Archive for the ‘Hawks / NBA’ Category

I’ve moved — let me show you my new neighborhood…

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are seeking a little redemption. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan hope to be doing this Sunday. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are so excited because the the AJC has a new digital platform!

OK, not really. But we have moved. You can still find my old blogs on this site. But for the new ones, please go to ajc.com/weblogs/jeff-schultz.

Hopefully we can get through this transition period with a minimal number of hiccups. Also, please note that readers commenting on blogs now need to register first. Just go to my latest blog (about the Falcons) for all of the info.

Thanks for reading, Jeff

Continue reading I’ve moved — let me show you my new neighborhood… »

Hawks are surviving nicely without Joe Johnson (go figure)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the Hawks have had a lot of reason to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Josh Smith, Devin Harris and the surprising Hawks have had a lot of reasons to celebrate so far this season. (AP photo)

Notwithstanding that 15 games is a small sampling size, it’s worth noting that the Hawks don’t appear flummoxed or discombobulated this season, even without the former king of clutch and locker-room glue that was Joe Johnson.

(I thought I’d open with a joke. Try the veal.)

The Hawks are 10-5. They have the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They are running. They are moving the ball. They are playing unselfishly. They are having fun. They seem to actually like each other. So this is what it looks like.

Welcome to Fantasy Island.

“I’m surprised. I’m shocked,” Josh Smith said. “When teams have a lot of new faces like we do, it usually takes until about December or January to click and gel. But we’re doing it right away.”

There’s a temptation to suggest the Hawks have been greater than the sum of their parts. But that would suggest that when general …

Continue reading Hawks are surviving nicely without Joe Johnson (go figure) »

Hawks’ Drew says he’s prepared to work without parachute

Larry Drew has a new cast of players, including Anthony Morrow  (left) and Lou Williams.

Larry Drew has a new cast of players, including Anthony Morrow (left) and Lou Williams. (AP photo)

This has been a Hawks’ preseason written in pencil. Five starting lineups in five exhibition games.

While that partly can be attributed to a player injury or the whims of head coach Larry Drew experimenting with new pieces, it’s also a fair gauge of where this team is at right now. Nobody is mourning the departures of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, both of whom forever earned places on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore of failures. But now Drew is trying to find a starting lineup with an entertaining but undersized roster and in less than ideal circumstances.

He is, as he put it, “trying to bring cohesiveness as fast as I can.” Of course. Because while nobody can be certain how long this rebuilding project by general manager Danny Ferry will take, things are less fuzzy concerning Drew. He is in the final year of his contract.

Nothing like the pressure of working without a net …

Continue reading Hawks’ Drew says he’s prepared to work without parachute »

Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey (Hawks, not USA). (Getty Images)

Your Hawks fantasy for a day: Danny Ferry hands LeBron James a jersey — Hawks, not USA. (Getty Images)

Area codes may help. Pacific breezes and Hollywood on the West Coast, and South Beach and night life on the East may have served as advantages for the Los Angeles Lakers in their ability to land Dwight Howard and the Miami Heat in luring LeBron James.

But that’s really not what this is all about.

If Los Angeles, Miami and Boston always seem to land the best players, it’s not because of the scenery or the local cuisine or the proximity to Universal Studios. It’s because of what those franchises stand for. They chase titles. They don’t act satisfied when the team wins a playoff series. They don’t limit themselves to “safe” moves in the offseason to fill out the bench. They have a vision.

They don’t give elite-level contracts to players who couldn’t spell elite if you spotted them the e-l-i-t. (Joe: Brooklyn is that way.)

“History and tradition,” Hawks general manager Danny …

Continue reading Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short »

Dwight Howard had the power (Hawks didn’t have chance)

The chance of these two guys being teammates in Atlanta was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The chance of Dwight Howard, Josh Smith being Atlanta teammates was always a longshot. (Curtis Compton)

(This blog will be updated or replaced by a full column later.)

Dwight Howard is about to become a Los Angeles Laker and — if this deal doesn’t fall apart and the principles don’t change — this will be the Lakers’  lineup next season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace (see: Ron Artest) and Howard.

Wonder what it’s like to be king?

Even if the Lakers weren’t Howard’s first choice (strangely, Brooklyn was), this expected deal just reaffirms how star players have all the power in the NBA. As much as the owners hate it and NBA commissioner David Stern keeps trying to rewrite the rule book to prevent it, elite players will always have the hammer in the NBA because rosters are so small relative to other team sports and one star can make a significant difference.

There was a time when Howard, an Atlanta native and former star at Southwest Atlanta Christian …

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Hawks’ Ferry doesn’t foresee Josh Smith going anywhere

Danny Ferry envisions his new team with Josh Smith on it. (AP photo)

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry envisions his team with Josh Smith on it. (AP photo)

In his first few weeks as general manager, Danny Ferry has managed to exorcise the Hawks’ franchise of two mistakes (Joe Johnson for his contract; Marvin Williams for the assumption he had a pulse), acquire nine new players through trades and the draft and live in three different Atlanta hotels.

On Wednesday, he exhaled and we had breakfast (in a hotel).

“I really haven’t lived in Atlanta yet,” he said. “When I’ve been in town, I’ve spent most of my time on the 19th floor [at the Hawks’ downtown offices]. But I’ve enjoyed the challenges.”

The new Hawks haven’t played a game. Yet, Ferry enjoys a level of popularity that Pete Babcock, Billy Knight and Rick Sund never attained. Locating a Russian billionaire to assume $90 million of your team’s payroll can do wonders for a general manager’s Q score.

At least in the short term — and assuming Dwight Howard isn’t walking through that door –  …

Continue reading Hawks’ Ferry doesn’t foresee Josh Smith going anywhere »

VIDEO: Talking about Hawks, Danny Ferry, Joe and Josh

I chatted with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the Hawks’ hiring of Danny Ferry as their new general manager and the contract situations of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

Just one question: Does this video make me look bald?

Continue reading VIDEO: Talking about Hawks, Danny Ferry, Joe and Josh »

Hawks make the right move (honest) hiring Danny Ferry

Danny Ferry. (Getty Images)

Sorry, Danny Ferry is no longer in a position to bring LeBron James with him if he takes the Hawks' GM job. (Getty Images)

(This Sunday blog has been updated with the news this morning that Danny Ferry has been hired as the Hawks’ new president and general manager.)

There will be a blur of issues for the Hawks’ new architect to deal with, but all that really matters today is the organization seems to have the right guy in charge.

The Hawks have finalized the hiring of Danny Ferry as their new team president and general manager, replacing Rick Sund. New general managers, like new coaches and first-round draft picks, come with no guarantees. But Ferry has a strong reputation around the league as a sharp personnel guy and he did a solid job for five years as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager.

Ferry spent the last two years as vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, following his resignation from the Cavs in 2010. He and owner Dan Gilbert split …

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Sandusky scandal is the sports story that really matters

The Jerry Sandusky case is one that no sports fan can afford to ignore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Jerry Sandusky case is one that no sports fan can afford to ignore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

It’s not a typical sports story. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly.

Some of the testimony was so repulsive, so evil, that it was difficult for the brain to even process it. This partly explains why the masses often lean toward the candy of the sports world. A college football playoff debate. Cheering or mocking of LeBron James. A baseball pennant race. It’s simple. It’s easy to digest. Real-life drama such as the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation case gets pushed aside, even if it’s potentially one of the more impactful sports stories of our generation.

“I really wish ESPN and other national sports outlets would start covering this more,” Tammy Lerner, co-founder of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) said Thursday. “So many stories like Sandusky are coming out. Pedophiles are drawn to places with access to kids, like sports. We’re seeing stories about abuse involving

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We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a …

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