Atlanta Hawks: On the offense

Indianapolis–The Hawks rank seventh in the league in offensive efficiency. They have, for the most part, feasted on some below-average-to-bad defensive teams: New Jersey, Charlotte, and Washington. (And they didn’t feast on one bad defensive team, Houston.)

There are two important exceptions: the W at Miami and the W vs. Chicago. In those games, the Hawks feasted on elite defensive units, and a look at the Hoopdata advanced box scores from the Miami and Chicago of those games shows some common offensive threads for the Hawks:

  • Their combined attempts from 9 feet and closer and 3-point range were more than twice their attempts from 16 to 23 feet.
  • They made a high percentage of those 3-point attempts.
  • Their turnover rates were low.

Shooting well is the most important ingredient for good offense (obviously). But a look at the Synergy Sports Technology numbers in the Miami and Chicago victories shows the Hawks were able to play to their strengths while generating good shots against good defenses.

Atlanta’s four most-used Synergy play types this season have been spot-up, transition, isolation and cut:

Spot-up: 26.2 percent of plays, 1.07 points per possession (2nd in league)
Transition: 13.8 percent of plays, 1.08 ppp (17)
Isolation: 10.8 percent of plays, .73 ppp (18)
Cut: 8.9 percent of plays, 1.31 ppp (fourth)

The breakdown on those play types in the victory against Miami:

Spot-up: 27.7 percent of plays, 1.29 points per possession
Transition: 11.9 percent of plays, .75 ppp
Isolation: 8.9 percent of plays, .67 ppp
Cut: 12.9 percent of plays, 1.31 ppp

And in the W against Chicago:

Spot-up: 20 percent of plays, 1.32 points per possession
Transition: 23.2 percent of plays, 1.41 ppp
Isolation: 11.6 percent of plays, .91 ppp
Cut: 10.5 percent of plays, 1.5 ppp

You can see that against Miami, the Hawks didn’t run as much but still were able to use their usual rate of spot-up possessions and increased the percentage of cut plays. Against Chicago, they didn’t use their usual amount of spot-up possessions but it didn’t matter because they ran more often and more efficiently than usual.

As I mentioned after the W at New Jersey on Monday, the Hawks can present a lot of offensive threats when they play to their strengths. They can hurt opponents with lots of different guys in lots of different ways.

Jeff Teague can score off the dribble (and now maybe also spotting up for 3-pointers, too). Joe Johnson can bully his man in the post if help doesn’t come, make tough Js, or score on those runners. Vladimir Radmanovic can hit 3s on the weakside and Marvin Williams can make spot-ups or drive to the basket and draw fouls (his free-throw rate ranks 10th among small forwards playing 20-plus minutes).

Josh Smith is tough to stop when he gets to the basket. You figure Al Horford eventually will be strong on the pick-and-pop again (meanwhile, he’s No. 1 in the league with 1.35 points per possession on post-ups, according to Synergy). Tracy McGrady can make plays, make shots and might eventually start getting calls when he drives (his free-throw is high anyway).

Now, I know we’ve seen this script before. The Hawks started off playing a better brand of basketball last season, only to regress once they ran into some better defenses and the overall intensity level of games increased. But this team does have the potential to be a good offensive club even when facing the better defensive opponents (which they will do again tonight vs. the Pacers).

Larry Drew:

When we move the basketball and execute what we are doing, we don’t become stagnant, predictable. We have a lot of guys that can score and bring a lot to the table offensively. The last thing I want to do it be a predictable club, especially on the offensive end. I want to get out of the total isolation stuff. The last couple games we have done that. We’ve moved the ball very unselfishly, our assist totals are up. No one can really lock in to one guy.

Now, everyone knows that Joe is our main guy and the game is on the line we are going to put the ball in his hands, but he’s been making real intelligent plays out of the double team. The other guys have been doing what they do best. Jeff has been getting to the basket. Al has been picking and popping and he’s made himself felt down in the block. Josh is using his athleticism and energy, he’s made some shots [but] he’s gotten to the basket, he’s not just settling. Then the bench guys come in and give what they give. When we play together, when that ball jumps around, we become a lot tougher to defend.”

Notes from shootaround

  • Drew will use the same starting lineup tonight as he did at New Jersey: Teague, Johnson, Radmanovic, Smith, Horford. Drew said he anticipates using the bench guys normally tonight after riding the starters at New Jersey.
  • T-Mac said he feels fine physically: “I’m ready to roll, man. I’ve worked too hard [to sit].”
  • Drew said he’s managing McGrady’s minutes for the long term: “We don’t want to wear him down. We are going to look at different situations with him: matchups, back-to-backs and how he’s feeling physically. We will weigh all those [factors]. Minutes-wise, he’s going to be a guy who comes off our bench and rely on him to play consistent minutes.”
  • Drew said he’s encouraging Teague to keep letting the 3-pointers fly: “That’s a great shot for him because he’s capable of making them. Teams, used to defend where they sagged off of him and let him just take the perimeter shot. Now that he’s shown he can knock the three down, it forces them to close out on him and that’s when he can use his speed and quickness to get to the basket.”
  • Actually, Teague thinks opponents still haven’t adjusted: “I think that’s why I’m hitting them. They are playing me the same way as last year, so I just step up and make them.”
  • Drew on Marvin’s status: “I heard Marvin was doing muchr better. Right now he’s feeling discomfort [when] coming up on his toes. But in my last conversation [with trainers] he’s doing much better.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

89 comments Add your comment

tt

January 11th, 2012
2:41 pm

ANDY

January 11th, 2012
2:42 pm

SB75

January 11th, 2012
2:50 pm

Go get them boys! Keep it going Josh!

Astro Joe

January 11th, 2012
2:51 pm

It seems like LD is treating TMac like you would a sick child, “eat some soup, drink water and get some rest”. Meanwhile TMac wants to go and play ball with his friends. Take the bubble wrap off of him, there are 56 games left. Manage his minutes in the last 10-15 games of the season, but if he is healthy now, then let the guy play.

Hawks4Eva

January 11th, 2012
2:52 pm

I personally believe that the Hawks Offense is “fools goal”. I just don’t think they can keep the hot shooting going.

Of these three games:

Hawks (impressive) 1st game vs Miami (we won).

Hawks (lethargic) game vs Houston (we lost)

Hawks (gutty) game versus NJ the 3rd time (had to hold off the Nets)

Hawks (truly impressive) game versus Chicago (2nd game, we won);

Which do you think is more characteristic of this current Hawk’s team?

Hawks4Eva

January 11th, 2012
2:58 pm

This certainly can not hold up, given Josh Smith’s propensity to shoot jump shots.

Spot-up: 26.2 percent of plays, 1.07 points per possession (2nd in league).

What’s going to happen when those shots stop falling (especially in the post season)? Trouble.

Isololation numbers – ISO JOE – is going to be something to watch when those Spot-up shots fail to fall down for us.

KevinM

January 11th, 2012
3:01 pm

The questions will come when its ‘crunch time’ and we need a basket to take the lead or a last second play. Do we really have to go to Joe every time? LD can say one thing and do another, but I think he is factual when he talks Joe is our guy in crunch time.
And, I agree with MC, Marvin’s strength is FTs…if he can get in that situation enough.
And for LD to say we’re going with the current starting lineup….I get it…you’re 2-0 when you trot them out…I wouldn’t change that either.
I hope he sticks to it when Marvin is ready.

kwooden

January 11th, 2012
3:03 pm

I’m a little surprised that LD isn’t going with Twin to start because that puts Josh on Paul George, but I guess they can still do that by putting Vlad on West. I actually won’t mind playing Vlad on West, which would keep Josh on the weak side for help purposes. Indiana presents some interesting match-up problems without Marvin, but there nothing that can’t be addressed. If we have to we can also go zone. This will be a very interesting game, especially if Ivan gets to go against Hansbrough. GO HAWKS!!

KevinM

January 11th, 2012
3:03 pm

Ivan vs. Hansbrough tonight….good undercard for tonight.

Hawks4Eva

January 11th, 2012
3:03 pm

Vlad Rad gives us a some good spacing (when his shots fall). Allowing Teague to drive/penetrate and Joe fewer double teams. Like him in the starting lineup.

Looking forward to tonights game….(Tired of seeing NJ, Chi and Mia).

Let’s see what else we can do against someone else for the first time/new look Hawks.

Go Hawks!

Section 303

January 11th, 2012
3:05 pm

I am fired up about the game tonight. Indy is a fun team to watch. They play hard and defend well. Will be a good, tough test for the Hawks.

Also, I like that Coach Drew manages T-Mac’s minutes. T-Mac is an important part of this club. Have to make sure he is not overused. Having him sit or playing limited minutes some nights is not a bad thing.

Hawks4Eva

January 11th, 2012
3:06 pm

@ KevinM

January 11th, 2012
3:03 pm
————————————————-
LOL at the way you phrased that “good undercard…too funny….

Michael Buffer —-Let’s get ready to rummmmmmble!

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:06 pm

Astro Joe 2:51- i most certaily agree. Not only is he not letting him play, but willie had a hot hand, pargo has been solid, Ivan is solid but wont grow because LD continues to sit these guys on the bench. I hope he keeps this up so the Bench wont play for him, the hawks will loose a few game, and hopefully they fire his A** and get a better coach.

atlienforlife

January 11th, 2012
3:08 pm

I have watched virtually every hawks game for the pass 5 years, and I am telling you this is by far the most complete team we have every had, from 1-10. Teague and josh smith is the key to this season. Without question josh smith can be the best all around player on this team, just stay under control man. I tried to tell most people that the lost of jamal crawford was addition by subtraction. He was a one trick pony and he hurt the team in more ways then he helped.

jdewayneatl

January 11th, 2012
3:08 pm

Al needs to be more aggressive taking his patented 16 footers. He has hesitated on that shot thus far in the season and that may be the main reason he has not been as accurate as he was last year with that shot. Whether he is making them or not, he needs to take them. Teams know that he can make that shot, so as long as the threat is still there, teams have to respect it.

beone

January 11th, 2012
3:12 pm

When healthy, bring Marvin off the bench and make him “the man” of the 2nd unit with TMAC the facilitator. Vlad makes the first unit better anyway on the offensive end and not much worse on the defensive side.

jdewayneatl

January 11th, 2012
3:13 pm

@Hawks4Eva:

Hawks (impressive) 1st game vs Miami (we won).

Hawks (lethargic) game vs Houston (we lost)

Hawks (gutty) game versus NJ the 3rd time (had to hold off the Nets)

Hawks (truly impressive) game versus Chicago (2nd game, we won);

Which do you think is more characteristic of this current Hawk’s team?

ALL OF THEM! LOL

Hugo

January 11th, 2012
3:20 pm

Just want somebody to explain to me, in plain english, why doesn’t Ivan see more court time. He was very impressive in his limited opportunites. Just asking.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:22 pm

Section 303 3:05- Wrong Buddy. How is playing your best bench player 8 to 9 minutes a game managing bro. You cant be serious. Making a guy with the persona of T-mac play those kinds of minutes builds up less confindence in himself and the coach and you are setting him up for failure when it comes to the real thing. You do know when your playing in a live game that is called conditioning. So, later in playoff time when he gets sluggish, losses his legs, and start missing shots, I will blame that on YOU and LD. I dont wanna here nothing about this guys legs or knees. Kobe had the same treatment over the summer and is ballin. Dropped 48 lastnight despite being 33. Get out of here, blaming Mac knees is another way of LD saying thats he wants to make sure his core plays most of the game, even if they loose the game. Im gettin tired of folks talking bout my boy Mac. He got skills, and I know yall respect that, but the KNEE SH** is garbage. He can handle 30 min a night. If Kobe at 33 and Ray Allen at 36 can 35 min a night and ball, I believe Mac can to if given the min and and opportunities to shoot the ball. I honestly think yall scared that T-mac could still be 18 to 20 point scorer again. I tell you what, ask Aldon Smith, Reggie Miller, and Dennis Scott if he can still be that kind of player and watch what they tell you. He couldnt do the 25 but the 18-20……oh yea. LD dont want the same style of basketball from two players on his court( refering to Joe and Mac) thats all.

drmaryb.[*_*].

January 11th, 2012
3:27 pm

The Difference!

The difference between Kirk and Jeff is:

Kirk will go and get the ball from Josh.
Jeff will wave his hands in frustration.

Give IT up Josh.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:29 pm

Hugo 3:20- Im telling you its the dumb coaching descisions by LD. He only wants is core on the floor and the ball in iso situations for Joe in crunch times. He’s a horrible coach. And if from some how, which I doubted, Hawks won it all this year, it wouldnt be because of LD. Ivan could be a defensive sensation if given the min and opprotunities. He’s a Dennis Rodman on the Block far as defensive, not rebounding lol!

Hawks4Eva

January 11th, 2012
3:34 pm

Matt Chernoff said a few minutes ago on 680 The Fan that Larry Drew showed the team a portion of the TNT broadcast that show Charles Barkley blasting the team, specifically how soft they were, and everything else said about this teams lack of mental toughness.

GREAT Motivator…wonder if that took that to heart?

Has anyone seen any of this reporting? Where?

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:36 pm

beone 3:12- Vlad aint nothing but turkulu. The difference, Hedo can pass and create his on shot. They both dont play defense and Vlad hasnt played no competion yet. Carlos Boozer doesnt count because he’s their worst defensive player in the front court. Now, Vald is a shooter which means he can shoot you in a game and shoot you out. And when he gets someone who can actually play defense, I gurantee it wont be all th hot shooting he’s doing now because the Hawks dont share the ball enough for that to happen. I would definitely take Marvin or Mac in that starting 3 any day.

drmaryb.[*_*].

January 11th, 2012
3:40 pm

The Zone!

Psychologically, I guess the zone works so well against certain teams is, it forces the opponent to make pressured jump shots. I think it also allows our team to rest a little on defense.

Without a zone, jump shooting is a choice.
TOL (thinking out loud) – I just made that one up. What’’s happening to our old english.

Fundamentals

January 11th, 2012
3:41 pm

Ivan did well in his first big stint, but he’s not shown that kind of ability since. He’s had trouble scoring at best, caused a few turnovers and wasn’t quite as dominating on defense and the boards. Granted I want the kid to develop, and he will, but demanding time isn’t going to help anyone. Dude will get minutes. He just needs to be ready to use them. Last few outings he’s seemed a bit more timid than the all out Ivan we saw that first night. I honestly think he played that first game like he had nothing to lose, now that we know he can, he’s trying too hard to prove himself. He just needs to relax and let the game come to him in the role he’s given each night.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:41 pm

Danny Granger, Paul George, and George Hill will shoot the lights out if the Hawks play zone. I hope the Hawks dont do it.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:43 pm

Agree fundamentals

The Truth

January 11th, 2012
3:44 pm

“Drew will use the same starting lineup tonight as he did at New Jersey: Teague, Johnson, Radmanovic, Smith, Horford”

What about Collins? When will Drew get him game ready? If he’s expecting him to suddenly play “high-level” basketball after collecting cobwebs on his behind than LD maybe disappointed.

Exactly what is Collin’s role anyway? Is he only a D12 stopper 5 min a game for 4 games this season? If he is a situational player used against “Big Lineups” than the Pacer Roy Hibbert Center @ 7′2″ should qualify him to play. If he does play, I won’t expect any “beasting” from him after riding the pine for so long.

O'Brien

January 11th, 2012
3:46 pm

I am all for managing for T-Mac’s minutes, but even if LD didnt plan on using T-Mac a certain night, I hope he will adjust to the flow of the game, and bring him in if needed.

O'Brien

January 11th, 2012
3:47 pm

FTPB,

Najeh,

How you feel about Joe Lombardi (the Saints QB coach) as the OC? I looked him up on the Saints website, and I think he is an intriguing possibility, plus he has a connection to ATL.

KevinM

January 11th, 2012
3:48 pm

Collins vs. Hibbert, a much lower undercard that Ivan/Hansbrough but we should see it tonight.
Al won’t want any part of reaching up to defend Hibbert.

Indy is going to be one of those teams that gives us trouble, especially if Granger is back to full strength. They have a good rotation, but Joe has no equal on that team.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:50 pm

The Truth- exactly how I feel abbout Mcgrady. Dont expect for him to play like the few games of the season if your not going to let him burn some good min. That’s all Im saying, DONT TAKE NOTHING AWAY FROM MCGRADY IN THE FUTURE BECAUSE THE COACH RIGHT NOW IS NOT USING HIM.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
3:52 pm

O’BRIEN 3:46- whats your reasoning?

Fundamentals

January 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

Drew has always expected Twin to come in sharp, focussed and ready. He’s done well in his stints, but honestly needs some minutes each week to keep his footwork and fitness level up, especially with no real practice this season. Twin got in good shape for a reason, to be a role player on this team. It’s Drew’s job to use him more so that he can become that role player we need.

In all honestly Al has done well against Hibbert the past few years. I’ll grant that Hibbert is improving each year. It’ll be good to see how Al handles him. Should give us an idea if All NBA Al can hold his weight with a young player who might just take that slot from him. I look forward to the battle myself.

oldmike

January 11th, 2012
3:58 pm

The overall team defense and offense seem to be improved with the addition of Teague to the starting lineup. Now we can see what a liability Bibby was on both ends of the floor and what “fools gold” Jamaal was. Tracy McG is an upgrade to the reserves and can fill in as spot starter. Vlad Rad seems to have a knack for scoring and can give us back up minutes for the “duck”. I ahet to gete xcited about the team since they can disappoint in a flash, but they sure looked awesome against the Bulls.

REAL TALK

January 11th, 2012
4:00 pm

Anybody prdiction on tonights game

Smith.Leuer.Bogut

January 11th, 2012
4:02 pm

lol. Yeah lets take out Space Cadet’s shooting for Jason Collins.

Then lets complain when Josh Smith is outside shooting. Who takes Vlad/Marvin’s 3pt spot on offense?

Astro Joe

January 11th, 2012
4:04 pm

There is a difference between playing a guy for 30 minutes vs. 10 minutes. TMac should be in the 16-24 minute range based on the flow of the game and his effectiveness (IMO). I can see adjusting his time when they are playing 3 consecutives games, but I certainly didn’t understand the use of the bench players in New Jersey the othernight. But it sounds like LD will go back to a more normal utilization of his bench tonight.

Sautee

January 11th, 2012
4:04 pm

“Just want somebody to explain to me, in plain english, why doesn’t Ivan see more court time. He was very impressive in his limited opportunites. Just asking.”

OK, here’s some plain English: Ivan is averaging 1.3 turnovers and 1.8 personal fouls in less than 8 minutes. Gotta score better than 2.7 and rebound better than 1.5 to offset the PFs and TOs.

He’s a great effort player, and I LOVE his aggressiveness, but so far, his negatives are outweighing his positives. But admittedly it’s a very small sample size, so let’s hope he wears Psycho T out tonight. To me, he had one very good game (vs. MIA when the big two were missing) and a lot of folks opinions were formed off of that one good performance. Let’s see that kind of production he gives us on a regular basis, and then complain if he’s underused. But based on “so far”, I can see why he hasn’t had more minutes. But that’s just my opinion.

Smith.Leuer.Bogut

January 11th, 2012
4:05 pm

How many Eastern playoff teams have we yet to play.

-Pacers
-Knicks
-76ers

Have not seen NY play but Chandler and Anthony are having some monster efficiency…

Vlad is a stop gap. Hoping against hope his lack of post up game and defense ability doesn’t come back to hurt us.

Go Hawks!

Buddy Grizzard

January 11th, 2012
4:07 pm

Huge game tonight. Win and the Hawks move to 8-3 heading into a home stand where they could easily be 11-3 when Portland visits. Lose and they are 7-4, even with the Knicks in the loss column and looking up in the standings at Indiana.

Fundamentals

January 11th, 2012
4:08 pm

Ivan’s stats prove the point

His one big game:
21 minutes 5 of 7 from the field for 13 pts, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

His other 5 bust games combined:
34 minutes 2 of 9 from the field for 5 pts, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.

Terrell

January 11th, 2012
4:09 pm

REAL TALK

I hate to tell you this but TMac done this before when people thought he was healthy and guess what he got injured when the team needed him most. If we are able to win games with him getting limited minutes I’m all for it because I rather have him for the playoffs especially after what I’ve seen him do in the 4th quarter against the Heat. Give me that in the playoffs.

Smith.Leuer.Bogut

January 11th, 2012
4:10 pm

Ivan was not on the scouting report and faked out the slower Bosh.

And now he is.
Good passer. Can use SF size and quickness and some dribbling skill to score. Defend the Mid range shot.

Undersized.

Fundamentals

January 11th, 2012
4:11 pm

I didn’t factor in the turnovers or fouls. Ivan had far too many is his big game. Honestly he’s done better in that category in his other games. He just needs to relax and shoot for playing his energy/opportunistic role. He can’t try too hard. Charles set him up for failure with his lopsided comments that night. He set the bar too high for Ivan. I think he just fell in love with a player like himself who could knock people around, score and rebound. Do we need that YES, but let him play his very, very, very limited role for now until he can prove he’s worth more.

tippy t

January 11th, 2012
4:11 pm

T-Mac is just like his cousin Vince Carter. They have very weak temperaments when they’re not the man. His role for this team is good because we can use him in stretches when Josh wants to take over (Miami win). He did a great job in the 4th qtr. and the bench had the spark they needed. We will still be 8-9 deep when everybody is healthy and with the short season, who knows how the rest of the East will play out. Philly, Chicago and Miami look good for the top 3 spots, Maybe we can pull the 4th seed and get lucky.

KevinM

January 11th, 2012
4:13 pm

Do head-2-head matchups help in regards to playoff seeding?

Looks like we have 2 against Indy, 3 vs Knicks, and 3 vs. Philly this year….

Fundamentals

January 11th, 2012
4:14 pm

So Smith.Leuer.Bogut,
Seems Bogut is beginning to return to form which will up his value, while Leuer still seems slow to truly be the powerhouse you proclaimed. What’s your projection on his stats by year end? How much do you think his stats are inflated because he’s playing for the Bucks?

ILL-Logical

January 11th, 2012
4:16 pm

The Chuckster calls the Hawks” a bunch of nice guys”; Mr. Blank says that he wants “some mean players”; the Braves want some”fast players”. What gives ; are the professional sports teams in this town experiencing some of the same issues?

Are playmakers in professional sports limited to just the major markets? The Packers,Thunder and Cardinals success suggests otherwise.Maybe ,just maybe, if the leadership of the respective teams played for rings and not to offend their perception of their fan bases POV, the brass ring-or its equivilent -could be won.

Bonus: Joe Johnson for D-Will.

Terrell

January 11th, 2012
4:17 pm

Smith.Leuer.Bogut

Vlad doesn’t need a post up game when he has the ability the spread the floor because of his ability to shoot the 3 ball. While he may not be a great defender he is a scrappy defender and gives more effort than Crawford use to give.