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 miserable performance. J.J. and Jamal couldn’t do anything against Chicago’s pressure.
  • Teague was limited to 22 minutes because of a wrist injury. The Hawks missed his offensive punch. “He’s a tough kid,” Al said. “He wasn’t the same when he came back.”
  • Joe and Jamal weren’t the same since Game 1. Especially Jamal, who wasn’t as accustomed to being double teamed and never really seemed to figure out how to handle it.
  • “We burned them in Game 1 and they pretty much said, ‘We are taking you two out the rest of the series and make someone else beat us,’” Jamal said.
  • That’s a pretty good bet against the Hawks, especially since the Bulls could bring in waves of reserves and not see their defense drop off much, if at all.
  • Because Jamal and Marvin offered little, the benches ended up being Asik, Brewer, Korver, Watson and Gibson vs. Zaza.
  • “They contest everything but what goes under the radar is the depth of their team,” Al said. “They just kept coming. Their depth just wore us down eventually.”
  • In the first five games the Bulls had been able to count on D-Rose and one other guy, usually Deng, on offense. Deng got his tonight and Boozer also got in on the act by eating up Twin early rolling to 23 easy points.
  • The Hawks took Chicago to six games after getting swept in the second round of the last two seasons. “The last game could have been 3-2 us easily,” Jamal said. “It could have gone either way. We battled with the best team in the East. No one really gave us a chance.”
  • But it was another sour ending with a beatdown in an elimination game. “I think we were fighting,” Al said. “I would have been disappointed if we gave up and quit but you’ve for to give them credit.”
  • The key questions for the Hawks in the offseason include ASG’s search for buyers or investors, Rick Sund’s status and Jamal’s pending free agency.
  • The Hawks have to decide if this “core” group has gone as far as it can. “You have to bring Rick Sund down here for that,” Josh said. “I’m just a player. All I can do is play.”
  • As things stand now they don’t have a lot of financial flexibility but there’s a lot of uncertainty with the expiring CBA and the ownership situation.
  • “We have a good core but I think we need more, as you can tell,” Al said. “It was their depth that got us.”
  • “We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Joe said. “Hopefully we keep adding pieces and keep making moves and keep getting better. We keep taking steps. It’s not been easy. Looking back at my first two years it was miserable.”
  • At least the Hawks know Teague can play. “I told him to come back from this summer with the same attitude and the same intensity he had this series,” J.J. said.
  • Sorry you couldn’t have a better ending, blog people. I’ll check in tomorrow after the exit interviews.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

241 comments Add your comment

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

May 13th, 2011
12:56 am

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

May 13th, 2011
12:56 am

Fire OBSERVER Las Vegas Lame Duck Larry Drew.

Hire Aldeman

Run the offense through Teague

Peace out Jamal, Marvin, Joe (fingers crossed)

JDK

May 13th, 2011
1:05 am

MC – if you HAD to predict, who stays, who goes, and what changes can realistically be made?

Wabe

May 13th, 2011
1:10 am

John Hollinger – ESPN.com:
“Atlanta has no first-round pick and limited cap space; the luxury tax, depending on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, is another potential obstacle. Finally, the Hawks will likely shop disappointing forward Marvin Williams, who finished his season with a thud by playing 15 scoreless minutes.”

Whose gonna want the ‘disappointing Marvin Williams’?

rowdy

May 13th, 2011
1:10 am

i think we had a pretty succesful year (other than the trade) because if coach drew let jamal crawford play back up pg y couldnt jordan? i mean atleast jordan has expierence at the pg spot! @ micheal could u imagine teague and jordan as our pg”s 4 the future + our 1st round pick?

Eric

May 13th, 2011
1:11 am

Face down a## up, the Hawks took it laying down once again. Every team knows that if you get up on the Hawks they’ll throw in the towel. Rose keep saying after every game, “lets get ahead of them and see what happens. Chicago wasn’t better they just had heart, something the Hawks have to find.

lunateec

May 13th, 2011
1:20 am

Great notes, MC. Now, what are the Hawks’ chances of landing Dwight in ATL?

cp

May 13th, 2011
1:32 am

real changes have to be made. real depth is needed and I dont mean Etan and Josh Powell type moves

drmaryb (*_-)

May 13th, 2011
1:32 am

C-Webb

JeJe NBA TV

mykhalc

May 13th, 2011
1:33 am

i enjoyed the surprise post season but i’m glad it’s over. it was all FOOL’S GOLD (as JeJe coined awhile back…at least i think it was JeJe). glad to see Teague freed…Zaza showin’ heart…Josh played pretty well…LD coached better than i expected but still phucked up in the most obvious cases/subs/PT

i would luv to a full-on KA BOOM but this franchise does nothin’ big except eff things up. i expect to see…Teague, Joe, Kirk, Josh, Al, Zaza, Damien…that’s it…PERIOD!!! Marvin better not be found anywhere close to this roster next season. there are no excuses…for any of ‘em really. it’s time for real changes folks!!! KA BOOM!!! the bigger, the better IMHO…and let’s start with a new owner and GM!!!

MistaGamer

May 13th, 2011
1:34 am

We actually traded (2) 1st round picks for Kirk Hinrich…. Kirk Hinrich???

That really says all there is to say about this organization. Top down… it starts from the top down.

Wow, Kirk Hinrich! I guess when you’re so inept as to bid against yourself, and actually convince yourself that throwing $126M at Joe Johnson what’s a great idea, why would the Kirk Hinrich deal even be a surprise?

Mike W

May 13th, 2011
1:37 am

Hawks future looks better than it once was,Bulls was just better team with way more depth. Hawks need a new BETTER COACH ASAP,trade Al or smith.i rather them trade horford he showed me nothing in playoffs against the better teams.Keep wilkins,collins,zaza,jamal Trade marvin for a draft pick since nobdy wants him.add a legit center and sign a legit SF who can do it all and play great D.Hawks dont be ashame of yourself at least yu lasted longer then the Falcons in playoffs.Future looking better,,Add a couple more pieces with a good Head coach like Sloan maybe and we be on our way hawks.

Kitis

May 13th, 2011
1:40 am

Tonight was really disappointing, but nobody that knows this team should be surprised. To quote the prophet Dennis Green, “they are who we thought they were” and that’s why it’s so frustrating.

I never thought I’d consider Josh a more indispensable piece than Al, but after this series I’m afraid that may be the case. Is Al a fraud? He is without a doubt our vocal leader, the one who always speaks up about a need for effort, energy, etc., but he was playing like he was either hurt or scared tonight, which was in keeping with his performances throughout the postseason. The indecisiveness was killing me! At least put a body on someone and board up!

Joe was his typical offensively gifted yet emotionally indifferent self. Zaza and Josh were the only two who came to play at all tonight (and Teague was going to the rim when we stagnated– which was all night). If Josh can understand that his role on the offensive end shouldn’t extend 10 feet beyond the basket (humongous if), then the offense should run through him and Teague. Their games would complement each other perfectly on breaks, I just wish Smoov would give it up when he got a board, run the floor hard down the middle or the wing, and he’d get 3 lobs a game.

And finally, Marvin Williams. This guy is such a gotdam joke it’s unbelievable. I didn’t know it was possible to become more invisible. I used to think his lack of game might shame him into trying to get better in the offseason, but after the coin we foolishly paid him it’s evident he could care less at this point.

tckr83

May 13th, 2011
1:44 am

Joe Johnson: “Hopefully we keep adding more pieces and making moves”…

I guess this means he’s giving some of the 120M+ that he doesn’t deserve back to the Hawks to spend on other team needs ? You see Joe, the Hawks CAN’T do anything because of your over-priced arse! Apparently money does grow on trees…

Mike

May 13th, 2011
1:45 am

But the first question would be, what will be the stance of the ASG would be?

This team might have scrap for cash but I think that this team has so many trade pieces on this team including Joe (he havent provided to me that he deserve that money.) This core has reached its peak and this team needs to be remodeled.

Jae Evolution

May 13th, 2011
1:45 am

Well our future can start with us looking to draft Marshon Brooks in the draft if Jamal walks.

He is an explosive scorer (Similar to what Jordan was) who can create his own shot, get to the line, and also plays good D for a 2 guard (1.8 steals, 1.3 blocks).

Saw a tweet earlier from Chad Ford, saying he has a little Kobe in his game, that can’t hurt right? He would be a great way to redeem ourselves for letting Jordan walk…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v8W2pumHX8

wisemule

May 13th, 2011
1:52 am

You nailed it MistaGamer…..Knight was never this bad. What role does ‘Nique play in all of this, or is he strickly PR?

The Real Mandingo

May 13th, 2011
1:53 am

All jokes aside, the Hawks need to move Marvin Williams, if possible. I hate to see any player fail or any person for that matter but it’s time to cut ties with Marvin Williams. The Hawks’ mgmt. has given this young man every opportunity to succeed. He was given a nice contract, a starting position, and was even given a one-time, 30-minute television episode/interview entitled “At Home with Marvin Williams” to show him he was really wanted in Atlanta by Hawks’ mgmt. Marvin Williams played poorly, plain and simple. I really don’t understand how he regressed to this point because I believe in his second or third year in the NBA he averaged between 13ppg and 14ppg. Now, he’s regressing year after year and at times he seems to regress game and game. He seems to play well one out of every eight to ten games. Seriously, I hope Marvin Williams has much success in the future but it just can’t be with the Hawks.

drmaryb (*_-)

May 13th, 2011
1:58 am

Trades and Tirades!

“Trade marvin for a draft pick since nobdy wants him.”
______________

This is not an option, sir. Marvin has 3 years and 23M left on his contract.
Any trade would have to return equal value. Draft picks alone would not
suffice. We would have to take back an equally bad contract.

Laterality, will not improve this team. I would look for a project big –
Roy Hibbert? Is he still in Memphis? He is equally as sorry as Marvin, but he is bigger, but I think Marvin’s salary is double what his is,
unless he is an UFA, IDK.

Good Luck with that. But, hey it could be worse (see Turkolou-sp)

superiorblogman

May 13th, 2011
2:07 am

It’s the man right here. Here I go. I know you people missed me.

Right to the point:

I am not disappointed after this beatdown. It was what it was. I am also not impressed with the Bulls at all. I know that sounds like a sore loser but I am just being honest. The Bulls are really limited offensively and get away with a lot of impeding progress with hands and pushes on defense. It will be interesting to see what happens when the refs feel like the money to be made for the league is with Miami.

Next, there must be changes and the major 3 are as follows:

Fire LD

Let Sund go

ASG must sale the team

Finally, unfortunately for those attached to the core it must be broken apart.

They should be shopped in the following order and for the attached reason

1 Joe Johnson- Holds the ball too long and kills offense way to often, plus his contract is just not good for growth.

2. Marvin Williams- Just sorry, which makes his contract bad.

3. Kirk Hinrich- has a expiring contract which is actually good, but do you really want to be paying a guy that should be coming off of your bench $8 million next year, then crying about the cap?

4. Al Horford- If you can get a legit C for Al do it now, but there are few of those guys that exist. I am not a Al basher but my love affair with his game is over.

5. Josh Smith- Josh is a keeper IMO, but he needs a new coach that he has never had to bond with, respect, and listen to before and LD does not fit that category because he has been around Josh basically his whole career.

I have seen and looked into some decent trades for Joe as starters.

Joe and Zaza and a 1st rounder for David Lee and Monta Ellis then send Lee to Milwaukee for Boguts if possible

Joe and Zaza for Brandon Roy and Gerald Wallace, they both work on trade machine

I would also send Al for Bogut, Bynum, or Gasol without blinking.

Don’t get your spirits down people we all new this was coming.

The Real Mandingo

May 13th, 2011
2:09 am

^^^^^ should be….”Now, he’s regressing year after year and at times he seems to regress game after [sic] game…”

Grandad

May 13th, 2011
2:15 am

Awright folks;
Jordan Crawford ain’t here no more, no more.
Late 1st round pick ain’t worth Jack.
(prediction = Jordan Crawford has an insignificant NBA career)

Kirk Hinrich is currently a Hawk.
[I'm dadgum glad he is]
(vet that knows how to play)

This team doesn’t need any more young’uns.

If anything we need some addition by subtraction.

Another thing – long ago drafts are over and done with.
We traded the Bill Russell draft pick,
we traded the Pau Gasol draft pick,
we didn’t draft Chris Paul,
and worse…..we did draft Shelden Williams.

It’s a history lesson,
so don’t torture yourself over it now.

Look into the future,
and don’t relive the past.

One can learn from their mistakes,
but if you constantly wring your hands over past gaffs & blunders,
you just end up with dish-pan hands.

Grandad

May 13th, 2011
2:22 am

Look at Joe – do you see a man who will ever win a championship?

The Real Mandingo

May 13th, 2011
2:26 am

@drmaryb

I wonder if a trade is possible between Marvin Williams and Hasheem Thabeet, who would be a big project and a potential bust, if not already. After all, Thabeet is 7′3″ but has greatly underachieved and has played poorly in limited action. I think Thabeet like Marvin was also a No. 2 pick in 2009.

Realsquawk

May 13th, 2011
2:27 am

Grandad,

Well I guess the Hawks have dish pan hands

calihawks

May 13th, 2011
2:28 am

Dont these guys ever get tired of gettin blown in the playoffs???

Grandad

May 13th, 2011
2:36 am

Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit:
team, team, team – no one more important that the other.
–Coach Norman Dale– ” Hoosiers ”

Think of each one of our key players.
Now think of each – one at a time;
and think to yourself which ones could actually fit into a team
as described in the…..^…..above…..^…..quote;
and not only thrive but win a championship.

Go ahead – make your list.
It may change the way you look at the big picture.

Grandad

May 13th, 2011
2:46 am

Realsquawk – yep

The sad part is;
they are all out partying.
[I suspect they haven't felt one moment of vexation]

While we are on the blog tryin’ to figure out this mess.

marvins mom

May 13th, 2011
2:51 am

i hate my own son.

please hire a white coach.

the truth.

Hawks fan down under

May 13th, 2011
3:15 am

What a clusterf@#k.
The offence was a total joke. I just dont think Jamal and Joe work together well. I know that sounds strange but apart from game 1 they were just terrible. Both dribbling around like headless chickens.

I agree with the basic sentiments of the above posts. Clear out as much garbage as possible…but do you really think it’ll happen? LD will coach next season (starting Teague for 3 games before benching him) and we’ll lose Jamal and gain no one. Can’t wait! Let the indifferent sulks begin!!

NagoyaHawk

May 13th, 2011
3:16 am

The Hawks are losers. This season was not a success, don’t let the writers or Hawks organization fool you. They are stealing our money, that’s what. Nobody decent wants to play with the Hawks. Until they get proper ownership that cares about the team and not just money, they will disappoint. Why do I even care?

NagoyaHawk

May 13th, 2011
3:28 am

I heard the Hawks party hard too. Something happened in LA over all-star break. That’s when the wheels started falling off the bus. These players don’t care, the owners don’t care. They will all get there’s in time. The true champions are still playing and will live on in eternity. These bums in ATL will just die rich.

Changes

May 13th, 2011
3:37 am

The Hawks are a joke: Sund signing Joe Johnson to a 6 years and $126 mil. contract.

Tell me what’s so different about Sund settling for Joe Johnson (at max costs) and Josh Smith settling for a jumper beyond the arc. That simply should tell us that they’re both settling and not doing the best they can with the potential they have.

Sure, Joe Johnson was the best player available to us, so what? He really gave up the future of the Hawks for 3-4 mediocre seasons.

Yes, we all want Joe Johnson gone and traded away somewhere else. But who else is stupid enough to give up anything for Joe Johnson? Even if Billy Knight was hired as a GM of another team, i don’t think he would be stupid enough to take Joe Johnson at this point. My goodness, the dude doesn’t care so much about a NBA Championship as much as he cares for his 126 million dollars he doesn’t deserve, if he did he would have realized his signing of that contract would cripple the hawks for 5 years. The dude has 5 years and $100 mil plus remaining… he’s not going anywhere. Where do we start in making changes for next season? I don’t know…. Its definitely not any easier than ATL finding it hard to remain Hawks fans while watching the GM sabotage the team for years to come.

northcyde

May 13th, 2011
3:44 am

Watching this game over again right now. Hubie just called it. Hawks down 17 – 11 . . and Drew takes out Teague for Jamal.

Hubie Brown ( paraphrasing ) – “They took Teague out, now that’s trouble. Because it forces Joe Johnson to guard Derrick Rose”.

And in actuality, what happened was that Jamal was on him for a stretch, and we went to zone. A zone that we didn’t play well at all. We got it down to 5, and then the run slowly happens. Then gets completely out of control once Teague went down.

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

It’s kind of sad how this season ended. But if it was to end, this ending was probably the best way. Ending this way almost forces the ASG to make significant changes to this team. And it really doesn’t matter who they move.

Regardless of whom they move, they need to have some sort of plan in place. Some sort of vision of how they want this team to look. Because right now, we either need significant additions to this core, or the core must be dismantled altogether.

I’m down either way. What CAN’T happen, is that we essentially bring back the same team. That CAN’T happen. The experiment failed. We had a lackluster regular season. And while we had a better than expected postseason, significant flaws in this team still exist that will keep us from being “elite” and “championship worthy”.

So what’s the plan ASG?

- Do you keep what you have, and try to add minimum pieces like you did last year?
- Do you trade one or more of the precious “core” for a superstar player?
- Do you make trades, possibly taking on the bad contracts of some players who can ball?
- Do you fire the coach, or bring in a new experienced “voice”?
- Do you fire the GM?
- Do you completely blow it up and start over?

What do you do ASG?

One thing that has to happen, is that this team needs an IDENTITY. And it doesn’t matter what that identity is . . . just get one. Defensive . . Run and Gun . . it doesn’t matter to me. Just get a damn identity and develop a style of play that becomes the signature of this team.

Blah season . . nice playoffs . . horrible ending, making it look like everything was all for nothing.

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

Game 6 grades:

Zaza: B+
Smith: B
Bench Scrubs: C+
Collins: C-
Johnson: C-
Horford: D
Marvin: F
Teague: Incomplete

Despite us not being able to make a damn thing on offense, the defense in this game was non-existant. And it didn’t help that Carlos Boozer thought it was 2007 again.

LOL . . funny how two of my favorite teams went out in the playoffs. The Tennessee Vols lose by 30 to Michigan . . the Hawks lose by 20 to Chicago.

SMH @ my sports life, and the teams I root for.

Carmelo Anthony . . thank you for that 2003 National Title for Syracuse. That’s the only thing I’ve been able to celebrate as a sports fan in the last 10 years.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
3:59 am

“The Hawks have to decide if this “core” group has gone as far as it can.”

Before the playoffs I would have emphatically said yes. But if Teague is considered a part of the core group, I don’t know. We don’t really know how good Teague can be. With very little NBA experience he came in to this series and played, if not like an All Star, like someone who easily can be one. What is this core’s ceiling if Teague can develop into that caliber of player, and better yet, the on-floor leader that the team is currently missing?

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:02 am

“Sorry you couldn’t have a better ending, blog people.”

I picked Bulls in 6 so I can’t say I was surprised. It is a little disappointing, though, that the last four seasons have ended in blowouts. Game 7 at Boston, Game 4 vs. Cleveland, Game 4 vs. Orlando, and now this.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:06 am

“SMH @ my sports life, and the teams I root for. ”

And you didn’t even get to the part where you are a Bengals fan.

Brandon

May 13th, 2011
4:08 am

Well, here’s to another disappointing season. I know we had more success during this year’s post-season than during last year’s post-season, but for some reason, I almost feel more disappointed now. At any rate, I think it’s time to just blow things up for the betterment of everyone. For the players, I think they need to be sent elsewhere to see what they can do under another coach and another atmosphere. I feel like the team environment here in ATL has just become too toxic. It’s to the point where I feel like these players are even a bad influence on eachother, and before it continues any further, I’d just like to see the team broken up to see what these guys are really capable of, individually.

I’d like to see what Josh could do with a no-nonsense coach who could get him to play to his strengths and work on fundamentals. I’d like to see what Horford could do on a team that plays traditional, disciplined basketball, in a place where he is given a larger, more appropriate role, with a staff to help him develop his post game. I’d like to see what Teague could do under a coach who rewards playing time based upon production, and in a system where he could run a team for an entire season. Obviously, we are not going to get those things here in ATL with our disappointing head coach and disappointing management, so we might as well just send these guys elsewhere. I think they at least deserve to have those opportunities, especially, Teague, who I feel has been severely mistreated during his time here in ATL. If I were him, I wouldn’t even think twice about resigning with the Hawks.

As for Joe and Jamal, I think the Hawks are basically going to be forced to stick with Joe for the long haul due to his contract, so they might as well just start rebuilding around him and give him the huge offensive role that he had during most of his years here. Let him isolate until his heart is content. Finally, send Jamal to the Cavaliers, who are in desperate need of a scoring guard who can create his own shot.

I think this should be the end of this “core” era for the Hawks. I truly believe that these players no longer compliment eachother well, especially not in this bolonga “motion offense” system where Josh floats around the perimeter, and Al just stands in the high post area looking for someone to pass the ball to, meanwhile the point guard is rendered useless. I think these guys would be much better off without eachother in different situation. Let’s give them that. Let’s give the fans in ATL something new to cheer about. Most of the guys on this team have already been criticized and harassed to no end on this blog already. We might as well get some new players in here, who might become fan favorites and give people on here some positive things to talk about. I say we just put an end to the negativity, false hopes, and struggles that the Hawks have given themselves and the fans for the past several years of “the core”. Let’s just start over.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:10 am

Pretty funny how after one series the tide has apparently shifted from Al can do no wrong and Smoove has to be traded to Smoove can do no wrong and Al has to be traded. Let’s try to chill on the overreactions, people.

Brandon

May 13th, 2011
4:17 am

“Pretty funny how after one series the tide has apparently shifted from Al can do no wrong and Smoove has to be traded to Smoove can do no wrong and Al has to be traded. Let’s try to chill on the overreactions, people.”

That’s pretty much just the way it is with a lot of fans. They’re fickle. They change with the wind. Most of the die-hards are strongly set in their ways, but a lot of casual fans tend to overreact very quickly. At this point, it just kind of makes me laugh. I can almost guarantee you that if Josh would have had an awful night in game 6 after having a very impressive performance in his prior game, I bet most of these “fans” would have forgotten about his impressive performance and be demanding that we trade him, or if Al would have had a great game in game 6, the blog would be talking about how he is the only guy to play with any heart and how no one else cares. It really is amusing. I have to admit though, it’s kind of surprising to see some pro-Josh talk on here after such a bad loss. Usually, Josh is the guy getting torched after a blowout since he typically has bad games when we get blown out.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:32 am

Without knowing the future of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, it’s impossible to come up with any sort of definite plan on what the Hawks can do in the offseason.

What can be done is to identify the Hawks’ issues to come up with some sort of general idea on who the Hawks should look to move and keep respectively.

I think from a purely on-paper standpoint the Hawks as currently constructed can become contenders if a) Teague develops into a player of Joe/Smoove/Al’s caliber or better, or b) one or more of the Hawks’ core pieces (to me the Hawks’ core is Teague/Joe/Smoove/Al) is dealt for a real superstar. I think scenario A is more plausible than scenario B; you could make a pretty solid case that Teague was at worst the second best Hawk in this series. And as well as he played, it may be hard to justify the price that would be required to acquire a star at point guard like CP3, in exchange for whom the Hawks would probably have to send at least Teague and either Smoove or Al if not considerably more. Creating a trade package around either Smoove or Al to get Dwight Howard seems like a more sensible thing to do, but if teams like the Lakers are willing to offer both Gasol and Bynum to make that happen, the Hawks may not have the assets to do it.

But from a mentality standpoint, I think the Hawks have a serious problem with Joe Johnson. Joe has been around too long as the centerpiece of this team, and the rest of the players on the team are too comfortable with deferring to him and letting him “create” — which, for all his talents, he has shown in two straight years in the second round that he is incapable of doing against good defenses who focus their attention on him. Both Joe and the rest of the team revert to Woody-ball when they run into any struggles, and a year in LD’s “motion” offense has done little to cure them of this problem.

I made the same point at the end of last year, but at this time last year the Hawks had legitimate question marks regarding who would be able to step up as the centerpiece of the offense if Joe were to leave. I think a lot of those questions have been answered in this series. I am pretty confident that the Hawks cannot be much worse if at all in the short term by putting the ball in Teague’s hands and making pick and rolls with Smoove and Al the bread and butter of the offense, and in the long term they stand to be much better. Joe is simply too slow of a decision maker and inefficient out of the double team to keep the offense flowing consistently as the team’s offensive centerpiece.

For this reason, I think any changes on this team have to start with Joe. I’m not saying trade him necessarily, mainly because the Hawks won’t get even close to equal value for his contract, although if they can somehow get a 2012 lottery pick for him without having to take back any horrible contracts it may be worth it. I do think, however, that his role both as a “leader” off the court as well as the centerpiece on the court have to come to an end. Joe more often than not produces like a role player against good defenses that key in on him and he deflects criticism like a guy who wants to be a role player; it’s about time the Hawks grant him his wish. Strip him of his captaincy, de-emphasize him in the offense, and put the ball in Teague’s hands for good. Let Joe play the role in which he was most efficient in his career — as the 4th option on a team with a star point guard and two dynamic forwards.

Of course, it’s not like there are not questions surrounding building a team around Teague, Smoove, and Al. Maybe this series was a mirage for Teague. Maybe Smoove will never “get it”. Maybe Al will always just be a solid complementary piece. But the major difference is that Teague is 22 and Smoove and Al are each 25, whereas Joe is 30 and has some legitimate questions to answer regarding whether he has already started to decline. Going forward, I have a lot more confidence in Teague’s ability to sustain a high level of play, Al’s ability and willingness to develop a reliable post move and go back to being the aggressive physical presence that he was when he entered the league, and Smoove’s ability to understand that he’s more effective inside and/or develop a reliable jumper than I do in Joe’s ability to change his style of play at this point in his career to better suit what this team is trying to do. Joe is who he is, and it’s more obvious than ever that no matter how many Kobe-style plays the Hawks run for him, he will never be Kobe. Time to stop featuring him like he is Kobe and start giving him a role more suited to his abilities.

vava74

May 13th, 2011
4:34 am

My random notes:

We had the Bulls on the ropes at the start of Game 2 and LD threw the game away by not putting hustlers on the floor (he did the opposite).

He completely missed the preparation on Game 3, again, not understanding the importance of hustling.

Managed to make adjustments for game 4 and we got the win.

Then, in Game 5, we did not make any correct adjustments AND got jobbed by the refs. Thibs made the most important adjustment of the series – limiting Korver’s minutes and using Brewer more.

LD stuck with Jamal doing nothing so we had 2 pretty bad combo factors.

Game 6… a joke of preparation and joke with his “in-game adjustments”.

After this series, count me out of the “trade Josh keep Al” bandwagon.

I was never fully in, but I was inclined to buy the ticket.

Horford is the best trading chip we have and he is PERFECTLY EXPENDABLE.

Zaza would have done more with Al’s minutes.

Josh needs a coach that gets him to see the light. There might not be a coach out there with that power but our PUFF FORWARD Diaper Al was a disgrace.

Al has no heart and no balls.

Josh may be a looney but he brings it more often than Al and impacts the game positively even when he is missing shots (he also impacts negatively).

Hilton could be the semi-youngster we need to complement Zaza’s characteristics.

I know that it was garabage minutes last night but he stuck his but into Gibson’s stomach and backed into a dunk in the closing moments.

We lack that. Zaza is an energy big off the bench to provide rebounding and when match ups favor him, some points off misses or pick n’ roll plays.

Josh with proper coaching will play better and closer to the rim. What he needs is someone who is not afraid to bench him when he strays off the right path. Accountability.

Al is now strictly a finesse big, a Puff Forward, so we need physicality and shot blocking inside, which is something that Hilton – a perennial underachiever – showed he is capable of doing if he got his act together since he has a foot out of the league in no time and needs to find a home.

Strange – not really – but after using a vast array of bigs against Howard, LD sat numbly throughout this series and watched us being burned by CHI’s energy on the boards and DID NOTHING.

He under-used Zaza is some crucial games (yesterday Zaza again proved that he performs with more minutes – 13 boards in 20 odd minutes), but beyond that, LD never tried anyone else.

Why not try out Etan’s physicality? Or Hilton’s athleticism?

LD is a fracking idiot who cost us a winnable series. Also, the Diaper Al – Boozer match up was horrible for us, whilst Josh stuffed Boozer all the time when they matched up. Only a blind man missed it.

Also, how can he justify the minutes given to Jamal when he was giving us nothing offensively and was being burned on D? Wilkins should have played consistent minutes to bring hustle, D and with that more transition buckets.

Jamal shot .333 from the field and .173 from 3 point land in this series.

Still, he averaged 30 minutes per game.

In his defense, I think the refs stopped whistling any contact he got, but the hard fact is that in many shots he was trying to get the calls so badly that he became so notorious as an in-flight flopper that the refs simply don’t want to reward him and additionally don’t call when he gets really hit.

CHI won by hustling and defending like animals our best player (JJ) who even so had a passable series, given the poor preparation and adjustments made to get him more space.

Benching JJ when he over-handles should also be in the program: a quick pull, a small chat and back again.

Instead, LD watched most of the time the team perform like a small boat in the rapids… out of control and going with the flow without trying to beat it and influence direction.

LD was bailed by Hinrich’s injury: Teague proved that he deserved more minutes and that his skill set is something we are lacking, without him we would have been swept (mind that I like Hinrich A LOT and with a proper coach, we would have had Teague, JJ and Hinrich with the most minutes in the back court and Jamal strictly as scorer off the bench who would be pulled when under performing).

So, strictly a lucky event for LD, but anyone with a modicum of intelligence is forced to consider Teague’s performance an indictment of LD and evidence of how weak of a coach he is.

superiorblogman

May 13th, 2011
4:44 am

Well spoken Najeh, but I don’t agree with the thought process that Joe is so hard to move, neither do I agree with the thought process that you can not get value for him.

In fact, I think you are more likely to get value for Joe than Josh or Al because neither Josh nor Al may have peaked.

What do you think about Brandon Roy (bad contract) and Gerald Wallace for Joe and Zaza?

What do you think about Monta and Biedrins for Joe and Zaza or Monta and David Lee for Joe and Zaza?

I think both trades are feasible and you get decent value for Joe.

G State would be able to stop playing so small in the backcourt and Portland would get rid of a contract in Roy that is even worse than Joe’s because Roy is always hurt and will likely never be anything but a shell of himself

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:48 am

As far as the auxiliary non-core pieces are concerned, to me it breaks down like this:

Definite keepers: Collins, Zaza. I have done a complete 180 on these two from a year ago or even a few months ago in Zaza’s case, but they both stepped up their games in the playoffs. I put a lot of stock into how players play in big games, and Collins and Zaza played their roles to perfection in the Orlando series as well as for big chunks of this series. Collins can be re-signed for pretty cheap, in my opinion, and ever since February 27 when Zaza stopped playing timid and started beasting on the boards again, he has turned himself from a liability into an asset and made his contract look like a bargain rather than an albatross.

Definite leavers: Marvin, Jamal, Josh Powell. It’s pretty sad and yet entirely predictable that the Hawks really only need Marvin to do two things — knock down open shots and play good man to man D — and he was able to do both in exactly one game in the playoffs. At this point I am all in favor of dumping his contract for anything. Unlike several players on the Hawks, Marvin has been handed every chance to develop into at least a serviceable role player, and six years into his career he is not even that.

As for Jamal, the Hawks are going to have to make a decision on whether to roll with Jamal or Kirk as the first guard off the bench next year. Teague and by default Joe are going to be the starters; if the Hawks are to keep both Jamal and Kirk and (as I hope) put the ball in Teague’s hands, they will end up with over $35 million on next year’s payroll committed to three guards who are not the focal points of the offense. That is way too much for a team that wants to keep payroll manageable. Since Kirk is under contract (and his contract is expiring) while Jamal is going to require a multi-year deal, and since Kirk is better defensively and better suited to playing point guard than Jamal, I’d rather roll with Kirk. As good of an individual scorer as Jamal is, I think Kirk brings more to the table defensively and as a point guard and as a result would provide a steadier, more reliable presence.

You could make a case that Powell is the worst player in the NBA, and keeping him on the roster only serves to entice LD to play him.

Possible keepers: Damien, Pape Sy. Damien plays with heart and toughness, but to me players like him are also somewhat replaceable, and as a result I wouldn’t support giving him a long-term deal. But if he’s willing to take a cheap one or two year deal to stay here that’s fine. And the jury is still out on Pape Sy, although it’s encouraging that at least in garbage time he stands out somewhat (unlike Marvin who blends into the background even when scrubs are on the floor).

Irrelevant: Hilton Armstrong, Magnum Rolle, Etan Thomas. Whether these players stay or go is going to have little to no impact on how well the Hawks do.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
4:53 am

To be clear, when I talk about “keepers” in the above post, I’m not saying keep them at all costs. I’m saying at the salary that would be required to keep them around they would be worth it. That doesn’t mean if the Clippers offer DeAndre Jordan for Zaza I’m going to turn them down.

northcyde

May 13th, 2011
4:56 am

As for JJ being moved . . . a team will take him, especially if they feel that they’re one player away from winning it all.

LA LAKERS

They don’t believe for one minute that they’re done. But they may be willing to make a significant trade or two to make one last run at things before Kobe goes into decline. And they do not care about the Luxury Tax.

Pau Gasol for Joe Johnson

While he sucked in the playoffs, he does represent the type of player the Hawks could use. And he’d be another much needed big on the frontline, probably the best possible big we could get. As for LA, if Bynum is ready to take over as a #2 or #3 type scorer, the Lakers may move Gasol, let Bynum play center, Odom start at PF for one more year, and give Kobe his “Green Lantern” in JJ.

But honestly, the only way this goes down, is if the Lakers truly see Gasol as a detriment than as a asset. And if they feel that JJ would give them the type of scoring punch to team with Kobe.

Hawks lineup

PG – Teague
G – Hinrich
F – Smith
F – Horford
F – Gasol

It simply gives us a different look, with more of a low post option to go to in Gasol.

BOSTON

With them being on the verge of re-signing Doc Rivers to a multi year deal, the Celtics feel that they’re not done yet either. But they do need to make a move to stay competitive. They have Kevin Garnett’s HUGE 21 million dollar expiring deal next year.

Joe Johnson and Zaza Pachulia for Kevin Garnett

When you do a move like this, you’re essentially not playing for next year, but trying to create cap room for the 2012 free agents. With KG’s 21 million and Hinrich’s 8 million coming off the books, you’re talking 29 million less in salary, and depending on what the cap is, maybe far enough under the cap to make a serious run at one of the big names or secondary names. Just understand that this is a move for the future, not for next year.

PG – Teague
G – Hinrich
F – Marvin
F – Smith
C – Horford

GOLDEN ST

This is the trade that many have kicked around over the years. Bringing Monta Ellis to Atlanta. Golden St can’t survive playing the mini-me backcourt, no matter how exciting it is. Since Curry is still on his rookie contract, you’re not going to get value from trading him. But you may get value if you trade Ellis. Even if JJ doesn’t put up the offensive numbers that Ellis does, he makes that team much better defensively. And Curry can have complete control of the team.

Unfortunately, you’d probably have to give up your “favorite son” to get him. But if the decision is made to move JJ, I think it would be worth it, just to see how athletic of a team we could really feel.

Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague for Monta Ellis and Andres Biedrins

And I DESPISE Biedrins. He’s not a top notch center. But if you want JJ gone, and to make the numbers work, we’d have to take Ellis and Beans and throw Teague in the mix. Monta is a dynamic scoring guard that drives the ball. And if you wanted the team to play fast, he’s the guy to go get.

G – Hinrich
G – Ellis
F – Smith
F – Horford
C – Zaza ( i’m starting Zaza over Biedrins )

To me, those are 3 realistic trades that could go down, if those other teams felt that JJ could help them get to the next level.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
5:02 am

As far as LD is concerned, he is a good X’s and O’s coach whose strengths are cancelled out by his inability to consistently motivate his players or put the right players in the game at the right times. The Hawks can do better than him. But with that said, I am willing to cut him a little bit of slack since this was his rookie season, and admit that it is possible that he can get better. If the Hawks have a chance to pick up someone like Rick Adelman it would be foolish to keep LD around, but if firing him just means they are going to take a gamble on some other unproven assistant it may not be worth the trouble.

I do think that as tempting as it is to say that he should be fired for not playing Teague this year, from a management standpoint it’s not very smart to fire a guy for something that already happened unless you expect that he’ll make the same mistake again. Seeing as how the Hawks don’t have a first round pick until next year, and seeing as how Teague probably saved LD’s job in this series, it’s hard for me to envision a similar scenario playing out in the near future with LD and a young player.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
5:11 am

“What do you think about Brandon Roy (bad contract) and Gerald Wallace for Joe and Zaza?”

This is a pretty good gamble to me. Wallace is a quality player, and if some rest and rehab can bring Roy back to even 75% of what he was at his peak, the Hawks would come out on top by a considerable margin by making this deal. And Roy bouncing back is not out of the question after seeing how players like Jason Kidd and Amare Stoudemire have returned to peak form after serious knee injuries.

“What do you think about Monta and Biedrins for Joe and Zaza or Monta and David Lee for Joe and Zaza?”

Monta is like a more offensively gifted version of Jamal to me — he’s individually really fun to watch, but his overall impact on the team (especially defensively) seems to me like it would be a wash at best. For all of Joe’s faults, he usually brings it on the defensive end. Monta is a big time defensive liability both due to his height and poor defensive fundamentals. I guess if you surround him with other good defensive players you can compensate for his defensive problems, but he currently has the ball in his hands a LOT in a wide open system, so it’s no guarantee he’d come close to matching his current numbers in a more structured system where he would play off the ball. As for Biedrins and David Lee, neither one really impresses me enough to make that trade worth it. Biedrins is constantly hurt and is so bad at the free throw line that it’s impossible to rely on him offensively, and I can’t stop thinking about how Warriors fans on their blog were sh-tting on David Lee after that game where the Hawks blew them out in Golden State despite Lee putting up 20 and 10. I think the Hawks made a good move by dumping one defensive liability in Bibby; I’m not sure that I’d want to see them acquire more defensive liabilities.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
5:14 am

“I think the refs stopped whistling any contact he got”

This was a common theme in the series, although I think Teague was a bigger victim of it than anyone (there were two absolutely egregious no-calls against him in the 2nd quarter today). Can’t really blame the refs when your team doesn’t show up, but the boos and insults we showered on Joey Crawford today at halftime were well-deserved.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 13th, 2011
5:18 am

Also, one last thing: I don’t think it is necessary to take sides between Smoove and Al. I think both players are versatile enough that they can coexist on the same team successfully. There seems to be a prevailing idea that since both are (supposedly) best suited to playing power forward, the Hawks will have to choose one or the other. I don’t think this is the case.