Playoff series win is validation for Woodson

If Mike Woodson feels vindicated after going 106-222 in his first four seasons, he has a right to.

If Mike Woodson feels vindicated after going 106-222 in his first four seasons but winning a playoff series in year five, it's no wonder. (Curtis Compton/

Two months ago, the Hawks were coming off a loss in Charlotte that dropped them to 2-6 in a stretch and 13-18 since January. They were sliding. They had an enigmatic star (Josh Smith) and a combustible coach (Mike Woodson) who were having a very public feud.

Woodson, the aforementioned coach, took the brunt of the criticism. It happens. When a coach goes 106-222 in his first four seasons, he gets a lot of things thrown his way. One of them is not the benefit of the doubt.

It follows that when new general manager Rick Sund decided to bring Woodson back – albeit with a lukewarm two-year contract – the public response was mixed.

But Tuesday night, the Hawks are some place few figured they would be: In Cleveland. In the playoffs. Playing.

It doesn’t matter that the Hawks are massive underdogs against LeBron James and the Cavaliers. It doesn’t matter if this series goes four games, five or seven. They won a playoff round. That alone validates a 47-win season.

It also validates Mike Woodson as a head coach.

Do you agree the Hawks' first-round win validates Mike Woodson as a head coach?

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You won’t hear this from Woodson. The man is overly sensitive. He doesn’t take criticism well. He gets prickly. He lets things that are said or written about him consume him. But the last thing he is going to do now – particularly on the eve of a playoff series – is make himself the story.

But if he’s bubbling over with I-told-you-so, well, he deserves to.

When asked Monday if he believed his coach felt vindicated, Josh Smith said: “Probably so. He probably deserves it just as much as we do. Of all the criticism he had to face during his career while being here, I know he feels relieved. He might not say it, but you can tell a big weight is lifted off his chest.”


“I can just tell by the way he’s walking around and acting. He’s interacting with everybody. He’s real excited. But he’s also determined to prove something this series as well.”

When the topic of vindication was broached Monday, Woodson reiterated what he said after Sunday’s clinching win over Miami. He thanked ownership for sticking with him, then added: “I think we’ve always been on schedule, regardless of what the media and everybody else says. When you build around a young team it takes time.”

Coaches and teams ultimately are judged by post-seasons. Had the Hawks lost to Miami, a 47-35 record would’ve been an afterthought. Woodson knows this.

Instead, the Hawks won a playoff series for the first time in 10 years, so Woodson’s accomplishments can be magnified. That’s the way it works in sports.

Despite injuries, the Hawks held onto the fourth seed in the East for the season’s last three months (which ultimately probably decided the Miami series). They didn’t become fragmented during when the Woodson-Smith feud boiled over with a benching during the aforementioned loss in Charlotte. They rebounded from a dreadful Game 6 against the Heat to win Game 7 easily.

All that is a reflection of the coach.

Sund prefers not to publicly evaluate players and coaches, particularly during the playoffs. But he credited “Woody and the coaching staff” for navigating the team through injuries and holding onto the fourth seed.

Since Woodson’s contract had expired, Sund effectively hired a man – incremental progress or not – coming off four straight losing seasons. He gave Woodson neither a slap (one-year contract) or a ringing endorsement (three years).

“I came here with a completely open mind,” Sund said.

One year later, Woodson’s resume just got better. Validation and leverage comes with that.

89 comments Add your comment


May 4th, 2009
6:03 pm

Congrats to Coach Woodson and the entire Hawks organization for finally getting this thing put back together. It’s been a long 10 years. Although the cynic in me seems to think that the success stems from the gridlock in the owners box that has forced the status quo to remain. In this case, it worked out because it allowed a young team the time to come together as a unit and get better. I still think they need a true NBA center (7+ feet) which would allow Horford to shift to a more natural 4, and they need a real superstar. As you said last week, Johnson is good, but he’s not D Wade, Kobe, Lebron, etc. Get those two things (maybe even both with one acquisition), and they’re knocking on the door of the Finals next year.

As an aside, at what point do “newspapers” (I use that term loosely because that’s not really what you’re working for anymore) admit to themselves that the print media is not really what their business is (or at least not the widest circulated version of it), and start allowing you to write your stories in present tense (ie, allow you to drop the “today/tonight” when talking about an event that isn’t happening until tomorrow)? It’s really quite silly, honestly.

Paul H

May 4th, 2009
6:10 pm

Good job, Hawks. Now let’s get tough on the road for this one!

Reid Adair

May 4th, 2009
6:22 pm

Well said, Jeff. Mike Woodson has faced a tremendous amount of criticism during his tenure in Atlanta, both from the media and the fans. This young team has consistently improved, but I think the question now is how far can they go without a “true” center and more of an inside game?

I don’t agree with Michael about needing a superstar. I think the combination of Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and Josh Smith is solid. But a center may well be the key to progressing much further than they have.

Show me state

May 4th, 2009
6:24 pm

Let’s go Hawks!!! It doesn’t matter that yall are huge underdogs. No one pick yall to win a game in last year playoffs against the C’s and yall took ‘em to 7. The C’s were a better team than this year’s Cavs are. So who know’s what can happen? Just go out there and play team ball on the road and handle your business @ home and we’ll see from there.Take it one game at a time. In the meanwhile Let’s go Hawks!!!!

Sautee Dawg

May 4th, 2009
6:29 pm

Congrats to coach Woodson the team and the whole orginization. Never seen a player so quietly score 27 points as Johnson did on Sunday. Imagine if he were really fired up what he would do. Good luck in the next round.


May 4th, 2009
6:36 pm

I will be the first one to admit that I haven’t had a whole lot of confidence in Woody and his system. The reasons (which have been obvious to all) were lack of bench use/player development, no true offensive sets/identity, and overall stubbornness. With that being said, I have to give Woody his credit for not overreacting to adversity and keeping a cool head under pressure. I was not thrilled that we had to go to a game seven to put away a lesser opponent, but I’ll take it.

As with many other fans, all we/I want is for the Hawks to win. At the end of the day, if Woody can adapt to his players strengths, develop his bench, and create an aggressive offensive mindset, then the Hawks have a chance…I guess will see what Cleveland has to offer.


May 4th, 2009
6:38 pm

IF we beat Cleveland, sign Woody to 10 year deal.


May 4th, 2009
6:49 pm

Can’t argue with success, but aside from that center, it would be nice to get an offensive strategist coach to add under Woody, who has proven he knows defense.


May 4th, 2009
6:50 pm

Jeff after the Hawks tanked in Miami when you took out the team to all the hot clubs on South Beach I have one thing to say. Stay away from Cleveland!!!!!!!


May 4th, 2009
6:52 pm

Congrats Coach!


May 4th, 2009
7:02 pm

You talked about the plural in this awful piece of backhanded tripe a great deal… Say it like a man Jeff Schultz, “I ran a one man slander campaign against Mike Woodson!” “I made it my overriding job to disparage and demean him as man, let alone as a coach each time I (Jeff Schultz) wrote about him or his team!” It was funny, I watched and listened to the game and ROTFLMAO when they talked about ZaZa and Woody, I held out hope that they would show your BEET RED bald head when the JJ hit that 35 foot step back three! And when they went up 29, I know you had to delete your pre-written Hawks choke article.

Tic-tock… Aisle 1 Crow being served… Roasted or fried?

You No Talent Hack!!!


May 4th, 2009
7:02 pm

The guy has had 5 all-star caliber players in bibby, joe, marvin, josh and horford. How does anyone not win with this talent? the problem with Woodson has been he lacks imagination and can’t control his players(smoove). His offense is very offensive in that all it is is isolation right or isolation left. Look at what Cleveland or Boston does with its offense. With the exception of Pierce no one on that team isolates and they all shoot the ball well. Cleveland moves the ball better than any team in the NBA with the exception of LA. Although it was great to beat Miami, the fact is we were on the same level with Cleveland 5 years ago and we should be at least given a chance in this series but no expects us to make it past 4 or 5.

To all the Woody lovers, you need to watch him during a game to see if he’s getting the job done.

Darrin "The Vent King"

May 4th, 2009
7:04 pm

I love these Hawks but look:

This team was taken to 7 games by a team they should have beat in five. Every game was a blowout one way or the other. That’s coaching wizardry? That’s having your team prepared for EVERY game? Do that with the Cavs and its going to be blood and carnage I’m telling you! They made the playoffs last year in the severely weak Eastern Conference (if not the weakest EVER) with a sub-.500 record and made a nice run against a team who’s star players had only been together that year and untested in playoff ball. Yes the Hawks improved from a 13-win season before that, but think about it, dam do you know how horrible you have to be to not improve from winning 13 games? They had nowhere but up to go man, let’s be real. The next year was what 27 games? That’s like being stabbed instead of shot dude. With most franchises in the NBA, that still would have been their worst season EVER. I love my Hawks don’t get me wrong, but I’m convinced they win in spite of Woody period. All this love for a guy who keeps running plays that leave THE worst 3 pt shooter on the team WIDE open along the 3 pt line in J-Smoove and then yells at the point guard for passing it to him? And then thinks its cool that the point guard had to tell him NOT to run that stupid play then calling it “fire” from that same point guard and he loves it? How bout calling something else- THE TRUTH. This guy ever hear of the back door screen? The pick n roll perhaps? Where’s the half-court offense? The Hawks win on athleticism, the individual talent of some of their players, the chemistry they display on defense from time to time because they have been together for awhile, and not cause they have a wiz of a coach. I know I will get hated on this blog for saying this, but we’ll see what articles are being ran bout Woody by the end of this week. Y’all kill me trying to pump this dude up now. That Miami series should have NEVER gone on that long, they have D-Whine, er um, D-Babe, um-er um D-Wade and who else? A washed Jermaine O’Neal? A rook in Chalmers? Beasley? And they are taking your veteran laden playoff experienced team seven games and they’ve never been in the playoffs together? Two of those games were sub-par by their so-called superstar crybaby. C’mon man. You lost one of those games to a washed up has-been. You couldn’t find an answer for Jermaine “My Knees Stay in Pain/Where’s the nearest Wendy’s” Oneal? Really? Okay, okay, maybe its not all Woody’s fault for the past because he didn’t draft Shelden “Missile Head” Williams or sign Speedy “Back of a Milk Carton/Have You Seen Me” Claxton to a mind boggling 25 mil so I can’t TOTALLY blame it all on him cause you can’t win the Indy 500 in a Hyundai, but it’s time to move on. The Bulls of yesteryear improved every season under Doug Collins but even that franchise knew when the coach had gone as far as he could with the team and they were tuning him out so it was time to bring in a fresh perspective. I think we are approaching that ceiling with Woody (probably passed it). I don’t hate the man, but you all are NEVER going to convince me he is a good coach, ever sorry. I wish the man well in these playoffs cause I’m a hometown guy, but let’s be real….



May 4th, 2009
7:05 pm

Congrats to Woody and the Hawks. This has been a good season and this team is having a good run. With that being stated, I am a huge Hawks fan, always have and always will be. The Hawks are my favorite team of all the professional sports. I like the Hawks more than Ric Flair, but unlike Ric Flair, the Hawks current Hawks aren’t championship material. I’m glad the Hawks beat the Heat for the players, coaches, owners and the fans sake, but would it have been better if we (the Hawks) lost. Lets be real and objective here. This team is not a championship contender. Joe Johnson is not a superstar nor a legit #1 option. Mike Bibby, who deserves a lot of credit for getting us here, is gettig up there in age, plays no defense, and probably will demand 9-10 million in free agency. Coach Woodson did a good job coaching a young team, but he just learned how to coach this year. Billy Knight built this team. Sund brought in Flip and Mo, but who says Billy would not have made that move or one similar. Most fans might be OK getting to the playoffs year in and year out, but I want a championship. This team won’t give us (Hawks fans) that. Unless Bibby takes 6-7 million we must lett him go. This years draft is heavy in PG talent. Joe has 1 year left on his deal for next year and we must trade him or pay him the max. Joe isn’t worth the MAX! We should shop Joe for either a legit, coordinated 7 footer or a top 12 draft pick. Then Al could move to the 4 and we can let Marvin do his thing. We didn’t draft Marvin at #2 to be a role player. He can average 20 and 10 by being alive. He drives to the hole and draws fouls. I do understand the the Hawks front office may shop Marvin this off-season. I don’t want them to, but if we get a solid piece back I understand. Woody, no hard feelings toward the coach, has gotten us as far as his coaching ability can take us. We need a proven winner, a guy who can take us to the next level ala Avery Johnson. Woody will be OK. He will find another gig. Hawks fans, don’t be satisfied with just making the playoffs. I know we were absent for 10 years and were happy to go to round 2, but we should want more. The organization should want more and the players should want more. Congrats to the 2008-2009 Atlanta Hawks. This is the best THIS team will get.


May 4th, 2009
7:09 pm

nobody reads your filler busters.


May 4th, 2009
7:27 pm

Woodson can only take this team so far, and the second round (again) is as far as they will go under the current regime.

I believe that Rick Sund is serious about building a team that will win championships, and the moves this summer will validate it. Keep Bibby, Murray, and trade Marvin Wiliams. He’s a good role player but not what this team needs to win a title.

The biggest question mark is if they should keep Zaza. If Sund can obtain another center that can start and move Horford to the PF spot, then by all means do so.


May 4th, 2009
7:31 pm

Michael…Get a superstar…..D-Wade, Kobe….how do you propose they do this…what a dumb comment…everyone wants a superstar…they come around once a generation.


May 4th, 2009
7:47 pm

I am gglad the HAWKS are doing well and Coach Woodson is being appreciated


May 4th, 2009
8:07 pm

Somebody Got To Say It!!!!!!

May 4th, 2009
8:17 am


May 3rd, 2009
5:58 pm


May 3rd, 2009
5:08 pm

Great posts!!@! Heres a fist bump to you all! Its nice to be a Hawk Fan. Great team and Great coach. The Hawks are the third youngest team in the NBA, so the future is ours. We are a player or two away from being a titlist!.

I appreciate this blogging crew. Snowman Shout out to you! I appreciate you and the support youve given to the Hawks, Woody, Z, Me, and all the other bloggers all year long….Good Job Snow. Good Job Crew.

Shout out to Schultz and the bubba crew….Ha ha ha ha ha @ HA!HA!

Link Report this comment


May 4th, 2009
8:09 pm


May 3rd, 2009
4:29 pm







May 4th, 2009
8:12 pm

Woodson still has two HUGE areas needing improvement:

1. He has got to learn to play his bench more during the regular season.
2. Our halfcourt offense is embarrassing. Quit running iso-Joe and try actually running JJ off screens, or have Smith and Horford involved in more pick-and-rolls

Until he improves these two areas, I will want a new coach. The fact of the matter is we could and should be much better then we already are.


May 4th, 2009
8:13 pm


May 3rd, 2009
8:28 pm

May 3rd, 2009
5:08 pm

I’m sure Schultz is somewhere trying to put a negative spin on this positive season and playoff. I don’t think he will have the class to acknowledge his wrong. The man lives in denial.

I’m sure he’s very busy trying to get the egg of his face.
BTW the Z man has sure step his game up to the next level. I appreciate your scouting report.

Link Report this comment Somebody Got To Say It!!!!!!

May 4th, 2009
8:17 am
Snowman and truth-serum

Great comments!! I might as well join the party with you guys. Talking about Jeff in this way makes the Hawks victory even better. As I wrote previously about Jeff, when the Hawks lose, Jeff starts to beat his “I told you so drum, but when they win, he goes silent. So don’t expect another Hawks article from Jeff until after the Hawks lose their first Cleveland game. That is just how he rolls, from the “Half Empty Barrel” or should I say from the bottom up. Anytime Jeff makes a feeble attempt and writes anything positive about the Hawks, it is for CYA purposes only. If it looks like a duck, talks (and writes) like a duck, it must be a duck!!!


May 4th, 2009
8:20 pm

You’re not gonna win squat when your coach has an inferiority complex.


May 4th, 2009
8:21 pm

I just can’t get on the Woody bandwagon. There is no way the series with Miami should have gone 7 games. It concerns me how this team can look so motivated one game and so unmotivated the next – I blame the coach for that. I hate to say it, but the Cavaliers in 5.

Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2009
8:24 pm

Michael: It’s hard to be an Atlanta sports fan without being a cynic. A lot of scars to heal. … On the today/tonight thing, that’s a good point. I’ve actually tried to stop myself from writing it. It’s hard habit to break. But I’m going to change that now just because you suggested it.

Reid: Priority one after this season will be Bibby. If he can’t be re-signed, the point-guard situation has to be addressed. A bona fide center would be nice. But fact is, there aren’t that many out there.

Sautee: If you thought Joe was “quiet” Sunday, maybe you missed the first six games. Seriously, though, I know what you mean,

RickNole: If the Hawks beat Cleveland, Woodson gets more than a 10-year contract. He gets a statue.

Cuz: Thanks, but Bradley’s making the trip for these first two games. Wouldn’t mind the games, but I’ve been to Cleveland before and, well, I’m not heartbroken about not seeing it again right away.

JSS: Slander?

Darrin The Vent King: The Hawks-Heat went 7 games because they’re 2 even teams. The Hawks are deeper but Wade obviously compensates for Miami’s deficiencies. Bottom line: Hawks won game 7 and showed a lot bouncing back from that ugly 6th game loss. Fact is, I spoke to several people who thought they’d lose the deciding game. Not saying the team doesn’t have issues – they do and you cited some. But they moved forward.

Enrique: We don’t know that Knight wouldn’t have brought in Flip and Mo. But he and Woodson couldn’t work together anymore and, while he did build the core of this team, there were just too many mistakes on his resume (Chris Paul for starters).

Ryder: I think we all agree that Horford is GREAT but he would be even better as a PF with a legit center. He’s absolutely one of my favorite players in the league and tremendous kid.

Truth: You lost me. Again. But as always, I love the passion.

Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2009
8:28 pm

Jay: I think the halfcourt offense is a bigger deal right now than the bench. Flip Murray’s play off the bench actually was a key in the Miami series, even according to Wade.


May 4th, 2009
8:43 pm

It’s great, the hawks made it to the second round of the playoffs. that said it took them seven games to beat the heat, and from what I saw they are actually worse than last year when they took Boston to seven games.It should have only taken them five games to defeat the heat.The transition offense is fine but in the playoffs the defense is tougher and you need a creative half court offense, which the hawks don’t have. They won’t go far aganist cleveland, because they still can’t win on the road.and thats the next thing a good coach and a good team must learn.

ant banks

May 4th, 2009
8:44 pm

the other day sund was on 680thefan and he emphatically stated that horford was a 5!!! if the gm says that horford is a 5,then horford is a 5!!

as far as next year: if we can’t resign bibby, which i don’t think that we will because he wants to get a ring…chicago has to do somethin’ wit’ hinrich or gordon, jarret jack is available.

resign flip and mo, IMMEDIATELY!! get marvin back. use zaza, chills, and speedy’s expirin’ contract to get a cayman or camby from clippers:

imagine- gordon or hinrich, jj, smoove, camby, horford. bench-flip, mo, marvin, solo?

Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2009
8:49 pm

Art: I would take Jarret Jack in a heartbeat, and I’m sure he’d love to come back to Atlanta.


May 4th, 2009
9:07 pm

The man is overly sensitive. He doesn’t take criticism well. He gets prickly. He lets things that are said or written about him consume him.

That’s the man I want leading my team.


May 4th, 2009
9:13 pm

Wow…after reading this article I actually think less of Mike Woodson. First, I didn’t realize that the man was one-hundred and sixteen games under .500. Second, he sounds real passive and sensitive, not like the kind of guy who lights fires under the players’ bellies (which would explain a lot of the inconsistencies).

jt in dallas

May 4th, 2009
9:17 pm

Congrats to the Hawks AND Coach Woodson. We’ve come a long way and still have a long way to go. I STILL prefer that we go to the next level with a more competent coach. Any coach but Woodson.
F-I-R-E W-O-O-D-Y!!!!!


May 4th, 2009
9:32 pm

Keep Woody! I will say it again – I am never ceased to be amazed by Atl. sports teams to go 3 steps backwards just for change sake. I do not trust Hawks management to hire a better coach. I wish I did. Keep Woody – re-sign Bibby, get a legit Center – draft well (this draft looks deep) and see what happens next year. With all the continuity, could be a great season. If the Hawks tank, then maybe look at options. If Marvin is healthy next season, and we have minimal injuries, I say “look out East” – we could be in the Division Championship series next year. Who knows, we may be in it this year.

Ted Striker

May 4th, 2009
9:36 pm

In an era when NBA head coaches have the shelf life of ripe bananas, Woodson is a throwback. Another NBA coach has probably survived a .159% (13-69) season — and eventually made it to the second round of the playoffs — but I don’t know who he is. Most “great” coaches are hired to coach great players/teams. Woodson is a blue collar guy for a blue collar team. Pretty good fit, I’d say.

Whopper Dawg

May 4th, 2009
9:44 pm

As always we swing too low with the losses and too high with the wins. The Hawks’ talent (read athleticism) carried them past a super star and an otherwise average team. But a hearty congratulations on the first first round win in essentially forever!!! That is a big deal.

But validate the coach, maybe, maybe not. The NBA is a real difficult league in which to move past the middle of the pack and really contend. Usually, it is accomplished one of two ways – typically through the magic of the draft where you hit the home run – Duncan, Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, Shack and they transform your franchise for a decade, or unusually through a really astute GM/Coach that pulls together a team – Detroit. And the problem with being in the middle of the pack is that you won’t get a chance at the home run, so you have to rely on the GM/Coach route and I am far from convinced that our current duo has the goods.Certainly don’t believe that a first round win over the likes of the Heat should constitute such faith.

The Whopper


May 4th, 2009
10:05 pm

I’d love to meet the people who voted that Marvin Williams had the edge over LeBron James.


May 4th, 2009
10:08 pm

Wow! 7 lottery picks and they beat a team with a losing record in 7 games. Let’s see how they fare against a real competitor.

Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2009
10:35 pm

JD- Woodson actually was 106-222 through 4 seasons but he went 47-35 years so now stands: 153-257 (plus 7-7 in playoffs).

Interesting to see how divided the readership still is over Woodson. Also just looked at the poll to see how it was going. Poll is running 62-38, not quite overwhelming.


May 4th, 2009
11:08 pm

Hey Ben, nice analogy. My mind isn’t what it used to be, God knows, but I seem to remember a team last year that won sixty something games and then took seven games to beat the eighth seed, which, by the way, was a sub 500 ball club that just happened to squeak into the playoffs by the skin of it’s teeth. I wonder what happened to that team? Oh yea, they knocked off the Cavs in seven, and ended up beating the Lakers in the finals! I don’t mind criticism, but I HATE stupidity. Get better at bashing or get off the blog.


May 4th, 2009
11:16 pm

Vent King is dead on. Look at all the talent on this team that is so wrongly utilized. The guy has so little idea how to run an offense or use a pass-first point guard it’s sickening. The defensive genius benches players who fight through screens. Woody is garbage – this team is winning in spite of him, not because of him. It just took seven games to beat Dwyane Wade and scrubs. Hawks will be lucky to get to a game 5 against Cleveland with Woody at the helm.


May 4th, 2009
11:22 pm

“Reid: Priority one after this season will be Bibby. If he can’t be re-signed, the point-guard situation has to be addressed. A bona fide center would be nice. But fact is, there aren’t that many out there.”

What a disaster this move will be. I have no doubt they’ll give far too much money to Bibby, who will continue to be as much a defensive liability as he is an offensive boost. Like Jeff Van Gundy and other announcers have noted, all you have to do is run a screen, and Bibby will passively switch to whatever faster or bigger player you want him to.


May 4th, 2009
11:46 pm

Everyone says that the Hawks need a big man or center. Please tell me, who do you think would be a great fit for the hawks. All the quality centers are not going to be move by their teams!! The center position is now dead completely!! Can you name 10 quality centers in the NBA? If the hawks sign and trade Marvin then that means Josh is playing SF and he does not have a consistent three ball!! Dam, we may be a bigger team, but less effective on the perimeter. I like Marvin at the SF rather than Josh and remember he is only 22 years old; he may become a special player at 24 or 25!! I think that we just need to add pieces on the bench and develop what we have!! You don’t need a starting center because there are not many teams in the league that have quality Biggs and we do not need to change what we have!! As this team gets older they will get better!!

40-foot free-throws

May 4th, 2009
11:47 pm

Beating Cavaliers will validate Woodson. If he does that, make him an equity owner of the team.

Wait, we have enough owners already; give him a rally towel :)


May 5th, 2009
1:01 am


May 4th, 2009
7:02 pm


Jeff Schultz

May 4th, 2009
10:35 pm



Ned Bartlett

May 5th, 2009
1:04 am


Way too early to talk about validation of Woodson as the Hawks’ coach simply because they beat the Heat in 7 games. Point is that Woodson was one game away from losing his job……. lose the 7th game against Miami, a team undermanned against Atlanta, and Woodson would have likely been out the door for not only losing the series but losing tow games at home in the series. Instead, he wins a series by the narrowest of margins while losing games not only on the road but at home by double digits. Truth is that this Hawks’ team has great talent, but they play inconsistently, and I attribute that to the coach. When the Hawks move on offense and pass the ball like they did in Game 7, they play well. When they stand around and run iso or one on one plays, they limit their talent as they did in more than one game in the series with Miami. When the Hawks use their athleticism to put pressure on the ball and play in-your-face defense, the Hawks can make other teams struggle on offense. Far too often, however, the Hawks stand around and don’t put consistent pressure on the ball.

I, for one, think that the Hawks, if they play up to their potential, can seriously challenge the Cavaliers. But if they play like they did against an inferior Miami team, then the Hawks will likely last 5-6 games at best in a losing effort. Being a professional means that you play at a high level consistently. As a professional coach, it is Woodson’s job to ensure that his team plays at a consistently high level, and this the Hawks have not done this season (basically .500 basketball after a good start to the season). Let the validation of Woodson wait until he finally shows that he can win something more than what he is expected to win and show that his team played consistently at a high level in the process.

Ted Striker

May 5th, 2009
1:17 am

Truth Serum — Jesus holy Christ, you’re incoherent.


May 5th, 2009
1:27 am

Sund assuming nothing about Hawks right now
1:52 pm February 21, 2009, by Jeff Schultz

When this NBA season started, Rick Sund admitted he pretty much was like the rest of us. He didn’t know whether to judge the Hawks on three playoff wins or 45 regular season losses (as well as all those that preceded them). So he steered clear of sweeping changes.

He called this season, “a barometer.”

It’s late February and nothing has changed. The Hawks stood pat at the trade deadline. They are nine games over .500 (32-23). But any assumptions that the new general manager suddenly has his blueprint for the future would be a mistake.

The players aren’t safe. The coach isn’t safe. The team’s grade this season: incomplete.

When asked what the expectations of the Hawks should be moving forward, Sund paused, then said: “That’s a question that should be asked and answered at the end of season.

“My feelings are consistent with what I’ve said all along, that this season is a barometer. We’ll analyze it when it’s all over.”

Wise man. To take any other position would be a mistake. There has been too much baggage to assume success, and too many warning signs, even now. Josh Smith still can’t decide if he wants to be a superstar or an 8×10. Joe Johnson isn’t playing well and has been dragging since mid-Janaury. Mike Bibby, an impending free agent, has been carrying this team, which is good for his marketability but not for the big picture.

There is good news: Entering the weekend, the Hawks held a three-game lead over Miami for the fourth playoff seed in the East.

There is bad news: They are a sub.-500 team (11-13) since a 21-10 start.

If Mike Woodson was hoping for a vote of confidence, he is going to have to wait until after the season.
Understand, this is not merely another year in a building process for the franchise. This is the fork in the road. This season potentially has more impact on the Hawks’ future than any other since Billy Knight started bragging about cap space.

Sund didn’t hire Mike Woodson as coach. He only kept him – and even then only with a two-year contract. A one-year contract wasn’t an option. One-year contracts scream, “Coach on the Green Mile!” Woodson didn’t get the three- or four-year deal he sought, which would’ve suggested a vote of confidence, not a postponed decision.

Win or it’s a “wasted season”
4:10 pm April 17, 2009, by Jeff Schultz

For Woodson and everybody else, a first-round playoff loss isn’t going to get it done this time. Expectations have been raised. If they aren’t met, the potential ramifications are significant: Woodson could be fired.
Win this series, and the regular season is validated.

Lose this series, and feel free to flush.

This is when Joe Johnson needs to show he can make a difference in the postseason. This is when Mike Bibby needs to make his case for being re-signed.

This certainly is when Woodson needs to show that improving win totals in each of the past four seasons is not an aberration, because the man was given only a two-year contract this season, an indication his future may be on the line.

There’s a significant difference in ripple effects between the Hawks winning four games and losing four games — way beyond this postseason. Winning reaffirms that the plan doesn’t have to change. Losing mandates change.


May 5th, 2009
1:29 am

Wanna bet Woodsons not in the top 5 canidates for coach of the year?


May 5th, 2009
1:34 am

Ted Striker

May 5th, 2009
1:17 am

I was going to send you and Schultz important message via carrier pigeon but he dropped it on the ground as he sat on the pole. Waits till he eats again and Ill resend it.


May 5th, 2009
1:44 am

1st of all, to my man Truth-Serum…thank you for “keeping it real” all season long (I just started reading the AJC posts in February or so. I have enjoyed riding shotgun to you my man…smile…very nice win Sunday huh?)!!!…Your blog posts are always planned and well written (bravo!). I have really enjoyed them (smile) especially sense you were right!

Jeff, on the other hand, who gets paid for this, (how does that happen, seriously?) and he had it “DEAD WRONG” at least since I have been reading his blogs and articles. I thought he would be BIG ENOUGH to say, you know what everyone, I GOT IT WRONG (Hell, Mark Bradley said it!!!). I guess that would take “character” and “class” now wouldn’t it (I wonder if we ran a Poll now about Jeff’s writing or should he be replaced what would the Poll say?…seriously, since he is clearly NOT a Hawk fan? We can replace him with a writer who is or is he?…I do wonder that…what do you think Jeff ?…in light of the fact, you have been so wrong about Woody and the Hawks).

Jeff, you should be ashamed of yourself for this back-handed article. And you quote, “It follows that when new general manager Rick Sund decided to bring Woodson back – albeit with a lukewarm two-year contract – the public response was mixed. But Tuesday night, the Hawks are some place few figured they would be: In Cleveland. In the playoffs. Playing”…..Really, some place a few figured?…NO, you FIGURED they would NOT be there and the poll run on this site said overwhelmingly folks thought this Hawk team would be in the 2nd round so again, what the HELL are you talking about (smile, c’mon Jeff!)…

I have been waiting for this article for 24-plus hours and this is the freakin BEST you can do, really? You had a chance to “knock it out of the park” and bring all of us Hawk fans together…but as always, you missed the mark, BIG-TIME! (this was after you had saying for months that coach Woodson would be judged by you on how he did in the playoffs no matter how much progress he made in the regular season)…

Now for you and your fans in coach Woodson “Hater Nation”…I want to sing a little something to you all, (smile…me me me me…clearing my throat)…so here it goes…Na na na na, Na na na na, hey, hey, hey good-bye…Na na na na, na na na na na, hey hey good bye (so I am not going to win American Idol huh?…smile). here are some of the people I was singing to:

Ryder–Hater!!! (Sund is serious about building a team?…huh?…where was the trade deadline move he made which could of helped the Hawks get over the hump in the playoffs?)
Enrique–Hater (Rick Flair?…huh?…nuff said)
JP–Hater (5 All-Star caliber players?…back away from the moonshine)
Darrin the Vent King–Hater!…then just enjoy the ride playa!!!…by the way, Doc Rivers I guess should have been fired since the 8th seed took the 1 seed to 7 games last year in the playoffs on the way to winning the NBA title…smile
JT in Dallas–Hater! (his however is explainable he is in Dallas…Go Skins!!!…smile)
Jeff, I hope you are proud of being the President and CEO of “Hater Nation”…what a way to live, it’s allot more fun liking something than hating especially when you are so wrong…try it sometime.

Now to a couple of terrific posts…

Ted Striker—Great Post!!!
RA–Great Post!!!…You stole my thunder (smile)…now why didn’t Jeff make that point?…
Ant banks–Now you are talking. Once the Hawk bench gets stronger we will get to the next level!!!

Finally, Truth-Serum, what a ride huh (smile)?…I have not felt this good since the recent presidential election (now that will start off a chain reaction of comments, I’m sure. Remember I am in Washington D.C.)…oh, and if the Hawks guys are relatively healthy (Marvin and Al) I think we will surprise Cleveland especially if we can win the 1st game since Cleveland has been off a week or so and might be a little rusty. We can win at home, the Hawks are really, really, really tough at home in the Atl (31-10 this season with a win over the Lakers)…congrats to the Hawks on a fantastic playoff win and way to go coach Woodson, way to stay the course (why do I write so long…blah, blah, blah…smile)!!!