Atlanta Hawks: Jamal Crawford’s ‘instant offense’ on slow drip

Jamal is finding it tougher to attack this season. (AP Photo)

Jamal is finding it tougher to attack this season. (AP Photo)

First, Jamal wanted me to pass along a message to my blog people: He reads all of your comments and he still loves you all. Killin’ em with kindness, I guess.

With that out of the way, it’s been clear that the instant offensive jolt Jamal regularly provided under Woody has gone missing at times as L.D. moves to a more structured approach. Jamal is an instinctive scorer, adept at having the ball in his hands and attacking off the dribble, and now he’s being asked to play off the ball and set the table more often.

The Hawks have found more offensive balance than they’ve had in the past with L.D.’s approach. But for Jamal it’s meant a move away from the comfort zone he enjoyed last season.

“I think it’s some adjusting for him,” L.D. said. “Because he is such a good one-on-one players, I am trying to put him in more situations where he is running a lot more pick-and-rolls. I sat him down and told him he is playing very unselfishly, and he is making plays and getting the ball to his teammates. And he is showing to be a willing passer.

“When he and Joe play like that, I think that makes us a better ball club. Now teams can’t key in on individual guys to play one-on-one and they’ve got their defense set.”

After a spike in Jamal’s shooting percentage last season, it’s slipped back down to his career mark (though he was quick to note that with such a small sample size, a few good shooting games would pull it back up). His true shooting percentage hasn’t dipped as much because he’s taking and making more free throws. Jamal is taking about four less shots per game so far (though his attempts per minutes played are actually up from 2.2 to 2.9), his assist percentage is up slightly and his turnovers rate is up significantly.

I’d argue that, based on observation, Jamal also has shown more willingness to defend; he said L.D. told him the same thing. It’s not reflected by the on-court/off-court numbers (or by his lackluster effort against Dallas Saturday, though he was hardly alone among the guards) and I’m not saying he’s suddenly locking anyone down. But I’ve seen him more often aggressively fight through screens, keep his energy up throughout possessions and make up ground to challenge shooters.

What I haven’t seen much is the 2009-10, instant offense version of Jamal, and that’s something the Hawks could use as their bench continues to sag against better competition.

“I have got to put him in more opportunities where he gets more shots because he is a shotmaker,” L.D. said. “I’ve already sat him down and told him that. But he’s adjusting well. As I told him, he’s a guy coming off the bench that I need the instant offense, but I also need good decision-making. He has shown that he is committed to that.”

MC

376 comments Add your comment

Meh

November 22nd, 2010
11:41 am

@DanWeiner

November 22nd, 2010
11:42 am

Any chance after his strong performance late we’ll get to see Jordan Crawford some more? He’s a similar style of player to Jamal and will be here long term. We need to get him some burn.

Section 303

November 22nd, 2010
11:42 am

Jamal is a great guy. There’s no doubt about that. Cool he reads the blog, too.

All that being said…he has to start playing better. He’s proving all the NBA “experts” right. All you heard this summer was that Jamal will have a really good year and then drop back. So far, that’s what he has done.

And, really, I was upset when Coach Drew put him back in the game on Saturday. He should have stuck with Jordan Crawford. Jordan was playing alot, not a little, A LOT better than Jamal.

GoldJacket

November 22nd, 2010
12:00 pm

Glad to see him still being a “team player” in a contract year

niremetal

November 22nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Crawford will be Crawford. I’m more concerned about the guy ahead of him in the depth chart.

If JJ’s hand is injured, he needs to get shut down. Now. Nagging injuries like that rarely get better except through rest. If that means shutting JJ down for 2 weeks, fine. This is the time to do it, what with the weak schedule we face starting tomorrow and continuing through next Friday. If that means we lose 2-3 games we otherwise would win, fine. I don’t care how many games we win now. What I care about is having a healthy roster come April and May. The offense will go merrily along without JJ. Heck, maybe the absence of JJ will jolt Marvin and Jamal out of their offensive torpor and give Jordan Crawford some in-game experience he otherwise would have trouble getting. That could make us even stronger than we otherwise would have been.

Players rarely bench themselves due to nagging injuries (unless your name is T-Mac). Coaches have to do it for them. From the sources I’ve heard, MC, players don’t like to be perceived as unwilling to play through pain. Certainly, history is littered with players who have tried to “play through” a nagging injury only to aggravate it, to the long-term detriment of themselves and their team. So it’s on LD and the other Hawks staff to tell JJ that he’s getting shut down for as long as it takes for his hand to heal. Better for him to miss 5 games now than 10 games in March or April.

joe

November 22nd, 2010
12:11 pm

hey jamal check this out

hope you like a rockets jersey ‘

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2978jb5

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2010
12:25 pm

I agree with Niremetal’s comments about JJ needing to sit to heal. His shot is off. Maybe he can take a week or two, practice his shooting, and return to the team. I especially like the idea of other players being forced to step up.

The way JJ is playing so far this season I think the Hawks will only have two All-Stars – Josh and Al.

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
12:36 pm

Jamal does seem to be having some trouble, but that will change. My main focus is where is his focus? On our team or on his contract? We desperately need his defense. In time the shots will improve as he learns his sets. It just seems like the motion offense stops when the 2nd unit comes in?

It’s not on the offensive side that this team is having problems. Its defense and rebounding.

Joe needs to heal. I agree, sit him, let him fully heal. Give Jordan and Mo some major minutes for a few games. See if he can heal. Maybe it’ll put more pressure on Marvin to produce. Guys need to step up. We need Joe 100%.

Good Job MC. Props to Jamal for speaking out.

Diesel

November 22nd, 2010
12:39 pm

I think that we’re 13 games in and every player is searching for their spot. LD’s system is new and what our guys really need to do the most is stop themselves from reverting to their old habits. i.e. Iso-ball, switching defenses, and every man for himself. The one thing about Craw’s game that you have to like is that he can play 1, 2 or 3… however, I like to think of him as a OG. The problem is that we give him the ball but at the same time, we put him in a position where he’s muzzled. LD has to find a way to make this offense truly uptempo. If he does that, then Crawford will thrive and so will Smith. However, if he keeps it as an opportunistic uptempo (which is really the walk it up stuff we see) then he can expect more of us trying to go one on one and Smoove putting up more wide open jumpers instead of side to side ball movement. Before we got Craw, he was one of the best at getting to the line. Why has he not be so great at that (per 48) lately? Maybe it’s because we have muzzled him and we don’t let him go to the basket with the ball anymore. If there’s any word for Crawford it’s this: Bring back the drive through the lane with the shake and bake. Don’t settle for the jump shot.

mountain_jim

November 22nd, 2010
12:39 pm

Hello Jamal – keep shooting, your shot will be back very soon!

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
12:42 pm

Shouldn’t “don’t settle for the jumpshot” be our team motto?

ILL-Logical

November 22nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Big game tonight with the budding rivalry and both team’s losing streaks, jobs could be on the line.

Lamont

November 22nd, 2010
12:47 pm

One of the ugliest things in basketball is to see Crawford trying to pass. He turn is over like crazy and seems very uncomfortable in that role. He’s a one-dimensional player (scorer), but not very productive. His career gives you a good idea. He’s got to go very soon. BYE BYE.

Rufus1

November 22nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Great Word “torpor”…I am going to have to add that word to my data base.

Thanks Nire

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
12:53 pm

JOE JOHNSON NEEDS TO START DUNKING. ITS AN INTIMIDATION FACTOR.
PLEASE JOE…..DO IT FOR YOUR FANS AND THE CITY OF ATLANTA. A DUNK FROM JOE WOULD IGNITE THE CROWD MORE SO THEN WHEN JOSH DOES. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE START DUNKING J-J-J-J-JOE JOHNSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
12:55 pm

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: JOE JOHNSON NEEDS TO START DUNKING. ITS AN INTIMIDATION FACTOR. PLEASE JOE…..DO IT FOR YOUR FANS AND THE CITY OF ATLANTA. A DUNK FROM JOE WOULD IGNITE THE CROWD MORE SO THEN WHEN JOSH DOES. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE START DUNKING J-J-J-J-JOE JOHNSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
12:56 pm

MATTER OF FACT….DUNK ON RAY ALLEN AND PAUL PIERCE TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
12:57 pm

CAN YA’LL HERE ON BLOGS SAY “DUNK” PLEASE????? SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!!
DUNK DUNK DUNK DUNK. COME ON JOE. IF WADDLE THE DUCK CAN DUNK, SO CAN YOU!!!!!!

I.MUS WRITE

November 22nd, 2010
12:59 pm

This new offense seems to be hurting his effectiveness. Jamal will adjust and play better he’s just going through a ruff stretch right now. We all know Jamal’s work the players that concern me are:

JJ- Definitely not living up to his mega pay day, Hurt,new offense,new coach- WHATEVA the man is currently stealing money and will do so for the next 4 years-talk about handicapping a franchise.

Marvin -” I am David Blain” I disappear for 5 games and then I surface for a 20 pointer. This man is not intrested in gettn better-08 was a fluke becuz he wanted a big payday. This guy’s a clown and we made a mistake paying him 7.5 milli per

Teague is really no better than AC law-He looks lost and the offense stalls when he comes in the game. Did I mention he cant shoot a lick -He hasnt hit 5 jumpers all season. I would have gladly given Marvin and the #20 pick to move up and get Jennings.

Props to Smoove and Al for giving it their all every night. If Josh continues to play this way he should definitely be starting in Feb. All Star game….. Now that he’s hitting his jumpers consistently I have no complaints about Josh,hes becoming what I thought he would be.

JJ 21 mill Smoove11 Al 12 Marvin7.5

Josh is our best player right now no way JJ should be making 10 a year more, what has he done this season besides the 1 30 point game.

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:00 pm

WHO HERE AGREES WITH ME THAT JOE NEEDS TO START DUNKING? i KNOW IT SEEMS TRIVIAL BUT IT’LL MAKE HIM MORE INTIMIDATING.

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
1:00 pm

In Joe’s defense, he’s dunked a few times more already this year than all last year. His lack of taking it to the rack goes back to the facial injury he got in PHO. We need him healthy, healed and he’ll be fine.

I.MUS WRITE

November 22nd, 2010
1:02 pm

I wonder if we could get AAron Brooks/Buddinger for JC1/Marvin/Pick ………..

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
1:03 pm

David Blain and a few others may dissappear by Feb if things don’t change. If the Hawks really like their team they better start listening to LD and gel quickly. If not breaking it down and retooling will be in order.

So close, yet so very, very far away it seems.

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2010
1:04 pm

Maybe JJ hurt his hand dunking…

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:05 pm

@Fundamentals OK, THAT INJURY HAPPENED LIKE 7 YEARS AGO. HE’S STILL NOT OVER IT YET? I TORE MY ACL AND HAD SURGERY. GRANITE, I STILL AM A LITTLE HESITANTE WHEN I GO OUT TO PLAY BUT IM NOT GETTING PAID 121 MILL SOoooo?!?!?!?!?

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

I am still not happy about the new blog format. It makes it an unpleasant experience to post regularly on the blackberry.

O'Brien

November 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

Enter your comments here

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

NO EXCUSES PEOPLE!!!! THAT WHY THE HAWKS ARE SO SOFT. WE’RE LIKE PARENTS WITH BAD CHILDEN WHO WE CONSTANTLY MAKE EXCUSES FOR THEM. AL AND JOSH ARE THE ONLY ONES STEPING UP RIGHT NOW….LETS GO HAWKS!!!!!

O'Brien

November 22nd, 2010
1:12 pm

Another way not signing another wing could hurt us, is JJ is our best SF on this team, so if he has to sit, that means more minutes for Marvin or Mo.

But I agree with nire. If he’s hurt, now is the time to rest it.

We see it in baseball all the time (players playing hurt). Over the last 2 years, we saw it first hand on the Braves. Heyward, Troy Glaus, Prado, and Schafer were all hurt at one time or another. But they insisted on going out there game after game. They struggled, and the team struggled.

If JJ is hurt, LD needs to make the decision to cut his minutes back, or sit him, allowing him to heal.

Michael Cunningham

November 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

@niremetal: “If JJ’s hand is injured, he needs to get shut down. Now. Nagging injuries like that rarely get better except through rest.”

i will have a blog on this topic later. it’s hard to tell how much the hand is bothering J.J. he’s a tough guy to read and not just for us media types.

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

Brooks won’t fix the defensive issues we have at 6′0″

Michael Cunningham

November 22nd, 2010
1:16 pm

@ Rev in Tampa: “I am still not happy about the new blog format. It makes it an unpleasant experience to post regularly on the blackberry.”

tell me your specific issues and i will pass them along to the tech folks.

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
1:17 pm

MC we can all tell Joe’s hand bothers him and that he’s generally under the weather. Dude needs to recoup and come back with fire.

Dude – JJ’s injury is not an excuse for him. We don’t need dunks, we need scoring, leadership and solid defense. Right now we’re getting none from JJ. Contract aside people, he needs to be 100%. Sit him till he is healthy.

cdog

November 22nd, 2010
1:24 pm

the hawks will suffer loses until rick sund is relieved of his gm duties.i feel sorry for die-hard hawks fans. sund is terrible and will eventually destroy the hawks franchise unless someone pulls the plug on him.thats why i no longer bother about watching the hawks game.any gm who says, you don’t trade for superstars, you draft them. thens fires a coach who won over 50 games and has the team going in the right direction, has to be sick.he thens sits there with cell phones stuck in his ears, sees orlando, boston and nowmiami get better and does nothing about it. you think i’m going to waste my time following a gm who has created a mediocre team and does nothing about it, no way.

Astro Joe

November 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

The offensive scheem suits Joe just fine, he is getting plenty of open and easy shot attempts, he’s missing them, but the scheme isn’t a problem for Joe. Jamal? Well, who didn’t see that as a likely mismatch before the season started? Oh yeah, Sund didn’t see that. Jamal is like a square peg being asked to fit into a round hole in his walk year (with a new CBA on the horizon). You’d have to stubbornly ignore the factors not to forecast problems.

Hawks need a win tonight to stop from going 2-6 after the 6-0 start. Emotions always run high when we battle the evil men in green.

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:30 pm

Enter your comments here

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

@Fundamentals…im not talking about just this year alone. How about the last five years and the next six?…come on!!

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm

DUNKS FROM YOUR “STAR” PLAYER ARE EXHILARATING!!!!!!!!

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

MC thanks for asking…

I like to read the entire blog and follow the discussion as it unfolds. So I click on the blog, scroll down on my blackberry to the comments, but then I have to reclick on the ’show all’ button, rescroll down my blackberry to the comments. If I post a response on the blog, then the page reverts to the ‘last ten comments’ page. So I have to reclick on the ’show all’ button and rescrool down my blackberry to the comments. If I post again then I have to go through this process again…

This makes posting a comment during a game very cumbersome. It is impossible to post a comment on a play during a game since I am always a few minutes late with this new format.

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
1:55 pm

1) This whole team is a mess. LD has a new offense which doesn’t match Jamal’s style. if Jamal is instant offense, why go away from what he is good at? Rather than having him in the game with the rest of the scrubs on the bench (yes – Mo and ZaZa either have career nights 1 out of every 20 games or are absolute trash) and incorporating this offense, let him do his thing. Same with Jo-Craw – let them get theirs.

2) This team does not rebound. How does LD keep saying he will have the team ready to play with energy and mention his focus on defense, if these two things NEVER happen. Smoove is one of only like 3 players on the team who can score, so he gets a free pass on the defensive boards since we all know he still cries every time he deals with a drop of adversity. LD is too scared to call him out consistently.

2a) This team has turned into J.Smoove’s playground. If he wants to shoot 3s on an iso-play, he can do that. If he wants to do a 720 fadeaway vs. Dwight Howard, he is allowed to do that. No accountability. Even if he has been putting up numbers, he still is immature

3) SOFT defense. I will say this for the 239832589th time: Boston, Orlando, the Clevelands, they NEVER play this soft. It’s like our perimeter defenders just let players like Jet Terry get by, assuming Smoove can block shots. But when Smoove contests, there’s ALWAYS someone open

4) This team has 3 captains. LOL!!!!!! Do they go on picnics together too? Boston has 1 captain.

5) Marvin is terrified of having the ball in his hands – no homo. He is also terrified of being on the spot. It takes people yelling at him to get him to actually try during the game. I can’t believe he had enough desire to negotiate for a contract – he seems more content wearing his spongebob pajamas and watching Hey Arnold! reruns than actually improving as a basketball player. As my man Rod from CP said, Marvin has NEVER stated his desire to be a great player, an All-Star, or to win an award. He is content with mediocrity

6) Joe got outscored by Deshawn Stevenson the other night. LOL! Leader my @$$

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
1:57 pm

HORFORD NEEDS MORE PLAYS RUN FOR HIM. HIS OFFENSE IS SOLID THIS YEAR. RUN THE GUY SOME PLAYS. PUT HIM IN POSITION TO SCORE

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
1:58 pm

WE HAVE A TEAM NEAR THE LUX TAX THAT DOESN’T PLAY DEFENSE AND WON’T CONTEND FOR A TITLE. THE ASG WILL NOT TAKE ON LONG-TERM CONTRACTS.

YOU TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS

ANOTHER 2ND ROUND EXIT. IF WE MAKE IT THERE. IF WE ARE A 4 OR 5 SEED AND HAVE TO PLAY A HEALTHY CHICAGO OR MILWAUKEE—-YEAH…….

Fundamentals

November 22nd, 2010
2:04 pm

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
2:08 pm

YO JAMAL I MET U AFTER THAT SPURS GAME. TOLD U I LOVE THE SHAKE & BAKE MOVE. WHEN U ARE IN THE GAME ITS YOUR TIME TO SHINE. DO THE SHAKE N BAKE. DONT DEFER TO THESE OTHER CATS. U DROPPED 50+ ON DWYANE WADE AND HAVE TONS OF BUZZER BEATERS. ROCK THIS ISH. DO MORE CROSSOVERS.

SWAT Native

November 22nd, 2010
2:10 pm

Jamal’s not going to admit it, but that “turf toe” that he had earlier in the season has to still be bothering him. If he had that, it takes a long time (and rest) to recover from it. Look how long it affected Matt Ryan. If it was his right big toe, that’s the one he pushes off when he goes up for a jumper, and I’m sure he feels it every time. That’s why I believe his shot is off.

I hope that he can bounce back tonight – we need him because he is the Celtics killer.

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

“As I told him, he’s a guy coming off the bench that I need the instant offense, but I also need good decision-making. He has shown that he is committed to that.”
-LD

IF U NEED THE INSTANT OFFENSE BUT U WANT JAMAL TO RUN YOUR SYSTEM, THEN THAT’S AN IMPOSSIBILITY.

SMGDH

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

JeJe, I disagree with your assessment. The Hawks have the ability as currently constructed to compete at the highest levels in the NBA. The problem is they have not yet desired to. Admittedly I haven’t been able to watch many of the games this year, but when I have I have rarely seen them exert themselves. I have seen more energy on the part of the other teams.

I was hoping that Josh Powell and Etan Thomas would help toughen up the mentality in practice, but it hasn’t happened.

The Hawks, in my opinion, are only a ‘desire’ away from moving to the next level.

JeJe

November 22nd, 2010
2:18 pm

“Admittedly I haven’t been able to watch many of the games this year, but when I have I have rarely seen them exert themselves. I have seen more energy on the part of the other teams.”

WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? EVERYBODY’S

WHEN WE DON’T EXERT ENERGY ON THE COURT, IT’S BECAUSE PLAYERS ARE NOT BOXING OUT FOR REBOUNDS, BECAUSE PLAYERS ALL DON’T PLAY DEFENSE. LARRY DREW’S ONE RESPONSIBLITY AS COACH IS TO GET THESE GUYS TO PLAY AS EFFORT, WHICH HE PROMISED HE’D DO. I THOUGHT WOODSON WAS NO LONGER HEAD COACH

IF THE HAWKS HAVE NO INTENTION ON COMPETING, LET’S HOPE THE FALCONS DO. THAT’S A TEAM WITH AN COACHING STAFF, BRILLIANT OWNER, AND PLAYERS WHO WANT TO WIN

a1andonly

November 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

MORE DUNKS PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

November 22nd, 2010
2:45 pm

Evidently, Josh Powell and Etan Thomas are in the Mario West Practice Hall of Fame. Their qualities just don’t quite translate into game time… but seemingly having guys that work tirelessly in practice is a coach’s dream. Meanwhile, we haven’t seen 3 seconds of rough and tumble play from the Powell & Thomas Security firm… mostly Powell shoots jumpers like a he’s scared of the paint and Etan sits on the bench like RandMo. We thought we had the Road Warriors but instead we got Road Kill.