Bradley’s Buzz: Fire Woodson? Hey, only I get to write that!

Hands off my man Woody!

In my capacity as outside observer, I’ve fired Mike Woodson more often than George Steinbrenner canned Billy Martin. I count at least four times I’ve done the (theoretical) deed, including this rant of February 2008, and even after the epic Celtics series I offered this vote of non-confidence. But here’s where I rally to my punching bag’s defense.

Writing for SI.com, Chris Mannix contends Woodson remains on the ol’ hot seat even after leading the Hawks to the East’s No. 4 seed, and I don’t believe that’s the case. Rick Sund, the general manager these past 11 months, has said repeatedly that his goal for his new team was to return to the playoffs with a better record, and Woodson has more than managed that. The Hawks improved 10 games without adding a starter. (Indeed, they lost sixth man Josh Childress to Greece.)

There were many times over Woodson’s first four seasons when I didn’t feel he was the man for this team, but I don’t feel that way now. Yes, I’m flip-flopping, but here the choice is either consistency for consistency’s sake or fairness to a man who has persevered through the dark days and who has, judging by the Hawks’ dominating performance in Game 1, playing at an ever-higher level.

So I’m sounding the warning: Lay off Woodson. I’ve got the man’s back. And I’ve had it … oh, since about November 2008.

The fallout from Game 1

How ’bout that Heat, huh? Well, Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post believes the team just quit, and certainly seven fourth-quarter points wouldn’t seem the product of a fully engaged club. Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel doesn’t feel Miami has much to prove in this series, which would appear fortunate given that in Game 1 the Heat dropped hints it doesn’t really belong in the postseason.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

We knew this already, but Scott Howard-Cooper of SI.com says it again: The Heat must get points from someone other than Dwyane Wade. And John Hollinger of ESPN.com believes this series could be over quickly if matters don’t change.

The Hawks, they get no respect

Afterward, Josh Smith trotted out the old line about everyone picking against the Hawks. That’s not quite true. I picked them. (Then again, I’m wrong so often I probably don’t count.)

Mike Moreau of Scouts, Inc. picked the Hawks in six, same as I did. Paul Forrester of SI.com picked them. Charley Rosen of FoxSports.com did, too. And so did Sean Deveney of Sporting News Today. And six of ESPN.com’s 10 analysts went with the Hawks, which isn’t exactly a sign of disrespect in a 4-versus-5 series.

So, a word to J-Smoove: Go easy with that us-against-the-world stuff. A goodly chunk of the world likes your team’s chances.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Another back who can motor? Just the Tech ticket

For Sporting News Today, Dave Curtis identified five college players who’d had good springs and who could be headed for better autumns. One was Georgia Tech A-back Marcus Wright, who had as many carries in the spring game (four) as he did all last season. Think of Wright as an even smaller, even faster Roddy Jones. Then recall that Jones, who’s still around, gained 214 yards against Georgia. Then, if you’re a Tech fan, smile even wider.

Late-breaking news! Lawal to test NBA draft!

Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal will enter the NBA draft but will not hire an agent, which means he could return to school next season. If you go by NBAdraft.net’s 2009 mock, which has him going 27th overall, he should return to school. But I keep hearing that Tech folks aren’t expecting him back.

OK, OK. Where’s all the (NFL) draft stuff?

Thanks for asking. Because there was no way to do justice to both the Hawks and the NFL draft, the minds behind Buzz — actually, there’s only one, and it’s of dubious worth — decided that, just this once, we’d do two in one week. An Extra Special Draft Buzz will be upcoming Thursday morning, so as to capture the very latest in what figures to be a newsworthy countdown.

So check back then, and have your mocks at the ready. Deal? Deal.

85 comments Add your comment

ND

April 20th, 2009
10:18 am

Can I not find it, our does the AJC not give a crap about the GT baseball team that had a weekend sweep at WFU?

ND

April 20th, 2009
10:19 am

Gifted in the Pants

April 20th, 2009
10:19 am

Pursed lips, eh? tee-hee

Suckers.

dwadenuthugger

April 20th, 2009
10:20 am

When the big boys are in the playoffs, college sports get moved to page 6 ;)

LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

NC Braves Fan

April 20th, 2009
10:41 am

A fun game to watch last night, and I can’t ever remember seeing Josh Smith look better than he did last night. I hope they can carry this intensity forward the rest of this series (and beyond)!

mark

April 20th, 2009
10:55 am

th e hawks as a team played very good, josh smith played the smartest game of b.ball i have ever seen him play. i love js, keep playing smart. because playing hard has never been questioned. good win hawks

TenaciousD

April 20th, 2009
10:59 am

Last night only proves that Josh Smith is the thing that holds this team back from being a consistent 50 win team. When he plays with that kind of intensity we can argue that the Hawks have a legit shot at the FINALS. I see now why Woodson gets so frustrated with him.

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
11:11 am

I’d be interested to know of any other NBA coach who took a team — in the last 10-15 years from 13-69 or worse to 47-35 or better. I’d report on it myself but Amber-Marie, my 22 year old “research assistant” has reverse-downsized me in favor of someone more demographically compatible, i.e. a dude under the age of 25

mike

April 20th, 2009
11:15 am

did that guy really inquire about GT baseball when we just destroyed DWade and Miami? wrong blog man

Dr. Warren

April 20th, 2009
11:30 am

Just like on Animal Planet–where we see that a swarming pack of hyenas can overtake a lion–an energized, focused Hawks team can take down Wade, and yes, even LeLion James.

ND

April 20th, 2009
11:38 am

There is no blog for GT baseball. Simply asking Bradley. It’s not like the Hawks have a chance at the title anyway.

Reid Adair

April 20th, 2009
11:38 am

Hey, Mark. At least you’re man enough to admit you’ve had a change of heart. That’s better than a lot of people.

Rufio

April 20th, 2009
11:48 am

Its a good thing you specified “man” in that first heading “Hands off my man woody” especially after the pursed lip comment… haha, just playin MB

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
11:51 am

Rufio, I shouldn’t have laughed. But I couldn’t help it, I did.

JMar

April 20th, 2009
11:58 am

I wish the Atlanta Spirit would lay Woodson off. Is that not what you meant?

Jay

April 20th, 2009
12:20 pm

Your flip-flopping on Woodson only hammers home the fact that you are an easily-influenced homer with no credibility.

rms

April 20th, 2009
12:26 pm

Give credit to the Miami Heat coach. They won only 15 games last season and now are the 5th seed in the East in just one season. It took us ONLY 5 years to surpass 40 wins.

Funky Bobby J

April 20th, 2009
12:28 pm

I still think that the jury is out on Woodrow. This team still plays poorly against weaker competition and they have been really inconsistent this year from game to game and quarter to quarter. Their “stop and stare” half-court offense rears its ugly head way too often. I still ask if the Hawks won 47 games because of or inspite of their coach? Let’s take out the Heat and make LeBron pack a lunch for 7 games – GO HAWKS!!!!

Mac

April 20th, 2009
12:47 pm

Dang, Bradley, are you standing on something in that pic, or are you that tall?

Justin

April 20th, 2009
12:49 pm

The reason the GT baseball team isnt on here is because Wake Forest is not that good of a team but in other news uga took 2 out of 3 against #5 Arkansas…..

Nique 21

April 20th, 2009
12:50 pm

ND, Who cares about GT baseball? They can’t even beat Georgia or Georgia State consistantly, and they always lay an egg in the playoffs even when they have a top 10 team. Now back to basketball

Go Hawks!!!!!

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
12:58 pm

I used to be 6-foot-5, Mac, but with advanced age and the weight of years I’m about 5-2 now.

welikebaseball2

April 20th, 2009
1:00 pm

FUNKY BOBBY J: Good point. I say “in spite of.” You’d be hard pressed to find a coach that couldn’t get a squad with this talent to the playoffs. I too question his inability to expand the offense beyond isolation plays as well as his inability/refusal to develop young players. I vote for “in spite of.”

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
1:04 pm

Let me be clear on something: I didn’t think Woodson got the most from the Hawks during the 2007-2008 regular season. (Hence the articles of mine referenced above.) But, since the Boston series, this has been a different team. And for me to say the coach has had nothing to do with it would be completely disingenuous.

Andyman

April 20th, 2009
1:05 pm

Mike Moreau of Scouts, Inc. picked the Hawks in six, same as I did. Paul Forrester of SI.com picked them. Charley Rosen of FoxSports.com did, too. And so did Sean Deveney of Sporting News Today. And six of ESPN.com’s 10 analysts went with the Hawks, which isn’t exactly a sign of disrespect in a 4-versus-5 series.

So, a word to J-Smoove: Go easy with that us-against-the-world stuff. A goodly chunk of the world likes your team’s chances.

While that may be true, I saw Magic Johnson and Kenny Smith pick the Heat. If I remember correctly, Kenny Smith said something to the effect that the Hawks weren’t that good of a team.

Often Disappointed/Never Surprised!

April 20th, 2009
1:08 pm

Now all of a sudden Bradley is a Woodson fan? Please, the Hawks have improved every year for the past four seasons. Coach Woodson has done a phenomenal job. Considering the youth explosion that has taken place in the recent years, it is a wonder any franchise can sustain any measure of success! I agree with Charles Barkley when it comes to Josh Smith though, sure he can dunk, but so can everyone else in the league. Let us see him add a consistent outside shot to his arsenal. I can remember a couple of Hall of Famers that could not hit the outside shot consistenly early in their careers. Magic and Jordan. I can remember when the Sixers would put Cheeks on Magic and dared him to shoot. Remember when Jordan tried to dunk every shot. That was until Detroit insisted otherwise. My how the game has changed, and certainly when it comes to coaching! Great job Coach Woodson, keep up the great work!

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
1:10 pm

Sorry, Andyman. I guess I need to watch more TV.

But I really thought there’d be a slew of people picking the Heat because of D-Wade. At least online, I haven’t found that to be the case.

malibuGT

April 20th, 2009
1:10 pm

Mark, I want to see a few more playoff games before I start throwing roses to Woodson. The Hawks looked great last night, but I remember thinking great things after the Braves started 5-1. Let’s put away the Heat quickly, and then see what we can do with LeBron & team

lawton

April 20th, 2009
1:13 pm

lol, bradley you are a trip. flip flopping all the time. woodson sucks as a head coach. this team wins only talent and talent alone. imagine avery johnson with this talent, larry brown, basically, any big name head coach wouldve been whipped this team into a force. woodson doesnt run plays, has no developed bench and cannot get his superstars to play to their strengths (johnson and smith). they win at home on the emotion from the crowd and on the road where heart and coaching matters, they fail every time. this only buys 2 more years of woodson misery.

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
1:14 pm

See, it’s like this: When a coach wins, I tend to think he’s doing a good job. When he doesn’t, I tend not to.

[...] Bradley has whipped up enough links and polls to make your head spin in the latest installment of Bradley’s Buzz (I was still snoring when [...]

Wink from Lithonia

April 20th, 2009
1:18 pm

The only good thing I can say for Woodson, is the team has improved each year he has been the coach. The bad thing about him he does not play or develope his bench ( 7 to 8 players get minutes ). So how can you fire a guy who’s team is improving.

It my belief he is not the reason we have gotten this far. The players simply match up better against some teams, and Woody does not give them the in game adjustments to matter against other teams. Example: in one game against the Lakers we were up by 12 points in the 1st quarter with 2 minutes to go. Phil Jackson calls a time out and at the end of the quarter we were down one. Coaching makes a difference. That said we are in the playoffs.

The opening playoff game against the Heat was the best game I saw Josh Smith play all year; only two 3 point shots taken – air ball, one ill advised rebound & dribble up the floor – turnover & most important no little under handed flip shots at the rim. Everything was a throw down & under control. Now if Woody can coach up those things on a consistent basis, Josh would develop his game.

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
1:23 pm

And don’t think for a moment I haven’t noticed that Ted Striker has turned on me. Talk about flip-flopping.

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
1:45 pm

And don’t think that I haven’t checked the vote tally above regarding two Buzzes in one week being two too many.

I am forlorn. If Leland bails on me, I don’t know what I’ll do.

doc

April 20th, 2009
1:47 pm

geez mark, woody better duck. you vote of confidence may be the kiss of death to the man.

great win and atmosphere last night.

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
1:57 pm

Mark, I would never ever, ever never, never ever ever turn on you. I’m as faithful as Lassie.

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
1:58 pm

Of course, if you turned the other direction and I wasn’t entirely paying attention, I might inadvertently miss having your back.

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
2:03 pm

Remember how you felt when Anne-Marie left, Ted? That’s how I’m feeling today.

I’m singing “Lonesome Day Blues,” which begins, appropriately enough, with the line: “Today has been a sad and mournful day.”

Mac

April 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

Looks to me like the “just right vote,” is leading 3-1 over “two too many.” Buck up, Bradley.

Tech sucks

April 20th, 2009
2:27 pm

Hawks in 6 still.

UGA sucks worse

April 20th, 2009
2:41 pm

agreed. hawks in 6.

AtlSouthside

April 20th, 2009
2:42 pm

Funny the same Miami fans who said D.Wade could walk on water, are now saying “it’s just Game 1″

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
3:07 pm

What you don’t know, Mac, is that I had to vote 30 times to rig it that way.

(I’m kidding. Only 25 times.)

ant banks

April 20th, 2009
4:57 pm

Enter your comments here

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
6:00 pm

Mark, I can almost hear you singing “I am a man of constant sorrow.” I’ve always thought you look a lot like George Clooney.

Biff Pocoroba

April 20th, 2009
6:23 pm

Mark, can you check with your contacts in St Louis and see how excited they are about getting Blaine Boyer? I think this is the piece that they were missing to put together a championship team.
Now, if you really want to apologize to Woodson for firing him so many times, you should buy up the rest of the tickets for Wednesday’s game since he said that he wants to play in front of a full house. If you buy 1000 tickets, you’ll probably even get introduced by TI.

Mark Bradley

April 20th, 2009
6:39 pm

The folks in St. Louis were so hot for Boyer they traded a minor-league outfielder for him, Biff.

And Ted, you should know that George Clooney grew up in Augusta, Ky., which is eight miles from Maysville and which remains the only place I’ve ever been ticketed for speeding. (I was going 47 mph in a 35-mph zone — it was a speed trap.) I’ve never met George, but I have met his dad Nick, who’s a prince of a guy.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 20th, 2009
7:21 pm

I don’t know about the so-called “experts”, but I can say for a fact that just in talking to other NBA fans I know, at least half of them picked the Heat to win this series. Considering that the Hawks were the better team all season and won the season series, that is reason enough for Josh Smith to feel disrespected.

I don’t even think Woody got the most out of the Hawks this year, especially early in the season after the 6-0 start. It took until mid-February until he made it a point to get Josh Smith and Al Horford involved in the offense in the post and trust his bench more, which he should have been doing from day one. But while he was a borderline fire-able coach last year until the playoffs, he is definitely a coach worth keeping around right now, even if he’s no Coach of the Year candidate. The Hawks could certainly do worse than Woody right now.

bfred

April 20th, 2009
7:28 pm

A majority of the people who know what they’re talking about picked the Hawks in this series. It’s the omnipresence of guys like Kenny Smith yakking on ESPN about them not being a very good team (as mentioned above) that makes it seem like they’re not getting the respect. Ignore (most of) the former players turned analysts; they’re only on TV because people know who they are. Is anyone really looking forward to Keyshawn Johnson’s player evaluations on NFL draft day? Didn’t think so.

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2009
7:33 pm

I’m impressed by your near-spotless driving record. Several years ago I was returning from a Christmas party in Helen, Ga & got pulled over for speeding in Gainesville. While the officer was writing me up, my cell phone rang & I told my friend I’d have to phone her back b/c I was getting a ticket. About 25 minutes later she phoned again — I told her I still couldn’t talk because I was being written up. She said “god, what a slow cop that must be.” I replied “no, I’m getting another one…in Jefferson.” She replied “Do I need to send bail?”

I was unawares Clooney grew up in KY. (I thought he was raised in a back room at AMC by his dad, and babysat by Bob Dorian). Interesting family. I believe Miguel Ferrer, GC’s cousin, is actually a better actor. And I even like a few songs by his band, The Jenerators.