Archive for May, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Rick Sund Q & A

Finally caught up with Rick Sund today. Here’s the transcript of the interview. . . .

Q. I haven’t talked to you since the end of the regular season. You did better in the playoffs but you did worst during the regular season . . .

I pretty much predicted that. I did a radio show and they brought that up that you pretty much said the team wouldn’t be as good during the regular season but better in the playoffs and that’s pretty much what we were.

Q. But do you look at regular season, where you had some blowout home losses and the offense and defense regressed and . . . .

I think other than–Oklahoma City and Chicago were the only two teams that didn’t have a lot of highs and lows during the season. Certainly LA did and Dallas did and Miami did. Your [media] colleagues had Spoelstra fired three times. So it’s been up and down and we fell right into that. We’ve been up and down. I’d like to think that helped us. I’m hoping that was one reason we were stoic during the playoffs.

Q. …

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Atlanta Hawks: About that backcourt . . ..

My story the other day included the line: “[P]laying Teague more minutes, especially in combination with Hinrich, would improve the defense.”

If the Hawks started that backcourt next season, it would finally signal they are serious about defense. Teague and Hinrich had developed a good defensive chemistry, with Teague as the relentless ball hound and Hinrich as the tough guy shedding screens and challenging shots. And that alignment moves J.J. to the 3, mitigating two of his main defensive weaknesses: containing quicker opponents and chasing anyone through screens.

Using Teague and Hinrich in combination could have benefits for the offense, too, which presumably means there’s a better chance L.D. would do it. Hinrich is a shot-maker who doesn’t need screens to get good looks. Teague showed against the Bulls that he’s capable of getting into the lane and making runners and floaters or setting up cutting teammates (at least when they did cut–watching Dallas last night reminded …

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Atlanta Hawks: Status quo as CBA sorted out

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple days, blog people. I’ve been laid up sick after I made a major miscalculation and didn’t initiate my proven NyQuil Strategy at the first sign of trouble.

The Hawks had some meetings before Rick Sund headed off for Chicago but they weren’t detailed discussions about the team’s direction. The Hawks essentially are on the sidelines waiting to see what happens with the CBA. It’s hard for them to make plans that could become moot under the new rules.

ASG’s talks with a potential buyer for the team don’t seem to be affecting the basketball operations side of the organization. The key line in the story by the AJC’s Tim Tucker’s: “[A] deal is not close and that it’s far from assured one will get done.”

So it’s business as usual for the Hawks–or at least it would be if not for the uncertainty about the CBA. I wish I had more for you but everything is pretty much on hold right now.

In the meantime here are links to stories from the last …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Looking ahead

I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: The Chicago Way?

The Hawks need to get better. The Bulls needed to do the same last summer and Al said the Hawks might learn something from the way they went about it.

“That’s the perfect example,” he said. “They got that kid Asik. They got Korver, a shooter. They addressed their needs and got better. That’s a blueprint that I think if I’m the team I would look at.”

So let’s look at what the Bulls did last summer and see if the Hawks can copy the same formula:

  • Al’s theory falls apart from the start: The Bulls had just $34 million in committed salaries for 2010-11 after clearing space to get in on the 2010 free-agent bonanza. The Hawks have about $67 million in committed salaries mostly because of J.J. and Smoove’s contracts and Al’s extension.
  • The Bulls cleared more cap space by trading Hinrich and a first-round pick to the Wizards for a second-round pick. The Wizards coveted Hinrich and were willing to take on his $17 million salary. The Hawks don’t have a first-round draft pick. They also …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Wrapping up Hawks-Bulls

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Season’s over

  • The Hawks ran up against the Bulls’ defense at its best and they had no response. “That’s the best defense I’ve seen,” Jamal said.
  • The Bulls are a relentless, disciplined, and physical defensive team. “They don’t care about their man being open,” Josh said. “They help each other. They understand the ball needs to be stopped first.”
  • It’s not easy to score on the Bulls consistently over a seven-game series but the Hawks were relentless and disciplined on offense only occasionally during the series. Which, of course, also is the way it went for most of the season.
  • “I think we just got away from the things that are successful for us,” Al said. “We got some looks and they just didn’t fall and after that it was kind of a snowball effect on offense.”
  • “We made things tough on them with our defense,” D-Rose said. “We had to because they have a lot of great one-one-one players.”
  • Josh was the only aggressive and active guy early on. Al finished off a poor postseason with a …

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Bulls at Atlanta Hawks Game 6: All-NBA Al

Al was named third-team All-NBA. It’s the 24th time a Hawks player made one of the three teams. J.J. didn’t get a single vote from media after making the third team last season.

“I wasn’t really wasn’t expecting it,” Al said. “It’s really a great feeling. I’m very honored, I really am.”

Al had a great year and got plenty of pub for it, so why wouldn’t he think he had a shot?

“When you are so focused on the playoffs don’t really keep up with things like that,” he said. “And when you think about [All-NBA], it’s an elite group. I’m just really honored to be part of it. It just kind of shows the hard work I put in has been paying off.”

As we’ve seen in the playoffs, there’s more work for Al to do. Based on his history there’s little reason to doubt he will put in the hourse and, given that he’s not yet 25, there’s also reason to believe he will improve.

L.D. said Al’s development has been “truly remarkable” but both he and Al agreed he hasn’t reached his ceiling.

“A guy of his …

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Atlanta Hawks: What got into Jeff Teague?

Since back in December I believed Teague deserved to play more because of his improved production, the team’s need for his skills, Bibby’s decline and future considerations.

But I’m not going to front and act like I saw this coming.

Teague had some good moments during the season but he’s having his best moments on the biggest stage under challenging circumstances. He’s making the MVP work to get his, which might be expected given his quickness and defensive potential.

But Teague also has been Atlanta’s most consistent offensive player, sometimes showing more poise and better sitational decision-making that his veteran teammates. I mean, he’s got five turnovers in 206 minutes, for crying out loud.

“You saw he has that it in him, you just wondered when that was going to stick around longer,” L.D. said. “What he’s shown in playoffs is that he has arrived. He’s not doing it just against anybody; he’s doing it against maybe the top point guard in this league. I really take my hat …

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Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 95, Hawks 83

Chicago–The energy and effort were there for the Hawks but their execution and poise (and maybe their legs) were lacking at the end.

  • The Hawks gradually clawed back from their early 15-point deficit. They survived foul trouble and poor shooting early. They held their own on the boards and limited the Bulls to 63 points over the final three quarters.
  • But the Hawks couldn’t finish. Now they have to win Thursday at Philips or the season’s over.
  • “We are not content with a loss but we can hang our hats on that we competed,” Josh said. “In Game 5 in Orlando you know what the outcome was with that.”
  • The Hawks scored 69 points through three quarters with 36 of those in the paint. They shot 53 percent, had 11 points on the break and just six turnovers. They worked for good shots Chicago’s relentless D.
  • In the fourth quarter the Hawks scored 15 points with six in the paint. They shot 31 percent, had two points on the break and four turnovers. They settled for shots against …

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