Could Jerry Stackhouse be the Hawks’ Alonzo Mourning?.
Normally, I’d say there are two things working against him: I’m not sure if Stack’s role would be very significant if he does make the roster, and he’s the new guy on a team whose main cogs have been together for a while.
But Stack has two other things working for him that could help him overcome those hurdles: His familiarity with Hawks players from summer workouts over the last few years, and the sheer force of his personality.
In fact, Al Horford said Stack has wasted no time making his mark.
“Stack is already doing it, just kind of taking over and pulling guys to the side and talking to them,” he said. “We respect him. I’m happy when he does it because he sees things a different way. You might not see them that way but then they make sense [when he points them out]. I’m happy he’s on the team and I think he’s going to be a big help for us this year with the locker room and keeping people on the same page.”
I get the feeling Larry Drew wants Stackhouse around just for that. It may not happen on a team with a payroll that’s creeping up to the luxury-tax line and needs all the useful guards it can get–Stackhouse’s production and efficiency have generally been on a steady decline since 2007, though he didn’t get to show what he has left in a cameo with the Heat last season.
Here’s a transcript of an interview with Stack on the subject of leadership.
L.D. says he values your leadership, but how do you approach being a leader when you are the new guy on a team that’s been together?
I don’t look at as a new guy on the team. Ain’t nothing about me new. [Laughs] I enjoy it, man, because I know these guys and I’ve been around them a lot in the summer and watched them from afar for two or three years and just felt like they were right there. Even when I went to Milwaukee [in 2009-10], this was a team that I felt I could bring some intangibles to it. They’ve got all the pieces, and sometimes it’s just in between the ears. Sometimes it’s not always about the young guys taking another step, it’s about the veterans taking another step with their leadership. So I’m just trying to stay in Joe’s ear, stay in Josh’s ear, and that is where the value is.
I love to get on the court and do some things but I’m realistic about that, especially with a short season and so many games and trying to manage that. [So] a lot of it is just talking. You are not going to be able to do a lot of on the court once the season gets going. It’s more about how you approach the mental side of it. I’ve been on a lot of good teams and a few bad teams, and I know what the makeup of those are and some of those warning signs. When I see some slippage and we can bring it and address it, and that is one key to a championship team is feedback and not being afraid of feedback, from coaches and players. Everybody accept the feedback from the players and understand it because these are guys on the court getting it done and if they are not cohesive then it’s not going to get done no matter how good a game plan the coaches have. That’s where it’s at. It’s been great so far.
You talked about accepting feedback. When I talk to coaches who played in the league and some older vets, a lot of them say one way the league has changed is it’s gotten a lot younger and players are too sensitive to criticism. Have you seen some of that?
Not with this group. Everybody’s ears are wide open. That’s refreshing. You get some of these guys . . . I have my summer league in North Carolina and I get a lot of those young guys from John Wall to all of them and, believe me, not everybody is as open to it. They feel like once they get drafted, they have arrived, and that is so far from reality. I still feel like right now there are areas I can get better in, even maybe with my leadership. My plan is to coach. I’m always reading up on things. I picked up things from here where, if it all ends today I look at as a positive experience because I can take it back to my AAU team. That’s where I’m at with it.
You said you like to read. Do you mean about leadership?
Yeah, a lot of leadership and self-help.
Anything in particular?
It’s called The Power of Intention. Dr. [Wayne W.] Dwyer. Some people are so finicky on religion, so he just says it’s ‘The Source.’ Well, my ‘Source’ is the Man above. There’s a lot of good principles in there and the ways of winning [as a] team. There is no secret to it. When you have these successful teams and successful businesses there are a lot of parallels you see with those groups, and when teams and businesses that don’t do well there are a lot of parallels between what happens in those groups, too. Hopefully I can take those little nuances and gradually slip little notes to these guys, just something to think about. Because I still want to win a championship. I’m a little selfish, too. As much as I want to give, I want to contribute to putting one [ring] on my finger. It’s a win-win for everybody.
What do you see as your value as a player at this point in your career?
I still can’t be guarded. [Laughs]. I can still get my shot off and do what I do. It’s amazing how it goes. [Holds one hand above the other]: When you lack the knowledge you got all this athleticism. And then right in your prime they kind of equal out. [Brings hands together]. And then you lose the athleticism but this [holds opposite hand high] is real high right now. I am able to use my smarts to get to my spots and do the things I know. These coaches and everything have been around me and they know the spots that I like best.
During the Jamal Crawford drama last weekend, I heard Rick Sund was desperately looking for ways to shed salary so the Hawks could gain some relief under the tax line and add a vet free agent or do a sign-and-trade using Jamal. There are two main ways for teams to dump salary: 1. Use the amnesty clause, which the Hawks have ruled out (likely because of cash flow concerns as much as anything else) or 2. Send out more salary in a trade than they take back.
No. 2 is more easily accomplished if the trading partner has a trade exception to to help with the salary matching. Then a team can send away a big salary and take back a small one or a draft pick (plus earn its own trade exception)–see the Lamar Odom trade to Dallas.
But that kind of trade doesn’t happen often, and it works best when a team has a productive players with a reasonable salary they are looking to dump. The Hawks, of course, don’t have any of those kind of players beyond the ones they want to keep, so that probably explains why Sund ultimately wasn’t able to find a way to shed salary. I’m not certain if he’s still trying to do it but it’s going to be tough without using the amnesty.
In any event, ShamSports.com has a list of teams with trade exceptions, though it doesn’t look to have been updated since the summer.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat