Atlanta Hawks: Ten deep thoughts

Ten random off-day thoughts, which means my rotation is deeper than the Hawks’ . . .

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

349 comments Add your comment

Ryan

March 24th, 2011
1:44 pm

Thanks for feeling our pain mc

K.W.

March 24th, 2011
1:50 pm

Matt

March 24th, 2011
1:50 pm

If Josh is a “smart” player, why does he spend all his time on offense standing in one place outside the three point line? I have to believe that is where our opponents want him.

Neki Ecko

March 24th, 2011
1:52 pm

MC, All of those thoughts tell us one thing, that something has to be done this off-season, it has give us Hawks fans hope. Break up the Core, get a new head coach, open up the wallet or anything. ASG now know that they have to do something. Better yet, they should just sell the team, right now.

Carrlos lyles

March 24th, 2011
1:53 pm

They just need to play better help side and help each other out on defense, alot of times players get so focused in on their individual player that they forget to help each other out. They can score defense wins championships.

rave1914

March 24th, 2011
1:53 pm

i read that zaza and the drew exchange words after he was pulled for poor shot selection. why doesnt josh get pulled for his or does drew just close his eyes everytime josh gets the ball outside the 3-point line?

Jonesy

March 24th, 2011
1:53 pm

MC for Head Coach 2012

cp

March 24th, 2011
1:53 pm

Great write up MC. It has been absolutely frustrating watching this team play lately. Defense doesn’t seem to matter to LD as he keeps thinking its not a problem.

slimjr

March 24th, 2011
1:55 pm

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Drew.
Larry you’ve lost more than words Sir..

You need to get a check up from the neck up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DMike

March 24th, 2011
1:55 pm

Jeff teague should be playin every game with 15 min or more.. LDrew is hurting teague n the team by not playin this guy… smh hawks need a real coach with some good experince..n another good role player with experince….

no id

March 24th, 2011
1:57 pm

I don’t comment anymore on here but that had to be the realest assement I’ve heard from u.

Bonifide Big Man

March 24th, 2011
1:57 pm

Jesse

March 24th, 2011
1:57 pm

If the players haven given up, why shouldn’t we?

Jonesy

March 24th, 2011
1:59 pm

MC tells it like it is

GStateBen

March 24th, 2011
2:02 pm

Thanks for the thoughts MC!

I’m a sucker. I’m one of those guys who’ll watch the team regardless. The tough thing is that Drew gets outcoached over and over. You cannot play 7 guys at the end of the regular season. He is botching the Teague situation and you have healty guys who can play 10-12 minutes to spell Joe and Heinrich.

We are nearly locked into the 5th spot because the Knicks are scuffling. LD has to extend the bench a little.

dz

March 24th, 2011
2:04 pm

I like the quick Jab in the first line about depth. Spot on sir.

steve brown

March 24th, 2011
2:05 pm

Is it true that an owner (Gearon?) went off on the team in the locker room? If so what’s the story?

slimjr

March 24th, 2011
2:07 pm

Bet ya Sund and Larry return next season?? 5 bucks??

calihawks

March 24th, 2011
2:15 pm

So what as fans are we supposed to do ….???? Do we have to watch a half hearted effort everytime this team takes to the floor . I think not .. Now i understand why the hawks home is over taking by the away teams fans who would want to cheer for this crap! And why cant Smoove do what he did last night game all the time … Doesnt make sense no focus kid…….LD i like u but u dont belong as the hawks coach ur line every night speaks of that please decide on a line up with more teauge and wilkins involved so we can get more effort from players who care…

Trojan

March 24th, 2011
2:16 pm

Thanks MC. The hawks organization is pathetic.

Big Daddy

March 24th, 2011
2:17 pm

MC, many of us who follow you and your observations have echoed those same sentiments. Josh had an awesome game last night and against a quality opponent. I don’t understand why he doesn’t like playing down there. Once, I thought he was trying to show that he could play the 3 spot, because sooner or later a center is going to come in and Al will move to the 4 spot. And, he could terrorize most 3’s with his post up moves, but he would still need a jump shot. Therefore he keep launching them.

I have said before that I am not sure how much autonomy LD has. He can spout off to the media that he is going to do this or that. However, I have to think he regularly meets with Sund, who he reports to and does Sund tell him, I would rather you play these guys. I don’t see how Josh could regularly stand out at the 3 pt line without his coache’s permission.

I have to believe management is going to either do a sign and trade or let Jamal walk at the end of the season. Unfortunately for him, his play has all but guaranteed there will not be a big payday for him somewhere else. You pointed out a lot of issues and out of all of them the lack of playing time for Teague is the most puzzling. With at least two 20 pt games this season, I still feel if Kirk goes down with an injury who is going to replace him. If it is Jeff, why not give him playing time now, so he is accustomed to it? Go Hawks!!!!

northcyde

March 24th, 2011
2:18 pm

4) 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.

********************

Because to kill the Hawks, you do everything in your power to limit what JJ does.

Remember MC, despite JJ not shooting well ( mainly from 3 point range, but OK in other areas on the court ), JJ is also our top playmaker. And he’s really the only starter who can create his own shot, if push came to shove.

Your point about Smith in the post is valid. But he doesn’t set up down there enough to be a viable threat down there. And his shooting percentage from that 3- 9 feet ( 38% ) and 10 – 15 feet ( 28% ) areas are at or below the league average ( 39% in both areas ). That’s probably why he doesn’t like setting up down there, even though he should.

If a team can limit the overall impact JJ has on the game, it forces others to be the facilitators and create their own shots. Teams will give Horford that jumper, because in the Hawks offense, it’s not like we’re going to look to automatically get Horford the ball to score, if JJ is being doubled.

If JJ passes it to Marvin, and he’s open, the shot is going up. The same goes for Josh, if he receives a pass and is wide open.

Like what was said in last night’s blog. The ASG paid JJ like he was a megastar, yet, in this offense, his role has actually been reduced from a scoring standpoint. In Drew’s offense, it was a necessity that JJ knock down the open 3. Because he hasn’t, Drew hasn’t adjusted the offense to get JJ going in other ways, namely by posting him up a lot more and telling him just to score the basketball.

Drew talked about getting Jamal back on track. Nah . . the guy we need to get back on track is JJ. We’re not even going to be competitive in the playoffs, if he’s taking 13 or 14 shots a game, and isn’t producing much point wise. We have no shot if we can’t get him playing back to at least borderline All-Star levels.

Like I said the other day, JJ is most effective when he’s being a scorer AND a playmaker. It’s the created points by him that make this team dangerous at times.

Kevin

March 24th, 2011
2:22 pm

The hawks are turning into a horrible team. We should fire drew and shop Josh Marvin and a first round pick for Dwight Howard

northcyde

March 24th, 2011
2:23 pm

calihawks

March 24th, 2011
2:15 pm

So what as fans are we supposed to do ….???? Do we have to watch a half hearted effort everytime this team takes to the floor . I think not .. Now i understand why the hawks home is over taking by the away teams fans who would want to cheer for this crap! And why cant Smoove do what he did last night game all the time … Doesnt make sense no focus kid…….LD i like u but u dont belong as the hawks coach ur line every night speaks of that please decide on a line up with more teauge and wilkins involved so we can get more effort from players who care…

*****************************

And I’ll still call BS on this excuse.

If the Hawks had been playing like this for the past 3 years, then you would have a point. But they JUST started playing this horrible at home. In year’s past, we would beat just about EVERYBODY at home. That’s when the fans should’ve came out more. When this team was winning 70% of their home games.

If they don’t show up now, they do have a valid reason not to. Getting beat down by 20+ points every time we play a halfway decent team, does get old. Especially if people think you should be a better team.

But don’t act like the Hawks have been playing this bad for the past 3 years, because they haven’t. This time last year, we had some brutal games vs the top level teams at home, and we WON THEM ALL!!

Starrman

March 24th, 2011
2:27 pm

Josh Smith is not a smart player if he was he would post up and fill the lane instead of being fooled by Deion Glover(Shooting Coach)and taking all those illadvise 3’s and jumpers.He could me the best Power Forward in the East with Garnett getting old.Let the truth be told Josh Smity is and DUMMY on the court

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:27 pm

@Ryan: “Thanks for feeling our pain mc”

it didn’t take me long to discover the eternal disappointment of true Hawks fans.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:28 pm

@Matt: “If Josh is a “smart” player, why does he spend all his time on offense standing in one place outside the three point line?”

because he is headstrong and prideful, too. also, that’s where L.D.’s offense of “interchangeable parts” puts him sometimes.

northcyde

March 24th, 2011
2:29 pm

Josh is a smart player at times. It’s just that he takes the easy way out at times, and he takes unnecessary risks other times.

When he settles for that open jumper, instead of catching the ball and going straight to the hole, he’s taking the easy way out.

Then again, you can say that about the entire team. They ALL take the easy way out. Even the coach and front office.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:30 pm

@ Neki Ecko: “MC, All of those thoughts tell us one thing, that something has to be done this off-season, it has give us Hawks fans hope. Break up the Core, get a new head coach, open up the wallet or anything. ASG now know that they have to do something.”

if this ends badly again, which all signs suggest it will, i don’t see how they can’t. now that the consecutive winning months (and then consecutive months at “.500 or better”) thing is gone, they really don’t have anything else they can say.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:31 pm

@Jonesy: “MC for Head Coach 2012″

hell naw. y’all would want me fired before training camp finished.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:32 pm

@cp: “Defense doesn’t seem to matter to LD as he keeps thinking its not a problem.”

like a lot of things, it sometimes seems like it does matter, like pushing for the Bibby trade. but then just as suddenly it doesn’t seem to matter, like giving minutes to “shotmakers” who aren’t making shots at the expense of better defenders.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:34 pm

@ steve brown: “Is it true that an owner (Gearon?) went off on the team in the locker room? If so what’s the story?”

didn’t hear this or see any of the owners around the locker room. Gearon Jr. wasn’t at the Bulls game but Gearon Sr. was.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:36 pm

@calihawks: “So what as fans are we supposed to do ….???? Do we have to watch a half hearted effort everytime this team takes to the floor . I think not”

i’ve never been one to criticize fans for not supporting a team. sports are just one of many entertainment options. people can spend their money how and where they please.

Ryan

March 24th, 2011
2:37 pm

Mc do us a favor. Ask ld a question from the fans. ” why do you refuse to play jeff Teague?”

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:39 pm

@ Big Daddy: “I have said before that I am not sure how much autonomy LD has. He can spout off to the media that he is going to do this or that. However, I have to think he regularly meets with Sund, who he reports to and does Sund tell him, I would rather you play these guys.”

they do meet regularly, of course, but i think Sund pretty much leaves his coaches to coach. with Woody, those kind of directives seemed to come from above Sund.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:40 pm

@northcyde: “Remember MC, despite JJ not shooting well ( mainly from 3 point range, but OK in other areas on the court ), JJ is also our top playmaker. And he’s really the only starter who can create his own shot, if push came to shove.”

true, but with the way he’s been playing i’d make him prove he can still do it and focus on making Al give up the ball.

“Drew talked about getting Jamal back on track. Nah . . the guy we need to get back on track is JJ. We’re not even going to be competitive in the playoffs, if he’s taking 13 or 14 shots a game, and isn’t producing much point wise. We have no shot if we can’t get him playing back to at least borderline All-Star levels.”

yes.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:45 pm

@Ryan: “Mc do us a favor. Ask ld a question from the fans. ” why do you refuse to play jeff Teague?””

i’ve asked this at several points during the season (well, now in those words, but still). wish i could tell you the answers have always been logical and/or consistent.

Astro Joe

March 24th, 2011
2:45 pm

MC, good stuff. Beyond the typical nagging injuries, tired legs and mental fatigue that players encounter this time of year, do you sense that there are any locker-room issues impacting the team? The way they have fallen from a very successful January is comparable to the sudden crash they experienced during the playoffs last year. Things were fine early in the Bucks series and then the car went off the road (and eventually blew-the-F-up against Orlando). Are the players simply frustrated with their collective play or is their some individual beef that may be affecting team performance? Said differently, are the mysrterious “chemistry” issues that surfaced during the post-season back?

JAMES

March 24th, 2011
2:47 pm

Teaque can not play more, because it will make both the coach and gm look like fools. Because they did trade a player drafted in the first round and a first round pick for a pg. Imagine how they would look if Teaque could actually “play.”

ILL-Logical

March 24th, 2011
2:51 pm

To quote the immortal Marvin Gaye; I’ve been trying to hold on these feelings for so long.
.
The answer to the issue that most so energetically debate here(and in other venue as well) -what’s wrong withe Hawks- is the owners. Ray Charles,Ronny Milsap and Jose Feleciano can observe what is going on here.Someone has to go to make a clean start of things and the answer to that question is Joe.

His arrival sparked the dispute that fractured the “harmony” of a seemingly off key group of owners to the point that there is now wide spread recognition of their ineptitude. The felony was compounded by demanding that the team’s offense be built entirely around him,even after it was no longer necessary and to pay him a salary out side of his skill set and ability to generate revenue for the franchise.And now it is time for he and the franchise to part ways for the benefit of all parties.
. .
And for the media driven myth that he can’t be traded-as he should be sooner than later-New Jersy has the means ,opportunity and motive. And I bet that the Bulls would give up Deng and Gipson for a 5 time All Star to pair in the backcourt with Mr. Rose. Even Phoenix with the end of the Grant Hill era approaching might welcome home the prodigal son.

And speaking of All Stars. The growing recognition that ASA still has some growth-both literally and career wise to do- points out to the unfairness of the labels placed upon him by the owners and media. The near hysterical characterizations of his ability and role on the team has resulted in damage to his standing with his team mates and some embarrassing moments on national television. The kid has a future but to quote that Noble Laureate philosopher, A’mare Stoudemeir: he ain’t that kind of player”.

Last. It is no longer a question of if; the Spirit Group will be out of the picture but remember,if the Texas car dealer had been the owner the franchise would be in Bankruptcy.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2011
2:51 pm

@Astro Joe: “Are the players simply frustrated with their collective play or is their some individual beef that may be affecting team performance? Said differently, are the mysrterious “chemistry” issues that surfaced during the post-season back?”

i think these players do genuinely like each other. i don’t think there are any feuds or anything like that. my sense is that when things get hard for the Hawks, they wilt (the lone recent exception being Game 6 at Milwaukee). my view is that they, as northcyde says, “take the easy way out” because they know they just aren’t good enough and that frustration leads to them giving up. others disagree and say they are good enough but lack the mental resolve to reach their potential. either way, if this ends badly again, i have to think ASG will finally realize this “core” needs to be dismantled.

Boom Dizzle

March 24th, 2011
2:53 pm

@Steve Brown — I remember on 790 it was mentioned that something similar happening a few weeks back when the Knicks were in town. Allegedly Josh Smith and one of the owners (Levenson (sp)) having an “animated conversation” during one of the TV timeouts…

northcyde

March 24th, 2011
2:56 pm

LOL @ people calling Drew “Woody Lite”. You guys forget that Woody would even give Mario West spot minutes here and there, if he thought he could provide a defensive spark of energy.

Drew is no Woody.

northcyde

March 24th, 2011
2:57 pm

Did it with Solomon Jones too.

mykhalc

March 24th, 2011
3:00 pm

@MC…you bringin’ it brah…tasty again!!!

what i find funny is somehow the Hawks still think this monstrosity can be fixed/remedied it the final 10 games!!??? talkin’ about CLUELESS!!! i stick by my prediction 1-10 in their final 11. and MC i don’t think the Nets bring them ANY relief…but that’s just me!!! KA BOOM PLEASE…ASAP!!!

lewis

March 24th, 2011
3:00 pm

I think as professional basketball players, they have to wonder what LD is doing regarding Teague, who has gotten high praise from everyone on the team, specifically JJ. Horford and Josh are too soft to call out their friend and fellow nice guy Jamal for being weak, ineffective, and unable to score within the flow of Drew’s sucky offense. We got rid of Bibby and we had a chance to rid ourselves of Jamal but we failed. Hinrich is best suited off the bench. Teague’s energy cannot be matched by anyone on the roster but the starters.

Ryan

March 24th, 2011
3:02 pm

It just gets frustrating to put your beliefs in this team. Marvin isn’t as bad as he is made out to be. He is ignored. Jamal is worthless now, he should have been traded in the summer. And either Josh or Al have to go, maybe both for some players who have a post game. Watching jt0 go to the hole is amazing, because he is the only player that does it. And no-one seems to trust kirk yet. They don’t let him start the offense. Jamal is Not a Pg. Everyone but ld can see that.

El Bravo

March 24th, 2011
3:06 pm

MC, is it time to make a change even before the playoffs? Fire LD and let Bob Bender take the reigns for the remainder of the season. It just seems that LD is way over his head here. The team does not respond to him (I hate to use the word QUIT), he doesn’t seem to know what we wants to do with Teague, Zaza or Marvin, he doesn’t hold the core accountable, he doesn’t know if he wants to prioritize offense or defense… I would respect the ASG a lot more if they are willing to recognize the massive mistake they made with LD and make a drastic correction before the season goes up in flames even if the change doesn’t work out…

Astro Joe

March 24th, 2011
3:06 pm

MC, thanks. A soft-minded group of players with a head coach struggling to deliver his message (with strategic missteps sprinkled in). That doesn’t sound like a great combination for the post-season.

mykhalc

March 24th, 2011
3:07 pm

and YES, Marvin IS as bad as HE PLAYS…PERIOD!!!