Atlanta Hawks: Horford: Get a ’solid’ center, bring back Jamal Crawford

Al was at Philips to work out today. He said he worked out in LA with D-Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love (they have the same trainer). He said he worked on his post game and driving to the basket, but more on that later.

Al had an interesting response to the persistent question about whether he prefers to play center or power forward.

“I am still going to keep playing both,” he said. “I think that Josh and myself we can bring a lot of problems to people. At times I am going to have to play the four and I think Josh is OK with playing the three. That way we stay very athletic and we can do different things.

“And I think that’s why we need big bodies here, a couple of solid bigs to come out here and help us out. I know there are quite a few of those out there in free agency and we should try to pursue them.”

Al doesn’t control the purse strings, of course, but that’s the most public prodding of the front office by a Hawks player that I can remember since I’ve been around. I’m told that ASG still haven’t decided if they want to keep building the roster by paying into the luxury tax; should find out more once the CBA is ratified and the league lifts the restrictions on teams commenting.

Al also said he hopes the Hawks re-sign Jamal because “he is a huge part of our team.”

“We are a much better team with him,” Al said. “We need his scoring and his presence.”

Al said his conditioning is about what it should be entering training camp. He said he was able to work on his game while playing last summer for John Calipari, the coach of that other school.

“I am really trying to get better with my shooting and with my post game, really trying to be more assertive in the past than I have with it,” he said. “Cal was my coach for the Dominican national team for the FIBA game, and with him his whole thing was a lot about driving and penetrating. That is something in my game I really didn’t do much before but I think I was able to do a little more of it this summer.”

My T-Mac take

I was kind of surprised at the negative reactions on Twitter to the T-Mac news. Then I realized that those who don’t like it assumed he would be the replacement for Jamal or otherwise believe the Hawks see him as a major piece, in which case I would understand.

But it remains to be seen what other moves the Hawks will make and what role McGrady will play. Once all that gets settled then we can determine whether he’s a good addition or not.

If T-Mac ends up starting and/or or playing 25 minutes per night then it would mean the Hawks are scary-thin. My take after watching him play for the Pistons against the Hawks last season and looking at his numbers is that he’s no longer cut out for that kind of gig. I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw it.

But I see no problem with McGrady as a 10-15 minute per night “point forward” who is a good passer (which the Hawks can use), just posted his best true-shooting percentage since he was an All-Star and is a pretty good defender: 14.0 opponent per as a shooting guard last season according to 82games.com; a positive defensive rating at basketballvalue.com, and decent Synergy numbers.

Aside from his passing possibly setting up teammates for higher-percentage shots–1.7 of his 3.5 assists per game last season led to baskets within 10 feet–McGrady isn’t likely to help diversify Atlanta’s offense, which needs it badly. He’s made 33.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career and 206 of his 515 field-goal attempts last season were long 2s. His 15.14 percent turnover rate also is high for a wing.

But T-Mac is a veteran who can be useful in a limited role, and what else do you expect for the vet minimum?

Etc.

  • Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld tweets that point guard Earl Watson is “leaning toward” signing with the Hawks.
  • Rookie free agent Brad Wanamaker was at Philips Arena working out today and presumably will be on the camp roster. Wanamaker participated in Atlanta’s June minicamp.

313 comments Add your comment

A concerned fan..

December 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

FreshFromATL

December 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

Uh ohhhh….Hordford hate coming in 54321…….

hawks_4_life

December 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

MC is there any truth to the bulls trade rumor…first

JSS

December 7th, 2011
8:03 pm

Welcome back NBA!!!

bigdave

December 7th, 2011
8:03 pm

aight Al..

i can live with that.. if you gonna play away from the cup, at least be able to put that thing on the floor and get to the rim big fella.. (see Bosh/Amare) cant wait to see what you got..

Hawk n the Ham

December 7th, 2011
8:04 pm

Can we get that sign-n-trade of Crawford to the Bulls for Asik and Brewer?

A concerned fan..

December 7th, 2011
8:08 pm

Earl Watson? I think we can do better with a back up PG.

Sautee,

December 7th, 2011
8:08 pm

Enter your comments here

Najeh Davenpoop

December 7th, 2011
8:08 pm

Al is right that the Hawks need at least one more big body. Zaza is good as the 2nd big guy off the bench, but ideally they should be able to bring in a shot blocker too.

At the same time, though, it’s good to see that he didn’t reiterate any preference to play the 4. He is a good 5 and can be an even better one if he utilizes his quickness advantage.

BoneKollector

December 7th, 2011
8:09 pm

Earl Watson?!?!

Man get TJ Ford or Anthony Carter in here

bigdave

December 7th, 2011
8:09 pm

might as well make a play for big Sam, a shooter.. James Jones? lace em up, and see what we got..

Sautee

December 7th, 2011
8:10 pm

bigdave,

ANY increase in assertiveness by Al will be an improvement.

welikebaseball2

December 7th, 2011
8:11 pm

I concur MC. Whether or not it makes sense definitely depends on the role he’ll assume. I hat to say it, & hope I’m wrong, but I’m thinking ASG is eyeing him as the replacement for Crawford. Given their track record, I wouldn’t be surprised. Unfortunately, this may be all the free agency action us Hawks’ fans get around here. But, hey, what can you say about ownership who’s tried to sell several times after saying they weren’t selling…then consoling the fans after the latest failed attempt by saying they look forward to building on a string of “playoff appearances”? I mean, who needs a championship when you’ve got tons of “playoff appearances” right? Ugh.

BosnianBaller

December 7th, 2011
8:12 pm

Watson and McGrady will give us good depth off the bench.We need some BIG’s tho

BosnianBaller

December 7th, 2011
8:12 pm

Richard Jefferson to be cut from Spurs.He’s better than Marvin right now

Sautee

December 7th, 2011
8:13 pm

Najeh,

Do you have any hope that Benson could be that shotblocker? Like you, I’d like another big added, but Kito just might have to do. Still needs another 15 lbs. though.

Big Dog

December 7th, 2011
8:17 pm

So the question of the day is ” is Al Horford still feeding this internal strife about moving over to the four and bumping Josh, the hawks highest all star vote getter, to the perimeter 3 ?

Its been clearly documented that Al voiced drama the last year, and was vocal about playing the 4 which is kind of weird when you consider not only does Josh get more votes than Al for the All Star team, but he is a much better 4 than Al is or will be.

After jousting with Sautee, I had to ask myself is Al still planting those seeds or is he going to do whats best for the team and own the 5, letting Josh play the 4 with out contention, thereby giving The ATL its best chance by putting its best team forward…(pun there guys,)

I was almost ready to put this out to pasture, Mary, when I stumbled on this article from late August, this year, then I realized, Al wont stop till hes out of the 5 and playing the 4 regardless of how it affects the team. here’s an excerpt :

AS: I know that, while you’re comfortable playing center, ideally you really want to play the four.

AH: “The more comfortable I get, the more I feel like I can play the four. That’s something they’re going to have to consider. At the end of the day, I think the priority is to see what is going to happen with the lockout and everything. Once that happens, we’ll see where the team is at and we’ll go from there.” – Al Horford

Yeah at the end of the day, Al has one thing in mind, not winning, helping the hawks, not doing what ever it takes the make the hawks a better team. Al’s Goal is to move to the power forward position.

OK Mr. Horford. The lock out has ended, now what? You are going to make the hawks consider moving you to the 4?

OK,now what?

What about the freak-in team? Where do “we go from there” ?

http://www.onlygators.com/08/17/2011/atlantahawks-center-al-horford-it-was-a-no-brainer-for-me-to-represent-my-country/

Bring Back Spud & Cak'

December 7th, 2011
8:18 pm

How bout’ we TRADE JOE JOHNSON 4 anyone else in the league, who’s contract expires in the next 1-2 years! Anyone!! Just get this bum out of town PLEASE before he TOTALLY RUINS the next 5-6 years of Hawks b-ball!

THere’s gotta be some crazy team that thinks their 1, no-defense-playin’ SG away from a title? Right?

CHiCaGo BULLS – not interested in JJ? come on . . .
- He can score
- He can shoot
- He’s a 2 Guard
- Can take some offensive pressure off of D-Rose

or if not Chicago, what about the Nets. I’d take Brook Lopez, even give up a 1st rounder to get rid of Joe’s contract.

or the T-Wolves, or the Bucks, or the KNICKS, there u go Joe, could reunite w/ Amare & Mike D

even better, ORLANDO!!! Joe, ZAZA, & Marvin for Mr. Howard, wouldn’t he look nice in A Hawks uniform (drool, drool) Imagine trying to score in the paint w/ Smooth & Superman underneath. Starting line-up, would need to sign Jamaal back, of Teague, Crawford, Smooth, Al & D. Howard. Would become more of a Defensive team, but hey Defense wins championships.

Come on Orlando, u know Dwight’s nt coming back, might as well get something 4 him.

Please SOMEBODY take JJ’s contract, I beg You!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

December 7th, 2011
8:21 pm

“Do you have any hope that Benson could be that shotblocker? Like you, I’d like another big added, but Kito just might have to do. Still needs another 15 lbs. though.”

Considering how prized size is at the NBA level, if a 6′11″ guy slips to the end of the second round, I have very little hope that he can contribute immediately in any way. I think if Benson can provide what Hilton Armstrong provided last year, the Hawks should consider themselves lucky, especially considering what a string bean he is.

Eventually he may turn out to be a good player, but relying on him to do anything this year is a mistake in my opinion. He and Magnum Rolle are in the same boat.

Michael Cunningham

December 7th, 2011
8:22 pm

@welikebasketball: “I concur MC. Whether or not it makes sense definitely depends on the role he’ll assume. I hat to say it, & hope I’m wrong, but I’m thinking ASG is eyeing him as the replacement for Crawford. Given their track record, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

yeah, i could tell this is why fans assumed T-Mac might be it. you’ve seen it before. i think ASG definitely has a problem on their hands when it comes to credibility with fans.

LT

December 7th, 2011
8:23 pm

I agree with Al and have been saying, the hawks are in need of a big guy to be a threat…. I AM very excited to see what T-Mac’s role as a hawk will be and how he will fit in. Im not gonna lie, when I first heard about the deal I assummed he was to replace Jamal but we will see. I love Jamal as a player and person so I hope the hawks resign him! #GoHawks!

Ryan

December 7th, 2011
8:23 pm

The Hawks MIGHT resign Jamal or they MIGHT get a legit big. They DEF will NOT do both.

phil

December 7th, 2011
8:25 pm

Fire FG!!

And nothing the Hawks do will make any difference…

phil

December 7th, 2011
8:26 pm

How old is McGrady? 55?

Absurd signing….a joke!

Michael Cunningham

December 7th, 2011
8:27 pm

@hawks_4_life “MC is there any truth to the bulls trade rumor…first”

do you mean are they trying to work out a sign-and-trade with the Hawks? yes, that’s true.

but–and i know my blog people are tired of me saying this, and i’m tired of writing it–whether or not it happens depends on if the Hawks will pay the tax and/or how much they are willing to pay. they would have to take salary back in a trade with the Bulls, who are over the cap. if Jamal gets a big deal, which it looks like he will, the Hawks would have to take back a lot of salary. i just don’t know yet if they are willing to do it.

Grandmaster JeJe

December 7th, 2011
8:29 pm

TMAC + WATSON = GOOD SIGNINGS. I know Watson has been linked to us before.

NOW WORK ON OUR BIG MEN.

Can we work out a massive trade for DeAndre Jordan? Probably couldn’t send Smoove since LAC is loaded at PF.

Sign Earl Watson, S&T Jamal for Ronnie and Asik.

Then offer Smoove + Hinrich for the best possible big man out there. That is one damn good team – and trust me, I’m probably the most negative fan here.

Ayo

December 7th, 2011
8:29 pm

Al is CORRECT and so are you MC. People trashing the T-Mac move are clueless and don’t know anything about basketball or the salary cap.

But if they can get Asik and Brewer from the Bulls, sorry to say but, so long Jamal!

Grandmaster JeJe

December 7th, 2011
8:31 pm

T-Mac is 32 – YOUNGER than Kobe.

And can ASG PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go into the LT already? You SOLD THE THRASHERS. YOU HAVE A BETTER FINANCIAL POSITION NOW. SPEND THAT EXTRA MONEY

Reality

December 7th, 2011
8:32 pm

These people would complaing even if they signed Tyson Chandler.

WAAAAAH WHY DIDNT YOU GET DWIGHT?

Najeh Davenpoop

December 7th, 2011
8:33 pm

I am purely speculating, but I would guess that if the Hawks sign Watson to be Teague’s backup and get Brewer and Korver or the other Watson from Chicago, they will try to dump Kirk’s expiring contract to try to get under the luxury tax line. Seems like the kind of thing they would do.

Zach Blend

December 7th, 2011
8:34 pm

Check the video on Tracy. The guy still plays at a high level. Welcome to the Highlight Factory T!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=datSoYiuyH4

Bring Back Spud & Cak'

December 7th, 2011
8:34 pm

Everyone seems to agree we need a ‘big’. Why not go for “THE BIG,” Dwight Howard?! Offer Joe Johnson, Zaza & any other player on our roster.? Dwight’s from Atl for pete’s sake . . . this might could work?

Slimjr

December 7th, 2011
8:36 pm

SHOW SOME LOVE?

““I am really trying to get better with my shooting and with my post game, really trying to be more assertive in the past than I have with it,”

Okay All NBA TiTo Jr, show us fans why you were drafted #3 in 2007? Step it up BiG MAN!

Grandmaster JeJe

December 7th, 2011
8:37 pm

“Al is CORRECT and so are you MC. People trashing the T-Mac move are clueless and don’t know anything about basketball or the salary cap.

But if they can get Asik and Brewer from the Bulls, sorry to say but, so long Jamal!”

Exactly. You can trade a scorer-ONLY who plays NO DEFENSE for a good wing and a SEVEN FOOTER who got 9 rebounds in a game against us last season.

Get it done, Sund!

Go Sund Go Sund Go Sund Go Sund Go Sund

Reality

December 7th, 2011
8:37 pm

“Can we work out a massive trade for DeAndre Jordan? Probably couldn’t send Smoove since LAC is loaded at PF.”

I like the way you’re thinking, but LAC might not want Josh since they just drafted Thompkins and are supposedly trying to sign Caron Butler.

Slimjr

December 7th, 2011
8:38 pm

ASIK ASIK ASIK ASIK…………………………………

bigdave

December 7th, 2011
8:43 pm

im hoping Mac can show Marvin a thing or 2..

superiorblogman

December 7th, 2011
8:45 pm

Cool, so looks like Earl Watson and Wannamaker are the cheap backup PG’s. That is good because Wannamaker is about 6″4 and I like him as much as McCamey.

I like T-Mac as a 20 minute a game guy that can score 8-12 minutes a night. I can’t see anyone complaining about someone that gets the minimum and can give you more than people like Zaza, Marvin, and Kirk who hog up over $20 million in salary combined.

I also like how MC through the get a solid center comment in there without quoting Al actually saying that. Good job stirring the pot MC. It is needed, get us a solid C Sund.

BrittishAnger

December 7th, 2011
8:47 pm

I’ll take a T-Mac if it means his defensive contributions can beat out a Jamal’s in those situationals…I got every assumption that the lineup switches will revolve around either taking Marvin out or whoever gets into foul trouble first on a given night…Which is why T-Mac works since you can run either him or Joe at two and keep Teague and Hinrich at the top. We do still need a center, and while Kito (Lawls) will get a few chances to shine, beyond Zaza “Homerun King” Pachulia we’ve got diddly squat beyond resigning Twin again. McGrady is a steal for what his situational will likely be, off the bench in strange spurts to switch tempo….Hinrich behind Teague is going to be the same…All we need to do now is bring back Gladyr and force him into becoming our 3-Point King, and we’ve got ourselves a team worth throwing at a weirdly withering Eastern Conference…

Reality

December 7th, 2011
8:48 pm

“I am purely speculating, but I would guess that if the Hawks sign Watson to be Teague’s backup and get Brewer and Korver or the other Watson from Chicago, they will try to dump Kirk’s expiring contract to try to get under the luxury tax line. Seems like the kind of thing they would do.”

Imagine if Sund were to do the Bulls S&T for Brewer and Asik, then move Hinrich somewhere else (Lakers?) for a late 1st round pick.

Dawg

December 7th, 2011
8:50 pm

McGrady is a great signing. Watson is also. Now finish the team with Asik and Brewer and we will be a deep and talented team.

superiorblogman

December 7th, 2011
8:50 pm

Stop with the Josh or Al trade foolishness. Other than Paul or Dwight there is no-one available worthy of trading Josh or Al for.

i_am_soulstar

December 7th, 2011
8:50 pm

TMac actually had a better PER than Crawford last season. If he can give us 56 games, I think he’ll surprise some folks. And I’ve always like Earl Watson.

I can’t believe the Hawks are actually trying to build some depth on the roster!

It must be snowing in hell.

cp

December 7th, 2011
8:54 pm

Good to know Al has been working on his post game. Hopefully it doesn’t look very mechanical and stiff. I like the T-Mac signing. Earl Watson would be another good move. I forgot that TJ Ford was available. I think TJ ford might be a little more expensive than Watson though. I don’t think the Hawks could go wrong with either guy. Jeff Foster is a guy many of us have been talking about for years. The Knicks are said to be going after him. He could be that rebounder we need.

kidstunna

December 7th, 2011
8:56 pm

how about joe, and smooth for dwight howard and jameer nelson we could use Teague as an allen iverson type 2 guard heres da starting line up
pg-jameer nelson
sg-Jeff teague
Sf-Marvin (or sign another SF)
PF-Al horford
C-DWight howard
plus this would free up all our money and we could aford Jamal Crawford AND we could sign Tyson Chandler to bakkup Dwight AND as a center 4 nex year

Grandmaster Jeje

December 7th, 2011
8:58 pm

Jamal had 2 and 8 points in his last 2 games of the Chicago series.

Let’s see what a rejuvenated T-Mac and Marvin give us. If they are solid, sky’s the limit. Marvin is only 25 and now has a good back

Rev in Tampa

December 7th, 2011
8:58 pm

How long does free agency last. Right now this is as fun as the season. But if Sund screws up the Crawford S&T I’ll be very disappointed. I remember how angry I was when the Celtics signed Shaq instead of the Hawks. In hindsight however…

Fly

December 7th, 2011
9:02 pm

If T-Mac can anything close to10 points and 5 assists in 55+ games (66 game season) and the occasional highlight play, this is definitely a steal.

Wabe

December 7th, 2011
9:03 pm

Spoke to my cousin in Chicago, and he told me there’s word in Chicago that the Bulls are possibly interested in re-acquiring Kirk Hinrich?

Not sure if there’s any talks between both parties regarding it, but, he claims that they want Hinrich back to play 2-gaurd.

Fly

December 7th, 2011
9:07 pm

“Jamal had 2 and 8 points in his last 2 games of the Chicago series.”

Good point. People are acting like we’re trying to deal away DWade or something lol. Jamal is feast or famine. I remember plenty of games where his shot was off and still ballhogging.