Atlanta Hawks: Ten deep thoughts
Ten random off-day thoughts, which means my rotation is deeper than the Hawks’ . . .
- It’s dang near April and I still can’t tell you who’s in or out of L.D.’s rotation. He played seven guys last night on a back-to-back against an energetic opponent a few days after he lamented his team’s nagging injuries. Two guys who didn’t play, Teague and Damien, are healthy and energetic. They can defend, too, which the post–trade Hawks now don’t do well at all. I don’t understand why they didn’t play.
- I don’t know for certain if Teague is a bona fide NBA rotation player. But I think he’s shown enough to get a chance to prove it on this team. And I know for certain he’s one of only two point guards on this roster and the other guy is more of a combo guard. I don’t understand why Teague doesn’t have a regular role. Sorry, there’s nothing else to explain it but coach’s decision.
- I watched Smoove score on a nice right-handed spin move against the 76ers. It was so impressive. Josh is a smart player (yes, he is) when focused and engaged. He could be a load to deal with on the block for most fours if he put his mind to it. I don’t understand why he doesn’t. Or hasn’t.
- The Sixers were the latest opponent to send aggressive double teams at J.J. Opponents did the same even during his awful start to the season. And yet they sometimes seem almost OK with Al stepping out for mid range Js (at least when he’s not being ignored by his teammates). I don’t understand any of this.
- Accountability can be a tricky thing for L.D. His options are limited. His five-time All-Star and Sixth Man Ward winner are inefficient and unproductive. Drew can direct some of their shots to Al (or at least try to and good luck with that) but then who else? If Joe and Jamal continue to struggle, does he give their minutes to Damien and Teague? If Josh keeps bad shooting jumpers, does L.D. yank him and play Al alongside Zaza or Twin?
- Those last two moves would mean increasing the roles of inferior players. Then again, if Drew were to take such bold action it might finally send that elusive message of accountability to the team. And then if the team struggles because L.D. was forced to take such drastic steps, he could credibly go to Rick Sund and Co. and say: “I tried everything I could with this roster. It’s broken. Fix it.”
- All of that assumes that Sund and Co. would have L.D.’s back even if he did take such drastic action. They backed L.D. when they sent out Bibby for Hinrich. They didn’t when they gave him a two-year contract that pays relatively little. Woody had a similar problem when he had to coach this bunch in the final year of his deal. They knew he’d probably be gone before they would if things went badly and that’s how it went down.
- The Hawks’ average scoring margin for the first quarter is -0.3. It’s +0.3 for the second quarter, +1.0 for the third quarter and -1.4 for the fourth quarter. Only the third-quarter margin surprised me.
- I want to say the Nets offer the Hawks a respite from a tough schedule. But, hell, it might actually be a good chance for the Nets to win the season series.
- Will we ever get to actually see Pape Sy? At this point I want him to get in and suddenly go off for 20 just so my blog people will have some kind of hope.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat