Atlanta Hawks: ‘Big’ lineup won’t be the norm after all

There was a time when L.D. was considering making the Twin lineup the regular lineup. He was thinking about using it regardless of the availability of Marvin or the size and/or post-scoring prowess of the opposing center.

If you recall, L.D. likes the lineup because it makes the Hawks sounder on D when they don’t have to double the post.

Now, though, Drew says the “normal” lineup will be Bibby, J.J., Marvin, Smoove and Al. Twin will get in only when the Hawks need to counter beef on the frontline.

“Right now if there are any adjustments with the lineup it will be because who we are playing and we decide to go big or if I have someone who is hurt,” L.D. said.

L.D. added that he considers his rotation to be pretty much set after 48 games. Based on what’s happened lately, that would mean Jamal, Zaza, Damien and Mo will get regular playing time while Teague, Powell and Twin will get in where they fit in.

“I’ve got a good feel for where we are right now,” Drew said.

Looking at the numbers, the Twin lineup with Smoove at small forward is still the best defensively among the most-used alignments because opponents don’t shoot as well from the perimeter. (As I’ve noted before, the lineup’s defensive efficiency is probably helped greatly by Drew narrowly focusing it so using it all the time could have diminishing returns). The Twin-Smoove lineup now also has the best adjusted plus-minus rating, according to BasketballValue.com.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

138 comments Add your comment

Rev in Tampa

February 1st, 2011
4:00 pm

First? If so this is funny because I have been out of town for the past week and not been on the blog for a while.

terrell

February 1st, 2011
4:08 pm

Zaza over Twin is enought o get a coach fired imo.

terrell

February 1st, 2011
4:10 pm

Our bench is laughable after Jamal. Teague should get more min than Mo and Zaza.

Willy

February 1st, 2011
4:11 pm

As long as Smoove doesn’t line up behind the 3 pt. line I don’t care who starts.

terrell

February 1st, 2011
4:13 pm

Same startin 5 as last year, the year before, and the year before that. Wow! Collins does everything we asked him to do over the summer and this is the tahnks he gets? I’d be pissed if I was him. Especially after seeing Zaza get off the bench before he does. Some things never change.

terrell

February 1st, 2011
4:15 pm

On the other hand, this lineup keeps Josh at pf, so maybe it’s a good thing. We need him inside on offense and defense. But no way Zaza should get more min than Twin. Or Teague, for that matter.

On the fence fan

February 1st, 2011
4:16 pm

Why dont we solve the big man problem and get chris kaman.

Geemack

February 1st, 2011
4:20 pm

MC

I really didn’t expect them to do anything that consistently wins ball games.

Seems like this is Woody all over again, with a better offensive scheme, but the same challenges in every other aspect of the game.

40 something years in Atlanta, and not 1 Eastern Conference finals appearance.

It’s been 13 years since Mookie left town, and we still haven’t replaced him.

Dominique was shipped out in 94, and the closet we’ve come to replacing him is JJ.

The Celtics had a 22 year title drought, and they still got back to the finals quicker than the Hawks, but they call the Atlanta fans “bad” for not supporting this type of team.

ILL-Logical

February 1st, 2011
4:22 pm

OK I’m going to have to say it: Larry Drew does not appear to have the ultimate authority regarding playing time. With all of the empirical evidence that suggests otherwise ,he continues to start a line up that is not only weaker defensively but continues to produce 4th quarter meltdowns that are piling up critical losses.
But he is the one making $ 1million a year to make the decisions, sso what do I know?

ILL-Logical

February 1st, 2011
4:24 pm

terrell

February 1st, 2011
4:29 pm

As long as he continues to play Jamal and Bibby together in the 4th, nothing matters.

lewis

February 1st, 2011
4:31 pm

4th quarter lineup – JJ/Marvin/Josh/Al/Twin. Replace defensive liability with offensive.

Luke M

February 1st, 2011
4:37 pm

Zaza > Twin. I wish that was the big lineup.

lewis

February 1st, 2011
4:47 pm

o’neal – season avg 28.5
d. robinson – 28.1
olajuwon – 26.7
Ewing – 25.2

I say we trade Mookie for any of these available centers

Skyhawk1

February 1st, 2011
4:57 pm

Zaza is the all time leader in 3sec. violation in Hawks history. He also leads this franchise in missed layups and illegal screens. I mean, with a C like that why would the Hawks want to get a big here. Give me one reason, I dare you.

lewis

February 1st, 2011
5:07 pm

don’t waste your time coming up with trade proposals – - –

coming up with new owners, majority investors, that could be time well spent.

The ASG are broke. The fans are pathetic. The Hawks are operating at a loss, and GM Rick Sund thinks Mike Maybe Frank Isola was right when he tweeted during the Knicks game that this franchise is a joke.

lewis

February 1st, 2011
5:08 pm

*GM Rick Sund thinks Mike Bibby is in his prime* ^

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
5:13 pm

I don’t care how they start as much as I care how they finish. If the Hawks keep going with Zaza for too long in the late 3rd/early 4th and going with Bibby and Jamal in the back court together in crunch time, especially when Bibby isn’t making his shots, they can start 1987 Nique at small forward and they will still lose.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
5:17 pm

“Larry Drew does not appear to have the ultimate authority regarding playing time. ”

I think you might be right. There is no other explanation for why Zaza gets more minutes than Twin. If not making mistakes is so important to LD (the explanation for Bibby playing big minutes while Teague sits on the bench) then Zaza should get zero playing time. He is a walking turnover. Someone has to make Sund look good for giving Zaza and Bibby those indefensible contracts.

kbp

February 1st, 2011
5:30 pm

Okay, I have never seen any of the practices but based on the games I have seen this year (most all) I do not understand why Zsa Zsa plays ahead of Twin. Teague should play more to see if they need to draft another PG next year. At first I liked the Drew hire; now I don’t know.

terrell

February 1st, 2011
5:33 pm

Zaza makes more mistakes than Teague does, but LD continuies to give him min. Even though we’re weaker at pg than we are at center. Things that make you say hmmmmmm????????

terrell

February 1st, 2011
5:34 pm

Zaza, not Zsa Zsa. LOL!

superiorblogman

February 1st, 2011
5:37 pm

Larry Drew was a horrible pick for coach as we all figured he would be. I have cut back my care for the Hawks a lot because it is not healthy. They just want to put a good enough product on the floor to say they deserve respect, then blame the fans when they see through it for what it is; which is choosing to be mediocre.

James

February 1st, 2011
5:55 pm

“I think you might be right. There is no other explanation for why Zaza gets more minutes than Twin. If not making mistakes is so important to LD (the explanation for Bibby playing big minutes while Teague sits on the bench) then Zaza should get zero playing time. He is a walking turnover. Someone has to make Sund look good for giving Zaza and Bibby those indefensible contracts.”

I can give you an explanation for why Zaza plays more than Twin at times. It’s simply due to the fact that he, seemingly, gives you more contributions, overall. At least, that is the way L.D. seems to see it. Yes, Zaza can disappoint you when he fails to finish around the basket and takes silly fouls or commits silly turnovers, but on a per-minute basis, he gives you more, overall, than Jason Collins. Collins is in the game for one reason, and one reason only – post defense. Collins is in the game to body up large, physical post players. That’s his role, he knows it well, and he plays it well. When the opposing team’s center is not physically overpowering or does depend on his physical ability (height, strength) to score, Twin is not highly useful as Al does a better job defending the quicker, skill-oriented centers than anyone else on the team.

Zaza, on the other hand, is not an elite defender by any means, he’s a decent defender at times, but that is not his role. Zaza is more of an energy guy off of the bench who is going to work hard on the boards (particularly, the offensive glass), annoy the players he is defending, and occasionally be used for offensive purposes, since he has a decent offensive game around the basket for a bench big man, and the ability to knock down free throws at a high rate. I can tell you that players will be less reluctant to leave Zaza open than Collins, even though most of us don’t feel comfortable at all with Zaza shooting a jump shot or even trying to make a layup.

From what I have seen thus far in the season, L.D. places a greater emphasis on offense when it comes to his rotations, especially when games are close. For that reason, I think he likes to stick with Mo and Zaza off of the bench over guys like Damien and Twin who are primarily defensive players. Whether or not that is a good strategy, it seems like he feels more comfortable with those players on the court since it fits his “everyone is a threat” philosophy a bit more. Also, Mo and Zaza have been with the team for longer periods of time than Damien and Twin, so there’s more of a trust factor there.

I also think that the focus on offense is why L.D. leans toward playing his “shot makers” in the fourth quarter. This is why we often see Bibby and Jamal on the court together with JJ. A lot of us have noticed that that lineup often seems to yield more points to the opposition than it does score points for the Hawks, but right now, that’s the lineup that L.D. trusts and feels most comfortable with. Personally, that’s not my favorite lineup at all, especially in crunch time, but to each his own.

Defense is very difficult to perfect, much more than offense is. On the offensive end, one player can bail you out and make a tough shot, and it ends up being 2-3 points in your favor. On defense, everyone has to be on the same page for it to work out. One mistakes by one player can lead to a collapse and give up points in a hurry. I think sometimes coaches, particularly less experienced coaches, sometimes put a larger focus on offense, when they don’t feel that their team is capable of playing strong enough defense. So, in crunch time, since they don’t have enough confidence that their team is going to be able to shut down the opposing team, they may go with an offensive lineup with the philosophy that they have a better chance of outscoring the opponent to win the game. With all the scores on the team, L.D. most likely feels like he can roll the dice on the offensive end with his “shot makers” and hope they win the game for him. At any rate, that’s my perception of the matter.

jhan

February 1st, 2011
5:57 pm

Just like Woody, LD can only play the players sitting on his bench. Until there is an upgrade on the bench what is he supposed to do? Does anyone think that playing Twin more minutes than ZaZa is really going to make any difference? Neither one of those guys is very good – just serviceable. I do think Teague needs to play just to see if he has anything & to keep Bibby somewhat fresh. The only shot we have of advancing in the playoffs is if Bibby is really hot from outside. He won’t be hot if his legs are shot!

James

February 1st, 2011
5:58 pm

I’d like to make a correction on my last post. In the second paragraph (the first paragraph that is not in quotations), I meant to say “When the opposing team’s center is not physically overpowering or does *NOT* depend on his physical ability…” rather than “..does depend on his physical ability…”.

Westurd

February 1st, 2011
6:01 pm

So effing frustrating……ASG and Sund are content and as a Hawks fan that makes me want to throw up……throw up all over them! DANG YOU FOOLS!

mykhalc

February 1st, 2011
6:11 pm

as much as i luv the Hawks…i really do hate ‘em and the ASG. MEDICORE at best!!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Baron

February 1st, 2011
6:15 pm

Call me crazy, but I really think that we only hired L.D. to relieve some financial pressure. Honestly, it makes no sense why you would hire a rookie head coach, who was the right-hand man of the coach whom you just let go in order to improve your team. L.D. has done a solid job for a rookie, but this franchise is in a situation where “solid” just isn’t enough. Anything short of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance for us this season will be viewed as a failure, and if we can’t make it that far, and don’t even win 53 or more games, we will be viewed as regressing.

Those are some tough expectations to put on a rookie coach. L.D., in time, may be a great coach, but clearly, he still has a lot to learn, and it is probably going to take him a couple of years to really figure things out. Right now, he’s just sticking with what he feels safe doing, trying to win as many games as possible, similar to what Woodson did. I really don’t fee like we are any better this season so far, and while I find it difficult to criticize L.D. being that it’s his first season as a head coach, I just feel like we made a very bad move by hiring a rookie coach to improve a second round playoff team.

To make matters worse, management doesn’t seem to care enough to make any personnel changes to help us grow as a team, so outside of an improved Al Horford and a third-string power forward (Josh Powell), Larry Drew is basically working with the same thing that Woodson worked with that last season. In fact, he may be in an even worse position, because guys like Bibby are steadily declining.

If management doesn’t make some changes soon, or L.D. doesn’t magically perfect his philosophy very quickly, I have a feeling that we are going to have a very difficult time improving this team during this season.

slimjr

February 1st, 2011
6:17 pm

—————————-Yawn————————————-Same old……………..ish…………………

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
6:24 pm

Good points, James. LD does seem to value offense over defense.

Grandad

February 1st, 2011
6:31 pm

“Larry Drew does not appear to have the ultimate authority regarding playing time. ”

Ill-logical there is truth in that statement !
I don’t think Zaza is the culprit but Marv.
ASG has instucted “puppet” Sund to advise LD to play Marv.

Tim e to break up the core:
Let’s git rid of the “A”, the “S”, and the “G” … that core … the rotten one.

ATL FAN

February 1st, 2011
6:46 pm

Grandad once you get rid of the “A, S, and G”, the A is gone for good…

Trojan

February 1st, 2011
6:49 pm

Wow, I am filled with confidence now!

Drewcat

February 1st, 2011
6:52 pm

WOW, these blogs sure have become rather bland and succint. Must be tough traveling to all those NBA cities and sitting through all those games. C’mon we’re almost at the All Star Break, and all MC can give us is a non news story about the lineup? Talk about reaching for a story.

Patches O'houlihan

February 1st, 2011
6:56 pm

This is slightly off-topic, but does anyone think that we will trade Jamal by the trade deadline? I just feel like if don’t trade Jamal, then Jordan Crawford was a total waste of a draft pick. Of all of the roles to fill, Jamal’s is probably the easiest. It’s not incredibly difficult in this league to find a guy who can score, if you are not going to ask him to do anything else. Jordan could probably fill that role right now.

SteveW

February 1st, 2011
7:11 pm

If we were just going to let Solomon Jones go to have Joe Smith and now Josh Powell back up Smoove, I would have rather kept Solomon. I think he’s a legit backup big, and his athleticism and size at the 4 would have been better than either Powell or Joe Smith. Just my take. I wouldn’t mind getting him back next season.

Man Man

February 1st, 2011
7:14 pm

Patches O’houlihan

why we can’t improve our team is because they gave Joe all the money and trade jamal for what?they mite as well let him play it out because whatever they get in return they are not going to be able to keep them because they broke.Thats the real reason they havent did anything to improve this team.They Have No Money.They are just broke

drmaryb (*_*)

February 1st, 2011
7:20 pm

Imsurance Policy!

Jordan was signed because JJ was in LA and not returning any phone calls.
On the evening of FA, Sund flew to LA with that max contract in his hand, a blow job, and an ink pen. When JJ signed, Jordan became a wasted pick, unless he is in the future plan to replace Jamal this off season.

____________________________

Drew was given the keys to the 68M Bentley, he never drove a Bentley before, so they paid him 1M to hold the wheel steady, maintain his lane and just don’t hit a tree or park it in a ditch.

He is the designated driver, The Chauffeur.
_________________________

Later Fellas! Have a nice nite.

cp

February 1st, 2011
7:21 pm

At this point I dont even know why we care as much as we do. New year same old ish. We will continue to watch Mo get beat on defense then give us almost nothing on offense. We will continue to see Zaza come in the game and miss layups, 3 second violations, illegal screens, and fumbling good passes. I guess more 4th quarter lineups of Bibby and Jamal too. SMDH

drmaryb (*_*)

February 1st, 2011
7:41 pm

1-800-AskG

That’s the number to call ASKG: sund has that on speed dial in case he wants to make a trade.

Ask-Gearon (atlanta spirit-killers group)

Nathan

February 1st, 2011
7:45 pm

I agree jhan.

Nathan

February 1st, 2011
7:47 pm

I think jamal suck on defense to much if jordon crawford can play offense like jamal and better defense than get trade jamal for a good Big and move josh and al one place down. Pape Sy can next year be a better small foward backup than Mo.

ATDHE

February 1st, 2011
8:29 pm

ATDHE.me is the new site for those wondering where ATDHE.net went…

Najeh Davenpoop

February 1st, 2011
8:35 pm

atdhe.fm works too.

The Philippine Basketball League has some weird ass names. atdhe.fm has a link to “San Miguel Beermen – Talk N Text Tropang Texters”.

KevinM

February 1st, 2011
9:15 pm

DMB, has the ASKG taken ur last nerve?

Only thing that needs to be explained about Zaza…and the reality that is the NBA….4ppg/4reb and that will get you a $4M guaranteed contract.
Compared to Joe, I guess that’s a fair contract.

Our bench has very little to get excited about. If Jamal is off, its all about the core, and sometimes Marvin.

jlewis

February 1st, 2011
11:15 pm

I see Sekou is hating, how can he pick al and josh over JJ for all-star, how can you be an all star if you dont command a double team? He watched games, but I never respected his b-ball acumen.

jim

February 2nd, 2011
12:04 am

i still say start joe at pg, marvin at sg, josh at 3, al at 4, and twin at 5.

Jamal, Bibby, and Zaza off the bench. NOONE ELSE MATTERS!!

The rest of our bench is garbage…………….

Lets see any team match up with that starting 5.

The best teams in the east all have dominant pg’s (rondo, nelson, rose). Joe automatically covers the catalyst for the other teams. Does that hurt his offense chasing guys like those around…yes… he can do it though.

Rick Sund

February 2nd, 2011
12:45 am

You ungrateful fans don’t realize the PROGRESS that we are making. I mean we are 4th in the east and as long as we have group of CORE players, we will always be an ELITE team. If you fans would only realize that it TAKES TIME to build a championship caliber team, but we are on the RIGHT path. As long as we have BIG TIME PLAYERS like SUPERSTAR players like Joe Johnson and INTELLIGENT players like Josh Smith. There is your NUCLEUS right there. Plus with a veteran who is still in HIS PRIME like Mike Bibby our leadership is strong. This team has GREAT POTENTIAL. Our goal this year is to win ONE GAME in the SECOND ROUND and that will prove that we are going in the RIGHT DIRECTION. REAL fans have PATIENCE when it comes to the home teams.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
12:45 am

To be fair to ZaZa, when he signed his 4 years $18 mil deal, he averaged 6 and 6 the previous season, while playing 20 mpg.

However, in the season and a half since he signed his new deal, he averages 4 and 4, in 14 mpg.

To make $4.5 mil to play 14 mpg…wow. And almost half of his rebounds are on offense (when he misses his own shot). No wonder he is only shooting 43% from the field. That is horrible for a center.

What I’ve noticed about Rick and the ASG is they will not spend the money on other team’s free agents. Instead, they prefer to overpay their guys (Bibby, Marvin, ZaZa, JJ) so they can keep the core together.