L.D. can be pretty verbose (which is a good thing for my purposes), so sometimes I don’t get a chance to use everything he says. I thought my blog people would be interested if I finished off the week by emptying some L.D. insights from my notebook . . .
This ground has been covered before but this line in Ford’s story caught my eye:
“[Ravin] patched the hole in Smith’s psyche with texts containing affirmations such as ‘You don’t need their approval, so stop looking in their direction.’”
Not sure who “they” are, but it just so happens L.D. was talking about this very thing on Tuesday (before Smoove’s misfires in the fourth quarter at Milwaukee). I asked him if he’s concerned that with both Josh and Al moving their games away from the basket the Hawks might become too reliant on jump shots:
I am not concerned about that. I know that is–whether people want to admit it or not–that is a strong point of our game is bigs that can pop out. The gray area is when they should do it, particularly Josh Smith. We have discussed it and during the course of a game we acknowledge it. Sometimes he will look at me on bench [and ask], ‘Was that a good shot or a bad shot?’ I am honest with him: ‘No, it was not a good shot. We’ve got 16 seconds on the shot clock or it’s not within our offense or we’ve gone three or four trips down the floor and we haven’t had a good one and you take another jump shot. Sometimes we bump heads about it; sometimes we dap one another: ‘Coach, you are right, that is a bad shot.’
He is learning, and that is part of the growing pains as a coach you have to live with. Someone read a stat about his percentage on stand-still shooting, he ranks high in the league. [NOTE: I'm not exactly sure what L.D. meant by that but, according to Synergy Sports Technology, Smoove ranks 158th with .95 points per possession on spot-ups while shooting 40.5 percent (75 of 185)]. It’s something he has worked on. I can see his stroke has changed. It looks different than the past. I’ve always said if a guy works on his game, works on taking a shot, if he has the ability to make it and shows he can make it, you have got to let him shoot it. With him, his whole thing is when he shoots it. There are times I don’t want that shot, and he knows that. It’s something as a coach I have to keep working on him with it. He wants to know if it’s a good shot. Sometimes we will butt heads and sometimes we won’t.
I’ve got big men who can pop and make shots. There has to be some give and take, which they understand. We don’t want to be a predominantly jump-shooting team. We want to have the ability to post up, and we do post up a lot and go at matchups a lot. That is something that has been really good for us thus far this season. We do have a matchup advantage. I have to let him know: ‘When I put you against a smaller guy and go into the post, you can’t shoot a fadeaway. You have to put him in the basket with the ball.’
Its’ kind of a battle but it’s something we haven’t done in the past. We have basically gone through Joe. He gets double-teamed, it comes out and everybody shoots off that. We don’t do that anymore. Joe gets his isolations but we we also go at matchups where we have an advantage.’
I mentioned the other day in my video post that L.D. had talked “at length” about Teague’s role. (If you couldn’t hear me because of the wack audio, then just trust me, I said it). Well, here is what Drew said when Hometeam Brandon Leak asked him what he needs to see from Teague to earn him more burn:
I want to see more production. I want to see more consistency, and that has not been the case. He has shown flashes of being a consistent player but for whatever reason I haven’t gotten the consistency from him. I’ve told him he’s the fastest guy on the floor. Speed-wise there is no one out there that even comes close. I think he should be more of a dominant player, especially at his position. He brings something to the table that we don’t have but he doesn’t bring it with a consistency.
That’s something I’ve tried to talk to him about on a day in and day out basis. He has got to utilize his speed to his advantage and be more productive with it. He has the ability to guard and harass and make life tough for some of these point guards so when he gets in the game the energy and intensity has to pick up. That’s why I’m mainly looking for from a consistency standpoint.
Leak then asked L.D. if he thinks the problem is Teague lacks confidence in his jump shot:
I would be surprised if it is, because his effectiveness is not predicated on him making a shot. The thing I want him to do when he gets in the game is to elevate the pace of the game with his speed. I want him to push it and stay in an attack mode. It’s never a situation where if he turns the ball over, he is yanked out of the game right away.
Defensively I want him to be more a harasser. I want him up the floor picking people up. I just want him working. I want him active. Sometimes he does it, sometimes he doesn’t. I need a consistency in that area. I don’t expect him to get out there and play at a Mike Bibby pace. Not taking anything from Mike, [but] he is where he is in his career. And Jeff has twice the speed. He has to learn how to utilize it every time he steps on the floor. He has to use it to his advantage; he has to use it to make us a better team. Because there is nobody on our team that come close to his speed and quickness.
Finally . . . The poor shot selection and defensive breakdowns at Milwaukee have been season-long problems. So I asked L.D. yesterday: If players don’t (or can’t) execute his gameplan does he at some point have to change the way he distributes the minutes?
Oh yeah. Definitely. But as I told the guys, it is not a time to panic. We have been in situations of having leads and sustaining leads. I can’t recall going into a fourth quarter when we were up double digit points and we had a total breakdown. I talk abut taking care o the basketball, rebounding and shot selection. We didn’t handle two of the three [at Milwaukee]. When that does happen, it is going to allow the team to get on runs and put you in a situation where you almost have to score on every possession. We didn’t handle our business last night. We have to learn from it and move on.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat