Atlanta Hawks: Pick your lineup

L.D. says he hasn’t decided on a lineup. Knowing what we know about his ever-shifting rotations, I believe him.

I also believe that if Jamal starts ahead of Teague my blog people will crash the AJC.com servers registering their outrage.

My guess is Drew will go with Teague, J.J., Marvin, Smoove and Al. I figure the only reason he’s still contemplating starting Jamal because of his fondness for shotmakers, which seemed to trump defensive concerns for much of the season. But then L.D saw that the best way to beat the Magic was the Dwight Defense. Now that D-Rose is the big problem, I think L.D. again chooses D over points and sends in Teague.

Which starting lineup is best for the Hawks?

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Yesterday I was going back and forth on whether it’s in the Hawks’ best interest to focus on scoring or grinding. They have more offensive talent than the Bulls, after all. The problem is the Hawks still haven’t figured to play a style that takes advantage of all that talent while the Bulls have mastered Thibodeau’s defensive system.

So eventually I settled on grinding as Atlanta’s best hope for an upset that finally gets them to the East finals. The clincher came today when us media types kept asking Josh questions about scoring and he kept talking about D.

“Defense wins championships. Bottom line,” he said. “You can put the ball in the hole but that part is not [consistent]. It’s a game of imperfections. Sometimes there are going to be nights where you can’t throw it in the ocean.

“It’s how stingy you make your defense and how ugly you make the game. That’s what we’ve got to get. I think we’ve really got that identity and we are OK with it.”

I’m OK with it, too. That’s why I think is the best lineup for Game 1: Teague, J.J., Smoove, Al and . . . Zaza!

The Bulls dominated the Hawks on the boards in all three games and now my lineup has three rebounders. Teague, Zaza and Al are a pretty good pick-and-roll group, too. You get Zaza’s energy and toughness against Noah from the start. After watching Josh work against Turkoglu, I think he has the desire and focus to check Deng as part of another spirited team effort on D.

The bench still has Jamal. He, Damien and Marvin can sub first for Teague, Smoove and Zaza. That’s still a workable defensive alignment, with Damien, Marvin and Al covering for Jamal and Joe. When Zaza, Smoove and Teague return, Al, Joe and Damien come out.

There are weaknesses to my lineup, of course. Basically it includes just three scorers–unless you think Zaza has a chance to get to the rim and finish against Noah or Teague can shake free and convert floaters against an elite D.

Jamal and Joe will do their thing, for better and worse. My lineup probably means Boozer has to spend a lot of time guarding Al and that’s a plus for the Hawks. The hope would be that Smoove takes Deng in the post instead of hanging out at the 3-point line. Better odds on that than Jamal staying engaged on D, right?

But that’s neither here nor there. My lineup is about defense. The Hawks may struggle to score but they need to put pressure on Chicago’s mediocre offense, too.

“It really doesn’t matter about what’s going on at the offensive end,” Josh said. “I think we are doing so good defensively. Offense is going to come. We are making it stingy for the other team to score. As long as we keep that attitude and that mentality I think we will be OK.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

176 comments Add your comment

RethinkPossible

May 1st, 2011
9:43 pm

Scoop

May 1st, 2011
9:46 pm

FIrst…….. after first

niremetal

May 1st, 2011
9:46 pm

“It really doesn’t matter about what’s going on at the offensive end,” Josh said. “I think we are doing so good defensively. Offense is going to come.”

MC, did you check to make sure that was really Josh saying that, and not a robot being remote-controlled by Woody?

RethinkPossible

May 1st, 2011
9:47 pm

I am really excited for JT0, we are about to see what Teague is made of. And I think the potential pros of Teague’s game outweight the cons. The key will be his teammates (and in a way, coaches) trusting him and putting him in the right mindset. I like JT and think he is (like many hawk high draft picks) a untapped talent.

Scoop

May 1st, 2011
9:47 pm

BTW I got the Hawks in 7. This will be the tightest series in the playoffs and Josh Smith will put on a show and be MVP

Scoop

May 1st, 2011
9:48 pm

Yes I know……..the Hawks will win game 7 in chicago, along with game 1!!!!!!!!!!!

Scoop

May 1st, 2011
9:49 pm

Go Hawks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hawks_4_life

May 1st, 2011
9:49 pm

Teague, Johnson, Smith, Al, Pachulia.

hawks_4_life

May 1st, 2011
9:50 pm

End of the day, all I want from us is the “W”. Less jumpshot and more cuts, lay ups and rebounding please.

Scoop

May 1st, 2011
9:55 pm

The Bulls are going to match up Deng on Joe, which means Boozer will have to defend Al or Smoove and that is a mismatch!!!!!!
Also, that means our SF, either Marv or Josh will have a smaller guy to take advantage of. Which means when Jamal comes into the game he will have D rose defending him and it is imperative that he make him work defensively. Run him off picks and make him chase Jamal around the baseline!!!!!!

glw

May 1st, 2011
9:56 pm

If the Hawks view this as a grind it out series, then the Hawks best option is to use various defenders on Rose. Start Teague, but also throw Damien and some Pape Sy at him, too.

RethinkPossible

May 1st, 2011
10:00 pm

Rose is the ultimate leader when it comes to NBA. He puts the team above himself, he shows respect to his opponents, he never takes a night off, and lastly the guy is unstoppable when he goes to rim. JT0 – make sure you pay close attention, we expect the same.

Section 303

May 1st, 2011
10:00 pm

I would rather Coach Drew started Teague. I really to not expect anything from Teague (in fact, I think this series will overwhelm him), but it makes more sense. Crawford is our 6th man, That’s his role. And, if need be, Crawford can come in early in games to bail Teague out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited for Teague. This is a big chance. He won’t stop Rose. No one will. But, maybe, he can at least make Rose work. Maybe, he can score a few points himself. Or, he might be awful. Going to be fun finding out.

Also, I feel good about this series. I think the Hawks will put up one h#ll of a fight. They are going out like last year. They just aren’t.

Nathan

May 1st, 2011
10:01 pm

If Marvin has no production in the first 2 games go with the Teague-johnson-smith-al-zaza lineup. Get pape Sy active to.

RethinkPossible

May 1st, 2011
10:04 pm

Can we all agree this is why you give Teague more time in the regular season?

northcyde

May 1st, 2011
10:04 pm

LOL @ niremetal. That’s exactly what came to mind when I saw that quote from Josh. Woody taught them well, even if he couldn’t get them over that 2nd round hump.

Ironically though, Bulls coach Thibodeau think the same way about offense, compared to defense.

Amazing how the perceptions are different, when you have a team that can actually live up to the defensive expectations of a coach, and execute his scheme.

Sam

May 1st, 2011
10:15 pm

Crawford-Johnson-Smith-Horford-Pachulia (-1%, 0 Votes)

Not made up, just copy-paste. Negative percent. Laws of statistics, take that!

northcyde

May 1st, 2011
10:18 pm

I hope Drew is simply being coy about not naming his starter, as to keep Chicago off balance. It makes no sense NOT to start Teague at this point. Play him with the people in which he can have the most success.

Why start Crawford, and force Teague to actually have to do more with the 2nd unit, than he’s accustomed to? Let him play with JJ, Marvin, Smith, and Horford, even if it’s only for the first 6 minutes of each half.

Drew acts like Teague is Willie Beamon or somebody ( Jamie Foxx in Any Given Sunday ). Jamie didn’t play until the veteran QB got injured.

FireLD!

May 1st, 2011
10:19 pm

The fact that this is even a discussion shows how stupid ld is. In a situation like this a coach with any common sense would instantly embrace the next player in line making a statement like “No one player is bigger than the team.,” but not ld. This idiot is considering starting an inept defender who happens to be your second leading scorer in the playoffs against the mvp of the league. Where did we get this guy. And someone tell me why Kirk is so much better than jt. You may say shooter, but did you know jt has the 2ndr highest 3 point percentage on the team. Mabye you say running the team, but hinrich is not even the second leading assist guy on the team because jj and jc dominate the ball with that iso crap. Look at jt’s numbers when he actually played with no reservation. He held Andre miller to 1 pt. and 4 assist. Jt (24pts, 5steals, 3 blks, 4 dunks, 4assist, and 5 rebounds). The next game he held B jennings to 1 for 8 shooting allowing him to score 4 pts, while scoring the same and dishing out 6 assist himself in back to back wins. Two games later he gets a dnp. When we start thinking about people being capable ld is the only one in question. Teague is not only our best on ball defender but is probably one of the best point guards in that draft. If you don’t believe me go back to his soph year in the acc and look what he did to players like toney douglass and ty lawson and by the way he averaged the most pts for wake since tim duncan and shot 48% from three that year. This is a blessing in disguise and even if we don’t win the series i guarantee jt does enough to make everyone say why has this kid not been playing. FIRELD! START JT YOU IDIOT!

NagoyaHawk

May 1st, 2011
10:30 pm

I like too that JT gets a chance. All us Hawks fans will be praying he seizes it.

JeJe

May 1st, 2011
10:31 pm

Start Teague and ZaZa

And make sure Josh doesn’t take jumpshots

And make sure Joe shows up

and we’ll be fine

Freshfromatl

May 1st, 2011
10:46 pm

Teague starting is going to be a blessing in disguise for the Hawks.

Hawks in 6.

Hoops

May 1st, 2011
10:54 pm

This will be a great series. Losing Kirk makes it much tougher, but Teague will get help on Rose from JC, JJ, and DW. We should be able to hurt them inside. I see a low scoring series. Hawks in 6.

South ga boy in the atl

May 1st, 2011
10:58 pm

This shows LD’s lack of experience. All yr long he’s been adjusting the lineup like pieces on chess board where you have unlimited moves. We should stay big (whether it’s JC or ZP), and start JT since KH is unavailable. That is what’s worked. It gives us a height advantage (imagine that) and let’s guys know what their roll is. A major issue all yr has been LD’s constant tinkering with the lineup and rotations. Most players have no idea what their roll is and if they figure it out, well he will change it for them. GO BIG !!!

Mike is back

May 1st, 2011
10:58 pm

MC, I really think the Hawks will compete in this series…it’s got to be ugly…if its ugly…that means LD has his guys focus and ready to play.

Nire, very funny on Josh.lol

Najeh Davenpoop

May 1st, 2011
11:03 pm

Teague/Joe/Marvin/Smoove/Al

Memphis in the 2nd round, Osama dead… the world really is ending. Time for the Hawks to get their rings before it’s too late.

chem

May 1st, 2011
11:04 pm

Marvin has the athleticism to guard Rose. He needs to be in the starting lineup.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 1st, 2011
11:09 pm

“I also believe that if Jamal starts ahead of Teague my blog people will crash the AJC.com servers registering their outrage.”

Damn right.

Sleepy

May 1st, 2011
11:10 pm

roflmaoilikebbchicken someone trying o compare Andre Miller on 4 games in 5 nights to Derrick Rose with a few days rest ?

I agree with MC’s lineup because if you gotta start Teague you gotta start Zaza the Marvin as a starter era on this team is over DEAL WITH IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ant banks

May 1st, 2011
11:10 pm

teague GOTTA have one of those games when he goes into THAT zone. do y’all remember when d’antoni was HATIN’ nate robinson? he put nate in the game against the hawks and nate SCORCHED us for 40pts!!! teague gotta go the eff off!!!

GILBERT RENFRO, JASON GARRETT to name a few, are some guys who star shined brightly, when called upon and they became legends.

this ish is all on teague. the bloggosphere already loves and supports teague. all he needs to do is have one of those games and become endeared in all our hearts.

Worldwide Clyde

May 1st, 2011
11:11 pm

RIP Bin Laden

Now lets get gas prices back down to $1.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 1st, 2011
11:14 pm

“That’s why I think is the best lineup for Game 1: Teague, J.J., Smoove, Al and . . . Zaza!”

I like the idea of Zaza on Noah and Al on Boozer. I don’t like the idea of Smoove on Deng. It’s one thing for him to struggle defending on the perimeter against someone like Turkoglu who basically shot his team out of the series. It’s another thing entirely for him to struggle closing out on Deng, who has been efficient and solid all season. And the problem with Zaza starting at center is that as hard as he plays and as well as he crashes the boards, he provides little resistance at the rim in the form of help defense and shot blocking.

The Truth

May 1st, 2011
11:15 pm

“Hawks forward Josh Smith said he’s noticed one problem.

“Sometimes we may get into our offense kind of slow and, by the time we get to where we need to be at, it is six or seven seconds on the [shot] clock and now we are scrambling,” he said.”"

LOL, much can be read into this but one translation to Josh’s comment: JJ is pounding the ball way too long and by the time Josh receives the outlet pass, he has to rush a jump shot. Perhaps Josh is trying to rationalize his latest low FG% from the perimeter.

I hope during dress rehearsals they cleaned this up because in all likelihood, they will need near perfect executions to beat the Bulls to win the series. Since the Bulls will not beat themselves; the Hawks simply must play better to win.

Worldwide Clyde

May 1st, 2011
11:16 pm

I hope Jsmoove was watching Zach Randolph go to work earlier today. That is how he needs to play in order for the Hawks to win this series.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 1st, 2011
11:22 pm

“Amazing how the perceptions are different, when you have a team that can actually live up to the defensive expectations of a coach, and execute his scheme.”

The Bulls have done nothing in the playoffs yet. Mike Brown preached the same thing to Cleveland, and they bought in in the regular season and LeBron was able to carry their I-don’t-give-a-sh-t offense to 66 wins, but in the playoffs defenses tighten up and key in on the opponent’s best player, which is why invariably it’s the teams that have actual offensive schemes that end up winning titles.

If you’re going to use the I-don’t-give-a-sh-t Woody offense with all the emphasis on defense, if your best player is LeBron, you can make it to the conference finals and lose. When your best player is Joe, you can get swept in the second round. If your best player is Rose? We’re about to find out.

Sleepy

May 1st, 2011
11:22 pm

Najeh neither does Marvin but I know for a fact that Zaza at least likes to play in the paint and that cant be said about Al or Smoove .

Rufus1

May 1st, 2011
11:23 pm

I want ZaZa and Teague because Zaza is about being physical and hustling, also Al would be able to guard Noah who isn’t an offensive threat.

I believe when Teague is on the floor we are a better rebounding team.

Rufus1

May 1st, 2011
11:26 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

May 1st, 2011
11:22 pm

Co-sign+++++

That is why we will win in 6 games . We have more ono-on-one shot makers

Ra'mon

May 1st, 2011
11:34 pm

Najeh, I say apply the same rule on Rose as you did on D12, like the Pistons did on MJ. Every time Rose come to the lane, knock him on the floor! He may survive game 1 or 2. But by game 3 that hardwood has a way of making your body react slower. So let Zaza, Collins, and Etan take turn fouling him when he gets to the lane.

Rev in Tampa

May 1st, 2011
11:43 pm

I’m feeling a whole lot better about this series with the Bulls. After reading eveyone’s comments I am beginning to see how we match up well with Chicago.

I cannot imagine any way Drew does not start Teague. I’m excited to see how he will do with the starters and a lead dog role. I expect him to step up and surprise us all.

Slimjr

May 1st, 2011
11:44 pm

Bench Josh…Start Collins and Teague…

Slimjr

May 1st, 2011
11:45 pm

Boozer and Rose are not a 100%…Good for us????

Slimjr

May 1st, 2011
11:45 pm

Hawks 5 or 6! Then on to South Beach!!!!

Slimjr

May 1st, 2011
11:48 pm

Zebo=Mercedes
Josh=GM

doc

May 1st, 2011
11:49 pm

win ugly, nice. been saying that since kirk arrived and before.

josh might have had a bit to do with turks bad performance. he was physical the whole series on him and wore turk out. that had been apparent early in their regular season match ups.

except for rose missing according to kirk we didnt know what to do with rose. the intrigue is there to see if any effective move can be made to deny rose the middle of the lane where he wants to go and created havoc to us once there this season. that will be the only way to beat them.

here is to the post season hawks whose identity is comfortable with winning ugly and not thinking fun basketball is running. it has to be about defense with some offense sprinkled in there.

Rev in Tampa

May 1st, 2011
11:49 pm

CENTCOM (Central Command) and SOCOM (Special Operations Command) are located in Tampa. I have some of those people in my church who disappear for months at a time but nobody knows where they have gone. I know they are celebrating tonight with the news of Ben Laden’s violent demise.

Slimjr

May 1st, 2011
11:50 pm

politics=Hollywood script… Yawn….

doc

May 1st, 2011
11:52 pm

the dev says:

I cannot imagine any way Drew does not start Teague. I’m excited to see how he will do with the starters and a lead dog role. I expect him to step up and surprise us all.

we are now doomed as ld is as unpredictable as to which josh will turn up.

why not pape sy ,,he has hight and speed

May 2nd, 2011
12:10 am

Enter your comments here

Worldwide Clyde

May 2nd, 2011
12:11 am

Hawks in 7

Hawks are the best team in Atlanta right now. Falcons are a tease and the Braves flat out suck.