Atlanta Hawks: The ‘big’ issue

My blog people have spoken, and the vast majority of you say the Hawks need another center now and should sign a free agent or trade for one.

Rick Sund also has spoken, and he says: “It all depends on who you match up with [in the playoffs] and how you do it.”

“Some teams you’ve got to be able to match up big and some you’ve got to be able to match up small,” Sund said.

He’s right about that. Miami goes small a lot. Philadelphia does so when Spencer Hawes is on the bench. Chicago is smallish when it’s Joakim Noah instead of Omer Asik (though that’s happening less and less).

But the problem for the Hawks is they can’t always go big when they need to. Zaza Pachulia is it as far as effective two-way centers. At power forward, they’ve got slim Josh Smith, green (and limited) Ivan Johnson and perimeter-oriented Vladimir Radmanovic.

Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson all came into camp saying the Hawks needed another center. In Sund’s view, he covered the position with Horford, Zaza and Jason Collins.

“I always start the season, everywhere I’ve been, with three point guards and centers just in case you lose one of them,” Sund said. “We started this with Al, Zaza and Twin. To me, three to start is good. We are looking and watching [at other options] but, who knows?”

The obvious hole in that analysis is that Sund counts Collins as the third center when really he’s a specialist suited for a narrow role. Collins’ on-court, off-court numbers at basketballvalue.com suggest he still has a positive effect on the defense but has been a major drag on the offense.

After starting Collins at center for three games, Larry Drew didn’t use him until garbage time against Cleveland and gave him DNP-CDs at Milwaukee or San Antonio. I’m assuming that’s an acknowledgment that Collins just isn’t very good when asked to do much more than keep strong post scorers away from the basket. His lack of mobility clearly is a liability when he’s forced to defend the pick-and-roll, chase down rebounds or close out on shooters.

Good centers are hard to come by so it’s not easy to just go out and get one. But there wasn’t much indication during training camp that Sund was even looking for another big. His comments now suggest that he really did think Horford, Zaza, Twin, Josh and Ivan provided enough depth in the power rotation. So the Hawks loaded up on guards instead.

Now that Kirk Hinrich is back, I know many of you want to trade him for a big. That’s a reasonable view, even if it seems as if I might be the only one who thinks Hinrich has real value for the Hawks.

Over his career, Hinrich has been a better offensive player than Jannero Pargo. Subjectively, I’d say Hinrich is Pargo’s equal at defending point guards. And Hinrich’s real value is in his ability to check two guards, which would come in handy against most any team in the playoffs but especially Miami (I remember how he used to irritate Dwyane Wade) and Philly.

But the reality is Pargo has proven to be an adequate backup point guard. The Hawks have other options to score and defend twos (even if J.J. and Willie Green don’t inspire as much confidence) . Meanwhile, the Hawks don’t have many good alternatives in the front court and they don’t like any of the free agents (that changes once Kenyon Martin is released from his Chinese Basketball Association contract).

All of those factors, in addition to Hinrich’s expiring contract, would seem to make him a good candidate to be traded. I’m still not sure if the Hawks are willing to trade for a player that has another year(s) on his deal–Sund didn’t want to discuss anything like that. If not , it probably limits the trade market for Hinrich since teams that acquire an expiring contract almost always are looking to get rid of players with additional years left on their deals.

Sund, by the way, offered this explanation of why the Hawks waived Donald Sloan: “We really like what Pargo has given us. He’s played a lot and [Jerry] Stackhosue gives us experience. Sloan, we liked him. I think he’s a guy who will be in the league.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

172 comments Add your comment

i_am_soulstar

January 27th, 2012
10:29 am

SteveW

January 27th, 2012
10:39 am

SteveW

January 27th, 2012
10:41 am

MC – I think Hinrich has value – but we do need another Big. Maybe we can hold out and wait for Martin, and we’ll be competing for some teams for his services – And maybe Sund is convinced Horford will be back and ready come playoff time, who knows?

Trojan

January 27th, 2012
10:42 am

We should do more that simply hope we match up well.

Ivan Johnson was referred to as limited. He is a forward, playing center. The limited should be changed to “willing to try”.

Championship teams do not knowingly have a glaring need and hope for the best.

SteveW

January 27th, 2012
10:44 am

I’d even re-sign Kito right now, and try to get him ready for the playoffs as a situational defender. Guy is a good shot blocker.

And our schedule is really favorable in April. Both of our 3 consecutive days off this season are in April, and we close out on a 5 game homestand. If we can survive until April, we’ve got one of the best schedules as far as rest goes, and it may benefit us come playoff time.

joe

January 27th, 2012
10:49 am

RICK,YOU ARE FOOLING ONLY YOURSELF.

Regular Joe

January 27th, 2012
10:49 am

“We started this with Al, Zaza and Twin. To me, three to start is good. We are looking and watching [at other options] but, who knows?”

How can you expect the fans to believe you are committed to doing everything possible to win a championship, when you don’t even sound like you have a plan when adversity strikes?

Najeh Davenpoop

January 27th, 2012
10:55 am

“I might be the only one who thinks Hinrich has real value for the Hawks.”

Trading Kirk for a big man is not a question of Kirk’s value. It is a question of Pargo’s ability to competently play backup PG as opposed to Ivan and Twin’s ability to competently play backup C. As far as I’m concerned, Pargo at PG > Twin/Ivan at C, which is why Kirk is an obvious trade candidate.

Reggie

January 27th, 2012
10:56 am

MC,

Are the Hawks still interested in signing Kenyon Martin when he’s done playing in China?

steve brown

January 27th, 2012
10:56 am

Kaman has been benched by N.O. and he is a true center and better than anything we’ve got. This should be a no-brainer if the Hawks are serious about making a run. I believe we will find out that they (ownership) are not.

Freeman Johnson

January 27th, 2012
10:56 am

Maybe Charles Barkley right the ATLANTA Hawks are nice guys. We have not guys really hungry to win a Championship. Marvin showup sometime, we ask Joe Johnson to do it all,Josh has to give his all every night. Listen I saw team down 27 points Boston and Orlando and came back and beat Orlando, Odd thing about this game Boston did not have Rondo or Ray Allen in the starting lineup. You want to fill the stands get good player here.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 27th, 2012
10:58 am

“I’m still not sure if the Hawks are willing to trade for a player that has another year(s) on his deal–Sund didn’t want to discuss anything like that. If not , it probably limits the trade market for Hinrich since teams that acquire an expiring contract almost always are looking to get rid of players with additional years left on their deals.”

Hopefully Sund knows that he can get pretty much any affordable big man he wants if he trades Kirk into the Lakers’ trade exception.

Andrew Lipham

January 27th, 2012
11:00 am

Trade Hinrich/Marvin/Teague/picks for Deron Williams. D-Will, JJ, Smoove, Al would dominate the NBA. We could beat the Heat with a deal like that.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
11:03 am

I think Sund needs to retired after this year, I dont think he makes sense himself

So what about Indiana with Roy Hibbert(?), or Magic with D12 (as long he stays there or not traded to the Western Conference team), Hawes and Brand in Philly and lets not count out the others.

Hawks need a big man and they need it NOW, you cant have JJ is a backup center unless you are running and gunning.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
11:06 am

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2012
11:12 am

No way the Hawks can sign Kenyon Martin without going over the cap anyway, so they should stop trying to feed us those lies. The only way we get a big is by trade, and Hinrich is pretty much your only option, unless you decide to move Josh or Horford. Nobody wants Marvin.

rollow lawson

January 27th, 2012
11:16 am

Sign Rasheed Wallace!!!!

Mike

January 27th, 2012
11:18 am

We can see why this team is #28 out of 30 in value right now. Its hard to support a team when you hear stuff like that, coming from GM knowing in fact that we could be a better team if did have a true center here.

I MUS WRITE

January 27th, 2012
11:20 am

Clearly our GM doesnt get it. Get a big man do it now. The only Centers we have right now are ZAZA and Twin -who are 3rd string big men on good teams.
Ivan tries hard but he is 6′7 playing guys like the 7ft Tiago Splitter- C’mon….
When Al was healthy he didnt wanna mix it up -post up or defend the Center spot-His only concern was launching that 15 footer. C’mon-

Heinrich/Pargo are good backups at the PG….GET A BIG MAN

Kyle Frascinco, Kenyon Martin

SteveW

January 27th, 2012
11:21 am

Hinrich 8 mill – Kaman 14 mill – The Hawks would wait until the last possible second to make that trade, to mitigate the difference in salary and the effect it would have on the Luxury Tax.

I’d throw in some 2nd picks just to make that trade work

Grandad

January 27th, 2012
11:26 am

MC

I like Cap’n Kirk probably as much as anyone.
But, one has to give something to get something.

Our greatest need is size.
The Hawks are small.
Our Hawks need a Legit Productive Big !

Mr Sund is full of shoo shoo with his remarks;
does he think he is speaking to fools.

Matching up with this … what if Chicago does that …
Bull shoo shoo !
Good teams make teams match up to them;
not the other way around !

Our Hawks needed a legit 7 ftr. prior to Horford’s inj. !

The crap that came out of his mouth today was insulting !

He may have well have said;
I / we / ASG don’t give a hooey !

AttaBoy Sund … Way to Promote your Team !

-Imbecile-

I MUS WRITE

January 27th, 2012
11:26 am

Rod that about sums it up. For the right peice i would definitely move Horford and his 12 mill a yr. Nobody is gonna trade for him though seeing as how he’s injured – We probably couldnt get a 2nd for Marvin ….SAD

Where are all the Josh bashers.That man is balling out this yr it seems as though the light has come on all the way. All we heard around here was how Horford id better -more valuable- better defensively yada yada yada. Well the team has been winning without Jumpshot AL as Slimjr puts it. We dont need another 6′10 jump shooter. Gritty post players apply here..

Andrew Lipham

January 27th, 2012
11:32 am

Horford and Hinrich for Deron Williams

Rufus1

January 27th, 2012
11:34 am

Benson is the Man, get ready.

Benson is in the D-league at the Hawks request… He is the last resort for this team and if we keep Kirk, Benson is going to take Pargo’s place.

rollow lawson

January 27th, 2012
11:36 am

Yet, Gearon and Company wonder why people won’t fully buy into this organization. Crap like this is why!! Everybody and their mama knows what the Hawks need to push them over the top. But these penny-pinchers refuse to do what needs to be done. With a few tweaks, this team could take the East and have the whole City behind them. After the Falcon’s continued playoff debacles, this City is looking to hitch its wagon to a winner. This is the perfect opportunity for the Hawks to be the talk of the Town and jump over the Falcons. Our ownership is too STUPID to see this. Sad, very sad!!

Grandad

January 27th, 2012
11:37 am

Kenyon Martin = Not a Legit Big

He’s an athletic [4].; smallish at 6-9, 230 [Josh]
34 years old post prime athlete, post knee surgery
*Not a Legit Big Man*

No longer a shot-blkr
career 63% FT shooter
career 7 rebs per / only 8 per 36 min
most of career = healthy plus he was younger

Why would we want K-Mart ?

rollow lawson

January 27th, 2012
11:38 am

Tell me again how Deron Williams helps improve what ails this team?

Andrew Lipham

January 27th, 2012
11:40 am

If we could get Deron Williams for Hinrich/Teague/Marvin/picks, that would move us way way up in the east. Deron williams is a top 10 player.

Andrew Lipham

January 27th, 2012
11:41 am

Deron Williams is a top 10 player. IF somehow we can trade for him without giving up joe, josh, or al, we would dominate.

Wendy

January 27th, 2012
11:43 am

Deron doesn’t upgrade at PG enough to compensate for the lack of bigs.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
11:45 am

but Andrew,

But that is way too much for a person, that will be a F/A after this season and probably will walk away. You dont do package like that unless its for D12 but Magic isnt going to trade him to divisonal rival.
Because Teague is doing much better job than Deron right now

vava74

January 27th, 2012
11:54 am

Martin is, IMO, a fake tough guy, but he is the best “big” available.

However, we will NOT try to sign him NOR we will make any trade. Just stop with that chatter. It’s pointless.

We will go into the playoffs with Ivan on stilettos and that will be it.

wordsmithtom

January 27th, 2012
11:54 am

Orlando big…..just ask Boston. See what the old Celts did, minus Rondo BTW, last night. SMFH

Size ain’t everything.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
11:58 am

vava74,

its seems like you are about to give up, I am getting to that point right now. Regrade what Sund and MC says, we still thin in the front and we are one injury away from being lotto bound.

Mike

January 27th, 2012
12:00 pm

wordsmithton,

but they got stars on that team and they didnt give up and what do we have? I let you think about that for second (remember SA and Philly games for a min)

cpsman_atlanta

January 27th, 2012
12:03 pm

I’ve got an idea… Why doesn’t the group that is known as Atlanta Spirit Group, LLC., or the owners of the team and the arena, find someone who ACTUALLY CARES about Atlanta and sells the team and the arena to new owners? Then, we can get a hockey team again, and make Philips Arena one of the most exciting places in America for sports!!

This is 100% an ownership issue. Nobody is coming out to see this team because (a) the arena is falling apart, (b) the team doesn’t have all the right personnel, and (c) no good player once to come play for a group of owners like this.

BOYCOTT PHILIPS ARENA!!! BOYCOTT ATLANTA SPIRIT GROUP!!!!

TED TURNER, PLEASE SAVE US!!!!

Legit bigman needed

January 27th, 2012
12:10 pm

Miami is a small team but come on MC they’ve got 2 first ballot HOF ers on that squad. That’s like saying the chicago bulls never had an elite or even serviceable 7 footer and won 6 rings (phil jackson always carried 2-3 legit 7 foot lane cloggers, luc longley, bill wennington types and we dont have anyone of even that low caliber sorry twin but its the truth)

Josh and al were right we needed a legit big prior to the season, a legit big. Not kmart, not kaman, not pryzbilla, not some other scrapheap reclaim/project. A legit bigman. I have changed my name and no longer want to be called bigman needed but legit bigman needed.

A legit bigman and we can go to the next level. But some castoff and we’ll do same as always. Camby, chandler, even dalembert are legit, dont need touches, rebound and defend big men. All taken.

Okafor is out there and would fit the bill. Javale mcgee is a riskier, cheaper option but may also work.
Both can be sprung/stolen from teams going nowhere.

Heinrich has no value on this team. We need teague and jj playing virtually the entire game in the playoffs- where are kirk’s minutes.

Do it sund!

John

January 27th, 2012
12:13 pm

Lipham, have you seen Deron Williams this year. The Hawks have played the Nets three times and he has looked uninspired, sluggish, and out of shape in all three games. With Teague, there is no reason to trade for another PG. If Hinrich can get a decent big, that is the only move to make. It might be a good time to trade him because he seems a little overrated at this point.

Marcus

January 27th, 2012
12:17 pm

ditto Steve W. and Najeh d-poop.

Kito might provide some respite come playoffs, if he stays in the D-League, the weight room and at the Old Country Buffet.

Michael Cunningham

January 27th, 2012
12:18 pm

@SteveW: “MC – I think Hinrich has value – but we do need another Big. Maybe we can hold out and wait for Martin, and we’ll be competing for some teams for his services – And maybe Sund is convinced Horford will be back and ready come playoff time, who knows?”

no, he says they won’t really know for a couple more months. Al is in a sling for six weeks.

@Trojan: “Ivan Johnson was referred to as limited. He is a forward, playing center. The limited should be changed to “willing to try”.”

he was referred to as being limited at power forward.

Rod from College Park

January 27th, 2012
12:19 pm

“Benson is in the D-league at the Hawks request… He is the last resort for this team and if we keep Kirk, Benson is going to take Pargo’s place.”

I agree this is the move that will be made. The cheap way out. Benson is not very good, and light in the pants.

Kenyon Martin is Josh lite. He is not a center. He is a little better that Ivan at this point, and he will commmand a decent salary. He is not an option. Why would he come to the Hawks to play center, when he can go anywhere else and play his natural position.

Michael Cunningham

January 27th, 2012
12:19 pm

@Najeh “Trading Kirk for a big man is not a question of Kirk’s value. It is a question of Pargo’s ability to competently play backup PG as opposed to Ivan and Twin’s ability to competently play backup C. As far as I’m concerned, Pargo at PG > Twin/Ivan at C, which is why Kirk is an obvious trade candidate.”

isn’t that what i wrote here?

Michael Cunningham

January 27th, 2012
12:20 pm

@Reggie: “MC, Are the Hawks still interested in signing Kenyon Martin when he’s done playing in China?”

yeah, it’s in this post.

Michael Cunningham

January 27th, 2012
12:22 pm

@Grandad: “MC I like Cap’n Kirk probably as much as anyone. But, one has to give something to get something. Our greatest need is size. The Hawks are small. Our Hawks need a Legit Productive Big !”

i think this is what i wrote but maybe i didn’t do a good job since no one seems to notice.

Michael Cunningham

January 27th, 2012
12:23 pm

@Legit bigman: “Miami is a small team but come on MC they’ve got 2 first ballot HOF ers on that squad. That’s like saying the chicago bulls never had an elite or even serviceable 7 footer and won 6 rings.”

it is?

Astro Joe

January 27th, 2012
12:29 pm

There are more PGs who do damage than there are powerful low post centers. So IMO, a big that can effectively move his feet on pick and roll plays and when the PG has made dribble penetration is key. That is why Kenyon is a viable option to me. My concern is that the guys who have been enjoying Twinkies since last May (or in Rasheed’s case longer than that), may not have much more agility than Collins. If Benson is the default option, then at least he has the ability to show on pick and roll plays and get back into position much better than someone like Dampier or Pryzbilla. Collins can be the guy to do the heavy lifting if we face D12.

Slimjr

January 27th, 2012
12:31 pm

Sund= as a GM for 32 years in the NBA, has never won an WCF nor ECF,expect no more from this buster…

Slimjr

January 27th, 2012
12:31 pm

Hawks GM= Chit Load Of Crap….

Slimjr

January 27th, 2012
12:32 pm

K. Martin= Josh 2.0, redundant…….

Ramon

January 27th, 2012
12:33 pm

MC, you should just stop asking Sund questions altogether. He never gives a straight up answer. Just goto Gearon or LD. Sund always act as if simply making it to the playoffs is a success to him.