Atlanta Hawks: New bench same as the old bench?

The Hawks liked their bench players so much last season they are hoping they can lure them back for 2012-13.

“When we go forward I would anticipate–because our bench was so good for us last year [and] in our exit meetings with our veterans to a man said, ‘Can we get our same bench back?’–we are definitely going to make an effort to do that,” Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said. “Because, as you know, that was one of the deeper benches I’ve been involved with. It helped us sustain the injuries. I think they enjoyed the experience.

“I feel like the guys who came off the bench felt they had an identity. I think they felt appreciated by the starters. I think we would be their first choice. Now, I think a lot of things play into that but we talked to all of them and they had a good experience. ”

All of the 2011-12 reserves except for Ivan Johnson (the Hawks plan to extend him a qualifying offer to retain salary-matching rights) will be unrestricted free agents next month: Jason Collins, Erick Dampier, Willie Green, Kirk Hinrich, Tracy McGrady, Jannero Pargo, Vladimir Radmanovic and Jerry Stackhouse.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a scenario in which the Hawks rebuild their bench by bringing back most of those veterans if possible while supplanting one of them with their first-round draft pick, a player they hope can immediately join the back of the rotation.

“We have got to play it out,” Hawks GM Rick Sund said. “You can’t make any decisions even in your head right now. You can only play out scenarios because you don’t know what the [luxury] tax is going to be, you don’t know what the cap is going to be, you don’t know who you are going to draft.”

The Hawks did have a solid bench last season but, for various reasons, there is some risk in bringing back each of those players.

In the front court, Collins had some slippage and you wonder if Dampier will stay in shape this summer. Dampier turns 38 next month and Collins will be 34 in December.

The Hawks might be pressing their luck to hope Green can duplicate his career-best season–his inability to create shots in the playoffs against Boston’s defense may have been a sign. Also, he’ll be 31 next month after lingering injuries cost him 13 games last season.

Pargo also had the most efficient scoring season of his career but, like Green, the lasting impression was being overmatched by the Celtics. Larry Drew really likes Hinrich because of his defensive tenacity but Hinrich’s offensive production and efficiency continued to drop off and he looked beat up for most of the season.

On the wing, McGrady’s occasional flashes of his old play-making magic couldn’t compensate for his physical deterioration and his seeming inability to fully come to grips with that. Radmanovic also couldn’t stay healthy and went through stretches where he seemed reluctant to do the one thing the Hawks signed him to do, shoot 3-pointers. Stackhouse played in just 30 regular-season games and none in the playoffs.

Whatever the individual weaknesses of those players, Sund said he believes they collectively created a good blend for the Hawks.

“Last year I think we were the deepest team in the from league one through 15 once we picked up Dampier,” Sund said. “We had a great composite with the versatility and flexibility. It gave a lot of options for Larry, which he used a lot. He changed lineups and he could match up well.

“Also I think the really good teams can play the different styles. You can play an up-tempo game, you can play a defensive game, they can grind it out. I think the team with the best record, San Antonio, was the best at that. I think with all the versatility we had that was a plus. We could do that. And we were one of the best defensive teams in the league.”

Of course, the realities of the marketplace could trump whatever misgivings the Hawks have about bringing back last season’s reserves or signing other similarly-flawed free agents. You have to take what you can get if you are limited to filling out the roster with minimum-salaried vets.

If last season’s reserves don’t find much love on the free-agent market then perhaps they return.

“I think some of the guys are definitely in the mix,” Drew said. “My feeling is a lot of the guys are probably going to try to obviously get the best offer they can and go where the best offer is. We will be talking to most of them to see what they are thinking. We are going to have to make sure we are strengthening our bench and guys who can fit in with the core.

“There are certain pieces we are looking for. Last year I thought was a pretty good blend, a pretty good mix, and we kind of have an idea now of the type of players we need to bring in. We have already started to look at that free agent list and what’s out there and whether we can afford them or not. But with nine free agents got our work cut out for us. I don’t know who we can get.”

Some of last season’s reserves talked about the possibility of returning as they headed out the door.

Green: “I’ve got nine years in the NBA and I’m just looking forward to the next challenge. We will see what happens. If the opportunity is here [in Atlanta], this is where I will be. If not, I wish the Hawks the best.

Pargo: “Just looking for any team that wants me. Once I find out what teams want me, then go from there. If [the Hawks] will have me, I would love to be back.”

Hinrich: “Talent-wise, we are one of the better teams in the East. You play in this league for a certain amount of time and you want to be on a winner. We will see what happens. I could be back here, or could not.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

343 comments Add your comment

terrell

June 22nd, 2012
3:01 pm

Enter your comments here

terrell

June 22nd, 2012
3:02 pm

Lmfao @ Sund and Co.

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:09 pm

Ditch Vlad and Collins for sure.

Dampier also, unless your sure he’s in shape.

Stack – Join Mo’ Evans as Coach at the Summer League, ok?

MCgrady, Green, Hinrich, Pargo – I’m ok with that I guess – but Pargo needs to be the 3rd string PG, not 2nd.

Slimjr

June 22nd, 2012
3:10 pm

“We have got to play it out,” Hawks GM Rick Sund said. “You can’t make any decisions even in your head right now. You can only play out scenarios because you don’t know what the [luxury] tax is going to be, you don’t know what the cap is going to be, you don’t know who you are going to draft.” Wow…

The streak will continue for sure!!!!!!

44

2056

WeNeedTree

June 22nd, 2012
3:10 pm

Sign Ivan and Pargo and let the rest go…

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:10 pm

Ivan I definitely want back.

WeNeedTree

June 22nd, 2012
3:11 pm

Was there a more overpaid player in the league last year than Hinrich?

KevinM

June 22nd, 2012
3:12 pm

When Sund talks, doesn’t it just make you want to throw something?

He has no PR skills whatsoever; he never answers anything. Totally disgusting, and it looks like this group is back again for another short run in the playoffs.

MC, you just burst any hope of progress that we as fans thought they might make. If all the reserves say yes, they’ll come back, that means we have the same motley crew to beat up on -.500 teams, and watch another up and coming team step over us in the standings.

If I were LeBron and Co, I could take a long vacation, relax knowing that the Hawks are satisfied with competing in Season 1.

Totally disgusting.

Sautee

June 22nd, 2012
3:12 pm

“We had a great composite with the versatility and flexibility. It gave a lot of options for Larry, which he used a lot.”

Sund says this like it’s a good thing.

KYP – Know Your Personnel.

And apparently Sund doesn’t have a clue that giving LD too many options is debilitating to team success. This organization lives in a world of make believe.

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:13 pm

Jamal opted out of 5.4 mill with the Trailblazers – I’m not sure how the Hawks will be pursuing him – unless they take the best offer out there for Marvin, regardless of what it is.

Lang Greene said we are not going to just give Marvin away.

He also said he doubt’s Jamal comes back – the Motion O is not for him.

Slimjr

June 22nd, 2012
3:14 pm

Well there you have it..The more things stay the same round here..

Hey Sund why dont you tell All Whatever to work on his finesse game so not to re-injure himself..

Oh that’s right, that’s not a part of his skill set and will never be.

Well at least I can save money again this coming season…

Sund Retire will ya??????????????????????????????????????????

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:14 pm

WNT – Rashard Lewis?

TMACfan

June 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

TMAC is a gone man.

TMACfan

June 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

Please draft Tony Wroten

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

WNT – Charlie Villenueva? Hedo Turkoglu?

Michael Cunningham

June 22nd, 2012
3:16 pm

@KevinM: “MC, you just burst any hope of progress that we as fans thought they might make.”

sorry.

KevinM

June 22nd, 2012
3:17 pm

Sund is telling you this is the easiest money he’s ever made because there is very little advanced planning.

Disgusting.

Slimjr

June 22nd, 2012
3:18 pm

MC, is there anyway you can give us an update on the workouts today?

How did Andrew Nicholson fair?

GStateBen

June 22nd, 2012
3:19 pm

I definitely think Ivan and Pargo are worth keeping. Dampier can be replaced with the draft pick of Fab Melo (who should be there). Collins should not be retained and it was a mistake, IMO, to bring him back this past season. This is also tells me that the Hawks 2nd round pick MUST make the team. No NBDL or off to Europe for seasoning. This draft is deep enough to have a quality player in the 2nd round.

I agree on Willie Green although he’s a very good leader and the team seemed to perk up with him in the game.

KevinM

June 22nd, 2012
3:19 pm

“Lang Greene said we are not going to just give Marvin away.”

In real words, no one will take him……

Sund, can we give you away?

Slimjr

June 22nd, 2012
3:20 pm

Hey I give Sund credit for his honesty..

He keeps saying he don’ know……… Help us please?

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:21 pm

Please no Vlad Rad, Stack, Collins, really no Damp either, unless he’s in good shape.

Hit a homerun at #23.

And I see no lottery player that gives us what Josh gives us except Davis. Everybody else is a long term project. Drummond may be great or he may be a bust. MKG? A couple of years away. Beal? Same.

Robinson? Ok rebounding translates – so he’s a little better than Faried maybe.

UNC F? Too risky after Marvin

TMACfan

June 22nd, 2012
3:23 pm

Can we please take a risk reward on Brandon Roy?

In a 6th man role.

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:23 pm

Henson or Zeller may be ok. Same with Meyer Leonard. But nobody’s going to give you what Josh does that I can see.

So do you trade Josh for a lesser player?

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:25 pm

Brain Butch, Chris Daniels or somebody may give you what Collins and Dampier would, except for just pure size and bulk.

Give Benson another shot.

SteveW

June 22nd, 2012
3:27 pm

I sign Roy tomorrow if there is any chance he can play 15 minutes per nite.

beone

June 22nd, 2012
3:27 pm

The joke for sure is on the fans. When it is obvious from lack of attendance at games and the comments on blogs that fans want change we are told, it was good and so it will be the same. Is anybody on the Hawks listening? Are they so pompous and full of themselves that they refuse to listen to anyone? The fans, the commentators, the newspaper writers, the pundits? Apparently all wrong. ONLY SUND, DREW and GEARON know the truth. Well, the joke will be on them when they and the players are the only ones at the games. Just sell it to Seattle and be done with it.

Buddy Grizzard

June 22nd, 2012
3:28 pm

“Can someone explain the difference between Fab Melo and Hasheem Thabeet?

Besides Fab being shorter.”

Thabeet gets up and down the court faster?

WeNeedTree

June 22nd, 2012
3:29 pm

Draft Festus Ezeli…move Al over and trade Josh….and take whatever you can get for Joe…

Slimjr

June 22nd, 2012
3:32 pm

Yea Josh will play it out then walk? Will not be surprised that’s for sure..

“We have to Play it Out”= we[Hawks] are convinced that we have ECF talent on this ballclub..

Not buying it Sund…

Mike

June 22nd, 2012
3:34 pm

MC, Any word that if that Sund is coming back to this team and when we can get a new GM for real. Also, do you think that the Hawks will try to make some moves in Draft?

I am starting to think these guys are play “Scorched earth” games around here, they try to make the fans feel so assured that this team is going to pass the hump to the ECF or even the playoffs. But in reality, we are just like a middling team with no cap space and no hope at all. This team needs to be sold and sold right now or they are going to lose the rest of the fan-base.

Buddy Grizzard

June 22nd, 2012
3:43 pm

Um… did Sund get extended while I wasn’t looking?

Ray

June 22nd, 2012
3:50 pm

The answer is to keep Josh and Horford and not move either one.

People keep talking about Josh is a gone man he’s not gone if ownership does what is right, and that’s the point ASKG never does what is right Honestly to me Josh Smith is so game changing that if I’m GM #1 I’m taking a lot of the other teams players plus draft picks for this year and next.

Like say Portland for example I’m taking a good bit of their younger players back plus both picks and some of their next years picks.

That is the only way I’d get over Josh Smith leaving unless *sigh* ownership does what they are normally good at doing and F’up the Draft picks.

Besides that though WE NEED TO GET RID OF JOE CHOKE MAX JOHNSON! Let him be someone else’s problem. He didn’t thrive in this offense that I haven’t really seen much of since last season. Because they did exactly what everyone thought they would do revert back to Mike Woodson Iso Joe Style offense.

Stuart

June 22nd, 2012
3:50 pm

I am for keeping Zaza (he returns to the bench with Al returning), Hinrich, Ivan and Pargo. The rest of the bench needs to go. TJerk isn’t consistent anymore, Stackhouse is 135 and the others just aren’t going to be servicable. I wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on Brandon Roy and howzabout a trade of Marvin.

Jay

June 22nd, 2012
4:00 pm

Sund thinks we were the deepest team in the LEAGUE last year??? Is he crazy??!?!? Our bench was WAAAAY overrated. Cunningham’s analysis was accurate. Most of those guys are expendable. Ivan is worth keeping, Pargo as a third pg, Kirk only at a hugely discounted price or not at all. All the rest, ditch em. T-Mac won’t be back, I think that’s a lock, same with VladRad.

GSmooth

June 22nd, 2012
4:02 pm

So in other words they want to bring back last years mediocre team that took a step backwards in the playoffs.. Spend some $$$$ for once and build a contender! We can’t contend with half of the teams in the East. So frustrated by this article.

Ray

June 22nd, 2012
4:05 pm

Ivan is a keeper
Zaza is a most def keeper in fact I’m in favor of starting him moving Al to PF and Josh to SF.

Cause if we don’t it doesn’t give Sund a reason to go draft a legit Center that they are willing to train to at least be a Roy Hibbert basically.

Plus Wasn’t Horford on the record not wanting to play Center few years or even a year back? So for the most part Dampier and Collins don’t cut it only on a team like Boston or Spurs would they even be acceptable cause both coaches know how to use them.

cp

June 22nd, 2012
4:12 pm

I dont want another year of Twin. I didnt want him last season and I dont want him this upcoming season. Twin is terrible. I dont mind Ivan, Green, and Pargo but no more Twin. This front office has no clue. Its clear they wont be breaking up the core and we will see more of the same from last season. Its hard as hell being a fan of this team.

prison mike

June 22nd, 2012
4:15 pm

Excited about the bench with Al coming back strong and our draft picks strengthening it. Hopefully we use the MLE and make a strong push.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 22nd, 2012
4:20 pm

Jason Collins – Only good when guarding Dwight Howard
Erick Dampier – Too old and can’t finish
Willie Green – Shot the ball well last year and should have played more
Kirk Hinrich – Plays ok defense but jumpshot is beyond repair
Tracy McGrady – Played well in the playoffs
Jannero Pargo – ok but shoots too may 3’s
Vladimir Radmanovic – Washed up
Jerry Stackhouse – Washed up

Give me Big Ivan, Mcgrady, and Willie Green. Let the rest walk. Time to give up on Jason Collins.

fork

June 22nd, 2012
4:24 pm

Stick me in the Atlanta Hawks

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

June 22nd, 2012
4:28 pm

just SHOOT me

June 22nd, 2012
4:35 pm

We all know the Hawks are going to blow it in the draft. They’ll probably sell the pick or draft some guy no one’s ever heard of. Until the ASG is gone, so are the Hawks and their fans. I mean come on…Who wants to go to another Hawks game? Not me!

Najeh Davenpoop

June 22nd, 2012
4:36 pm

I don’t mind bringing back most of the same bench, except a) I would replace Green’s roster spot with a true veteran backup PG who can handle the ball and control tempo, and b) I would replace Vlad’s roster spot with another viable big man who can rebound and defend. Those two roster spots should have gone to Reggie Evans and Earl Watson anyway.

I’m picking Pargo over Green because even though both have more or less the same strengths and weaknesses, in my opinion Pargo is capable of doing more things than Green.

One thing, though, is that this bench cannot be relied on to produce offense unless they have a facilitator. If T-Mac is one and done with the Hawks, they better find someone else who can come in and create easy shots for the second unit.

Geemack

June 22nd, 2012
4:37 pm

I’ve been a loyal fan since I was 10 yrs old, but I’m really starting to dislike this franchise.

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

even when you see ineptitude and know the more is coming, it is doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

henceforth, i shall call the hawks, the hakws because they always get it backwards.

Luv Josh Smith

June 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Keep this bench another year? Deepest team in the League?

I am going the throw up. Sund can’t be serious with his comments. Hope he is keeping his plans close to his chest and feeding the media nothing. I hope.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 22nd, 2012
4:46 pm

“Najeh, I love reading your stuff, but this is the most absurd thing you have ever posted:

“The Hawks lost to the Celtics because they can’t score and the Celtics can.”

The ease with which the Celtics scored was purely a function of Larry Drew deciding to have poor defenders like Teague and Pargo try to check Rondo. Watch the video I linked. Teague ISN’T EVEN TRYING to stay in front of Rondo.”

First of all I have been posting on AJC blogs for seven years, so I’m pretty sure I have posted something more absurd than that.

Secondly, I don’t see what video you linked, so I can’t really respond. I do remember, though, that the Hawks as a whole played solid team defense for every game of that series except Game 4. I don’t agree that Teague was that bad on D, but even if I were to accept that contention of yours, the Hawks held the Celtics to offensive ratings below their season average in five of the six games of the series.

The Celtics’ season offensive rating was 101.0. The Hawks’ season defensive rating was 101.2. The Celtics’ offense only exceeded that number in two games, one of which they lost anyway.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were also held to offensive ratings of 95 or below in each of their four losses. For comparison’s sake, the Celtics’ top ranked defense allowed a 98 rating for the season. So in other words, the Hawks scored at such an inefficient rate in their four losses that they performed below the average for a typical Celtics opponent this season.

I stand by what I said before. The Hawks lost to the Celtics because they couldn’t score. In crunch time, the Celtics moved the ball and got open shots while the Hawks dribbled the air out of the ball and ended up with Josh launching 3s with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. Individual player matchups aside, the team stats (which ultimately are what determine wins and losses) bear this out.

Astro Joe

June 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

The Summer of Sameness is operating in the 4th gear. Now, we just need the final touches on the GM decision and we’ll be at top speed going no where.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 22nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Another thing about the bench — they absolutely must add a perimeter defender to the mix. Damien Wilkins isn’t exactly All-Defense material and yet his absence was felt this season.

Zaza is obviously still under contract. Preferably Ivan comes back, although if they can find someone like him in the draft or in free agency he is not irreplaceable. They need a perimeter defender, and they need a veteran big man to defend true centers (preferably an upgrade over Collins and Dampier). Other than that, something resembling this year’s shooter-heavy bench is OK, as long as there is a facilitator present to play T-Mac’s role.