Atlanta Hawks at Warriors: The new guys, plus Rick Sund

San Francisco–Caught up with the Hawks here this morning (tip: never, ever drive in this city) before heading to Oaktown. Here are some quick notes, followed by a Rick Sund Q and A,. . .

  • L.D. said Teague will start again tonight along with J.J., Marvin, Josh and Al. Hinrich will play, too. Hinrich and Armstrong met the team here last night. Drew said they put some tape down in the ballroom at the hotel and gave the players a crash course on the team’s concepts.
  • Drew expects Hinrich and Teague to push the Hawks to play faster: “We definitely have got to get the ball in to both guys’ hands. I thought Jeff did a good job in Phoenix of keeping the pressure on the defense and pushing it. Kirk has the same ability. He’s not as fast as Jeff but he still pushes the ball at a pace that forces other guys to keep up.”
  • Based on his initial impressions of Atlanta’s offense, Hinrich likes what he sees: “We have good players. Just put them in the right positions and play together, and we will be all right. I think the stuff we are going to do fits me and fits our team. The ball moves a lot. We’ve got good players who command double teams. It’s a team system and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
  • Drew on Armstrong: “I want a physicality when he’s on the floor. I want defensive rebounding. I want him to be athletic when he’s on the floor.”
  • Armstrong: “I just have to be aggressive. I can definitely help the team out with that. Play solid defense, talk, get up and be aggressive and hit the boards. Try to play my game and don’t do anything out of character.”
  • Both players said they are happy to leave a loser and join a playoff squad.

Now on to the interview with Sund:

Q. Before the deadline, you said you would only make trades that improve the team and wouldn’t make any lateral moves. In your view, how did this trade make the team better?

“Larry wanted to upgrade the point guard position, particularly defensively, and still try to be able to maintain the shooting that we had with Bibby’s presence out there. We looked at this deal and thought it made some sense. It was tough to let Jordan go in particular. I don’t mind so much the draft pick but we really like Jordan. He’s got a huge upside. It was difficult to get him minutes this year. He’s going to have a fine career. But at the end of the day, like with most teams in transition, you have got to give up a draft pick and/or young player to whet their appetite. So that’s what we did.”

Q. By trading Jordan and your first-round pick in 2011, does it signal a win-now approach as opposed to developing players for the future?

“We also have a pretty young team. We’ve got three starters that started opening night at 24. You still have Jeff in a backup capacity, where he should be a senior in college. He’s young. Then you’ve got a couple of players that are in their prime. Joe is in his prime, and so is Jamal and certainly Hinrich is in his prime. You look at the two teams in the championship last year in final game, of the 10 starters nine where in their 30s.”

Q. How much did uncertainty of labor situation affect your approach to making deals?

“Not a lot because nobody knows what the rules are going to be. To be very honest with you I was really surprised there were as many trades as there were. Somebody mentioned that since the season started there have been 24 trades of various sorts that you would consider semi-significant. You have the big trades like Carmelo; Deron was a huge trade. And there there were other semi-significant trades. That seems like a lot compared to other years. And I thought there wasn’t going to be a lot of trades.”

Q. Now that the smoke has cleared, how do you think your team stacks up in the East?

“We have to see it out. All year we have been basically playing for the fifth, fourth and third hole. And of those three teams, everybody goes through their highs and lows. We have had some highs–January in particular was a good month–and now we are in a slump. Miami had some slumps and then they went on a huge streak, and then they went back to a slump. Chicago seems to be like us last year. They are great at home and they are .500 on the road and so they are sort of where we were at this point last year going forward. You’ve got Boston who have an NBA championship and has three players who are headed to the Hall of Fame. Miami has got two players that have been battling for MVP of the league and three players who have made the All-Pro. Orlando has an MVP candidate this year in Dwight. And you have Chicago who has an MVP this year in Derrick Rose. And then you have Atlanta that has two players that made the All-Star team. I thought it was ironic in LA they interviewed Kobe and he said, ‘Well, I feel like I am playing Boston, Miami and Atlanta [because nine East All-Stars are from those teams]. Also the Knicks are going to be no picnic if you have to play them and Philly can surprise you. It’s up to the players now, I think, on all of the teams. March and April are the home stretch and it’s up to the players and how they are going to respond to it and how they are going to respond in the playoffs. It’s a challenge for us, certainly. It’s as challenge and an opportunity at the same time.”

Deep thoughts

At last check, the (completely unscientific) blog poll asking whether this trade was good or bad for the Hawks was running about 50-50. I haven’t looked at all of your 1,600 or so comments from the last couple of days (thanks much for reading, blog people) but I think I can take a decent stab at the reasoning of the differing perspectives.

I’m guessing most in the “good” camp like the trade because they think the team is better now. Hinrich is a better player than Bibby. He’s a better defender, comparable shooter and should be able to diversify the offense by running pick-and-rolls. JC2 could become a good player but he’s not part of the plans now so off he goes.

I’m guessing most of those in the “bad” camp don’t like the trade because, even if it makes the team better now, it doesn’t improve the Hawks enough to give them a good chance at beating the elite teams in the playoffs. So why make a deal like this while sending away a young player and a pick, sacrificing the future while doubling down on this “core” group that may not take the Hawks where they want to go?

I think the views in both camps are reasonable. I also know that we can’t see the future. The Hawks should be better with Hinrich instead of Bibby, both from tangible and intangible standpoints. I understand if you don’t believe they will be good enough, but let’s see what happens.

Sund said declined to comment on trade scenarios that didn’t happen, including whether he tried to get in on any of the major deals by dangling any players from Atlanta’s “core” group. From what I’m hearing the Hawks did try to get in on some of those discussions but didn’t get very far.

If you are upset the Hawks couldn’t make a splashier deal then realize it takes assets like expiring contracts, productive players with reasonable contracts, young players with potential and draft picks. The Hawks don’t have much of any of those because of decisions made in the past, so those should be the focus of your ire if you don’t like this trade. I can’t speak accurately on what deals they may or may not have offered (or turned down) for their “core” players so it’s hard to evaluate those hypothetical scenarios.

In any event, the Hawks have 25 games against a tough schedule to figure out what they are about. From my perspective, at least, it should be interesting.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

796 comments Add your comment

MsDee

February 25th, 2011
4:55 pm

Casey Fouls Out

February 25th, 2011
4:55 pm

Shake up was needed but I hate we lost the draft pick. Playoffs look rather grim, AGAIN!

Sleepy

February 25th, 2011
4:58 pm

I like the trade but its time to start expecting something from our investment in Al,Josh and Joe .

Al and Josh are no longer nba puppies . Al is the youngest of the bunch and he has over 280 games and 29 playoff games . Its time for the excuse making to stop and for these guys to setup or be moved.

Im hoping that the addition of Hinrich means that the front office is ready to start evaluating these guys on there commitment to winning titles and there ability to help us move toward that goal.

I like our chances in the east if we can avoid the Bulls until the conference finals as they seem to me to have the hungriest team in the east .

Right now we are not even in position to have homecourt in the first rd so we need to get serious and start stringing together some wins .

I like our matchup with Mia but we will need homecourt to beat the Magic in the first rd

Our ideal path imo is

first rd Orl

second rd Mia

conference finals Bulls or Bos

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:00 pm

Cant wait. Do your thang Teague. Shut up the haters.

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:01 pm

Casey, they probably woulda sold the pick anyway. Thats why Sund didnt care about losing it.

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:02 pm

1st what Ms Dee?

GT Alum

February 25th, 2011
5:02 pm

Good to hear from you again, MC. We were wondering where you were at the deadline yesterday.

Any truth to the rumor that the Hawks were trying to trade Marvin and couldn’t find any takers? I’m curious what you know, because that’s one that could’ve very easily been made up.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:03 pm

I’m in the good trade camp for now, but bad for later. I hate to give up JC2. He’s going to be good. But we were a sinking ship. Losing 5 of 6. Had to get Bibby off the court.

But I like Mike Bibby, but his days as a starter were done. He should have been playing no more than 5-7 minute stretches in relief. And I believe Jamal may benefit also. They all will, because Hinrich is a PG who had been playing SG. He’ll help as a facilitator on O and a terror on D. The guy is good on D.

And he will give Teague more of an edge practicing against him everyday.

JeJe

February 25th, 2011
5:03 pm

“You look at the two teams in the championship last year in final game, of the 10 starters nine where in their 30s.”

LOL so basically Sund is saying we have no shot at competing. Because earlier in the paragraph he said we are a very young team.

Also, is it just me or does he spend his whole day memorizing stats rather than actually assessing what’s wrong with the team? I have never seen a Rick Stunk interview where he hasn’t dropped some obscure stat

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:04 pm

Not speaking for MC, but I dont know if it’s true that the Hawks were trying to trade Marvin, but it’s true that they wouldnt find any takers.

JeJe

February 25th, 2011
5:05 pm

If LD was so pleased with Teague the other night, why were his minuets so limited?

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:05 pm

Hinrich knows DRose, so that helps. Hinrich plays DWade as well as anybody, so that helps.

His role model is Paul Pressey, so that helps. He’s compared to Jeff Hornacek, so that helps.

His dad was a Coach, so that helps. He’s been to the final 4 and the NBA playoffs a ton, so that helps.

Man, having Hinrich just helps

lewis

February 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

We’re rooting for ya Teague.

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

Damn JJ, give the man a break for crying out loud. We needed a point who could play defense, and he got us one. And its not like he’s working with the best owners in the world. Stop hatin at least foer today anyway. Is that too much to ask?

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

Hinrich as a PG will put the players in Position, so that helps. With Jamal probably leaving, his presence will help bigtime.

I would have loved to have Felton. Harris 2nd. Hinrich was my 3rd choice, barely ahead of Sessions, just because of his D. But I would have loved to pick up Sessions..

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

Teague lights up Curry tonight. (wishful thinking)

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

You do realize we now have 2 members of the All League Defensive Team on the squad now, Josh and Kirk? This move is going to help us more than we know.

And Teague has surely paid his dues. Nobody has given him anything. I hope he goes out and becomes DRose Jr.

terrell

February 25th, 2011
5:11 pm

Dont understand the love for Felton. Dantoni boost a lot of players numbers. That guy was avg at best in Charlotte.

lewis

February 25th, 2011
5:11 pm

JeJe,

LD isn’t a great coach. Pretty simple. He is good at certain things but has failed to achieve the type of “balance” Woodson did when we were beating good teams and winning at home. He’s way too focused on the offense and Jamal was hot. LD is a sucker for that once in every 5 games Jamal gets really hot.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:15 pm

Man I’m pumped. We finally have 2 PG’s that can actually play a little in a long time. Bibby could play here for awhile, but he was just 1. I think we have 2 halfway decent PG’s now.

And I do think we can win a 7 game series with Orlando now. I think Kirk tips the edge to us just a little bit.

And playing such a brutal schedule the last 25 should toughen us up for the playoffs.

P.S. In an article on the toughest guys from each team, it said Al was one of the strongest guys in the NBA. Interesting

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:17 pm

My last post should have “for the first time” after little on the first line. Sorry.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:18 pm

I’m just hoping LD lets Teague back in the rotation now that Bibby is gone. I don’t think I’ll ever understand that situation.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:20 pm

“Dont understand the love for Felton. Dantoni boost a lot of players numbers. That guy was avg at best in Charlotte.”

The flip side is that Larry Brown holds down his point guards’ numbers a lot. Felton’s actual value probably lies somewhere in between what he did in Charlotte and what he did in NYC.

The Truth

February 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

Sund said: “March and April are the home stretch and it’s up to the players and how they are going to respond to it and how they are going to respond in the playoffs.”

Rarely do I agree with Sund, but here I somewhat do: That is partially “The Truth”

It is up to the players now as to how they will respond going into the playoff, but the coach will also play a role as well. Game planning and preparation are also very important. After the all-star break, the Hawks have not matched the intensity playing against their opponents. LD certainly talks about playing games in a playoff mode 2 losses ago but apparently that has not translated on the court. When will the players take him serious? Joe seems to be still recovering from the all-star parties in LA. Must have been one “helluva” bash if its taking this long.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

Co-sign everyone else on the “pulling for Teague” tip. Ideally I’d like to see him seize this starting job given this opportunity, Hinrich or no Hinrich. I like the trade in the short term and Hinrich is a good addition, but Teague developing into a reliable starter would completely change the fortunes of this team.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:22 pm

twitter.com/fakericksund

Harry Hawk

February 25th, 2011
5:23 pm

Sports Guy’s buddy House says Hinrich is washed up.

I prefer to think he’ll lead us to a world title

Geemack

February 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

Hinrich should start tonight.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

“If you are upset the Hawks couldn’t make a splashier deal then realize it takes assets like expiring contracts, productive players with reasonable contracts, young players with potential and draft picks. ”

The Hawks do have one gigantic expiring contract in Jamal Crawford, and I spent way more time than a mentally healthy person should on the last blog coming up with reasonable trade scenarios involving his expiring deal that would have strengthened the Hawks’ depth while reasonably compensating for the absence of Jamal’s scoring off the bench. Every single scenario I came up with involved the Hawks taking back expiring contracts. It’s not like the Hawks couldn’t have bolstered their depth while maintaining financial flexibility going forward.

MC, I know you say Sund didn’t want to discuss trades that didn’t happen, but I wish you would have asked him whether he views Jamal as part of the “core group”. If nothing else it would provide a little insight on what the Hawks’ plans are regarding him this offseason.

GT Alum

February 25th, 2011
5:26 pm

Yeah, one thing I like about this trade is hopefully this isn’t the Hawks giving up on Teague, hopefully it’s just an acknowledgement that Bibby’s no longer capable of starting and Teague isn’t yet ready to be the starter. Expecting Teague to take over this year after getting virtually no PT last year was probably a little ambitious. Hopefully, he can get good minutes backing up Hinrich for the next season +, then be ready to take over once Hinrich’s contract expires (or if we decide to trade his expiring contract at the deadline next year).

JeJe

February 25th, 2011
5:26 pm

Hinrich has had some injuries this year.

Hope he’s healthy

GT Alum

February 25th, 2011
5:32 pm

Najeh -

Co-sign on your comments about JC. Without knowing what the next CBA is going to look like, there’s no knowing what the financial situation will be next season. However, looking at the contracts we already have committed for next season, it doesn’t look like we can re-sign JC or sign anyone else of consequence without going into the luxury tax. If the Hawks aren’t willing to pay the tax and don’t make some significant trades, this team could be Hinrich, JJ, Teague, Josh, Al and a lot of filler (as much as I like Z, he’s been filler the past year +). And you’re not going to get to the conference finals without some quality depth.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:36 pm

As for Hilton Armstrong, here’s how he stacks up compared to Zaza:

TS%: Hilton 51.9%, Zaza 52.5% (Zaza gets to the line a lot more)
eFG%: Hilton 49.2%, Zaza 41.8%
Offensive rebound %: Hilton 10.6%, Zaza 11.1% (a difference that very easily might be a result of Zaza rebounding his own misses)
Defensive rebound %: Hilton 21.6%, Zaza 19.9%
Total rebound %: Hilton 15.9%, Zaza 15.6%
Block %: Hilton 3.0%, Zaza 1.4%
Turnover %: Hilton 25.2%, Zaza 18.9% (that’s a major red flag)
Usage: Hilton 10.7%, Zaza 15.5%
PER: Hilton 8.6, Zaza 10.6
Per-36 minute averages: Hilton 6.7 pts, 5.6 FGA, 10 boards (3.4 offensive), 48.4% shooting, 2 FTA, 60.9% FTs, 1.3 stl, 1.4 blk
Zaza 10 pts, 7.1 FGA, 9.4 boards (3.4 offensive), 41.8% shooting, 5.6 FTA, 73.3% FTs, 0.8 stl, 0.6 blk

Long story short, Hilton is probably just as bad offensively as Zaza, but he’s as good of a rebounder and a better shot blocker and is probably less likely to take shots outside of his comfort zone. I hope he gets a legitimate shot to take Zaza’s spot in the rotation. And who knows how well he plays position defense, but if he can approach Collins’ effectiveness there, it would give the Hawks a better option against the Dwight Howards of the league since Hilton blocks shots and rebounds at a higher rate than Collins.

mykhalc

February 25th, 2011
5:38 pm

@MC…i lived in ATL for 23 years, hated drivin’ in that place…PERIOD!!! i live in san fran now and have for the past 8 yrs and drivin’ here is a piece of cake…PERIOD…well as long as one can grab the one way street concept… ;-) and it’s a much better one for traffic flow!!! and the Hawks still suck!!!

lewis

February 25th, 2011
5:39 pm

Hard to be healthy healthy. I’ll play full-court 4 days a week, its either my foot, knees, calves, thighs, hands, or arms. Usually a combination of everything. He’s averaging 30 MPG, we shouldn’t need more then that if Teague starts to get PT.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:45 pm

“However, looking at the contracts we already have committed for next season, it doesn’t look like we can re-sign JC or sign anyone else of consequence without going into the luxury tax.”

I’m hoping they don’t have a luxury tax in the new CBA. If David Stern gets the hard cap he supposedly wants, they probably won’t. I personally think the luxury tax does more to increase parity than it does to decrease it. Maybe the owners will come to the same conclusion.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:47 pm

Najeh – Co-sign bigtime about Larry Brown and PG’s, and Felton.

The one thing Armstrong does not have in guarding Dwight, is about 20 lbs. Collins is a big body on Dwight. And so is ZaZa. Good to hear Sund was at least trying to trade ZaZa

I would rather have Solo than Armstrong. But I think the culture of this team just shifted from having alot of fun, to having fun and winning. Captain Kirk will team with Al and JJ, and focus on winning.

And Al may be able to help Armstrong.

And I think Josh will respect Kirk. They may tangle a little like Woody and Josh, but at the end of the day, one of the smartest PG’s in the League is not going to give the ball to Josh in certain spots.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:49 pm

Lewis – And the guy is like JJ. He plays through alot of injuries.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:49 pm

Compared to the rest of the Hawks, among players who play regular minutes, only Al has a higher rebound rate than Hilton, only Smoove has a higher block rate than Hilton, only Collins has a lower usage rate than Hilton, Hilton clocks in ahead of Jamal/Joe/Teague in eFG%, but Hilton does have a higher turnover rate than anyone on the Hawks.

newcomr

February 25th, 2011
5:50 pm

first time blogger and i find a lot of the comments quite interesting. i think the hawks have improve their defensne with these moves and have made an effort to get a Player that will give their “core players” higher percentage shots. Hopefully it will translate into Josh taking less 3 point heves and more easy shots in fast break op.

SteveW

February 25th, 2011
5:52 pm

Najeh – Stern is talking about at least a transitional luxury tax, with hard cap. It will take teams like LA, who will owe Kobe 30 mill. in a couple of years, a few years to get below the hard cap. So those teams will most likely still be in the tax, and have to decrease salaries a certain % each year.

And Arenas will be making like 21 mill in 3 years. Terrible to take on that contract with a hard cap. Not like JJ who is at least still productive.

And expect JJ to have a big game tonight. Ellis can’t stop him.

MsDee

February 25th, 2011
5:55 pm

@Jae Evolution,

Thx so much for that youtube clip on Kirk..MANN, I’m excited..dude got game!!!!!!!!

northcyde

February 25th, 2011
5:55 pm

i voted bad.

When you look at some of the deals that went down, you have to ask yourself if we couldn’t have gotten someone ( or mutiple significant people ) . . . if we’d dangled Jamal’s expiring contract at people.

Maybe Jamal + Marvin + Jordan + a 1st round pick gets us a decent shot at a Deron Williams + another Utah player . . or Miller and Camby.

Sund/ASG did a minimum type deal, in my opinion. Every contending team in the East understood since the summer, that this was a NUCLEAR ARMS RACE . . except the Hawks.

Everybody else keeps adding cruise missiles and stealth bombers, while the Hawks add tanks and propellor planes that shoot 50 cal bullets.

Section 303

February 25th, 2011
5:56 pm

Najeh, on Jamal being part of the “core”, I can give you something. Michael Gearon told us, at the season ticket holder meeting, that they have every intention of re-signing Jamal. So, at least from that statement, Jamal is part of our “core”.

Michael, so nice of you to write something.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
5:57 pm

One thing I’d like to know about Hinrich is how good he is at posting up smaller guards. You would think a 6′3″ point guard would use his size to his advantage in that way. If Kirk has a post game, tonight against Stephen Curry would be a good time to use it.

Section 303

February 25th, 2011
5:58 pm

I’m with you guys on wanting Teague to do well. But, I don’t think he will.

Expecting the Hawks to take another federal prison a$$ pounding tonight. Sund calls it a “slump”. He hasn’t seen anything, yet. This team is going to get their heads kicked in for the next 4-5 weeks.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
6:01 pm

“Sund/ASG did a minimum type deal, in my opinion. Every contending team in the East understood since the summer, that this was a NUCLEAR ARMS RACE . . except the Hawks.”

I voted good from an absolute perspective; the trade makes the Hawks better now and didn’t give up any assets that I thought would help the Hawks in the near future. I have my doubts as to whether Jordan would have ever found a consistent role on this team, particularly if Jamal is re-signed (as Gearon apparently wants). And as we all know, Sund is horrible at drafting. But there’s no doubt that Hinrich pales in comparison to players like Deron Williams (who I don’t think the Hawks would have been able to acquire unless they traded Horford) or Devin Harris (who I think the Hawks could have very possibly acquired using Jamal’s contract if they threw in multiple draft picks). He’s a good fit for this team, but he’s not the game changer at the point guard position the Hawks need to bump their ceiling up by a playoff round or two.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 25th, 2011
6:04 pm

What I meant to say was I think the luxury tax does more to decrease parity, since small market teams are the ones that refuse to exceed the tax while big market teams have no problem going over the tax level.

Rufus1

February 25th, 2011
6:04 pm

Re-sign Jamal….

Only if LD isn’t the coach. He doesn’t understand that jamal is average at best. Being a good scorer and a horrible defender is an average player. If he isn’t scoring LD still keeps him in the game…He has no clue what to do with Jamal.

I hope it is Kirk and Marvin closing out games now.

GT Alum

February 25th, 2011
6:06 pm

Section 303 -

That’s interesting to hear, since they didn’t seem to have any interest in doing it this past offseason. Maybe they think he overvalued himself then, and think what they’d offer him is similar to what he’d get on the market. Or maybe they’re just hoping it will be more favorable to re-sign him under the new CBA.