2 mill a year….use some of that money u got for selling that second round pick or giving Josh Chilldress away and SIGN HIM!

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:45 pm

Yes, Trade those 5 players for Camelo and then sign Dampier! Al, Collins, Etan and Dampier is nothing to sneeze at for the C spot.

The Truth

October 20th, 2010
5:46 pm

,” Sund said. “Now what I do is I take the record of all the final four in one conference and the others and see how you do against each other. It’s a great barometer because you play 20 games against [common] opponents.”

A great barometer to determine what? According to Sund, the world champion Lakers would be the weakest elite team at 10-10. The Hawks were 11-9. So the Hawks > the Lakers? No figure

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:51 pm

Rick isn’t stupid, He will make this move Darnit.

Projected Lineup:

PG) Chauncey/Teague

SG) JJ/Jordan

SF) Carmelo/Pape Sy/*Antione Walker

PF) J-Smoove/Josh Powell

C) Horford/Eric Dampier/Etan Thomas/Jason Collins

*Antione is broke and hungry so he will play hard. He’s also better than Marvin any day of the week (as long as he doesnt take too many jumpers lol)

Hmmm

October 20th, 2010
5:53 pm

^2010-11 Champs right there ^_^

Please dont ruin my happiness with a reality check, Thanks.

ryan

October 20th, 2010
5:54 pm

The Knicks and Nets seem to be were he ends up they don’t have decent roster ether but the Nets do have a much better young team than the Knicks and plus Avery Johnson who the Hawks should have signed .

J from the A

October 20th, 2010
5:57 pm

Sund is right: The Hawks are an elite team. One of the 8 best in the entire NBA. The problem is that we didn’t make the necessary moves in order to move from THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE ELITE to a CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER.

And I said it on the last blog, I don’t think we necessarily need to mess with our core to become a CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER. Assuming Teague comes into his own this year, our starting 5 will be one of the best starting 5 in the league. Our problem is our depth. Once you get past Jamal, we don’t have championship-caliber role-players coming off the bench.

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
6:02 pm

Hawks are garbage and Sund is the GM of the garbage department

some sense

October 20th, 2010
6:04 pm

Rick is kidding himself, and he knows it.

doc

October 20th, 2010
6:08 pm

i think i hear a kool aide salesman.

Sautee

October 20th, 2010
6:14 pm

J from the A,

I agree our bench is weak, but….

Are Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic “championship-caliber” role players, or were they lucky enough to be on Kobe’s team?

Sautee

October 20th, 2010
6:15 pm

HoosierHawk

October 20th, 2010
6:18 pm

Why do so many people spend their lives on this blog complaining? Yes Rick Sund is ostly concerned with the bottom line.

But here is a catch 22 for you: no one goes to the game if it’s not a good team, but if no one comes to the games, there is no return on investment for going into the tax.

HAWKS RANKED 18th IN THE NBA IN ATTENDANCE LAST YEAR! If you spend the dough on seasontickets and want to bitch about the team fine. But if you don’t go to games and you still sit on here complaining, you have no life.

shawn

October 20th, 2010
6:20 pm

Let me get this straight..IF we compete in the second round with Orlando or Caveliars but losses to them, it is still okay? Really? I thought that our goal is to take it to the next level and win a championship. By hiring LD and not getting a big center, please tell me how we improved this team? Sund is senile…

wordsmithtom

October 20th, 2010
6:20 pm

I think I hear a bucket of WHINE!

Sund is correct, this is an elite team….once Teague takes over point, you’ll see. We got pantzed by Orlando in playoffs leaving a bad feeling in everybody’s mouth. So, fast forward, new season and we’re having injuries slow development of new coach’s system. These things always take time to develop. It’s going to be ok, folks. And that’s NOT cool aide. Too much whine…….

cp

October 20th, 2010
6:21 pm

I don’t even think Sunds buys what he is trying to sell. No you don’t break you’re core up to soon but you sure don’t hold on to them for to long. This team will make the playoffs and that is all that seems to matter to the ASG and Sund. This so called core is not good enough.

cp

October 20th, 2010
6:22 pm

That should have been no you dont break your core up to soon.

HoosierHawk

October 20th, 2010
6:22 pm

Also, all star used to spend their whole careers on the same team (Bird, Magic, etc). It’s only recently that these huge moves have been made to turn the game into fantasy basketball. So do you like the league where it’s all about trading expiring contracts or the one where you built a team to compete?

J from the A

October 20th, 2010
6:30 pm

@Sautee: The Lakers are one of the few teams that have/had a better starting 5 than us. And, arguably, Farmar, Walton, and Vujacic were a better 7, 8, and 9, then were are 7, 8, 9 …

I also pointed out on the last blog that I am not saying that every team that is better than us has a deeper bench nor am I saying the only way to build a championship caliber team is by having a deep bench. What I am saying is that for THIS HAWKS team, the most realistic way for them to become a CONTENDER is by making meaningful improvement at the middle of the line up. (I mean we are not going to be able to trade a bunch of scrubs for Melo or CP3 or even some quality semi-star. However, we do have (did have) the resources to improve the middle of the line up. That’s where real change COULD HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and I think this change would have made a noticeable difference.)

Sautee

October 20th, 2010
6:41 pm

J from the A,

Once again, I agree. However, I’ll say that though those 3 were better than our 7,8 and 9 players, I do NOT think of any of the three as championship-caliber players. If Kobe wasn’t on the Lakers, those three would NEVER have made the difference between a championship, or none.

J from the A

October 20th, 2010
6:51 pm

@Sautee: Glad to know we (mostly) agree :)

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
6:55 pm

Over/Under 10,000 fans for opening night? I say under.

O'Brien

October 20th, 2010
6:59 pm

So all Sund looks at is W-L record against the other 7 teams? So he doesnt even look at whether a team has injured players or not?

Or if its the second game of a back to back? or if its the last game of the season when not everybody plays?

And for the record, Rick, I know its a business, but fans would prefer to be over the luxury tax, with better talent, and/or better depth.

drmaryb (*_*)

October 20th, 2010
7:02 pm

Deal or No Deal!

Hmm said:

“Section 303, LOL true, but by giving up carmelo the Nugetts are essentally waiving the white “we’re going to rebuild now” flag.”

The thing is, except to unload our unwanted contracts, the Nuggets really have no incentive to do that deal, just to get rid of Melo. They don’t want to lose Melo, first of all. Secondly, they want young talent & 1st round draft picks for Melo, if he still refuses to sign their offer before the new CBA takes effect.

____________________________________

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
7:06 pm

Rick Sund and the ASG are garbage they are worried about luxury tax instead of the quality of product on floor. The Hawks will not have 10,000 fans opening night at the Lowlight Factory.

The Hawks are officially LOTTOSTUDS

Dept. of Unintended Irony

October 20th, 2010
7:11 pm

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
6:55 pm

“Over/Under 10,000 fans for opening night? I say under.”

Over/under on how many bloggers care what truthspitter says?

I’ll say under two. And one of them is him.

truthspitter

October 20th, 2010
7:18 pm

There are always tickets for poor products. I will watch and laugh as 5,000 people show up 2morrow night in the preseason game

bigdave

October 20th, 2010
7:18 pm

lol the BCS system’s compute is more fair and credible than Sund’s derivation of “elite” status qualification.