Atlanta Hawks at Lakers: Point presence desperately needed

Los Angeles–The following question was put to Al over All-Star weekend: How can the Hawks be a better defensive team when they so obviously struggle to contain the perimeter and opponents relentlessly attack that weakness?

“Our guards have got to do a better job of that,” Al said. “Obviously we [bigs] have to be there on the help side, but we need to have that presence to try and keep the ball out of the paint as much as we can.”

The answer to that has been “not much at all” with the current group and as long as that’s the case it’s going to be too difficult for the Hawks to get consistent stops in the playoffs. L.D. has tricked things up with zones and switches but that’s just smoke and mirrors that teams like Boston, Orlando, Chicago and Miami will exploit.

This fundamental issue explains why they are so desperate to add a point guard like Devin Harris. The advanced stats say Harris has declined defensively–perhaps because of a poor attitude in New Jersey, as reported by the Bergen Record’s Al Iannazzone.

Perhaps a change of scenery would rejuvenate Harris, who has been a good defender in the past. Even if it didn’t, Harris would be an upgrade defensively over what the Hawks have now. He’s also an excellent playmaker who would push the pace in the open floor and allow Josh and Al to run and fill the lanes instead of handling the ball.

Jamal needs a jolt

Jamal is slumping. Perhaps more troublesome than the shots not going in are the long stretches when he’s stopped shooting—six shots against Toronto, two against Detroit–because if he’s not trying to score where is the bench going to find points?

Jamal is in some kind of funk. It happens occasionally and said he’s not sure why.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Once or twice a year I do that for whatever reason.”

L.D. had a talk with Jamal after practice Monday, like he has the other times when it seems like Jamal isn’t into it.

“I’ve got to get him going,” Drew said. “All great scorers go through periods where they go through a little slump. It’s nothing unusual. He just has to work his way out of it and I have to help him out of it. We will try to get him on the right course tonight.”

Status quo

Drew said he will use the “big” lineup against the Lakers but hasn’t made up his mind about a permanent change to the normal lineup:

“I spent these four days looking at some of the possibilities as far as changes within the lineup. Nothing concrete yet. I will keep tinkering with it as we move forward, see how we do [tonight] and at Phoenix on the back-to-back. It won’t be anything [different], I think, on this road trip. I will just decide whether to go with big lineup or traditional lineup [each game] and see what happens.”

High expectations

The Lakers have lost three straight, including an ugly L to the Cavs, to drop to 8.5 games behind San Antonio in the West. These developments qualify as a crisis in these parts, though Kobe was upbeat yesterday after Lakers practice:

“It’s a marathon. You see the finish line, you tend to pick up the speed a little bit.”

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times offers a four-point plan to fix the Lakers.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

836 comments Add your comment

Taylor

February 22nd, 2011
6:06 pm

HoosierHawk

February 22nd, 2011
6:07 pm

At least we don’t have to worry about Fisher burning us off the dribble. Maybe this sin’t such a bad matchup for the Hawks

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:08 pm

man man

February 22nd, 2011
6:09 pm

man get a point guard.dang hawks ownership is soooooooooooooo cheap.In this league you have to pay the win.Damn the lakers don’t giva flip bout some luxuary tax.I wish the hawks owners was half of what the lakers owners are

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:09 pm

LD once again wussying out of any lineup changes. The guy will never make a change in the starting lineup besides the Twin move.

Wankster.

smdh

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:13 pm

Pretty sure we will compete in the first 1.5 quarters tonight then be down by 30 in the middle of the 3rd.

Then Teague will come in and cut the final score to around 16

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:14 pm

Getting Devin Harris is POINTLESS if Bibby still gets ROTATIONAL MINUTES. SHIP BIBBY OUTTA HEA!

lewis

February 22nd, 2011
6:18 pm

Jeje,

Not if we get rid of Jamal. Devin and Bibby are better defenders than Jamal

lewis

February 22nd, 2011
6:20 pm

Also, if a deal does get done, it won’t happen until thursday, at the deadline.

ICECOLD

February 22nd, 2011
6:21 pm

The nets are going to do something big , probably for Danny granger , deron Williams , Chris Paul , or a combination of them,
U know that they are going to try to get Chris Paul or deron Williams before the knicks do.. so what ever happens, we should help them with what ever trade they need as long as we can get devin.Harris or lopez , for
Marvin , mike bibby, zaza , first round picks , or any combination of the three !!!

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:28 pm

It doesn’t matter if Bibby is a better defender than Jamal (which I don’t think is true). Jamal is 1000000x the player than Bibby, even if he makes 4M more per year.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
6:29 pm

If I’m Sund, I make one of these trades immediately after the PHX game tomorrow. Don’t feel like getting swept by them in the season series. We’ve already been swept by Dallas

ICECOLD

February 22nd, 2011
6:29 pm

LLok out … kobe is motivated, he might hit 82

battle of the superstar , kobe vs. Joe pau vs. al !!!!!

Sold out event !!!!!

This is what we should be saying , but people don’t believe in Joe Johnson … also , atl is a joke to the league. they don’t even say nothin about them in the standings!

Wake up sunds… you have Marvin , zaza , jc1 , and bibby .. and even mo evens expiring contract…

they all are trade assets right now. make a move right now while people might still want them!!! Before they are really exposed and we don’t have no trade assets !!!

hawks_4_life

February 22nd, 2011
6:32 pm

Jamal might be slightly better than Mike now, yes but he runs the team a million times better. Also if Jamal is so great how come last season was his first in the postseason, EVER.

Section 303

February 22nd, 2011
6:32 pm

The Bibby bashing needs to stop. He is not as bad as some of you are making him out to be. The guy is at a point in his career where he should not be logging so many minutes. If we can get Devin Harris in here, have him shoulder the heavy lifting, allow Bibby to play half as many minutes, Bibby will be productive. The guy can shoot, run the offense, and be a smart player. He just needs less responsibility.

My hopes are officially up….I cannot wait to hear that Devin Harris is joining the Hawks. Will be a major let down if he doesn’t.

lewis

February 22nd, 2011
6:39 pm

Jamal is a good scorer, when he’s on (this year its been very rare, 1 in 4-5 games)

He’s such a horrible defender, and the Hawks simply don’t have the talent or will to bail him/bibby out anymore.

Unfortunately, Woodson’s gimmicky switching + defensive intensity + keeping Josh around the rim + playing JJ 40+ mins a game sh!t worked better than Drew’s use of the zone/man defense / holding people accountable/pseudo motion offense (lol)

Only thing Drew has showed me is the competency to develop a working game-plan against Orlando.

That said, no longer talking about Trades because nothing is going to happen. I don’t know why I let myself get excited for a few hours. Its back to pessimism and truth for me.

O'Brien

February 22nd, 2011
6:41 pm

And more wishy washy comments from LD. First, he said he would see how the team does the last 2 games before the break, and see if he liked how they played.

After losing to the Knicks, you would think he was not happy with their performance. And with the 5 day break, it gave him plenty of time to make a change.

But what does he say today?

Drew said he will use the “big” lineup against the Lakers but hasn’t made up his mind about a permanent change to the normal lineup:

“I spent these four days looking at some of the possibilities as far as changes within the lineup. Nothing concrete yet. I will keep tinkering with it as we move forward, see how we do [tonight] and at Phoenix on the back-to-back. It won’t be anything [different], I think, on this road trip. I will just decide whether to go with big lineup or traditional lineup [each game] and see what happens.”.

I dont get it. First it was “lets see how they do the last 2 games before the break”. And now its “lets see how they do on this roadtrip”. What needs to happen for him to make a change?

If thats the case, he shouldnt have said anything then. Just make a change when you’re ready. But typical LD, he said the right things, and has shown nothing to back it up.

Freshfromatl

February 22nd, 2011
6:42 pm

Welp! Looks like Section 303 will get his feelings hurt soon lol

Freshfromatl

February 22nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Where the Hell is Hawks Fan #1?!?

Shake Something

February 22nd, 2011
6:44 pm

No Devin Harris boys..

Rod from College Park

February 22nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Section 303,

Don’t set yourself up like that. This is the Hawks. Making smart moves and trying to actually win titles is not something that they normally do. I was a season ticket holder for the past 5 years until this year. I just could not take it anymore, to see these same guys (Marvin especially) trotted out there knowing what the result would be. A move needs to be made, but depending on the Hawks to make a decent move is like waiting on Christmas. I hope they do, I might actually pay money to see them again.

superiorblogman

February 22nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Something bigs going down

Freshfromatl

February 22nd, 2011
6:46 pm

MC,

Have you heard anything about a 3-team deal featuring the Hawks, Nets, and Pistons?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Hawks Buzz and SilentButSmart, Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: Atlanta Hawks at Lakers: Point presence desperately needed http://bit.ly/eUfnli [...]

lewis

February 22nd, 2011
6:48 pm

Its as my friend the casual nba fan says to me,

“the hawks are built for the regular season”

AnotherGM

February 22nd, 2011
6:48 pm

Hawks fans Im sorry but there willl be no deadline deal. The Hawks are pretenders and not contenders. Glad Im not Rick.

vava74

February 22nd, 2011
6:50 pm

WojYahooNBA: RT @SpearsNBAYahoo: Hawks considering trading guard Jeff Teague and swingman Maurice Evans to Cleveland for guards Ramon Sessions and Ma … [via Twitter]

Nathan

February 22nd, 2011
6:55 pm

you suck jeje

vava74

February 22nd, 2011
6:56 pm

Manny harris

lewis

February 22nd, 2011
6:59 pm

I live outside of CLE, they love him here

some info — Manny Harris knew his time was nearing an end, he just didn’t expect the ride to stop so suddenly and dramatically. In the span of two weeks, Harris went from starter to sporadic bench player to inactive in the Cavaliers’ stunning win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Such a dramatic fall in minutes would seem to indicate that Cavs coach Byron Scott was unhappy with the undrafted rookie, but it’s actually the opposite.

“The one thing about Manny we know for sure is he can play in the league,” Scott said. “The evaluation period is over.”

Harris set a career high with 27 points in a Jan. 9 loss at the Phoenix Suns. He followed it up with consecutive 20-point efforts in losses to the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat last month.

Harris’ minutes slowly declined in February as Anthony Parker, Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson returned from injuries. Harris has played fewer than 14 minutes in the Cavs’ past five games.

“I knew it was going to happen, but I was a little bit surprised with how quickly it happened,” Harris said. “It was just a matter of time. It’s not like the guys ahead of me were playing bad, they just got injured and they came back.”

Harris is averaging 6.7 points and 2.9 rebounds, but more important, he has shown a willingness to play defense – something that was in short supply among Cavs players during the first half of the season.

Scott loved that Harris was fearless and willing to throw himself into any situation. He made a strong enough impression on LeBron James after the Heat’s win over the Cavs on Jan. 31 that James pulled Harris aside and praised him, telling him to keep going and not to let all the losing get him down.

Harris was listening. He’s happy with how he has played thus far, and now will spend the second half of the season working on weight training.

Harris, who was expected to travel to Los Angeles this weekend with teammate Samardo Samuels just to be part of the All-Star festivities, wants to add at least 10 pounds of muscle to his frame. He is listed at 6-foot-5 and says he weighs 185, but he could easily add another 15 pounds of muscle – which would help him when fighting through screens along the perimeter.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/19/2666714/manny-harris-resigned-to-less.html#ixzz1EjefpFgp

Jae Evolution

February 22nd, 2011
7:00 pm

Manny Harris? Really?

The only Harris we should be looking at is Devin Harris!

What would be the point of getting that kid, he’d be deeper down on the bench than Jordan Crawford, which is kind of hard to do.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:02 pm

TRADE BIBBY NOT TEAGUE

YES BIBBY IS THAT BAD. I WATCH THE GUY PLAY EVERY SINGLE GAME. HE IS GARBAGE. LOOK AT HIS GAME LOGS PEOPLE

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:03 pm

MO EVANS SUCKS BUT WE WANT TO TRADE HIM FOR A ROOKIE 6″5 PLAYER?

Tremaine

February 22nd, 2011
7:04 pm

“GIVE TEAGUE A CHANCE!”

vava74

February 22nd, 2011
7:06 pm

Manny may be just trade filler.

Sessions would be the main feature of the trade.

I hope that Jamal is shipped out too.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:07 pm

ASG AND SUND ARE SCREWING THIS FRANCHISE OVER WITH THEIR HUBRIS AND SEVERE INFATUATION WITH BIBBY. THE GUY CANNOT PLAY ANYMORE. GET HIM OUTTA HERE

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:08 pm

DON’T GET MANNY HARRIS. GET ANTHONY PARKER OR GRAHAM – VETS WHO AREN’T 6″5 OR UNDERSIZED (MO EVANS IS NOT 6″5)

RealSquawk

February 22nd, 2011
7:09 pm

vava74.

Another GM just said no deals going to happen and I believe so should you.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:12 pm

TEAGUE AND MO FOR SESSIONS AND HARRIS

JAMAL AND MARVIN AND ZAZA FOR HARRIS AND MURPHY

GET SOME REAL PGS HERE AND A NEW CENTER

FIRE SUND

ag

February 22nd, 2011
7:14 pm

LD is so stupid. He needs to start Teague and see what we have. They will not make a deal today because they will not have enough players in uniform, so any trade will be made after the game.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:16 pm

EVERY SINGLE PLAYER, COACH, OWNER, AND HALF@$$ED FAN IN THE NBA KNOWS WE HAVE NO POINT GUARD AND THAT IS HINDERING US FROM PLAYING WELL IN THE PLAYOFFS

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:16 pm

IF TEAGUE CANNOT BEAT BIBBY FOR THE STARTING SPOT, IDK WHAT TO SAY. TEAGUE DOESN’T PLAY THAT BADLY

superiorblogman

February 22nd, 2011
7:17 pm

Sessions is garbage. He could not even start in Minny when there was no pressure. Every team he has ever played on was a loser. He is a loser and will be a waste of time and he cost too much. We are adding another Zaza. A guy that Sunds dumb arse thinks he is getting a bargain for that will prove that assumption wrong. Zaza and Sessions will be making almost $9 million next year, wanna know how much Harris makes? $9 million. That’s how you F up your cap “DumbSundofaGM”.

Publix

February 22nd, 2011
7:18 pm

Take Jamal and send him to Denver for Gallinari.

Take Smith and trade him to Dallas for Haywood, Barea and first round draft pick.

Take Bibby and trade him for Sessions.

Take Teague and Williams and trade them to Portland for Camby and second round draft pick.

PG- Sessions/Barea
SG- Johnson/JC2
SF- Gallinari/Evans
PF- Horford/Powell/Zaza
C – Haywood/Camby/Collins

We still have a few picks left.

JeJe

February 22nd, 2011
7:19 pm

LOL @ THE BIBBY SUPPORTERS. THE GUY STUBBORNLY REFUSES TO LOSE WEIGHT OVER THE SUMMER. THAT’S WHY HIS FAT @$$ IS GARBAGE THESE DAYS. SLOWEST PLAYER IN THE NBA AND CANNOT GUARD THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

ag

February 22nd, 2011
7:22 pm

I am with you O’Brien. After the loss to Philly “We are going to make changes”… then when Al get back, “we might make changes”, now we will see after this road trip! I just don’t get it. I don’t care if Teague makes TO’s. Look at the guy’s stats if he plays 20 minutes!!!! He can’t take Bibby’s job on the bench! Start him the way he plays Twin, to start the 1st and 3rd. Any mistakes he makes will be hidden by the starters. He will speed the offense up. How many times do we see Al bring the ball up the court (HE DOES IT MORE THAN JOSH, BUT HE DOESN’T TURN IT OVER).

RA

February 22nd, 2011
7:23 pm

Prediction: The Hawks brass will sit idly by with their thumbs tucked neatly into their backsides while the rest of the East gets stronger. Playoff prediction, one and done.

slimjr

February 22nd, 2011
7:31 pm

Lakers will destroy the Hawks tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RealSquawk

February 22nd, 2011
7:34 pm

I thought Sund already said that he was going to see what we have? I would be really suprised if anything major happened. And the fact that Sessions is an upgrade to our pointguard situation is sad.

O'Brien

February 22nd, 2011
7:38 pm

superiorblogman,

You do realize that every team Jamal played on was also a loser, right? But that changed last year.

If we do get Sessions, I hope people dont go crazy with the ultra-high expectations. Sessions would be one step towards improvement, but more steps will have to follow.

For example, Bibby is expiring next year, so maybe he can be traded, Josh also has a high trade value..one step at a time, Hawks fans.

I would be ok with Teague and Mo for Sessions and Manny Harris.